Prep Profile - Brewster Academy
It’s a down year at Brewster Academy…or at least that’s what the Bobcats’ skeptics would have you believe.
No, there may not be a multitude of four and five-star national prospects and Jalen Adams and Donovan Mitchell aren’t sharing the ball in the backcourt anymore, but 90+ college coaches have still found their way to Wolfeboro in the last six weeks so there must still be plenty of talent in the program.
In reality, the Bobcats still have as much talent as anyone. The names on this year’s roster might not be quite as celebrated, but there are already four players committed to programs worthy of the “high-major” label and at least two more bound to end up there.
And while the team might not have the true star they did last year, the overall depth of the roster is arguably as good as it’s ever been with at least ten different players bound to end up at the division I level, giving head coach Jason Smith the flexibility to go two deep at every spot on the floor.
Taurean Thompson, a transfer from St. Anthony in New Jersey, is perhaps the most recognized name on the roster and also the only ESPN 100 product on the team. The most impressive guy in the gym however, at least on the day the New England Recruiting Report was in attendance, was Deleon Brown, a 6-foot-4 southpaw who is already committed to Colorado.
While Brown is a long and lanky guard who both shoots it well from the three-point line and is quick off the bounce, recent Wichita State pledge C.J. Keyser is a nice compliment as a high level athlete with a college ready body who does his best work on the defensive end of the floor.
While Brown and Keyser may be the best two guards on the team, neither is a true point guard and so it will be interesting to see how Smith elects to construct his line-ups. The presence of Alpha Diallo (who has proven to be a major draw for college coaches in recent weeks with Indiana, Florida and Miami being the latest to extend offers) on the wing could certainly lessen the need for a prototypical point guard since the 6-foot-6 swingman is very heady and a dependable decision-maker in his own rite.
Ryan Beddeo, a post-graduate from California, and Semih Say, a junior who comes to Brewster by way of Turkey, are the two best true point guards on the roster. Beddeo is a true floor general and full of intangibles while Say has exceeded all expectations in his first month-and-a-half and provides a unique style of playmaking with his crafty international type game, creativity and floor vision.
Another guy who figures to play prominently into the perimeter rotation is recent South Florida pledge Malik Fitts. A 6-foot-5 swingman from California, Fitts needed to get in better shape and improve his conditioning upon his arrival, but as we saw with Marcus Derrickson last year, that will be just a matter of time. Fitts is known as a quality shot-maker from the perimeter, but he shows glimpses of being a truly versatile scoring threat who is smooth off the bounce, able to use his wider frame to create space and even bring smaller defenders down to the low post.
If that weren’t enough options in the backcourt, senior guard Jake Rudolph might have been the most pleasant surprise the day we were in the gym. A local Massachusetts product, Rudolph has a pretty shooting stroke, impressive total skill set and is capable of seeing time on or off the ball.
Up front, Thompson’s natural talent level is unmatched with his impressive build, mobility, athleticism and developing inside-out tools, but he’s still working to turn all of that obvious potential into consistent daily production.
Northwestern pledge Rapolas Ivanauskas is a player who will be reliable in the paint for Smith. While his perimeter skillset isn’t quite the backbone of his game that some describe, he’s invaluable in the paint because he’s athletic, has the motor to make extra-effort plays, terrific use of both hands and very good footwork.
The most skilled face-up big man on the team is Jack Lieb, a 6-foot-10 product from Illinois who can both stretch opposing defenses to the arc and pass the ball at a high level. He and Zach Cameron-Chodes, another 6-foot-10 big man but one who is more interior oriented, have both been consistent targets of D1 coaches this fall.
Conor Peterson a lanky 6-foot-5 athlete is a very intriguing long-term prospect while Aaren Smith, another athlete, but one with more power on the inside at 6-foot-6, is another potential contributor up front. Adam Sikorski, Sam Kiley and Michael Ogoms add to the team’s depth as potential multi-positional players.
Will this year’s team add to the growing list of NBA jerseys on the wall of the Smith Center? Maybe not, but that’s not the goal either. The reality is that regardless of the names on the back of the jerseys, the name on the front still says Brewster, and that means every prep program in the country will be gunning for the Bobcats. If they hope to live up to the standards set by their predecessors, and write their own chapter in the program’s unmatched book of recent success, they won’t be able to rely on one or two key stars to do it but instead on their collective depth, versatility and maybe even a little motivation from some skeptics.