Prep Profile Cushing Academy
One of our early trips on the prep school circuit took us to Cushing Academy, a class AA school in the NEPSAC.
Located conveniently between the Winchendon School and Notre Dame Prep, Cushing’s proximity to other prep powerhouses has made it an easy stop for college coaches over the years.
While the Penguins have always had good talent of their own, the 2011-2012 squad may be their strongest, and definitely their deepest, since Phil Pressey was wearing purple almost five years ago and the attention from college coaches has risen in correlation as head coach Barry Connors has both youth and experience to intrigue visiting coaches.
It begins in the class of 2012 where there is a very distinctive presence from the state of Maine. The reigning Gatorade Player of the Year, Tyler McFarland, is here doing a post-graduate year fresh off his commitment to Bentley while Alex Furness is also in Ashburnham and ready to pick up right where he left off this summer. Andrew Esancy is a name you might not know, but a guy who could nonetheless make an impact for Cushing this year off the bench.
The “non-Maine contingent” in the class of 2012 begins with Treaven Duffy, a six-foot-two guard from California and the son of NBA agent Bill Duffy, who will be expected to make a big impact this season. Jimmy Halliday, a six-foot-two swingman from Bourne, Massachusetts will also hope to crack the rotation.
The junior class begins with Andrew Chrabascz, who has been the subject of a wide range of visitors in the first three weeks of the contact period. The Rhode Island native took his first series of unofficial visits in August and is now attracting attention from literally every level of college basketball. More important than his recruitment, Chrabascz is also an “A” student and the face of the Cushing program for the next two years.
Newcomers in the class of 2013 include Chris Mullin Jr. (yes that Chris Mullin) and Bernard Mokum, two talented perimeter players who will be expected to provide a spark off the Penguin’s bench this year.
In terms of sheer undeveloped talent, Cushing may be best at the underclassmen levels. Sophomore guard Kaleb Joseph looks like a completely different player than he was just a few months ago, demonstrating a versatile game of length, skill, and athleticism, and scoring a plethora of early offers in the process.
Idris Taqqee is another sophomore getting some high level college interest early in his high school career. The Georgia native doubles as a wide receiver on the football field, where his talents are said to be perhaps even more impressive, but basketball remains his first love and he’ll be expected to make a big impact for Coach Connors this year.
Freshman Jaime Carey is a well built six-foot-two guard who will contend for minutes right away while also getting some excellent on the job training this year.
When it comes to Cushing’s prospectus for this upcoming season, while they’re not quite yet the favorite in class AA, they certainly have to be viewed as a contender. First and foremost they have talent and depth, but they also have good balance across their line-up with enough size to challenge the likes of Tilton, St. Mark’s, and Vermont Academy. Best of all, this is a group of tough, scrappy, hard-working players who are bound to maximize their talents.
And that’s a recipe that typically leads to quite a few wins.