New England’s Top 40 of 2019 Announced
Throughout the course of the last week we've rolled out our updated rankings, state by state, culminating with the release of today's composite New England rankings in the class of 2019.
There's probably three prospects that can make a realistic case for being the region's best at the moment and they're so close, all with so much still left to prove, that the order could come out virtually any way depending on who you ask. For the time being though, Putnam Science's Akok Akok retains the top spot, as there simply isn't another player in the region who can currently match his combination of size, athleticism, and skill. His ability to play above the rim with multiple jumps allows him to be as good of a rim protector as there is in the class while simultaneously there isn't a better perimeter shooting big man in 2019. The motor needs to go progress from most-of-the-time to all-the-time but both his current impact at the highest levels of competition and the way his tools translate to future levels are all top notch.
St. Andrew's guard Brycen Goodine, who is already committed to Syracuse, checks in at second on the list for a combination of reasons. First, his rate of improvement over the course of the last few years has set the standard as he's shown not just a willingness to expand his game but also physical tools that just keep coming. All the physical markers are there and now that he's a big guard who can both make athletic plays going to the rim as well shots off the catch and the dribble, we're starting to see glimpses of his significant potential. Lastly, he still has so much potential yet to discover. He has more and more "wow" type moments per game but it is still a largely raw and unpolished with talent that is now just starting to ooze out more frequently.
Loomis Chaffee's Jaiden Delaire checks in at third overall. He missed a good portion of the season with injury but he's added another inch to his frame and evolved as a ball-handler. He's potentially the most versatile of the three, especially at the offensive end, and he should only continue to get more mobile and impactful defensively as he finishes growing into his body. While his combination of length and budding skill at this size is the basis for so much of his value, he also needs to turn potential skill into polished offense and prove he can consistently utilize it to assert himself in a high level game. If and when he does that, his stock will go to the next level.
Woodstock's Tre Mitchell and NMH's Maxwell Lorca-Lloyd, a pair of big men with very different styles but very similar trajectories, round out the top five. Mitchell is a skilled big man who can pass, score with both hands around the rim, and stretch the floor. He's made great strides with his conditioning but isn't a natural high riser. Lorca-Lloyd doesn't have anywhere near the same skill level but his explosiveness and consequent impact in front of both rims is what differentiates him. Ultimately, they've both proven themselves high-major prospects and there value is going to be in the eye of the beholder and, in large part, based on the type of style they'll best fit into at the next level.
MacDuffie's James Bouknight and Brewster's Sherif Kenney are two guards who control their own destiny. Both have made great strides in the last year and have the sheer talent to easily play their way into the top five. Bouknight is literally just starting to realize how good he really is and as he learns to assert himself and play with a more consistent sense of urgency, his impact and stock will rise rapidly. For Kenney, it's all about his approach to the game. There might not be another guard in New England who is as capable of taking over a game right now and so when he maximizes his conditioning, decision making, and motor his impact and stock will jump.
Another MacDuffie product, Ismael Massoud, sits in the 8th spot with his combination of perimeter size, skill, and reliability in terms of his overall approach and maturity. The top ten is rounded out by New Hampton's Mika Adams-Woods and Gould's Wildens Leveque but the reality is that Vermont's Tyler Bertram, Tabor's Noah Fernandes, and Dexter's Charles Colemand and Noah Kamba are all on nearly identical levels in the eyes of college coaches.
The same can be said of the 40 prospects who made up these rankings. They can likely be sorted in any number of ways but regardless of the order, the commonality among all 40 is that they are all being actively recruited by college coaches from the division I level. Are more sure to emerge? Absolutely. This is just a snapshot of one moment in time.