NEPSAC AA Preview
The race for the Class AA championship appears to be wide open this season. Unlike years past, when there would be one or two heavy favorites going into the season, there appears to be a wide range of teams that can realistically call themselves contenders.
They’ve got arguably the most dependable interior presence in the league in senior forward Andrew Chrabascz, along with an explosive backcourt tandem in Kaleb Joseph and Jalen Adams. There is also plenty of depth with the post-graduate trio of Cam Smythe, Matt Mareno, and Casey Woodring, along with the senior tandem of Matt Barr and Chris Mullin Jr.
In order to make a run…their guards will need to take care of the ball and make good decisions on a full time basis and they’ll need someone to help Chrabascz on the boards.
Kimball Union Academy
Abdul-Malik Abu and Devin Thomas create one of the best inside-out tandems in the league and they’ll be at the forefront of everything KUA does this year. Devin Gilligan and Douby Maduegbunam should also be poised for big seasons while newcomers Malcolm Brent, Toriola Moses, Aboudi Al Qattan, and Crew Ainge should be important contributors.
In order to make a run…They’ll need Moses to establish himself at the center position and Gilligan and Maduegbunam to be efficient with their offense while playing off Abu and Thomas.
St. Andrew’s School
This could be head coach Michael Hart’s deepest team in ages and that means a return to the St. Andrew’s run and gun style that we saw years ago. Juniors Henry Bolton and Bonzie Colson will lead the way while the supporting cast will be headlined by Tim Reale, Agyei Gregory, Tom Hunt, Nikola Vukasovic, and sophomore swingman Chancellor Ellis.
In order to make a run…St. Andrew’s will need to push the tempo and create offense from their defense, while also learning to spread the ball around, else their depth could turn into too many mouths to feed.
This is a younger and more perimeter oriented team than we’ve seen at Tilton in recent years but Wayne Selden is the league’s most talented player and he leads a talented group of youngsters in Terance Mann, Jonathan Joseph, Cameron Dudley, and John Witkowski. Newcomers Chester Victor, Peter Drescher, and Lee Messier will also be very important.
In order to make a run…Tilton will have to play bigger than they are inside to defend and rebound while maximizing their quickness and athleticism on the perimeter.
Their first six are as good as anyone’s with Daquein McNeil and Dimitri Floras in the backcourt, Rich Williams and Marcel White on the wings, and George Funtarov and Hassan Hussein up front. Together that core has a nice balance of size and speed, skill and athleticism, and experience across all five positions.
In order to make a run…they’ll need to overcome not having a true point guard by sharing the ball and getting their guards to think distribute first score second.
Wilbraham & Monson Academy
Man for man this is the most talented team in the league, but they’re also the youngest team in the league. Luis Montero, Djery Baptiste, Marcel Pettway, Curtis Cobb, Mustapha Heron, and Arkel Ager are all underclassmen so veterans like Goodluck Okonoboh, Kerem Kanter, Kamali Bey, and Kevin Perez must make their presence felt this season.
In order to make a run…head coach Chris Sparks will need his youngsters to grow up quickly, especially in the backcourt where Montero and Heron handle most of the ball-handling responsibilities.
With one of the most veteran laden rosters in the league and one of the top scoring guards, Rene Castro, at the helm, Worcester should have every opportunity to have a great year. Castro, Darryl Reynolds, Matt Panaggio, Matt Mobley, Thomas Rivard, and Ben Mesuda make up a strong 2013 class while Matt Cimino and Devon Williams headline the juniors.
In order to make a run…Castro will need to make those around him better. No one, most of all opposing defenses, doubts his ability to score. Now he’ll have the opportunity to get his teammates open looks.
Brimmer & May
They’ve got a veteran core of their own with Jake Fay, John Powell, Adrian Oliveira, K.J. Baptiste, and Max Horvath along with a couple of talented underclassmen in Sammy Mojica and Andrew Simpson.
In order to make a run…they need to play with a collective chip on their shoulder after persevering through a tough 2011-2012 season.
Stony Brook bound swingman Roland Nyama and the junior interior tandem of Willem Brandwijk and Mike Hogervorst gives Holderness one of the top starting frontcourts in Class A.
In order to make a run…they’ll need to get strong guard play. With a reportedly solid point guard in town Holderness is likely to go as far as their backcourt can take them.
Jalen Myrie and Daquan Simpson star together twelve months a year and they’ll be the leading duo for a Lawrence Academy club that should be very dangerous this season.
In order to make a run…they’ll need to establish a dependable supporting cast and prove that they have enough depth to compete in spots 3-7.
Josh Wilchombe, Phabian Glasco, and Josh Jones lead a squad that makes the jump to Class AA after making it to the Class D finals a season ago.
In order to make a run…their supporting cast will need to prove up to the task of competing with some of New England’s best, because it won’t be a problem for their first three.
Greg Senat, Bobby Ahearn and Eric Long form an imposing trio on the interior while Mike Mallory, DeSean Miller, and Travis Descoteaux headline the backcourt.
In order to make a run…Mike Mallory needs to be healthy. He’s currently about 80% coming off last year’s ACL injury.
They’re always a bit of an X factor and this year they have the talent to make noise with the likes of Donte Gittens and Austin Carter.
In order to make a run…talented youngsters like Devin Marsh, Sam Ibiezugbe, and KeAndre Fair will need to grow up quickly.
St. Mark’s School
The defending champions have lost their head coach and two ESPN 100 products in Kaleb Tarczewski and Nikolas Stauskas but a talented young nucleus is in place.
In order to make a run…they’ll need patience. Aaron Falzon, Aaron McLean, and Marco Echeverria can be the core of something special in a year or two.
Former Sacred Heart assistant Drew Shubik takes over a program that will benefit from the return of senior point guard Jacob Clark.