#E75 Frosh/Soph Flashback to ‘08
It was September of 2008, the New England Recruiting Report was little more than two years old but already the Elite 75 Showcase had become the region's premier individual event.
Andre Drummond and Alex Murphy were the two most high profile underclassmen in New England, and both had recently starred at the 3rd annual Elite 75 as two of the only underclassmen to earn invitations.
Now though there was an unprecedented demand from other young players looking for a similar opportunity and thus a spin-off was born, the Elite 75 Showcase - Frosh/Soph Edition.
At the time Domonique Bull, a powerful swingman from Cushing Academy and BABC, was another of the top young players in New England and he led a talented field into Boston University for the inagural event that featured his BABC running mates Rene Castro and Andrew Chrabascz.
While Chrabascz' toughness and productivity had already made a name for himself, there were several other frontcourt prospects in attendance that day that didn't have nearly the same early recognition.
One was a gawky and skinny big kid from New Hampshire, but he had a great frame and he could really run the floor…most people hadn't heard of Kaleb Tarczewski before that day but he ended up being the talk of the event. A few months later he had his choice of prep schools and ended up playing his way into a top five national ranking as the centerpiece of the New England Playaz. He went on to be a four-year starter at Arizona and now plays professionally abroad.
There was another player who wasn't quite as big but was similarly skinny, very weak and practically allergic to contact…most people had heard of the young Marlborough forward named Zach August but he surprised some by earning a spot on the all-star team that day and went on to be a four-star national recruit, a key piece for the development of the Mass Rivals program and ultimately one of the NCAA's best rebounders during his four year career at Notre Dame. He too is still playing professionally.
One young player who wasn't skinny was another New Hampshire product. In fact, he was a little out of shape and didn't possess the same length or athleticism but his skill level and instincts were immediately obvious to anyone who watched. He was one of the most impactful players that day and would up being a similar top 100 national prospect, one of the winningest players in New England high school and AAU basketball (with Tilton and BABC respectively) and ultimately one of college basketball's best players at Iowa State. Georges Niang is currently under contract with the Utah Jazz.
Niang wasn't the only future NBA player in attendance that day. There was also a young guard from Bishop Hendrickn in Rhode Island in attendance. He was little more than 6-feet tall but he could make plays off the bounce, was athletic and looked to be still growing. He ended up being 6-foot-6 and attending his hometown Providence College for one year before making an early jump to the NBA. Ricardo Ledo wound up being the face of the Expressions program, signing a three year guaranteed NBA deal and currently plays professionally in Italy.
In retrospect, the first ever Elite 75 Frosh/Soph provided a venue for New England's best young players to prove their abilities, while also giving us an early glimpse at some budding future stars that were just starting to scratch the surface of their potential.
This year's Elite 75 marks the ten year anniversary of the event's debut and it hasn't yet failed to live up to the hype as each year's roster brings out the very best young talent in the region. For more information about this year's event, or to register, please click here.