#E75 Frosh/Soph - 2020 Guards
Guards, Guards, Guards.
There were certainly a lot of them in the sophomore class and so it was no easy task for them to differentiate themselves from the pack.
Nevertheless, there were still a select few that proved to be in a league of their own.
Worcester Academy guard Quest Harris arrived with arguably the biggest resume to date given his experience at both the prep school and AAU levels. He didn’t rest on his reputation once he arrived though as he backed it up from start to finish. Harris is strong, aggressive, and explosive on both ends of the floor. He’s a leader and winner who is genuinely upset with losing, is a pest defensively, and a playmaker offensively.
First year Master’s guard Taelon Martin is perhaps the most naturally gifted of the bunch. He’s long, athletic, and smooth. He goes through the lane with the type of long, graceful strides that can’t be taught and then elevates for some explosive finishes. As his jumper continues to improve and he cultivates that consistent attacking mentality, the sky is the limit.
R.J. Davis came to New England from New York and made a big impression in one night. The Archbishop Stepinac point guard was tenacious attacking the rim, able to spray balls out off the dribble to create shots for his teammates, and showed a good stroke of his own both from three and the mid-range. In short, he was capable of scoring in all three ranges as well as making his teammates better.
Phillip Academy’s Dallion Johnson was as skilled of a guard as there was in the field. With a fluid release and good touch that includes both his handle and lay-up making ability, there wasn’t much he couldn’t do with the ball in his hands. He earned praise for his efforts on the defensive end as well, being one of the better two-way players in attendance.
Another guy who differentiated himself by producing on both ends was Arlington’s Bensley Joseph. An undersized lead guard, he compensates by being compact, strong, athletic, and deceptively long. He plays through contact off the bounce and gets paint touches almost at will.
While there were a variety of guys trying to create for themselves, the tightest handle of the night might have belonged to Proctor Academy guard Bol Akot. He has the ball on a string and can rock, shake, and just breakdown a defender almost at will to either create space or get all the way to the rim.
Enoch Cheeks, Kimball Union – He was arguably the biggest stock-riser among the 2020 guards. He’s a great athlete who caught a couple of incredible lobs on Saturday night, but he also has good positional size and great speed to match. Beyond his athleticism though, he showed a good instinct for how to play off a ball-screen, making various reads and plays with the ball in his hands.
Aaron Cooley, Newton North – His performance wasn’t necessarily as “loud” as some others, but Cooley showed a wealth of tools. On the surface, he looks like a prototypical wing but when you watch him handle and pass the basketball, you see can see a big guard in the making. He’s young compared to the group and just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
Tyler Whitney-Sidney, Somerville – He’s a solid athlete, but maybe not quite as sheer explosive as some others listed above. What he is, however, is long, shifty, and very clever. There’s an element of finesse and skill in his game that few others possess and given that he’s younger than most others on this list, it makes his upside very intriguing.
Gob Gob, Manchester West – Gob is also less physically mature than some of his counterparts, but he is highly skilled and so once he grows into his body his game will quickly go to another level. He had one of the best crossovers of the night, was also a shot-maker, and able to create space with a polished step-back.
As Good As Advertised
Shemar Dennis, St. Peter Marian - As physically imposing a guard as there was in the field, Dennis is a high level athlete with a powerful frame and good positional size. He can thrive on the break and the defensive end alike and has become a much more efficient player in the last year.
Darius Ervin, Northfield Mount Hermon – His strong fall carried into this setting as Ervin showed the ability to manufacture offense for himself and his teammates. He shows no fear attacking the heart of the defense, made shots off the dribble, and also got others involved.
Carlos Nunez, Lowell – A year after putting up big scoring numbers as a freshman, this lefty continued to show his playmaking prowess here, with a bit of a flair to his game as well. He sees the floor and passes it as well as he scores it.
Jarnel Snow, St. John's Prep - A high level shot-maker with a great court disposition, he was nearly automatic with room and rhythm from behind the three-point line. In other words, what he may lack in size he compensates for with skill and maturity.
Bryant Ciccio, Attleboro – His stability was his calling card as he was reliable making decisions with the ball in his hands and able to take care of the ball. He also showed some flashes of individual offense though as he shook defenders, made tough passes, and drilled jumpers.
Dominic Mello, Warehem – This lefty is already known for being a prolific three-point shooter, as he showed during his freshman season. He demonstrated some new dimensions here as he led the break himself in transition and fed the post in the half-court.
Sage Ballard, Cambridge – Still an intriguing long term prospect because of his length and skill, Ballard showed a quick released jumper from three, excellent change of pace in his driving game, finishing ability, and a good feel for the game.
Jaden Bobbett, Pingree – He looks, and plays the, part of a shooter and even when his shots don’t fall you find yourself almost surprised from the sidelines as this combo guard who a confident release and short memory.
Jahkai Pettway, Hamden Hall – A big bodied guard who can overpower most at his position and grade, Pettway also stood out with his competitiveness and understanding of the game, particularly his ability to move without the ball.
Garrett Kirk, Northfield Mount Hermon - In a showcase setting, toughness and competitiveness can be especially defining and those are categories that Kirk thrives in. His skill set still needs to catch-up but he's physical, aggressive, and a warrior in the backcourt.
Valentin Romero, Springfield Commonwealth Academy – An athletic guard who comes to New England from France, Romero was arguably the most impressive new prospect to emerge on Saturday. The lefty has size and athleticism alike, good acceleration to the cup, and court awareness on both ends. He rose up for impressive dunks but was equally smooth on his way to the cup.
Will Dorion, Needham – Written up by every coach who watched him on Saturday, Dorion was definitely among the pleasant surprises of the night. He’s a tough kid who knows how to play and can really shoot the basketball. He “could be in the scholarship discussion” moving forward as one coach put it.
Chris Robinson, Westminster – A power guard who has the upper body strength to bully smaller guards and plays as strong with the ball as you would expect, Robinson’s stock will only continue to rise as he develops his outside shot and diversifies his attack.
Ethan Okwuosa, North Haven – Another guy who can really shoot it, Okwuosa is a long lefty guard who is also crafty getting into the lane. He can play both on and off the ball, but projects as more of a point guard moving forward.
Yansel Reyes, Manchester Central – A combo-guard who was equally comfortable playing on and off the ball, Reyes made plays in a number of different ways and was equally impactful shooting it from long range as he was playing off a ball-screen.
Melvin Payero, Redemption Christian – He’s an athletic guard who was at his best in the open court showing his speed and explosiveness with the ball in his hands. He made good decisions in first gear and knocked down some open threes as well.
Jhamyl Fricas, Methuen – A big and versatile guard, Fricas has good size and the ability to make plays for himself and others. He handled the ball well, showed solid athleticism, some nice floor vision, and then knocked down a couple of jumpers.
Alpha Diallo, Putnam Science – The younger brother of Kentucky star Hamidou Diallo, Alpha hasn’t caught his own growth spurt yet but he’s already an athletic lead guard who facilitates, plays unselfishly, and throws ahead in transition as well as anyone.
Cory Walters, Hamden Hall – Walters showed a well-rounded game and hard-working approach. He has solid size and athleticism for the backcourt, looked good with his mid-range jumper, made a couple of threes, and even a couple plays with the ball in his hands.
Malachi Harris, Beaver Country Day – His energy set him apart as he played extremely hard from start to finish and was both active and athletic covering the court. He looked capable with his jump shot but was also impressive using his jump-stop to play off two feet in the lane.
Jack Poirier, Scituate – An athletic guard who can really shoot and score, Poirier started at Scituate as a freshman and showed why he is poised to take on an even bigger role this year as a sophomore.
Julio Rodriguez, Redemption Christian – He’s a strong lead guard who makes shots, handles the ball, and aggressively attacks the paint. He provided “very very good point guard play” according to one coach as he set-up the offense and controlled the floor.
Ryan McAleer, New Canaan – He just knows how to play and that was almost immediately obvious. His IQ, couple by his energy level and skill set, made him effective. He had good acceleration, an array of floaters, and the ability to drive and dish.
Noah Delorme, Hopkins - All arms and legs to date, the 6'2 lead guard looks poised for a growth spurt. Delorme has a high IQ and is always looking to keep the ball moving on offense while guarding the other teams top threat on the defensive end.
Jonathan Runnion-Bareford, Isleboro Central – A high level ball-handler who can break you down off the dribble and has the first step to blow right by, Runnion-Barefood was also impressive defensively and with his overall toughness on both ends.
Kyle Rocker, Andover – A long and crafty guard, Rocker has a good handle and makes plays for himself and others. He looked to get others involved and finished well. When he further develops his shooting touch his game will go to the next level.
Nick Massuci, Trinity – He may be small but he’s strong with the ball and very skilled. He shot it well, passed it willingly and effectively, stayed under control, and made great decisions from start to finish.
David Basich, Greens Farms – He can be too hard on himself, but this guard has some length and handle, a good understanding of the game at an early age, and a high level competitive mentality.
Best of the Rest
• Jayden Holder, MacDuffie – smart and crafty point guard with versatile tools and a quality handle
• Sam Davies, St. John’s Prep – attacking guard who blended aggressiveness with poise as he consistently probed the paint
• Johan Farias, Haverhill – has speed and quickness with the ball that allow him to attack off ball-screens and in the open floor
• Ryan Fogarty, Mount Pleasant – combo guard who is strong, tough, and has a handle
• Zach Maturo, Bonny Eagle – confident playmaking guard who saw the floor well and excelled in the open court
• Alexander Gibbens, New Canaan – toughness alone gives him a chance, but he’s also tall, athletic, and a quality finisher
• Jaden Cook, Danbury – quick guard with good change of direction who runs the floor & scores at the cup
• Michael Acquaah-Harrison, Marianapolis – long guard with the potential to fill out nicely who looked at his best in structure
• Josh Perez, St. Mary’s Lynn – active from start to finish, defended well, and stood out with how hard he was willing to play
• Avery Savee’on, Hill Regional – athletic guard who played hard and had some nice finishes around the rim
• Jalen Moore, MacDuffie – one of the better passers of the night who found people in the open floor and half-court alike
• Shawn Scott, Master’s – good athlete who can slash and defend
• Nick Sacchetti, North Kingstown – knockdown shooter with a clear niche at the arc
• Alex De La Rose, St. Raphael – playmaking guard who made great use of a stop-and-go move
• Kobe Parker, Paulo Freire Charter – active defender and good decision maker with the ball
• Colby Lands, Thornton Academy – good shooter and floor spacer with good perimeter size
• Jordan Santos, Bradford Christian – good passer who sees the floor well and also defends
• William Rywolt, Barrington – stood out with his feel for the game and basketball I.Q.
• Jonathan Hahami, Groton – true point guard with a pass first style and good handle; finishes too
• Cedric Lafleur, Brunswick – smart and skilled player who can really shoot it
• Ran Bonneau, Barrington – another talented Barrington guard and knockdown shooter
• Aracelio River, Putnam Science – shooter who used fakes to get inside and finish
• Terrell Jarvis, Avon Old Farms – athletic second guard who can also catch-and-shoot effectively