Prep Profile – Tilton School

New England Recruiting Report | Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Prep Profile – Tilton School

Can anyone beat Tilton?

That is once again the question as another season in class AA of the NEPSAC is set to begin. 

After four straight New England titles, the Rams return their five man core from last season’s championship team. 

But New England titles aren’t the loan goal at Tilton anymore.  Since Alex Oriakhi, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, and Gerard Coleman led the team on a Cinderella run to the 2009 National Prep Championship, they set a new standard of excellence, and this year’s team is eager to follow suit. 

“We want to win class AA again this year and then win the national prep championship,” Wayne Selden recently told the New England Recruiting Report.  “Basically we just don’t want to lose at all.” 

As lofty as those ambitions may be, especially considering the quality and depth of the competition in class AA, it isn’t impossible. 

With their returning core of Nerlens Noel, Georges Niang, Wayne Selden, Domonique Bull, and Goodluck Okonoboh, Tilton’s first five has as much experience, continuity, size, and sheer talent as any prep program. 

Noel is arguably the pre-eminent defensive big man in the entire nation while Niang is one of the most proven inside-out scorers around.  Together they form as complete of an interior duo as there is, not just in New England, but in the entire country. 

When you add Okonoboh to that mix, head coach Marcus O’Neil has both a tremendous interior rotation as well as the flexibility to go big across his front line by putting the trio on the floor together. 

Selden and Bull combine to anchor the backcourt, and while neither is a point guard, they are plenty capable of creating offense for themselves and others. 

Selden only recently returned to the court after missing all of September following off-season leg surgery, but is quickly returning to his old form following a summer that saw him contribute to two AAU national championships as well as a Nike EYBL title. 

“He’s back, playing well and looking sharp,” O’Neil said. “He’s shooting it well and looks healthy and able to make all the athletic plays.”

While the quality of the first five is indisputable, the key to this team’s success may be their bench, especially when it comes to competing with AAA teams in 40 minute games. 

Kevin Crescenzi, a post-graduate from Florida, looks poised to make an immediate impact with his strong body and shot making ability, but the Rams will need more than just him to step up off the bench. 

Fellow post-graduate and Massachusetts native Caleb Unni looks like the most likely candidate in the backcourt while Mike Swanson returns to provide added depth up front.  Ben King and Brandon Bibbs could also contend for playing time. 

Ultimately, this year’s Tilton team still has some questions to answer, but the right answers could pay major dividends with a fifth straight NEPSAC title and a second national championship all within their reach.