Prep Profile – Philips Exeter Academy | Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Prep Profile – Philips Exeter Academy

Phillips Exeter Academy has become prime stomping grounds for some of the best academic programs in the country.  Every week college coaches from the likes of the Ivy League, Patriot League, NESCAC, UAA, and others make the trip to Exeter, New Hampshire to see the top student athletes the country has to offer. 

It was no different the day we were in the gym, as Yale and Dartmouth were two of the schools represented that day.  And these coaches really were getting to see players from all across the country as this year’s roster includes players from California, North Carolina, Illinois, New Jersey, and Colorado. 

In order to compete against the bigger and more athletic squads of class A, Exeter has to play a different brand of basketball.  While most schools in the league are looking to attack for 40 minutes with full-court defensive pressure, transition offense, and creativity from the backcourt, Exeter is very different.  Head Coach Jay Tilton has his guys focused on cutting, screening, spacing, and reading the defense. 

Trying to control the tempo and out-execute the opposition is often times Exeter’s best chance at victory when matched up with the bigger, deeper, and more athletic teams of Class A.  That strategy worked to perfection last year as Exeter turned in one of their best seasons in recent memory. 

But this year’s team is essentially starting from scratch as there are no significant contributors returning from last year’s squad.  Massachusetts native and sharp-shooter Pat Donnelly is expected to be a key contributor for this group as is 6’5” super athletic forward Tellef Lundevall from Illinois.  Josh Bartelstein is another star from just outside the Windy City who is likely to put up big numbers this year with his ability to both stroke the ball from the perimeter and go hard to the rim. 

California native Greg St. Jean will be among the team’s most important players.  While he may not lead the team in scoring, he has a terrific feel for the game and ability to make those around him better. 

Donnelly, Bartelstein, and St. Jean give Coach Tilton a nice core to start with in the backcourt, while Lundevall and skilled 6’9” center Rob Reid are likely to hold things down up front. 

Other players expected to play prominent roles are:  6’0” point guard Mitchell Kates who is solid in virtually every aspect of the game; 6’2” shooting guard Cody Mivshek who is a very good shooter with great range; and 6’0” guard and Rhode Island native Greg Newton whose game appears to growing by leaps and bounds since his arrival at Exeter.  And don’t count out freshman point guard Showly Nicholson who may earn some minutes with his fearlessness, speed and quickness, and ability to create off the dribble. 

On paper, this may not look like a team that is ready to match up with the best that class A has to offer…but they don’t play the games on paper.  The games are played on the court where sometimes a team’s ability to execute and control tempo becomes more important than the number of high-major prospects on their bench.  In other words…don’t underestimate these guys.