Prep Profile Bridgton Academy
The 2008-2009 Bridgton Academy team will be much different than the previous year’s squad. The first difference is immediately noticeable upon glancing down at their roster as five of the post-graduates are already committed. Last season that didn’t happen until the season had come and gone, and that’s something that can have a major impact on the success of a post-graduate basketball program as virtually every player is there to improve their college prospectus.
The second most noticeable change is that this team simply has better talent than last year’s group. That’s not a knock on anyone from the previous year, only a statement to indicate that there will be more weapons and potential combinations for Coach Lesure to use at his discretion in the coming season.
Lesure and the rest of the people at Bridgton are hoping that the first two changes will help to produce a third…a return to the top of Class A after winning championships in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Bridgton’s attack is likely to begin with a dynamic three guard line-up including 6’3” Jamal Crook, 6’2” Carl Blair, and 5’10” Malik Stith. What makes this trio especially intriguing is not just that they should be able to put a lot of points up on the board, but that all three are actually point guards. This should make Bridgton virtually impossible to press, a more unselfish and better passing team, and more dangerous offensively with so many playmakers on the court at one time.
As far as their recruitment goes, Stith is headed to the Big East next year as he is in Maine prepping for St. John’s, while Crook and Blair have already been prime targets for a number of programs around the country.
Up front, 6’8” big man Chad July gives the team a legitimate low post five man. The Florida native is already committed to High Point and likely to be seen as a steal before his post-graduate season comes to an end. Three players will battle for most of the minutes at the forward spots in 6’5” Duane Smith who is bound for George Washington, 6’7” Jerrell Harris who is headed to Southern Mississippi, and 6’7” Kauri Black who is still open in his recruitment. Smith is a versatile scorer who is bound to put a lot of points up on the boards this year, while Harris is learning how to use his length and emerging skill set to impact the game. Black is a big time athlete with a big and strong body who can make a variety of plays on both ends of the floor.
Key players off the Bridgton bench will include two sharp-shooters in 6’4” Justin Rake from New Orleans and 6’6” Jack Houpt for Indiana, both of whom should have no problem busting up anyone’s zone. 6’6” forward Bryant Avant, 6’1” shooting guard Delonte Mason, and 6’5” swingman Garrison Gross are also expected to contend for spots in the rotation.
Bridgton’s quest to return to the top of class A will be one of the more interesting story lines of the 2008-2009 season. But the question of whether or not they can unseat Brewster Academy while holding off the rest of the league’s contenders is a question that won’t be answered until the final weekend in February. Until then we’ll just have to sit back and enjoy the action.