Prep Profile Tilton School
Expectations are nothing new at Tilton. In fact, they’re something head coach Marcus O’Neil’s teams have become accustomed to over the years.
The Rams have been pre-season favorites in class AA, and class B before that, since Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel first transferred in as juniors. There have been no gaps of talent since with guys like Gerard Coleman, Georges Niang, Nerlens Noel, Domonique Bull, and others.
Even more impressive than that talent, has been Tilton’s history of backing up those expectations. They won four straight NEPSAC championships from 2008 to 2011 and advanced to the 2012 title game.
With the departure of last year’s senior core, this year’s Tilton team is the youngest we’ve seen in recent years…except for one notable exception.
Wayne Selden is back for his senior year and he’s eager to leave on a winning note and set the tone for future Tilton teams to have similar success.
“I’m going to have to be the leader, definitely set the tone,” Selden told ESPN.com in October. “Everything is going to be new. We just want to come out, give it our all and set the trend for future seasons.”
Selden, who is one of the most accomplished scorers in the entire country, knows that it will take more than just scoring points to help Tilton return to the NEPSAC finals.
“That’s something I’ve been working on,” he said, “being a complete player. I know I’m going to have to defend, rebound and score.”
More than that, he’s probably going to have to defend and rebound against bigger players.
While Selden projects as a guard when he arrives at Kansas next year, the one other thing Tilton lacks in addition to experience is sheer size.
Sophomore big man Cameron Durley should be poised to take on a much bigger role this season, but after that the team lacks a true interior presence. That means Selden will have to fill the gap, utilizing his size and power to make his presence felt on the glass and potentially defend a variety of different positions.
Additional experience will be added by incoming post-graduates Peter Drescher and Chester Victor. Drescher comes to Tilton by way of Jamesville Dewitt High School in New York, a program that, similar to Tilton, took four straight state championships from 2008 to 2011 before being knocked off by Tappan Zee in last year’s New York state tournament.
In other words, Drescher will be just as anxious to end his career on a winning note as Selden will.
Victor is the team’s most pleasant surprise. A long six-foot-one guard from Louisiana, he provides potentially one of the team’s biggest defensive weapons on the perimeter along with a versatile offensive threat that should be able to compliment Selden nicely.
Lee Messier is a junior transfer from Bishop Hendricken High School in Rhode Island, and so he is another player that comes from a winning tradition. Messier was out with injury the day we visited the Tilton gym but he’ll provide one of the team’s better long distance threats from behind the three-point line.
Durley is one of four strong pieces to a very talented 2015 class at Tilton. John Witkowski is a skilled and cerebral forward ready to take on increased responsibilities this season while Putnam Science transfer Jonathan Joseph is battle tested at the point and ready to run the show after his invaluable experiences doing the same on the AAU and Nike circuits with the BABC.
Terance Mann is the prospect with the best chance to develop into the next star to come out of the Tilton School. Mann’s tools and talents were on full display earlier this fall at the Elite 75 – Frosh/Soph Edition and he’s still only scratching the surface of his potential.
With good size, a smooth floor game, and the type of instinctive feel for the game that comes from being the son of a coach (Mann’s mother is the head women’s coach at Northeastern University), his future is very bright. While he’ll have a chance to learn under Selden this year, he’ll undoubtedly be needed to make a big impact right away. That’s going to be a running theme for all four of Tilton’s sophomores if the Rams hope to make another run at a NEPSAC title.
Yes, they may be young and they may be undersized, but they have AA’s biggest star, a solid trio of incoming upperclassmen from winning backgrounds, a highly talented sophomore quartet, and a coach who has won four New England championships in the last five years. And that’s a recipe that will give them a chance to return to championship Sunday.