“Big 3” atop Connecticut’s 2019 Class
Connecticut's junior class is led by a trio of frontcourt prospects who all project as consensus top 100 national prospects in Putnam Science Academy's Akok Akok, Loomis Chaffee's Jaiden Delaire, and Woodstock Academy's Tre Mitchell.
Akok holds down the top spot not just because of his unique talent but also because of just how well he fits the way the modern game is played. With conventional back-to-the-basket type bigs becoming more scarce, coaches at the college level and above are all searching for the rare big man who can both protect the rim defensively and stretch the floor offensively. Akok is the poster boy for such a description and his length, quick second bounce, and high release are only icing on the cake.
Delaire is the most versatile of the trio. While his size and physical profile slots him in the frontcourt, his improved ball-handling was very evident this season, despite the fact that he missed the first half of the year with injury. He often brought the ball up the floor and initiated their offense but still has so much upside left to discover as he learns to create his own shot and further develop his individual tools and scoring potential at all three levels.
Mitchell saw his stock increase perhaps more than any 2019 prospect in New England this year. A true junior, Mitchell dramatically improved his conditioning while also showing off his advanced skill set in his first year in the prep ranks. He not only has inside-out tools and the ability to stretch the floor to the arc, but he's also a high level passing big man, which is another prototype that is in high demand these days.
Marianapolis' Tyler Burton is ranked fourth overall in the state and while he's made definite strides this year and has really started to come on, what stands out so much about him is that he's still only just scratching the surface of what he could become. Another prep product in the eastern portion of the state, St. Thomas More's Jared Garcia, rounds out the top five.
A pair of Hamden Hall teammates, Christian Adams and Byron Breland, check in next as both have made nice strides with their game this year. Adams is a power wing with an expanding skill set and Breland an athletic playmaker on both ends of the floor. STM's jumping-jack forward, K.K. Curry, checks in at the 8th spot.
Perhaps the biggest question with regard to Connecticut's 2019 class was just how many prospects to rank. There's certainly enough talent to list 20 or even 25.
The backcourt has a deep crop including East Catholic's Joey Reilly, Master's Ben Eke, East Lyme's Dev Ostrowski, Taft's Connor Printz, Suffield's Nkosi Cooper, Notre Dame Fairfield's Joshua Reaves, and Greens Farms' Cole Prowitt-Smith. It's a similar story up front with Loomis' Jake Glezen, Greens Farms' Greg Lawrence, Master's Rakesh Tibby, St. Luke's Scott Vollmer, and the Cheshire tandem of Justin Allen and Jamaal Waters. On the wing there's South Kent's Dane Quest, Cheshire's John Kelly, Putnam Science's Dan Porcic, and Notre Dame West Haven's Connor Raines.
Every one of those players deserves not just to be mentioned but also to be on the radar of division I coaches, but none have separated themselves from the pack as of yet.
As a result, we've elected to keep our rankings at only 10 for the time being but that will change soon enough as we'll join the college coaches in trying to sort out this group in the upcoming spring and summer.