Prep Profile – Springfield Commonwealth
The National Prep Showcase tips this coming weekend at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and so we’re wrapping up our prep previews of the local New England squads set to participate.
Up next is Springfield Commonwealth Academy, a program under new leadership after the arrival of head coach Antonio Anderson, the local product who starred under John Calipari at Memphis during his playing days and spent the last four years establishing Lynn English as one of the top programs in the MIAA, including back-to-back Division 1 state titles.
Now, he’s moving on to the prep ranks, a landscape he has ties to after previously spending a year at Laurinburg in North Carolina, where he played for current Scotland Campus head coach Chris Chaney.
3 Things You Need to Know About This Year’s Team
1. They brought Miranda home
One of the best prospects in New England spent the last two years developing outside the region’s borders. Isaiah Miranda, a Rhode Island native, began his ascension at the Phelps School in Pennsylvania. When their head coach, Trey Morin, left to take a job in Texas, Miranda opted to leave, and that created an opportunity for him to come back home. Now, the 7-foot junior becomes the face of this Springfield Commonwealth team, and while he’s just starting to realize his potential, his raw tools and natural talent allows for a handful of plays every game that maybe no one else in the region could make, especially at his size.
2. There’s a strong RI Elite connection
Miranda has spent his entire grassroots career playing with Rhode Island Elite and this year he’s reunited with a number of his teammates from the travel season. SCA also features Isaiah Earl, Justin Perez, Massai Graham, and Yancarlos Cueto. Earl is a mobile and athletic big man who is starting to put all the pieces together after bouncing around in recent years. Perez is a skilled guard with an ultra-reliable and mature approach. Graham is one of the best vertical athletes around, with the power to match, and will be side-by-side with Miranda for the next two years after joining the class of 2023. Cueto is just a freshman, but a clear talent and one to watch in the coming years.
3. There are other familiar faces
The local connections don’t stop there. Dion Perkins is a post-grad from Connecticut who put up tremendous scoring numbers in the CIAC in recent years. Tyreik Weeks is a versatile southpaw forward who has been one of the best players in the state of Rhode Island in recent years. Mehki Dedrick is a quick and smooth playmaking guard who has been among the best in the city of Boston while Ugo Nwachukwu played alongside him this summer with Team New England. Then there’s Warren Keel Jr., one of the best freshmen we’ve seen so far, who first made a name for himself this spring and summer with the Mass Rivals, showing the maturity and feel for the game that are far beyond his years.
3 Questions Heading into the Season
1. What about beyond New England?
While the roster has a distinct local flair, there are a couple of prospects that are new to the region who could prove to be important. The first is Jordan Hamilton, an ultra-versatile 6-foot-6 jack-of-all-trades from Tennessee, who is as close to positionless as anyone on the roster. The second is Dior Davis, a talented guard from Brooklyn who is here to try and revive his division I recruitment.
2. Do they have enough in the backcourt?
The frontcourt is obviously strong. Miranda, Earl, Graham, Hamilton, and Weeks not only provide a ton of depth, but also versatility with various players offering different niches up front. The questions lie in the backcourt. Perkins, Dedrick, and Perez have all been very solid each time we’ve been in the gym this fall, but will now have to prove themselves against a national schedule. Keel showed this summer he’s ready to make an impact against top national competition, but has been out of the line-up most of the fall.
3. Is conference affiliation a problem?
SCA pioneered the Power 5 Conference years ago when Tony Bergeron started the program. The league has continued to grow since with Woodstock, Putnam, OSL, Upper Room Christian, Notre Dame West Haven, Bridgeport Prep, Redemption Christian, and others. Many of those schools have additional affiliations though, most notably in either the NEPSAC or the newly formed New England power league. SCA does not…yet…but given the level of talent they currently have and expectations for that to only continue to grow in the coming years, that could be something that evolves in the future.