Field Set for National Prep Championship
Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut will be the site as the top eight prep school teams from around the country gather to crown one undisputed champion.
Hargrave Military Academy, who took the title in 2008 and lost in last year’s final, enters the tournament as the number one seed after having finished with a perfect 26-0 record on the season. Hargrave has been led by future North Carolina State guard Lorenzo Brown throughout the season but features a variety of other high-major level talents including Dominique Ferguson (Florida International), Isaiah Epps (Pittsburgh), Shawn Kemp (Alabama), and Mardracus Wade (Arkansas). In total, 10 of the Hargrave’s 12 total players have already committed to a division I program for next season.
Hargrave’s first round match-up will be a rematch of last year’s final as they take on the 2009 champions, the Tilton School. The Rams will be led by Providence bound swingman Gerard Coleman, but have plenty of other weapons including junior big man Ryan Canty, sophomore forward George Niang, and post-graduates Alex Stoyle and Jeff Adkins.
Taking the number two seed is Brewster Academy, the top ranked team from the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council. Featuring top ten player in the country Will Barton in addition to C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Austin Carroll (Rutgers), and Richard Peters (Oklahoma), Brewster has a slew of high-major talent of their own. But they also feature some top unsigned players including big man Maurice Walker, combo-guard Ashton Khan, and junior point guard Naadir Tharpe. Brewster will face seventh seeded Westwind Prep from Arizona in the opening round, who build their attack around Tony Snell (New Mexico), Freddy Wilson (Seattle), and unsigned seniors Brandon Tuggle, Bo Barnes, and Ted Wang.
Two traditional New England powerhouses will clash in a match-up of the third and sixth seeds as Winchendon battles St. Thomas More. Winchendon has six players already committed to division I programs including Villanova bound big man Markus Kennedy and Connecticut native Anthony Ireland who will be playing in his home state for the final time before moving to Loyola Marymount in California for his college career. St. Thomas More features a slew of unsigned seniors including Bryon Allen, Tre Bowman, and Matt Conway, while Connecticut natives Dominique Langston (Quinnipiac) and Andre Drummond, a consensus top two player in the national class of 2012, should draw plenty of local fans. Drummond will be matched up against another top ranked big man in the sophomore class in Winchendon's Khem Birch.
The 2007 national champions, Notre Dame Prep, enters the field as the fourth seed and will face Northfield Mount Hermon in the opening round. Notre Dame features their Big East bound frontline of Cleveland Melvin (UConn) and Ron Giplaye (Providence) in addition to a deep and talented backcourt of Antonio Barton (Memphis), Lamount Samuell Jr., and Jordair Jett. Meanwhile NMH will counter with high-major target Majok Majok in the middle surrounded by a sharp-shooting perimeter of Hector Harold (Pepperdine), Laurent Rivard (Harvard), and Aaron Cosby.
Quarterfinal action will begin on Tuesday at 2pm as Hargrave Military Academy faces Tilton followed by Notre Dame and Northfield Mount Hermon at 4pm. Brewster Academy and Westwind Prep will take the court at 6pm while Winchendon and St. Thomas More will offer the nightcap at 8pm. Semifinal action will take place on Wednesday at 11am and 1pm with the final tipping off that night at 7:30pm.
The National Prep Championship has been in existence since 2007 and in just three years has already featured over 100 division I college basketball players and two current NBA players in Michael Beasley and Tyreke Evans. Beasley led Notre Dame Prep to the 2007 title in his hometown of Washington D.C., while current Arkansas guard Dee Bost earned MVP honors in 2008 in leading Hargrave over Findlay College Prep for the title. The Tilton School made a Cinderella run to last year’s championship behind the duo of current UConn freshmen Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel.