Closing the Door on 2011
Tomorrow we’ll begin the process of wrapping up the summer of 2011 by updating our prospect directory with confirmed post-graduates and reclassified prospects. But before we turn the page once and for all on the class of 2011, it’s time to take one last look back on next year’s rising college freshmen.
Leaving & Returning – Andre Drummond, Alex Murphy, Khem Birch, Kaleb Tarczewski, and Ricardo Ledo all began their high school career in the class of 2011. When all five eventually reclassified, it looked as if New England’s class of 2012 had a chance to go down as the best in history. Ultimately, the group split as Murphy and Birch returned to graduate with their original class while Drummond actually did the same before opting for a post-grad year.
Disney Magic – Pat Connaughton’s run at last summer’s AAU nationals caught not just New England, but the entire country by storm. The story has been told over and over by now but it still doesn’t get old, how Connaughton didn’t score his first division I offer until just before the live period and walked away with no less than a dozen of the nation’s most prestigious college basketball programs lining up for his services a month later.
Table for Two at McDonald’s – High school basketball’s highest honor is a selection to the McDonald’s All-American game and this year New England had a pair of representatives in Michael Carter-Williams, who led the Nike EYBL in scoring, and Khem Birch, who announced his reclassification early enough to land a spot on the ballot. You have to wonder if Drummond and Murphy would have been added to that list had the voters known they would end up graduating later that year.
Purest of the Point Guards – Naadir Tharpe may not have been a McDonald’s All-American but he was one of a kind in terms of being as pure of a point guard as the region has seen in recent years and establishing a lengthy resume for winning basketball games on both the prep and grassroots circuits. The Worcester native began his career with big expectations and continued to add new dimensions to his game each and every year.
Plenty of Prep Talent – It wouldn’t have been New England if we didn’t inherit a boat load of one-and-done prep talent. This year’s class was especially loaded with the likes of Jakarr Sampson, Maurice Harkless, Todd Mayo and others. Guys like Markus Kennedy, Derrick Wilson, Aaron Cosby, and Nemanja Djurisic also resided from outside the region’s borders but spent multiple years in New England en route towards adding to the high-major total.
Best Scorer – Michael Carter-Williams
Best Passer – Naadir Tharpe
Best Interview – Markus Kennedy
Most Likely to Win Conference Freshman of the Year – Jordan Laguerre
Most Likely to Win a National Championship – Alex Murphy
Most Likely to be a First Round NBA Draft Pick – Khem Birch
Most Likely to Transfer – Just Kidding….