NEPSAC Class B Update
In our latest early-season glimpse into the various NEPSAC leagues, we dive into Class B of the NEPSAC where there are some clear favorites but nonetheless quite a bit of competition.
Brooks – After back to back years of semi-final losses followed by two more of championship heartbreak, Brooks finally got over the hump last year and took the Class B title home. Now, despite losing point guard Ikenna Ndugba, the Bishops look like they are determined to keep the title in North Andover. Off to a 7-0 start this season, the squad is ripe with depth and versatility alike. Keigan Kirby, Tamenang Choh, Justin Connolly, Preston Santos and Fru Che all have the size to play inside but the skill sets to extend their game to the perimeter and be multi-positional. Pat Freiermuth, who is headed to Penn State on a football scholarship next year, is an absolute ox in the middle. There are no less weapons in the backcourt. Seniors Isaiah Godwin and Adonis Williams both were role players last year, but have already shown they’re capable of stepping up and having big outings as seniors. Williams’ size and strength on the perimeter will complement the team's versatile frontcourt while Brian Wright-Kinsey provides a southpaw marksmen from behind the arc. Ethan Gabert-Doyon provides a four-year varsity player off the bench, meaning there is no drop-off when head coach John McVeigh elects to go to the bench while Cameron Ray, Jacob Iwowo and Terrell Brown are all capable of making consistent contributions as well.
Rivers - After leading Rivers to the Class B title game in his first year, Keith Zalaski returns to the helm looking to replicate last year's success. As Zalaski's tenure is still at its beginning, this will be the final year for Rivers’ dynamic duo of Jermaine Samuels and Azar Swain. The Villanova commit, Samuels, has had a storied career at Rivers and is looking to pass the 2,000 point mark this year as well as win his first NEPSAC crown. His running mate Swain, a Yale commit, is as potent a scoring guard as there is in the league and coming off a summer in which he proved himself nationally. The two seniors will be assisted by juniors Tyler Aronson and Andrew Snoddy. Aronson showed last year that he was capable of putting up substantial numbers of his own. Snoddy, a 6-foot-5 long wing, is in his first year at Rivers after leading Nashoba Regional all the way to the Central Mass semi-finals last season. Sophomore guard Ethan Lemley and freshman wing Jay Dieterle should also see their roles increase as the season goes on. The key for the Red Wings will be overcoming the loss of two impactful seniors up front and holding their own on the glass and in the paint.
Beaver Country Day - Despite losing 9 players to graduation and transfer, Juan Figueroa's club is playing well early on and aiming to make a fourth consecutive trip to the Class B Final Four. A talented backcourt features the four year varsity duo of Nate Freeman and Javon Taylor along with Noble & Greenough transfer Jayden Depina, who has put up big numbers in his first few weeks with BCD. This year’s team also has plenty of size to offer as well with 6-foot-10 junior center Jared Houston alongside a pair of 6-foot-7 forwards in Mason Vega and Ryan McClennen. David Leder and Adam Defranc bring perimeter size and versatility off the bench while Donovan Crawford is a freshman with a bright future who could contribute this year as well. Overall, this group is always well-coached and the leadership of Taylor and Freeman, coupled by the arrival of DePina and good collective size across the line-up should have them in the thick of things.
Canterbury – Don’t be fooled by their 3-4 record out of the gate as Canterbury has taken on a very ambitious schedule thus far amidst a rush of early injuries. The addition of post-graduate forward Opong Bramble provides them with a powerful force along the frontline to help replace a talented 2016 class. With fellow co-captains Keith Rado Jr. and Mike Sulik out of the line-up with injury to start the season, junior guard Kevin Fee has been able to emerge as a consistent shot-maker and scoring threat. Sophomore forward Jamaal Waters may be the team’s best long-term prospect while Evan Goldberg and Logan O’Donnel provide a pair of 6-foot-10+ centers in the junior class. While Canterbury has already been able to score some big wins early, look for them to go to a whole new level once Rado and Sulik return to the line-up and once again be among the top contenders in Class B.
Governors Academy – Jalyn Hinton’s return in conjunction with the arrival of D.J. Frechette provides Governor’s with a potent one-two punch. That duo has led the squad to a 5-1 record thus far with their only blemish being a hard fought loss to Canterbury while a win over Class A Milton is certainly a resume builder. Hinton, who is an ultra-long lefty, is a rangy athlete and play finisher while Frechette is quickly establishing himself as a playmaker, not to mention a high level athlete himself, for Governors.
Thayer Academy – Thayer has a dynamic duo of their own in Jordan Mello-Klein and Javaughn Edmonds, who are both committed to Bentley and Southern New Hampshire respectfully. While that tandem is as good as any in Class B, the team is otherwise young and so while both their senior captains are capable of putting up big games on any given night, the long-term success of their team will depend on the contributions of the supporting cast including the likes of James Kotopoulos, Moses Flowers and Duke Lenghan among others.
Marianapolis Prep – Their record may not yet tell a convincing story, but look closer and you’ll see Marianapolis has taken on a host of AA and A opponents thus far and battled the vast majority down to the wire. Senior forward Marley Blommers has come on strong while repeat sophomore Tyler Burton looks like he could be a potential star in the making. Joe Del Ricci and Dylan Celona leads the supporting cast for Andrew Vitale’s club.
Millbrook - Brendan Hoban, who is headed to division II Wheeling Jesuit next year, provides a proven scorer and equally impactful defender to lead an otherwise young team under head coach Billy Thom. Sophomore Jayden Reaves should have every opportunity to have a breakout season while junior wing Kasai Brown will need to provide increased contributions as well. Chris Reed, is likely headed to the baseball diamond at the next level, but he'll provide some stability in his senior season as well.
Kingswood-Oxford – Garth Adams is now in his second season of his second stint on the K-O sidelines as he looks to rebuild the program to the status he once had it prior to his hiatus from the school. He has a nice core in place to build off of beginning with junior guard Nick Casiano, who is in his first year with the program. Jackson Meshanic gives them a solid big in the 2018 class while sophomore guard Nick Bray has a bright future with the program as well.
St. George’s – Longtime division I assistant Dwayne Pina has taken over the program and while they are only in year one of a building project, the future is bright. They already have one undeniable talent and building block in junior Angelo Stuart who has started the season by putting up huge numbers and is poised to assert himself as one of the best players in the league this season.