Best Available Wings
The third part of our best available series focuses on the top wings still on the board in New England’s 2017 class.
The list begins with Redemption Christian’s Chris Duarte, who at 6-foot-5 not only has good size but also the shot-making ability to give himself a major weapon. But Duarte is far from one-dimensional, and even doubles as a big combo-guard with his improved ball-handling and playmaking ability. As a big and versatile perimeter player, it’s no surprise that he is now being pursued by places like Syracuse on down.
While Duarte is undoubtedly at the top of this list, there are plenty of other talented prospects behind him. Here’s a look at some of the other best available wings in New England’s 2017 class.
Bobby Planutis, Bridgton Academy – He’s best described as a combo-forward, someone who is equally capable of seeing time as a big wing or face-up four. Planutis has put up big numbers for Bridgton this year, and been at his best when lights were on the brightest, such as the National Prep Showcase in November. He’s very athletic, an equally heady player, and also owns a solid skill set.
Greg Kuakumensah, Cushing Academy – All this guy does is win and he very rarely gets enough credit. Whether it’s over the summer or during the prep school season, his teams have won at the very highest level. He’s athletic, active, extremely versatile defensively, and the rare player who can impact the game in numerous ways without needing to score a lot of points.
Arnolds Krauklis, Lee Academy – His physical tools are top notch with a strong body to get downhill off the dribble and the athleticism to finish explosively above the rim. Thanks to his strong body, Krauklis is also a little bit of a combo-forward in that he can slide over and act as a small-ball four at times.
Jairus Stevens, Cheshire Academy – With a handful of division I offers already to his name, Stevens has made good use of his post-graduate season. A wing who doubles as a big guard, Stevens has the strong body to match his size, and he makes good use of his attacking opposing defenses, playing through contact, and thriving in the open floor.
Chandler Jones, Commonwealth Academy – A true stat sheet stuffer, Jones epitomizes the age old adage “jack of all trades, master of none.” He may not go out and drop 20 every night, but he’s going to make his impact in a plethora of other ways. He’s a capable scorer, but also a rebounder on the wing, heady passer, and the type of defender who gets his hands on a lot of loose balls.
George Papas, Gould Academy – He’s under-recruited in our eyes as there simply aren’t many 6-foot-5 shooters out there who can splash threes with regularity and boast an equally impressive basketball I.Q. He’s a good passer, with an instinctive feel for the game, and his floor game is the type that would fit perfectly within offensive structure at the next level.
Tyreek Scott-Grayson, Suffield Academy – Similar to Papas, Scott-Grayson’s upside is higher than his current level of recruitment. He needs assertiveness and consistency, regardless of the setting, but he’s a long lefty, agile athlete, and solid ball-handler. His jumper has improved but it is his passing instinct that sets him apart from similarly built wings.
Nick Fennell, Choate – Speaking of long and athletic lefties, there isn’t an available southpaw in New England with as much bounce as Fennell. A post-graduate from the Washington D.C. area, this guy plays above the rim with ease and is consequently well-built to slash, fly at the offensive glass, and make plays on the defensive end.
Kendrick Gray, Vermont Academy – Any school in the market for athleticism need not look any farther than Gray. This guy brings explosiveness to a brand new level. He can play up at the top of the box and makes the type of rim rocking plays that can instantaneously change the momentum of a game. Eastern Michigan became the latest division I school to offer him a scholarship earlier this week.
Best of the Rest – Malik Pouncey, 6’2, Commonwealth Academy; Niekie Thomas, 6’4, Notre Dame Prep; Deng Nhial, 6’4, Cheshire Academy; Javon Taylor, 6’3, Beaver Country Day; Christian Wilson, 6’6, Pomfret Academy; Adonis Williams, 6’5 Brooks; Lapri McCray-Pace, Putnam Science, 6’4; Jack Lesure, 6’3, Bridgton Academy; Jonathan Duvivier, 6’4, Commonwealth Academy; Jake Kakar, 6’4, MacDuffie; Chaylyn Martin, 6’2, Weaver; Brennan Morris, 6’4, Loomis Chaffee.