Prep Pre-Season Poll Announced
The pre-season prep school poll was announced earlier this morning and it had a distinct New England feel. The top ten list is voted on by 6 writers (Jeff Goodman of Scout.com & Fox Sports; Adam Finkelstein of New England Recruiting Report & Hoop Scoop Online; Phil Kasiecki or Hoopville; Pat Stevens of CSTV; Adam Zagoria of the Herald News in New Jersey; and Brett Swanson of Swanny’s Roundball Review in the mid-west. The poll will be updated on a monthly basis with the top 8 teams in the final poll qualifying to play in the National Prep Championship.
1. Hargrave Military Academy – 46 points (2)
Kevin Keatts' team gets the slight nod as the top team in the Preseason Poll because of balance and strong backcourt play. Hargrave has Chris Braswell (Georgetown), Roscoe Davis (West Virginia) and Eladio Espinosa (South Fla.) up front and plenty of guards with Dee Bost (Miss. St.), Damier Pitts (Marshall) and Eshaunte Jones (Oregon State).
2. Patterson School – 43 points (2)
Chris Chaney's squad could have just as easily been No. 1 with a formidable backcourt anchored by Courtney Fortson (Arkansas) and Varez Ward, along with UConn-bound wing Nate Miles and talented big man Matt Simpkins. Patterson also features Freddy Asprilla (Florida International) and Will Brown (New Mexico) up front.
3. Notre Dame Prep – 34 points (1)
ND Prep has a new coach as Ryan Hurd replaces Bill Barton, who left for Duquesne. The Crusaders will still be athletic and tough - led by guards Johnny Higgins (Duquesne), Melquan Bolding (Louisville), wing Kimmie English (Missouri) and one of the prep's most dominating frontcourt players in Terrence Jennings (Louisville).
4. Brewster Academy – 32 points
Jason Smith's team may be small in stature, but it's guards can match up with just about anyone. Anthony Crater (Ohio State) and Mark Lyons (Xavier) compliment one another well - and Arizona-bound forward Emmanuel Negedu is all about production. The key will be whether Negedu can get enough help up front.
5. American Christian – 30 points
There's no better player in the prep ranks than versatile guard Tyreke Evans, who will likely choose from Memphis, Louisville and Villanova. Coach Tony Bergeron will have a quality supporting cast for Evans, led by guards Jeremiah Kelly (DePaul), Lamont Jones and Oscar Griffin. The boys from Philly have the perimeter play, but will need some frontcourt production.
6. South Kent – 28 points
It's a different team for Raphael Chillious, who has more balance than usual. The backcourt features Isaiah Thomas (Washington), talented sophomore Dion Waiters (Syracuse) and Maurice Creek and the frontcourt is anchored by Virginia-bound big man Assane Sene and Christian Morris (Rutgers).
7. Findlay Prep – 14 points
It's hard to ignore what this second-year program out of Las Vegas has been able to do. Findlay has a terrific trio of DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), 6-foot-8 junior forward Clarence Trent and wing Deividas Dulkys (Florida State). There is plenty of size up front with a trio of 6-foot-10 players - Carlos Lopez, Brice Massamba and Amadou Barro as well as 7-foot-1 Jordan Bachynski.
8. Bridgton Academy – 13 points
The three-time defending NEPSAC Class A champs aren't all that intimdating on paper, but coach Whit Lesure has proven that he doesn't necessarily need superior talent to win games. However, this team is lacking a big-time player and size. The core of the team revolves around guards Cardell McFarland, Hamid Ford and Stacey Waters.
9. Winchendon School – 11 points
The big name is obviously 7-foot-2 Sudan native John Riek, who should be a dominating presence in the paint. The question is whether Mike Byrnes' club has enough firewpower around the big man. Larry Anderson will need to become a scorer from the wing - and the point guard duo of Jansy Crews and Anthony Raffa (Albany) will have to step up.
10. St. Thomas More – 8 points
Jere Quinn has one of the league's top returning players and also one of the nation's elite in Indiana-bound wing Devin Ebanks. Quinn will also have a solid floor leader in Quasim Pugh (College of Charleston) and athletic forward T.J. Robinson.
Others Receiving Votes: Genesis One (7 points); Harmony (5 points); Fork Union (2 points); New Hampton (1 point); MCI (1 point)