NHIAA Season Preview
In the NHIAA, Divisions III and IV tipped off last Friday night, while Divisions I and II get underway this Friday evening across the state. The four state champions last season were Bishop Guertin, Milford, Somersworth and Lisbon. Those four teams return a grand total of three combined starters from last year, with guys like Sean McClung, Jamie Holder, Mike Mitchell, Connor Green and Mike O’Loughlin all graduating. The NHIAA’s Class of 2011 was actually one of its best in recent memory, with guys like David Madol, John Wickey and Stephen Spirou all now moving on to the college level.
That, plus many of the other top players from the NHIAA continue to go prep, leaving many schools scrapping to find new talent. Fortunately though, the big news is one player who is returning to his local high school from the prep ranks, in Merrimack’s Dimitri Floras.
First off, we will present NERR’s NHIAA All-State team and then examine the favorites in each division:
NERR’s Pre-Seaon All-NHIAA Team
Dimitri Floras, 6’1 junior (Merrimack) – After attending Kimball Union Academy for the first few months of the school year Floras decided to return to Merrimack. With the transfer, Floras is now the best player in the NHIAA, and it makes the Tomahawks serious contenders to win the D-I title. Floras has been a star player since he was a freshman, and he picked up his first D-I scholarship off this fall from New Hampshire.
Mabor Gabriel, 6’7 junior (Trinity) – It’s scary just how much better this kid has gotten over the last two years. He’s been able to turn upside into production, and what’s even scarier is that he’s just now scratching the surface of his potential. Gabriel had a breakout sophomore year and now looks to really dominate this winter. Who would have thought the top two prospects in the NHIAA are only juniors?
Kamahl Walker, 5’10 senior (Portsmouth) – Walker had a breakout junior season for the Clippers after moving to New Hampshire from Worcester, MA. He led Portsmouth to the title game where they nearly beat an undefeated Milford team. Walker has worked hard, gotten better over the summer and now looks to lead the team to a title.
Ryan Gauthier, 5’11 senior (Nashua North) – Gauthier and Javon Williams give North arguably the state’s most talented back court. When Gauthier is on, he is a dual threat as both a scorer and a passer, with the ability to score at will and also set teammates up with nifty dishes. He has emerged as one of the top play making guards in the state.
Trevor Fahmy, 6’8 senior (Bedford) – Another player who’s worked hard and gotten a lot better over the summer, Fahmy has good size, a strong frame and has gotten much more assertive in the post in addition to improving his footwork. He can also face up and hit the 15 footer. No other NHIAA player can match Fahmy’s combination of size, strength and skill.
Merrimack – Merrimack was one of the state’s top teams a year ago, and they return their entire starting five, including the NHIAA’s best player in Floras. This is definitely more than a one man team though, as the Gendron brothers, Tyler and Eric, are also explosive players who can take it to the rim and hit shots. This is a very fast team with a core group of players that’s been together for a long time now.
Trinity – Trinity is once again the biggest team in the NHIAA, with 6’10 Silvere Aluko, 6’7 Mabor Gabriel and 6’7” Andrew Lauderdale on the front line. With those three guys inside and defensive specialist Hunter Viscarello on the perimeter this will be a very tough team to score on. Then you have sophomore sharpshooter Carmen Giampetruzzi and freshman standout Ian Sistare in the back court.
Bishop Guertin – They graduated all five starters, including Connor Green and Sean McClung. But all five starters this year are also seniors, and they all got playing time on last year’s championship team. Leading the way are Logan Kesty, Brad Holler and Joe McCarthy who are all potential all-state players.
Manchester Central – This will be a very fast team, possibly the fastest. Gabe LaCount is in for a big senior season in the back court, and two other potential all-state players are Troy Pelletier and Junior Brown. A number of players transferred into the program as well, including Stephen Gomez, Dawson Dickson and Adrien Stillwell.
Nashua North – This team has the talent and the speed to make a serious run. Their top eight players are back from last year, including their ‘Big Three’ of Ryan Gauthier, Javon Williams and Anthony Farmer. These guys like to run and force turnovers on defense. Maturity and discipline have been problems in the past for this group, but they’re all a year older now and they know this is their last shot at a title.
Nashua South – After a couple of down years, this team has what it takes to once again be a contender in D-I. They return a very strong core group of players, including one of the NHIAA’s top guards in senior Anthony Muccioli, a fourth year varsity player who has continually gotten better. Helping him out will be the Preston brothers, 6’4” junior jack Preston and 5’10” sophomore Tim Preston.
Alvirne – Alvirne made it to the state semi-finals last year, and they are further along as a team now than they were at this time last year. The Broncos have four of their top six players back in Jim Tomaswick, Tony Beaulieu, Tyler Livingston and Sean Dunn.
Spaulding – Spaulding is always a tough team, and last year they came dangerously close to knocking off eventual champion Bishop Guertin in the quarterfinals. Back from that team are key players Dominic Paradis and Nick MacGregor, who are both only juniors.
Pembroke – Pembroke is the favorite to win D-II, led by their ‘Big Three’ in the back court of Rene Maher, Patrick Welch and Matt Persons. All three are capable of going off for 20 points on any given night, and down low 6’4” Tyler Morrison and 6’3” Jordan Williams have both gotten better and give the team solid rebounding.
Portsmouth – The Clippers bring back four starters from a team that made it to the title game last year. They have the division’s best player in point guard Kamahl Walker and the other returning starters are Kyle DiCesare, Gregg Tsougranis and Charlie Duprey (all four of them are seniors).
Pelham – They graduated their best player in Stephen Spirou, but Pelham will once again be strong as they return seven of their top eight players from a team that went to the semi-finals. Leading the way is the senior back court of Derek Defranzo and Brett Bailey, plus sophomore wing Jake Vaiknoras.
Bedford – Trinity might be the team with all the size in Division I, but in D-II that team is Bedford. You have 6’9 sophomore Collin McManus, 6’8 senior Trevor Fahmy and 6’6 sophomore Roger Larrivee. All three of them have gotten a lot better since last season, as has 6’1 senior shooting guard Trevor Glassman.
Lebanon – Lebanon returns three starters and five of their top seven players, including one of the division’s best players in 5’10 junior guard David Hampton. Hampton is fast, he can handle the basketball and shoot it. The Raiders get strong inside play from Matt Cowles, Mark Davidson and football star Alexander Morrill.
Berlin – Berlin is the hands down favorite in D-III. They lost in the semis last year and in the finals the year before, but they have a lot of experience coming back from those teams. 6’1” senior Curtis Arsenault is by far the division’s best player, while guards Sam Aldrich and Jake Drouin also have plenty of big game experience.
Conant – A perennial contender in this division, Conant has the smooth, versatile 6’2 guard Devin Springfield returning as possibly the division’s best player outside of Arsenault. Helping out are fellow guards Jake Carlson and Dan Sirois for a team that’s very fast and well coached.
Hopkinton – They lost 6’6 Mike Auger (New Hampton) and 6’5 Andrew Thomson (St. Paul’s) to prep school, but this is still a tough, scrappy basketball team that will win a lot of games. Senior point guard Frankie Beane is a good one, and he has a strong supporting cast.
Prospect Mountain – Over the summer these guys beat Division I teams like Trinity and Manchester Memorial, and that was without three of their top seven guys in the lineup. Senior guards Zack Drouin and Pat Cassidy and junior forwards Jay Mousseau and Austin Perrin form a nice nucleus.
Moultonborough- The Swedberg brothers form the best duo in this division, with 6’7” senior forward Marcus Swedberg and his little brother 5’11” junior point guard Drew Swedbrg. Marcus is a dominating inside player who can also hit the outside shot, while Drew is a tough defender who can also make the long ball.
Newmarket – With a pair of 6’4” forwards in the post and play making guards Christian Hawkins and Christian Filion on the perimeter, the Mules will once again be a contender in D-IV. Newmarket returns seven kids who all played key roles on a team that went to the semis last year.
To read more of Jeremy's coverage of the New Hampshire basketball recruiting scene, visit the New Hampshire Notebook at www.nhnotebook.com