National Prep Championship tips Tuesday
Less than 48 hours after Brewster Academy captured their second consecutive NEPSAC AAA title, the question heading into the National Prep Championship is whether or not they can run the table and culminate their season with the national championship.
It’s an especially difficult challenge this year for two reasons. First, because of the change in the NEPSAC schedule, Brewster would need to win five games in five days to sweep both titles, after playing in the NEPSAC semifinals and finals on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Making matters more challenging is the fact that Kevin Zabo’s status in uncertain after missing the weekend with a concussion, forcing head coach Jason Smith to rely on a seven man rotation in the NEPSAC playoffs with Isaac Copeland, Jonah Bolden, Jarred Reuter, Donovan Mitchell, Jared Terrell, Devonte Graham, and Max Twyman.
Brewster will open on Tuesday afternoon with a 2pm quarterfinal match-up against NEPSAC rival South Kent, in a rematch of a game played earlier this fall at the National Prep Showcase. The Cardinals are looking to play spoiler after having put together a strong season en route to the 4 seed. They’ll have plenty of motivation as unsigned 2014 products like Dusan Perovic, Schadrac Casimir, and Jordan Strawberry are sure to attract attention from college coaches.
Here’s a look at the other quarterfinals set for Tuesday at Albertus Magnus College:
10am – Northfield Mount Hermon vs. Fishburne Military School
When it comes to unsigned talent, Fishburne has a plethora of it beginning with point guard Jordon Talley who is now hearing from the likes of Maryland and South Carolina among others. New York native Shamiek Sheppard is another player firmly on the high-major radar while James Rucker, DeOntaye Curtis, Garrett Collins , and Ryan Andino are still available division I prospects. Robert Harris III (Kansas State) and Jabari Craig (USC) are among the more notable of the already committed prospects.
NMH will be looking to make their latest run after taking the national championship in 2012. This is a particularly young squad though that will be depending on a handful of 2015 prospects to lead them in Josh Sharma, Aaron Falzon, and Daquon Ervin among others.
12pm – Hargrave Military Academy vs. IMG Academy
Chris McCullough will be looking to make a triumphant return to the New England region at the helm of an IMG program that hasn’t lost a game since the first of the year. The Syracuse bound forward won’t be the only familiar face on the roster as Enes Kanter will also be returning the region in the midst of a big post-graduate season of his own. Kanter is one of several still available division I prospects including point guard Angel Rivera, and a trio of forwards in Japhet Kadji, Cecil Williams, and Milos Kustic.
Hargrave is coming off a big win in this weekend’s First Piedmont Invitational behind Clemson bound swingman Donte Grantham and a series of unsigned players including big man Jabari McGhee, swingman Ahmad Thomas, and guard Justin Jordan. Hargrave has a proud history in this event as the only school in the country to be selected for the National Prep Championship field since the event first started in 2007.
4pm – St. Thomas More vs. Putnam Science Academy
A battle between two local Connecticut teams is sure to bring a pair of energetic fan bases to Albertus Magnus on Tuesday afternoon. PSA will be making their first appearance in this event after having recently completed the best season in program history while producing five different scholarship players in Jordan Butler, Chaise Daniels, Danny Upchurch, Anthony Durham, Kyle Menard, and Jalen Terry.
The Chancellors have historically played well at the National Prep Championship, dating back to their championship in 2011. This year’s squad could be built to make another run with arguably the deepest roster of anyone in the field including a pair of future Atlantic 10 stars in Yuta Watanabe and Eric Paschall. The Chancellors will also have retribution on the mind, after falling in this weekend’s NEPSAC semifinals.