Prep Profile - St. Andrew’s
2016-2017 edition of St. Andrew’s Basketball should be one of promise and potential. The 2015-2016 team, although big and talented, lacked the defensive toughness and rebounding ability needed to win a championship according to head coach Michael Hart. This year’s group is different. They might not be as big, deep or as talented on paper, but they seem to have that toughness that was missing last season.
The toughness starts in the backcourt with two year starter Keyshaad Dixon. The 6-foot-2 senior had a 6 to 1 assist/turnover ratio last year and is an elite defender. He’s improved dramatically offensively and should have a breakout season. He will be assisted by 6-foot-1 Kahleb Downing. Downing has also improved and has added a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal. Sophomore Robert Baum is a potential future star for the Saints who has learned the system and will add valuable minutes both offensively and defensively. 6-foot-4 junior Shawn Christy adds another three-point threat capable of coming off screens and a solid defensive presence. Cameron Wilkins has looked impressive on both ends of the court during open gym and could provide added depth as well.
The most notable newcomer in the backcourt is 6-foot-3 sophomore and jumping jack Brycen Goodine, who brings an impressive resume to date and can score in a variety of different ways. With an already proven high learning curve, a strong work ethic and plenty of potential left to discover, Goodine has a chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the all-time great Saints.
Not unlike the backcourt, the forward positions bring more three-point shooting and toughness. 6-foot-8 junior Cole Swider might very well be the best shooter in all of New England and with improved ball-handling and footwork to match he should be ready to assert himself as a true star this year. A true gym rat as well, he’s on pace to score his 1500th point this season, but for the Saints to reach their collective potential they’ll also need him to make his mark on the glass this season.
Newcomer 6’8” combo forward Marko Savic arrives from the Czech Republic and has impressed during open gym. He combines a mid-range game with a three-point shot that has already shown improvement and a ton of versatility on the defensive end of the floor.
The center position holds the key to the Saints’ fortune with a pair of post-graduates both capable of making strong contributions in Paul Newman and Jack McLaren. The duo will play together at times or individually. The 6-foot-10 McLaren is a skilled big who can space the floor with a very consistent three-point shot and is a solid screen and pop/roll guy. His rebounding will be needed for the Saints to win games. The 6-foot-8 Newman, who is committed to Brown, has been involved in the school musical but has had time to attend some open gym sessions. He has a chance to be a huge part of the Saints on both ends. He plays with heart and desire and rebounds the ball at a fierce pace.
Overall, St. Andrew’s and head coach Mike Hart might not have quite the same size of depth, but they like their toughness, three-point shooting and clear role definition. Look for that to be enough for the Saints to be in the mix come post-season time.