July Stock-Risers in 2019
It was just prior to the July recruiting period when we updated our New England 2019 rankings. In the three weeks that followed, with college coaches out in full force, a number of players lived up to their ranking.
Akok Akok stole the headlines at the Adidas Summer Championships in Los Angeles during week two. Jaiden Delaire put up huge numbers during the Under Armour Challenge in week one. James Bouknight returned from injury at the start of the month and saw his momentum continue to build with numerous high-major offers coming in the weeks since.
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg as Noah Fernandes, Charles Coleman, Wildens Leveque, Preston Santos, Mitch Doherty, Darion Jordan-Thomas, Frankyn Batista and countless others saw their recruitment live up to their pre-July projection.
But who exceeded expectations? Here’s a rundown of six players (presented in alphabetical order) that pushed their recruitment to brand new levels and are due a bump in our post-July rankings as a result.
Daniel Buie, Gould Academy, Mass Rivals – Buie went into the month as a mid-major recruit known for his aggressive driving style and an inconsistent jump shot. He had interest in the Atlantic 10 but wasn’t yet a priority at that level. Now, things have changed dramatically as he owns a high-major offer from Northwestern and A10 schools are fighting to hold on. He was as good as advertised going to the rim but the progression of his jumper exceeded anyone’s expectations as he wasn’t just making threes, but making deep ones with regularity.
Marial Mading, Springfield Commonwealth, L&L Running Rebels – Mading was flying under the radar for most of the spring. He had arrived at SCA at mid-year, didn’t seem ready to turn potential into production during some pre-season appearances with NE6, and then forced to find a new team because of bordering state rules. By the time he re-emerged his body was starting to come on and he was showing increasing flashes of stardom with his size and playmaking ability to attract schools from the A10 and AAC.
Tommy ONeil, Vermont Academy, Middlesex Magic – O’Neil had a remarkable summer, leading the Magic to a 21-1 record, three different championships, and picking up offers that now extend as high as Conference USA. What may be most impressive though is the maturation he’s shown over the years as he’s transformed himself into a player who is now known for his motor, efficiency, and sheer productivity, even when matched up against national caliber high-major prospects as he was in Orlando.
Joe Pridgen, Governors Academy, Expressions – He went into the month without an offer to his name, came out with a handful of D1 offers, and quickly committed to Holy Cross. What’s most impressive though is how Pridgen defied the odds. He may not be bigger than 6-foot-4 and is most effective around the basket. That’s not a prototype that typically makes its way to the division I level, but when you make a habit out of outplaying top national competition, even while giving up four or five inches, you prove yourself to be the exception to the rule.
Tyler Thomas, Williston Northampton, PTT – The Amity High School graduate was a priority D2 recruit last year but never able to get over the D1 hump. That isn’t likely to be an issue anymore following the summer he just put together for PTT. Thomas played at an unprecedented level all month and literally put his team on his back for stretches. His ascension reached its peak during weak 2, when he hit big shot after big shot including an overtime game winner.
Idan Tretout, Wilbraham & Monson, New Heights – For Tretout, the summer was just an extension of the spring. He got himself into the best shape of his career, continued to prove his expanded ball skills, and shoot the ball with consistency from beyond the arc. He helped his New Heights squad to a championship at the UA Challenge in Atlanta and continued to push his recruitment to a blend of the A10 and upper echelon Ivy League.