Prep Profile - Putnam Science Academy
Putnam Science Academy has been a growing prep power for the last several years, with wins over some of the most established programs in the country and consecutive births in the National Prep Championships to show for it.
This year though, their place in the prep landscape has changed. No more will they play the role of spoiler. Now, they’re a clear contender.
Coach Tom Espinosa welcomes the most talented team in his tenure to what is expected to be a new generation of PSA basketball as the school is now under new ownership and committed to the long-term success of not just the basketball program, but the school itself.
Hamidou Diallo is the most recognizable name on the roster. It was little more than a year ago that he was a virtual unknown, first making a name for himself at the Memorial Day Super 16 and the Elite 75 College Showcase. Now that all seems like a distant memory as he’s exploded onto the national scene as a consensus top 25 player in the class of 2017.
Diallo has continued to develop his game and matured both on and off the floor in the last year and so he should be ready for an even bigger junior season, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Ironically, PSA’s best strength may be up front where Sedee Keita will return to New England to join UConn bound big man Mamadou Diarra to form one of the most potent post tandems in New England.
Diallo, Diara and Keita looked like the only sure-thing starters the day the New England Recruiting Report visited the PSA gym as the depth of this year’s roster has led to an intense competition for playing time.
Two of the other top candidates are Chuba Ohams and Saul Phiri. Ohams is a long and athletic 6-foot-7 forward who holds scholarship offers in the Big East and Atlantic 10 Conferences while Phiri has transferred over from Worcester Academy, where he was one of the best scores in Class AA of the NEPSAC a year ago. Tyere Marshall, a 6-foot-8 post-graduate forward from Philadelphia, adds another major weapon to the frontline with multiple division I offers already in hand.
If Espinosa chooses to pair Diallo with a true point guard in the backcourt his best option might be Jaheam Cornwall, a junior point guard who comes in with plenty of continuity with Diallo and Diarra after teaming with them on the New York Jayhawks this summer. Sharpshooting 2018 swingman Eric Ayala is another option as yet another high-major prospect and one of the best three-point shooters on the team.
Ayala’s chief rival from behind the arc is local product Colin Sawyer, who previously starred at nearby New London High School before showing off his pure shooting stroke this spring and summer with USAD. Danny Salamah, a post-graduate combo-guard from Texas, is probably the most pleasant surprise on the team and someone who should certainly contend for major minutes, if not a chance to start.
The perimeter weapons don’t end there though as Sean Delaney, Tyreek Perkins and Brandon Hurst all figure to contend for spots in the rotation as well. Delaney is a hard-nosed and heady southpaw while Perkins is a well-known local product who will have two years in the program after transferring in from Career-New Haven. Hurst is another local product and quality shot-maker who played well when we were in the gym. Brandon Steed and Taurian Archie will provide additional perimeter depth.
Up front the final piece is sophomore center Emmanuel Umoffia, a 7-footer (7-foot-2 to be exact) from Nigeria who is still very raw but incredibly big and long with an obviously high ceiling (no pun intended).
Put it all together and this is as deep and talented a team as we’ve ever seen at Putnam Science and that’s a recipe that they hope will make them contenders at the highest level.
Below are some of their early fall highlights care of Rhode Island Affiliated: