NHIAAs Best 2011
Continuing my series of looking at the NHIAA’s top prospects, next up is the class of 2011. This is a class that used to have Kaleb Tarczewski and Jared Fahmy, but both players transferred to prep schools this summer. Still, there is a lot of talent in this class and a lot of these kids are very underrated.
David Madol, Trinity HS – Madol, a 6’6” forward, is one of the most improved players in NH. He came off the bench last year for Trinity. But this year he’ll not only start for the Pioneers, but he is arguably the state’s best player. He is explosive around the rim, attacks the basket and is probably the most athletic player in the state. He can handle the ball well for a kid his size, he’s an exceptional defender, and can even step outside and knock down the three. All of this makes him a very tough match-up for defenders. And he played for the Mass Rivals AAU team all spring and summer, which certainly helped his progress as a player.
Connor Green, Bishop Guertin HS – Another player who can score inside and out, Green is a 6’4” guard/forward. He’s a very good all around player. He can play four positions on the floor, and is adept at leading the break and running the point. Not to mention the ability to score inside, rebound, pass and knock down jump shots. Not afraid of the pressure situations, he thrives under pressure. He played for the Granite State Jayhawks 16u team, and this summer transferred to Bishop Guertin from Bedford High.
Steve Spirou, Pelham HS – Spirou is a forward who is 6’3”, maybe 6”4. He’s a very smart, fundamentally sound player. He’s also an exceptional slasher, inside scorer and rebounder. He’s a tough match-up because if a smaller player is on him, he’ll dominate inside and if a bigger player is on him, he’ll use his quickness to drive right by. Spirou had some monster games as a sophomore last year for Class I runners-up Pelham. He also played for the 16u Jayhawks.
Sean McClung, Bishop Guertin HS – Another player who is a tough match-up, McClung has the size, skill and quickness to play on the wing at the next level. He’s a 6’3” guard/forward who is fast and plays harder than anyone else on the floor. He’s tough to guard, because he can take it strong to the hoop, and also step back and hit the jumper. Very competitive player and strong defender. He fits Bishop Guertin’s fast paced, pressing style of play perfectly. McClung also played for the Jayhawks 16u team.
Mike OLoughlin, Milford HS – Another player who has the size and skill to play at the next level. He’s a 6’3” guard who can drive to the bucket and shoot from the outside. O’Loughlin is very athletic and handles the ball well. He also has a good mid-range game and is a very hard worker. He’s a high-flyer, and got 2nd place to Jordan Laguerre in a dunk contest this summer. And yes, he was also on the Jayhawks 16u team.
Ben Hill, Pittsfield HS – A 6’7” center, Hill’s game is still raw but not many players around have improved as much as he has over the past six months. He’s a big, strong kid who can really finish inside and rebound the basketball. He still has room to grow and has more upside than anyone in the class other than Madol. Much of his improvement has come from playing with the Mass Rivals AAU team.
Jamie Holder, Milford HS – Holder is a very fast, athletic ballplayer. He’s a 6’1” guard who is an exceptional slasher. He’s very active offensively, always pushing the tempo and making the defense work. Holder is a good defender, just needs to improve his jump shot. Few players in the state can match his quickness and energy on both ends of the floor. He is also a member of the Mass Rivals AAU program.
John Wickey, Manchester Central HS – This 6’6” center is a very polished player. He’s an above average inside scorer with moves on the low block. He uses that ability, along with a soft touch around the rim to make up for what he lacks in athleticism. Wickey is also a better passer than most other centers and can consistently hit the 15 foot jump shot. He plays hard, and uses his length to block and alter shots in the paint. He was also the starting center for the aforementioned Jayhawks squad.
Caleb Donnelly, Alvirne HS – A very smart, confident player, Donnelly is 6’0”, maybe 6’1”. He is one of the state’s best shooters, and does a good job of running off screens and freeing himself up for jumpers. He’s a savvy player, a winner and a good defender. Not the quickest or most athletic player in the class, but he makes up for it by being a very talented scorer. As a sophomore he averaged over 15 points a game for a team that lost to eventual state champs Trinity in the semi-finals.
Mike Mitchell, Milford HS – This 5’7” point guard might be the state’s best passer. He’ll throw a no-look pass in transition or fit a pass into a small window evoking “Oohs” and “Ahs” from the crowd. He’s a very fast, intelligent ballplayer. Mitchell is a prototypical point guard in that he gets his teammates involved and knows how to run an offense. He can drive to the hoop effectively and has an improving outside shot. He’s also an exceptional ball handler, with the ability to break a press by himself. He was the point guard for the 16u Jayhawks.
Mike Lombard, Pelham HS – A 6’3” bruiser, Lombard has a unique combination of power and finesse. He can mix it up with other bigs in the paint, and use his strength to gain position for buckets and rebounds. And at the same time, he can draw opposing 4’s and 5’s outside and hit 18-20 foot jumpers. And like Wickey, he’s also a very good passer for a player his size. Oh yeah, and he too is a Jayhawk.
Zach Stevens, Trinity HS – The 6’1” lefty wing player is a lights out shooter. He also has a very quick release on his shot, and is able to move without the ball and use screens to get open for his shot. He has also improved a lot defensively. I saw him play for Trinity last year and thought his lack of mobility made him a liability on defense, but he is now a quicker, better defender. And if you play up on him too much, he’ll go by you and either pull up and bank a 15-footer off the glass or take it in and finish at the bucket. Like the other Jayhawk players, gained some valuable experience this spring/summer.
To read more of Jeremy's input and analysis about New Hampshire high schools spots check out his blog at http://jeremynhsports.blogspot.com/