MIAA Season Preview

by Christian Bradley | Monday, December 12th, 2011

MIAA Season Preview

As the start of the MIAA season soon approaches, we examine which players and teams will make headlines in the state of Massachusetts this season. Unlike in years past, there are no clear cut favorites in Division I, II, or III, which will certainly make for an exciting winter of basketball for hoops fans throughout the state of Massachusetts. First off, we will present NERR’s MIAA All-State team:

NERR’s Pre-Seaon All-MIAA Team

Aaron Calixte, 5’11 junior (Stoughton) - His lightning-quick crossover, dead-eye outside shot, and finishing ability will make Calixte a dominant commodity this year for division II Stoughton. Calixte received his first D1 scholarship offer back in August from Towson, and more offers are nearly certain to come this season as he will be one of the biggest stars in the MIAA.

Steve Haladyna, 6’4 senior (St. John’s Prep) - Haladyna averaged just under 20 a game last year for the defending Division 1 state champions. His outside shot was deadly all summer and fall, while he continued to show off his impressive ability to read rebounds off the rim and continuously stay in motion without the ball. The Tufts-commit will lead a Prep team that, despite graduating Notre Dame guard Pat Connaughton and losing junior Isaiah Robinson to a knee injury, should still be one of the top Division 1 teams in the state.

Keandre Stanton, 6’6 senior (Lynn English) - At points it seems as if Stanton scores, rebounds, and blocks shots at will. He has great post-footwork, as well as the length and athleticism to dominate from anywhere on the floor. He’ll be the leader and best player for an English squad who made the Division 1 North semis last year, and can be expected to make a deep run in the tournament once again this season.

Joe Glynn, 6’6 senior (Cardinal Spellman) - After leading Spellman to the Division 3 South championship last season (eventually falling to Division 3 state runner-up Watertown) and picking up his first Division 1 scholarship offer from Navy, Glynn looks poised for another big year in which his team will once again be a favorite to win the Division 3 state championship.

Jake Layman, 6’8 senior (King Philip) - The Maryland-commit is hands-down the best player in the MIAA. Layman is long, strong, and an exceptional athlete given. He knocks down shots from anywhere on the floor, can handle the ball like a guard, and rebounds and defends with admirable intensity. With Layman and 6’5 junior transfer Tykei Hallman, it’s a safe bet that King Philip will be one of the top teams in the state this season, regardless of division.

By Division

Division 1

Charlestown - The Townies will be stacked once again as they return what may be the most talented team in the state. The star-studded cast includes seniors Rony Fernandez , Omar Orriols, and Tyrik Jackson, junior all-stater Tyrese Hoxter, and sophomore Taris Wilson.

Central Catholic - After graduating all-stater Jimmy Zenevitch, the Red Raiders will return the best on-ball defender in the state in senior Luis Puello, a junior with star potential in Joel Barroa, a sharpshooter and one of the top sophomores in the state in Tyler Nelson, and sophomore big man Nick Cambio.

St. John’s Prep - The Eagles will look to compete once again for the Division 1 north championship this year. Steve Haladyna will be one of the top players in the state, Mike Carbone can shoot the lights out, Fred Shove is a lefty with a lot of experience, skill, and athletic ability, and Ben Judson is an impressive young talent. Their season, however, could possibly rely on how quickly 6’5 junior Isaiah Robinson recovers from knee surgery.

New Bedford - Senior guard Steve Wynn nearly missed out on making first-team all-state, count on him to score 20+ ppg this year and be the leader for New Bedford. The Whalers will also return 6’3 high-flying senior Johnathan Fortes, and guard Cameron Walker,

Lexington - They return an impressive amount of size. 6’9 sophomore Josh Sharma is a future star, 6’7 senior Myles Penniman gets it done on the glass and can score in a variety of ways, 6’4 senior Chris Lee is a relentless rebounder who plays with a great mix of physicality and finesse, and  senior guard Chris OKeefe will hold his own in the backcourt.

Lynn English - After making the Division 1 north semis last year, the Bulldogs will rely heavily on highly touted senior Keandre Stanton to lead them this year.  They’ll need a supporting cast to emerge though, if they hope to duplicate last year’s success. 

Newton North - Mike Thorpe can shoot the long-ball but also penetrate defenses and make plays off the dribble. 6’3 workhorse forward Barry Santana and combo guard Luke Westman will also make a huge difference on both ends of the floor for yet another very talented Newton North squad.

Brockton - The Boxers return a ton of talent from last year’s team and should be considered a top-tier Division 1 favorite. Brockton will come back with athletic forwards Jahleel Moise and Jean Thomas, point guard Jaylen Blakely, and 6’6 big man Sayvonn Houston.

Northampton - One of the Western Mass. favorites returns one of the top players in the state in senior forward Jared Neumann.  The questions lay in the frontcourt where they’ll need to establish some dependable size in order to compete. 

Catholic Memorial - 6’2 senior Dan Powers and 6’4 senior Matt Droney can be expected to light up opposing defenses this year. They also will come with a trio of sophomores in Kevin Claflin, who has near unlimited range, 6’8 center Gerald Adams, and sophomore Aamahne Santos.

St. Peter-Marian - The Guardians may be the most talented team in central Mass., senior Matt Mobley will be one of the top guards in the state and big men Brian Foley and Steve Flynn will be a handful for opponents.

Boston College High School - Jameilen Jones is a very gifted junior forward who can be expected to star for BC High this year. In a wide open race in D1, the Eagles are another logical choice to play in the Garden come March.

Springfield Cathedral - Ryan DiBernardo is one of the best scorers in the state, and will be a big reason why Cathedral can make a run in the western Mass. Division 1 tournament this year.

East Longmeadow - One of the most talented teams in western Mass, East Longmeadow returns an impressive core of guard/forward’s in senior John Basile and juniors Josh Bosworth and Sam Blake.

Acton-Boxborough - Despite losing one of the best players in the state last year in Sam Longwell, A-B still returns 6’6 big man Kevin LaFrancis and 6’4 guard Joey Flannery, whose improvement impressed at several off-season events.

Holy Name - The Naps return a senior forward in Tyler Delorey who will rebound, defend, and score from anywhere on the floor. They also will come with a super-athletic point guard in Jacek Louisville, and one of the best defensive stoppers in the state in Anthony Hodges.

Springfield Central - Central has a solid core of talented players from last year’s team in juniors Cornelius Tyson, Kamari Robinson, and Norris Cuevas. Expect Tyrell Springer to assert himself as one of the best players in western Mass. this year.

Division 2

New Mission - 6’6 Titans’ forward Nate Anderson has all the physical tools to be a star. Mission will also have 6’4 forward Isshiah Coleman, who had a breakout offseason, and 5’8 freshman Greg Bridges, who has already established himself as one of the best point guards in the state,

King Philip - We all know Jake Layman’s credentials, he will be the top player in the state this year in the MIAA, but KP will have another star player in junior transfer Tykei Hallman. Hallman is a long, athletic 6’5 small forward who showed the ability this fall to rebound at a high rate and score from anywhere on the floor.

North Andover - Another Division 2 favorite who made a lot of noise in summer and fall games. NA is a relentless rebounding and defensive team with several different options on the offensive end, they’ll be led by 6’3 senior Zach Karalis, junior Derek Collins, and point guard Colby Smith

Quabbin - The Division 2 favorite in central Mass, Quabbin returns star senior point guard Christian Horton and a tough 6’4 forward in Billy Robinson, giving the squad a dependable inside-out punch to lead the way.

Brighton - Junior guard Malik James looked highly improved this fall, and he’ll have some help on this squad. Brighton will be a tough, athletic team for opponents, making them a surefire favorite in D2.

Stoughton - Aaron Calixte, as mentioned above, is one of the top guards in the state. He has a strong supporting cast around him, and because of that Stoughton can be expected to win a lot of games this year. Antonio Ferreira will be a force defensively and a tough matchup offensively because of his length and bounce.

Division 3

Cardinal Spellman - 6’6 senior Joey Glynn is a scholarship caliber player, and he will be one of the top players in the state this year for a Spellman squad who is an early favorite in Division 3. Mike Downing will also be a key piece for Spellman this year.

Whitinsville Christian - Junior point guard Colin Richey is a scholarship level player, and he will undoubtedly be one of the top players in the state this year. WCS lost a lot from last year’s state title team, but despite that they will be one of the best teams in central/western Mass. this year in Division 3 thanks to other key pieces like Richard Santos, Grant Brown, and Antonio Estrella.