Prep Profile - St. Thomas More
Could this be the year St. Thomas More claims the NEPSAC championship?
While they may not have quite the depth of high-major talent as other programs in the league, what they do have is the number one player in the country and one of the most respected coaches in the country.
In other words…they will have a chance.
Andre Drummond’s first season in the NEPSAC was a learning experience. He was just coming off a breakout summer which saw him become a star literally overnight in Orlando and missed the entire pre-season with a stress fracture in his foot. He joined the team in time for the beginning of the season but had to work his way into game shape while getting adjusted to the higher level of competition. The season was a process that saw him start slower than many would have liked, but gradually learn the ropes and become more assertive as the year went on.
The question this year is whether or not Drummond is ready to dominate games on a consistent basis. If he is, then he gives STM a weapon that no other team will be able to duplicate. If not, then the Chancellors may be fighting an uphill battle if they hope to contend for a championship.
Drummond isn’t the only impact player returning from last year’s line-up. Trahson Burrell also has the benefit of a year’s experience and has the tools and talent to be a difference maker on the wing from St. Thomas More.
Six-foot-six swingman Damion Lee and six-foot-seven Adam Jones may be the most talented of the newcomers. Lee is a long and athletic slasher who can make plays on both ends of the floor while Jones is already committed to Fairfield and should be an impact player thanks to his combination of size and skill.
Indiana Faithfull should round out the starting line-up as the team’s starting point guard. Fresh off his Maine state championship a season ago, the six-foot-four lead guard looked great in STM’s open gym last week, showing his customary floor vision and passing ability in addition to an improved shooting stroke and surprising bounce around the rim.
Jarell Byrd and B.J. Cardarelli are two local products who will be very important coming off the bench. Byrd’s versatility could be crucial as he could potentially see minutes at several different positions while Cardarelli is likely to be the first big man off the bench. Dominique Spann is another familiar name as he returns from last year’s squad with a much improved game.
Elijah Bonsignore and Roy Mabrey provide head coach Jere Quinn with the luxury of having two potential division I players to bring into the game while sharp-shooter Aric Dickerson, playmaking guard Whis Grant, and point guards Christian Walck and Erik Shirvanian will also contribute valuable minutes.
While the talent on this St. Thomas More roster is enough to give the Chancellors a fighting shot at a championship this year, what could potentially put them over the top is a long list of readily noticeably intangibles. This is a gritty group, hardworking and tough with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, but in a good way. In that sense, they are very similar to some of the best St. Thomas More teams of years past, the type of teams that have thrived under Quinn and proven to be greater than the sum of their parts.
If this team can do the same, they could end up calling themselves champions.