Best Available Combo-Guards
The fourth part of our best available series focuses on the combo-guards that remain on the board.
Combo-guards are generally referred to as guards who can play either on or off the basketball. They aren’t true point guards, but can slide over to that position in a pinch.
Here’s a look at some of the best still available in New England:
Devante Jones, Notre Dame Prep – “D.J.” is a pure bucket getter. He excels at getting to the rim and is an outstanding lay-up maker and finisher. While his game is more consistent with that of a wing, his size is that of a point guard, and so you can typically slot him at a variety of different spots in the line-up. Regardless of position, this guy can flat out score in bunches.
Skyler Nash, Gould Academy – He’s racked up numerous offers since the holiday break with Albany, Robert Morris, Siena, Rice, and American all having come calling. Nash has a strong, college ready body and good perimeter versatility. He’s been playing primarily with the ball in his hands at this level but projects more so off the ball at the next where he can make shots and provide a secondary ball-handler.
Joel Boyce, St. Luke’s – He’s a player who has evolved from a physical wing earlier in his career to a player who is now more of a bigger guard. He’s most improved in his ability to move the ball and facilitate for others and so he’s ideal next to an undersized scoring guard. Boyce is still capable of making power drives of his own and is a better shooter than advertised when he’s confident with his stroke.
Kevin Smith, South Kent – There might not be another player in New England who has improved as much over the course of the last year as Smith, and in the process he’s made himself a division I prospect with at least one offer already on the table from Maine. He’s an attacking player who can put points on the board with his jumper and drive alike, and will get after it on the defensive end as well.
Joe Kasperzyk, Hillhouse – The senior guard has been one of the CIAC’s best in recent years, and while he’s battled injuries in his senior campaign he’s still one of the premier playmakers in the state. He’s especially dangerous in the open floor and capable of making plays for himself and others. Kasperzyk is reportedly heading for a post-grad year but before that he’s looking to add another state championship to the Academics’ trophy case.
Noah West, Hyde – He was a virtual unknown to most coming up the ranks in his home state of Rhode Island and has only begun to make a name for himself in Maine. West though is an athletic, playmaking guard who has proven himself capable of stuffing all columns of the stat sheet. He and his Phoenix teammates captured the MAISAD championships this weekend and have NEPSAC’s now on deck.
Grant Robinson, New Hampton – He’s worked to transition into more of a lead guard in recent years, and has made nice strides during his post-graduate season. He’s a dependable player with a mature floor game on the offensive end. Where he really differentiates himself though is on the defensive end, where he can lock down and be an ideal starting point for any team’s defensive possession.
Tyjon Gilmore, St. Thomas More – Gilmore is a scoring guard who bases his game around his ability to make shots. He’s a good three-point shooter who loves to pull-up from long-range and is that much more dangerous coming off a ball-screen because of it. Gilmore is capble of putting points on the board in bunches and has done so against the highest levels of competition this year.
Ramiir Dixon-Conover, South Kent – This lefty has good size in the back-court at 6-foot-3 and lots of consequent versatility. He played with the ball in his hands some this summer, but has been largely off the ball this season, which is how he projects at the next level. Nevertheless, he’s an efficient driver and improved shooter with physical size and strength.
Jesus Cruz, Loomis Chaffee – He had a decorated high school career as a volume scorer in the state of Florida and has impressed against higher levels of competition this year. He too has good perimeter size along with natural slashing tools, but he’s also made more threes than expected this season which has not only made him more versatile but appealing in the eyes of college coaches.
Best of the Rest – Darius Chester, 6’3, Taft; Jalen Butler, 6’1, Tilton; Noah West, 6’1, Hyde School; Jamel Horton, 6’3, Notre Dame Prep; KeAndre Fair, 6’2, Putnam Science; Jared Simmons, 6’0, Newington; Carl Pierre, 6’3, Boston College HS; Keyshaad Dixon, 6’1, St. Andrew’s; Jordan Vidal, 6’0, Commonwealth Academy; Nick Timberlake, 6’3, Braintree; Jack Zimmerman, 6’1, Worcester Academy; Charlie Clay, 5’11, Worcester Academy.