NEPSAC Class A Preview Part Two
This is part two of our NEPSAC Class A preview.
Hotchkiss School: After winning the Class A championship last season, expectations remain the same for Hotchkiss. Brandon McCreesh is back after being an integral part of last year’s squad. The Bucknell commit is a 6’4 guard who can score from deep or in the mid-range. Will Groot is going to provide an interior presence again. The Johns Hopkins commit has a nice blend of passing, post scoring, and defensive rebounding in his game. 2025 wing Dean Hogans is a terrific long-range shooter who also rebounds well for his position. Columbia commit Arop Arop was an important addition. He possesses a high upside with his 6’10 size, fluidity covering the court, and flashes of half-court playmaking. 2024 guard Davyn deJongh will be the primary playmaker for this team. He is a solid passer, capable standstill three-point shooter, and impact on-ball defender. Newcomer Owen Larbalestier should be a mismatch problem. The 2023 forward is 6’7, can hit treys when spotting up, and also attack off the bounce if an opponent closes out on him too hard. Preston Merrick is a 2026 who we are intrigued by. The 6’4 wing is difficult to keep out of the paint and moves his feet well defensively.
Choate Rosemary Hall: This squad is led by Quinnipiac commit Khaden Bennett. The guard from Texas has already made his presence felt in New England with several scoring outings of over 25 points. 2023 guard Jack Bleier will be a key factor throughout the season. His strength, toughness, and shotmaking versatility help him impact a game in different ways. Emory commit Devin Oster will oftentimes be the primary ball handler. He is a cerebral guard with pull-up shooting and playmaking ability on ball screens. Alan Mashensky, an NYU commit, is difficult to defend. The 6’7 big man can score/pass out of the post but also hit three-pointers if left open. 2025 guard Jake Palluzi will add another floor spacer. He was a CHSCA Division IV All-State selection last year before coming to the NEPSAC. Another player to keep an eye on is 2023 wing Ruairi Cronin. His experience playing on Ireland’s U18 National Team should serve him well in NEPSAC Class A.
Avon Old Farms School: Avon Old Farms led by head coach Matt Mihalich brought in several transfers who have made quick impacts. Fairfield commit Matt Curtis is a guard who can put up points in a hurry from long-range. He can hit three-pointers off the catch or when pulling up. Christian Moore can play both forward spots. He has a well-built frame to go with being a pull-up threat from fifteen feet. 2023 big man Jeffrey Akintolu had an eye-catching game at the Scholar Roundball Classic. The UK native is an athletic big man who can hit standstill treys, finish layups through contact, while also showing some intriguing half-court creation flashes. 2023 guard Jared Flaks will be the floor general for this squad. He plays like a coach on the floor with his ability to run an offense or create high-percentage looks for others. Thomas Prendergast is back. The 2024 guard consistently makes his high motor evident and can play at different spots on both ends of the floor. Another guard who will be in the rotation is Banks Monin. A 2023 prospect, he needs to be accounted for from long range and is willing to do little things that do not always show up on a stat sheet. 2024 wing Blake Smith is someone who makes his main impact defensively. He has vertical pop to rebound and lateral quickness to limit opponents from driving past him.
Loomis Chaffee School: Loomis Chaffee earned the sixth seed in last year’s Class A Tournament and will be looking to get back there again. 2024 guard Caleb Crawford is back. He regularly gets into the lane with his good burst or creative handle. Crawford can play at different speeds to get paint touches as well. Bowdoin commit Justas Bardauskas is also returning. The 6’7 big man has strength, explosive leaping ability, and a high motor on the glass. Kingston Walker possesses a high amount of upside. He is a long 6’5 wing with vision to find teammates for open shots. Loyola Maryland commit Jordan Steimke has proven to be an impact addition. His strong body and impressive leaping ability allow him to impact the game, particularly as a finisher. Another prospect with intriguing upside on this squad is Orion Browne. The 2024 forward has a good frame/athleticism and positional size at 6’6. Loomis also has a pair of intriguing 2025 prospects Charlie O’Sullivan and Ryan Hempfling. They are both big men who shoot it well from long range for their size.
Trinity-Pawling School: They are another program that made it to the Class A Tournament in 2021-22. Vincent Chaudhri is a 2025 prospect we will be monitoring. The lanky forward has touch from deep, timing/anticipation protecting the rim, and can lead fast breaks after corralling a rebound. 2023 guard Christian Joe will be putting constant pressure on opponents. He can put points up in bunches but also find others if a defender collapses on him. Lake Forest commit Landon Printz will provide value off the ball. The guard is a high-IQ shooter and cutter. 2023 big man Amadin Collette will impact games around the rim at both ends. He has good speed running the floor in transition and length to impact opponents’ layup attempts. Justin Umunakwe will provide more long-range shooting. The sturdy frame he has also helps him take contact on layups and not get bumped off his line defensively. Jace Emerson could also factor into the rotation. The 2025 wing has a good early blond of size, strength, and scoring versatility.
Taft School: Taft heads into 2023 with a 3-3 record. Their next game will be on Wednesday against Choate. Jordan Elliot is a 2023 guard who uses his quickness effectively when pushing the ball in transition, blowing by defenders in the half-court, or moving laterally on defense. Max Fradkin will be helping out in the backcourt. The 2024 guard lets the game come to him offensively as both a scorer and facilitator. Dara Adeyemi will be an important frontcourt piece. The 2023 big man is a threat to score on the block and consistently outworks opponents for defensive rebounds. Vule Sukovic will add wing scoring. The 2023 prospect cannot be left open beyond the arc and has a complimenting mid-range game. 2025 forward Jeremiah Ibeziako is still developing his skill set but has intriguing upside with 6’7 size, a plus wingspan, and an ability to cover ground quickly. Another 2025 prospect to watch is Ozzie Diallo. The 6’3 guard already is a three-point threat and will be interesting to track as he builds up his body.