NEPSAC Class A Season Preview
Twenty teams from around New England and New York make up the new Class A of the NEPSAC. Just eight of those teams will advance to the post-season with some of the favorites profiled below:
Kent – The reigning Western New England champions are one of the early favorites in class A as they have experience, depth, size, and sheer talent. Stefon Williams, Nick Pendergast, Henry Pendergast, and Travis Berry all return from last season and will be joined by 6’10” center Cameron Buchan, a post-graduate guard tandem in Darren Glover and Kamil Parzych, and big man Keefer Rafferty.
Phillips Exeter – The only carry over from the former class A, Exeter will rely on their depth and experience to contend this season. Local post-graduates Alex Levine and Ryan Kilcullen and repeat junior Cam Shorey join with returning guards David Gabeau and Showly Nicholson to give this squad a weapon at each position on the floor.
Phillips Andover – They return a talented core in junior big man Thomas Palleschi, sharp-shooting swingmen Ryan Hartung and Brendan OConnell. That trio will be supplemented by a few quality post-graduates led by Rey Berry, a skilled guard from California who should make an immediate impact this season.
Salisbury – Fresh off his commitment to Quinnipiac, do-it-all swingman Zaid Hearst returns to headline a strong Salisbury team. The reigning all-NEPSAC selection will have an equally strong supporting cast around him led by junior point guard Ryan Frazier, sharp-shooting post-grad Jon Seltzer, and a trio of young talented big men in Chris McCullough, Samuel Dingba, and Steven Akomo.
Milton Academy – Boston College bound big man Dennis Clifford is one of the early favorites for the league’s Most Valuable Player award and he is surrounded by a deep and talented supporting cast. Ikemefuna Ngwudo and Alec Brennan are terrific young talents up front while Eric Davis, Jesse Pagliuca, Travis Sheldon, and Kelby Pontes create a deep backcourt rotation.
Choate – The Boars return their leading scorer in junior guard John Papale and have several notable additions who all come from local Connecticut roots in Stratford’s Brandon Sherrod, Sheehan’s Phil Gaetano, Weston’s Dennis Levene, Hyde’s Deshawn Murphy, and Notre Dame Fairfield’s Casey Woodring.
Taft – The top seed in last year’s Western New England tournament, Taft returns two of their top players from a year ago in lead guard C.J. Moss and swingman Kevin Trotman. Post-grads Ishmael Kalilou and Jereme Good are skilled and versatile forwards who provide two more weapons while solidifying the frontline.
Trinity Pawling – Bill Cassum returns to the sidelines and will have plenty of talent and experience at his disposal as his 12 man roster features 11 players in either their senior or post-graduate seasons. Morgan Lee, Pape Konteye, and Cameron Ogbolu return from last year’s squad while post-graduate Blair Roberts headlines the list of newcomers.
• Avon Old Farms will be led by sophomore guard Jihaad Pretlow, who was the sole freshman to score all conference honors in Western New England last year.
• Loomis will have to overcome the injury of junior point guard Rich Conway but is always a contender with their size and discipline.
• Deerfield has American bound forward Kyle Kager, who will be one of the league’s top players, but will need help from the supporting cast.
• Tabor Academy is young but talented and has a definite star player with the recent addition of Demitry Coronell.
• Hopkins will shoot some opponents out of the gym this year led by the junior duo of Lucas Hausman and Laurent Firlotte.
• St. Paul’s has a dynamic duo of their own as Tarik Smith will have a running mate this year in Vermont transfer Harrison Taggart.
• St. Sebastian’s will be led by athletic senior forward Deric McCottrell but will need to overcome a lack of size up front to make the post-season.