Prep Profile - Gould Academy
Class AA of the NEPSAC has a new member this year as Gould Academy is ready to make their debut.
College coaches became familiar with Bethel, Maine this fall as word of the program’s new talent level circulated in the NCAA ranks and led to a steady parade of visitors.
Now, the prep world is ready to learn what those coaches found out this fall, this isn’t going to be your typical expansion program.
Under the leadership of head coach Cory McClure, a veteran of both the division I and prep sidelines, Gould spent all of last year preparing to launch their new program and as a result their first roster is one that is already plenty talented.
It is going to begin with Skyler Nash, a 6-foot-4 swingman from Illinois who is now totally healthy after missing a year of high school basketball and ready to make his presence felt in the NEPSAC. He’s powerful and aggressive off the bounce, but also capable of raining threes from behind the arc. Combine that with some old-fashioned grit and confidence and you have a player who could quickly assert himself among the league’s best.
Perhaps the most naturally talented player on the roster is Jahbril Price-Noel. A 6-foot-7 “jumbo wing” who is originally from Canada, Price-Noel previously starred at the John Carroll School, one of the top basketball programs in the state of Maryland. He’s ultra-versatile and really still just constructing an identity for himself but he’s going to be critical to any success that Gould has this season and will be the foundation that they build next year’s squad around.
George Papas has been perhaps the team’s most pleasant surprise thus far. The New Jersey native arrived without much fanfare but has stood out with good perimeter size at 6-foot-5 and a pure shooting stroke and given the need for three-point shooting in college basketball today, he’s bound to see his options for the next level increase this season.
The team’s X-factor is DeAndre Johnson. A 6-foot-10 big man from Maryland, he is undeniably talented. He too was raining in threes like they were five-footers in the workout we watched and has the mobility to match his skill level. The question isn’t his potential, it is production, and the consistency with which it comes. He’s made positive strides this fall and if he can continue to put the pieces together he could quickly assert himself as one of the best bigs left on the market and a real difference maker for Gould this season.
The team’s biggest question though, lies at the point guard position. Both Nash and Price-Noel are likely to spend plenty of time with the ball in their hands, but neither is a pure point.
A pair of local Maine products, Forrest Boucher and Zack Mittelstadt, both figure to contend for playing time and contribute to the rotation, but they’re best utilized off the ball as well. Boucher is more of a wing with a strong body and straight line driving style while Mittelstadt might be a nice complimentary guard with a relative mistake free style.
Another option may be Jaxon Wroe, a player we have yet to get a look at after he spent the fall starring on the soccer field, but who is said to be a solid athlete and dependable option in the backcourt.
Regardless, what we know for sure is that Gould Academy isn’t going to be your typical first year program. At any level, those programs typically struggle to compete initially and only gradually work their way up in the league as the years pass. Gould opens with a talent gap that has already been closed considerably and with a coach that is sure to have his team disciplined and improving throughout the course of the year. That’s a recipe that helps you be competitive from day one and that’s exactly what we expect from the Huskies this season.