Prep Profile - St. Andrew’s
St. Andrew’s has been one of the most consistent teams in Class AA of the NEPSAC in recent years. In 2013 they were just one tick of the clock away from calling themselves champions. Last year they were equally close to moving out of the semifinals.
Eight seniors are gone from that team though and so the Saints return one of the youngest rosters in all of Class AA this season.
While the group is undeniably young and inexperienced, they are equally talented, and given the teimet to gel together, there’s no denying they will be a rising power in the league.
The biggest source of experience on the roster comes from the coaching box where Michael Hart is the longest tenured head coach in the league and ably assisted by longtime counterpart John O’Shea.
With only four seniors and post-graduates on the roster, Hart is quick to preach patience when it comes to this year’s squad which also includes four juniors, three sophomores, and a freshman.
Senior swingman Chancellor Ellis is virtually the only returning member of last year’s rotation. A sniper by trade, Ellis is one of the top three-point marksmen in the league and that could very likely develop into a theme for this year’s team as Hart promises they’ll run, press, and shoot a lot of threes.
J.R. Lynch, one of three post-graduates on the roster will fit in with that philosophy as well. A product of Hudson Catholic High School, one of the top programs in New Jersey, Lynch ran with the New York City based New Heights program on last summer’s Under Armour circuit and is already committed to Hartford. While he’s highly skilled and able to make shots and plays alike, his biggest role will be to provide leadership for this otherwise young roster.
Fellow post-graduate guard, Brian Mukasa, comes over from Sharon High School in the MIAA and looks poised to surprise some people this season after making notable improvements in his game.
The team is full of other long-distance specialists including junior guard and Marianapolis Prep transfer Eric DAguanno, incoming sophomore Keyshaad Dixon, and freshman Cole Swider, all of whom project to be recruited at the division I level before it’s all said and done.
There’s also plenty of athleticism on the roster with repeat sophomore Aaron Wheeler leading the way in that category. As long as he is athletic, Wheeler has burst onto the scene in recent months, showing off his vast tools, and establishing a very high upside if he continues to develop his game and body.
Junior swingman Nate Duda will also contribute with his athleticism, which should be an asset both on the defensive end of the floor as well as in transition.
Junior point guard Justin Leip provides a true floor general and another capable three-point shooter while sophomore swingman Sesth Kourtesis is hoping to make the roster as well.
With such depth and talent in the backcourt, Hart will likely have no choice but to play four guards together at most times. That four around one attack will be anchored by one of two post players inside.
Junior big man Terrell Brown is likely the most important player on the roster. An undeniably high level talent, the six-foot-ten post player has been brought along slowly over the years, and spent the majority of his sophomore season watching a senior laden team thrive.
This year though, he’ll not only have to step up and play more minutes, he’ll also have to establish himself as a weapon on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he’ll be counted on to give the team an interior scoring presence on the block while also being allowed to step-out and show his range. Defensively, he’ll have to embrace his shot-blocking potential and also patrol the defensive glass to allow St. Andrew’s to get out on the break.
His counterpart will be post-graduate Duncan Ozburn, a different kind of big man who will be more comfortable cutting and screening moving outside-in within the team’s motion concepts.
Together, Brown and Ozburn will have to hold off other talented frontlines from around the league including those at Vermont, MacDuffie, Tilton, and Worcester among others.
But if the bigs can hold their own inside, the guards will certainly be able to do damage on the perimeter, and St. Andrew’s might just grow up faster than most expect.