Frosh/Soph Elite 75 - Best of the 2026 Forwards
The Frosh/Soph Elite 75 Showcase returned in style this past weekend as both the Massachusetts event in Hanover, and the Connecticut event in Hamden sold out. It was the first time that we ran this event since the pandemic hit in 2020, and things picked back up right where we left off. New England basketball is in good hands with the group of underclassmen we got a chance to see this weekend.
To continue our write-ups on the standouts we witnessed, let’s take a look at the best forwards the class of 2026 has to offer.
Vincent Osazee made a significant impact on Friday night, solidifying his budding reputation and putting everyone in the gym on notice. His impressive performance comes as no surprise, given the plethora of Division 1 offers and interest he has already garnered. Osazee, a strong-bodied forward, relies on his physical strength to drive to the basket with determination. His ability to power through defenders and finish above the rim showcases his athleticism and scoring skill. Standing tall at 6'8", Osazee displays a level of comfort when shooting from the perimeter, knocking down three-pointers. His surprising handling ability for a player of his size adds another layer to his offensive repertoire. On the defensive end, Osazee is equally impactful. He alters opponents' shots with his imposing presence, and has the versatility and footwork to switch onto smaller players. As the 2023-24 season starts, Vincent Osazee's growth and development are worth monitoring. Hailing from Reason Prep Academy, he has the potential to be a national name in the class of 2026.
Sam Fleming, a reclass in the class of 2026 for Wilbraham & Monson has quickly established himself as a dominant force. Standing tall at 6'9" with exceptional length, Fleming possesses the physical tools to excel on the court, particularly when it comes to scoring around the basket. His ability to elevate above defenders allows him to finish plays in the paint. What truly sets Fleming apart is his remarkable playmaking ability and exceptional passing vision. He has seamlessly transitioned into a point forward role, showcasing his capability to create opportunities for his teammates. This versatility makes him a valuable asset as he can orchestrate the offense and make plays happen. Furthermore, Fleming's jump shot has been steadily improving, adding another dimension to his game. He unquestionably solidified his status as one of the top prospects in the state during his time dominating the MIAA for Springfield International Charter School, where he led them to the final four this year.
Riley Clarke, a 6-foot-6 forward from Winchester, Massachusetts, stood out as one of the best forwards in the class of 2026. He has impressed this summer and his ascension continued on Friday night at the Frosh/Soph Elite 75 Showcase in Hanover, Massachusetts. Clarke, who will join coach Kenya Jones at Brooks this winter, was previously at Winchester High School. The lengthy forward has inside-out potential and is bouncy at the rim. He plays hard and defends his position in the front court. Clarke has confidence, possesses promising shooting form and has flown under the radar up to this point. He is a rising prospect who has the potential to be a high-level player in the future.
L.J. Reddicks is a promising young player with a combination of length and athleticism, who's currently in the process of growing into his body. His ability to elevate towards the rim and finish with emphatic dunks proves his impressive athleticism. What sets him apart is his three-level scoring ability, making him a versatile scoring threat on the court. During the summer, LJ has shown noticeable improvement, particularly in his assertiveness when seeking out his own scoring opportunities. This newfound confidence in his offensive game bodes well for his future development. With his growth as a player, he is expected to play a role for the reigning Class A champions, Milton Academy, making him a factor to watch as he contributes to the team's pursuit of another title.
Isaac Ibidapo, hailing from Rhode Island's Shea High School, is a notable talent to keep an eye on in the 2026 class. What immediately catches the eye is Ibidapo's physically gifted frame, which he leverages to make a substantial impact on the defensive end of the court. His imposing stature and athleticism allow him to influence the game defensively in multiple ways. At the Elite 75, it was Ibidapo's shot-blocking instincts that stood out, setting him apart from the competition. He demonstrated an exceptional ability to contest and deny shot attempts, whether they were near the rim or on the perimeter. Standing at 6'5" and as a true, non-reclass 2026 player in the RIIL, the combination of size, athleticism, and defensive acumen make him an interesting prospect.
6'5 forward Luca Palermo brings an immense amount of passion and energy to the court. Palermo is one of the best rebounders in the state, consistently crashing the boards and securing crucial possessions for his team. In addition to his rebounding skills, he sets great screens to create scoring opportunities for his teammates and possesses excellent hands, ensuring that he can make the most of the opportunities that come his way. Despite being only 15 years old, Palermo embodies a fearless attitude on the court, and will be a name to look for at Andover HS.
Foster Wilinski is a versatile player who poses a threat from all three levels of the court. He excels at creating his own shots, particularly on the pull-up. With his impressive size and frame, he is expected to be among the standout sophomores in the MIAA this season. Furthermore, Wilinski showcases his multidimensional skills on the defensive end of the game, making him an all-around asset to his team.
Cole Blackburn's basketball journey has been marked by a steady upward trajectory, and in recent times, he has truly started to show his full potential. With his impressive size on the perimeter, he possesses the versatility to handle the ball effectively. This season, he is expected to take on a prominent role as the focal point of a young Buckingham Browne & Nichols, where his skills and leadership will be crucial to the team's success.
As the upcoming season approaches, keep an eye on Noah Walker from Darrow, as he is a player whose name is worth noting. Walker possesses a robust shoulder build, which he effectively deploys to carve out space and position himself advantageously for scoring opportunities near the basket. He has a potent shot fake that keeps defenders guessing, and uses it to attack the rim with confidence. His development as a player is certainly worth following as the season unfolds.
Connor Nairus, forward from St. Mark's, combines his skills with a physically imposing frame, making him a standout presence on the court over the weekend. His shot-making ability adds a dynamic dimension to his game, allowing him to be a viable option on offense. Nairus possesses a strong post game, but his skill set comes with both inside and outside scoring. Expect him to be a pivotal asset for St. Mark's as he continues to develop his game.
Tyler Uveges of Northwest Catholic is a 6'5" forward whose physical attributes make him a force to be reckoned with on the court. Uveges has a robust frame, which he skillfully deploys to overpower opposing players. His physicality allows him to dominate in one-on-one matchups, often asserting his strength to gain an advantage. He's not afraid to engage in physical battles, readily drawing contact to assert his presence on both ends of the floor.
Jameson Fitzpatrick made the trip down to Massachusetts from Portland Maine. The Cheverus High 2026 is an undersized four that uses his strong frame to make up for the lack of height. Fitzpatrick understands off-ball principles on defense, showed flashes of offense in the post and plays with high energy. He stood out above the rest of his showcase squad.
Owen Haglund is another exciting Arlington product, we have seen this story over and over. Haglund is a fundamentally sound prospect who is a total swiss army knife offensively, with the ability to score from all three levels, and defend multiple positions. He is set to reclassify at Brimmer & May this year.
St. John’s Prep forward Quinn Stockman had a good outing on Friday night. The forward has a comfortable feel out on the floor, and relocates himself to be in the right place at the right time. He is a good playmaking forward with perimeter shooting skills and has nice touch at the basket. He converted shot attempts from the field and found open teammates on Friday night.
Dante Desmarais is a prospect of note out of East Greenwich High in Rhode Island. Desmarais stands at 6’ 6” and looks the part of a forward with an impressive offensive game powered by his length, finishing ability around the basket and passing chops.
Jamason Vella is a frontcourt player who possesses a unique blend of size and agility that allows him to excel in various aspects of the game. Vella grabs defensive rebounds and turns them into fast-break opportunities. His agility and ball-handling skills enable him to go coast-to-coast, taking it upon himself to finish plays at the other end of the court.
William Lewis is a 6'5" forward from Bancroft School in Worcester who commands attention on the court. With his sturdy frame, he's a formidable presence in the paint, particularly on the defensive end where he swats away shot attempts with authority. As a southpaw, Lewis possesses a deft touch around the basket, making him a reliable scorer in the post. His combination of size, defensive acumen, and scoring ability positions him as a valuable asset for his team and a player of note in the NEPSAC.
Thomas Rushin is a 6'5" forward out of Northwest Catholic has ability to finish above the rim with authority, showcasing his athleticism and ability to elevate for emphatic dunks. Rushin is also known for his basketball IQ. He sets effective screens and displays a natural instinct in pick-and-roll (PnR) sets, contributing to his team's offensive efficiency.
Stay tuned as we continue to go through the top underclassmen who showed out at New England’s prime showcase for underclassmen, The Frosh/Soph Elite 75.