#BeSeen Recap - Fairfield Prep
The Be Seen Tour made its way to Fairfield, Connecticut recently to see Fairfield Prep, a program with a rich basketball tradition and a long list of notable alums including Terry Tarpey, Paschal Chukwu, Rich Kelly, Pat Harding, and John Kelly among others.
Head Coach Mike Papale – a longtime college coach with stops at Quinnipiac, UMass Lowell, and Southern Connecticut – wrapped up his second season at the helm of the program last winter by developing a talented young core that should be capable of leading the program back to prominence.
While CIAC rules prohibit coaches from working with their players in the off-season, that didn’t stop the Fairfield Prep players from spending long hours in the gym and working on their respective games this fall.
The junior tandem of Logan Carey and Max Manjos gives the Jesuits a dynamic duo to build around in the backcourt for the next two years. Both played major minutes last year as sophomores and have already shown they are capable of playing leading roles offensively.
Despite that early success, both also appear poised to take another step forward this season.
Carey is the most naturally talented prospect on the roster, and potentially one of the better 2022 guards in the CIAC. He’s bigger, stronger, longer, and more athletic than the vast majority of guards he’ll come across this season. He’s probably most dynamic in the open floor right now but is capable of scoring in a variety of ways as he’s progressing with his shooting, making more tough shots off the dribble, and able to utilize both hands as a playmaker and finisher.
Manjos may not catch your eye at first glance like Carey, but he’s no less productive. In fact, he’s already out-dueled some of the biggest names in the SCC. He’s skilled, strong, able to make shots, and score the ball in high-volume. What really differentiates him though is his mentality. He’s a natural competitor – extremely tough and equally competitive – all of which will translate to the next level. In short, he’s a name we’ll hear lots more from in the next 18 months.
The senior class consists of Finn Donelan, Tim O’Leary, and B.J. Wentzel. Donelan is a returning starter with the potential to play at the next level. He’s a consistent spot-up shooting threat and also capable of attacking opposing defenses off the dribble. O’Leary was a pleasant surprise the day we watched. His handle was solid. He pushed the ball and created tempo, knew how to play without it, and made his fair share of open shots and crafty lay-ups around the rim. Wentzel leads by example with his dedication and commitment as the former manager has been holding his own between the lines so far this year.
Jack Phelan and Aidan Berry are two juniors who should be ready to make increased contributions this season. Phelan played JV a year ago but snaps passes, makes shots, and clearly works on his game. Berry is a versatile player at the high school level who can plug a variety of holes.
There are some talented underclassmen in place as well. Brandon Carney is a 6-foot-3 sophomore forward who provides some much-needed size and talent along the frontline. He’s physically strong enough to produce in the paint but is also a capable shooter and driver from the perimeter. Tommy Scholl is another sophomore forward who could play important minutes. He has good footwork inside, can play with his back to the basket, and was providing constant energy and enthusiasm.
Mike Iannazzo is a multi-sport athlete who is best known for his prowess on the baseball diamond but is a valuable addition on the hardwood as well. Owen Kalagher is an improved guard who shoots it, has a good foundation of fundamentals, and could ascend in the coming years as he builds up his body. Similarly, Amaree Plamer is a long and lean guard who is still just growing into his body, but has a bright future in the game.
There was also a freshman in attendance who caught our eye. Will Graves is in the very earliest stages of his development but owns some very clear raw tools to develop. He’s rangy with upside to his frame, naturally smooth in the open floor, and has a pretty soft natural shooting touch to develop.
Overall, this is a Fairfield Prep team that should take another step forward this season under Papale as Carey and Majos are poised to lead the way with a solid supporting cast featuring good depth and a nice blend of experienced veterans and up-and-coming young prospects.