Prep Profile - Vermont Academy
The upcoming prep season is one expected to be characterized by parity in Class AAA. That won’t necessarily be the case in Class AA.
When it comes to sheer talent, and depth of overall talent, Vermont Academy appears to be the class of AA.
Now, being the most talented team isn’t always synonymous with being champions, but it’s certainly a good start.
A year ago, Vermont Academy was just a game away and so this year they’re not just talented, but they’re also experienced with head coach Alex Popp returning for his second season along with the senior core of Bruce Brown, Tyrique Jones, Patrick Fisher, Nick Brooks, Tinga Adiang and Michael Mundowa.
Brown is both the top ranked available prospect in New England as well as the player who is widely considered to be the best in Class AA. He’s athletic, continuously improving and uniquely experienced against the highest levels of competition after two years at Vermont Academy and two seasons in the EYBL.
Jones is his running mate. Coming off a big summer and subsequent debut in the ESPN 100, he’s powerful and explosive inside a crowded lane and one of the best rebounders in all of the prep ranks. He’s also headed to the Big East next year after his commitment to Xavier.
Fisher isn’t as celebrated as Bruce or Jones, and might not put up the same numbers, but in his own way he’s just as irreplaceable to the team’s success. He doesn’t need to score points to be effective because he’s a high level defender, full of intangibles and capable of getting into the lane to create shots for others.
Brooks is another lead guard who provides a nice compliment to Fisher, either coming off the bench or playing alongside him, because he’s loaded with speed and quickness and able to get anywhere he wants on the floor. Adiang is another defensive menace who has a ton of intangibles while Mundowa brings additional offensive firepower.
That six man unit will help to provide the continuity from last season and also set the tone for the arrival of a highly talented junior class.
Christian David, a 6-foot-7 swingman from Canada, is already a high-major target but has the combination of size, skill and basketball I.Q. to establish himself as a truly special prospect in the next few months.
He’s joined in the class by five other newcomers, all of whom are true New England natives. Bailey Patella scored his first division I offer this summer when he was still a member of the 2016 class and has made a quick adjustment to newfound levels of competition since arriving at Vermont.
Marcos Santos Silva also started to make a name for himself over the recent AAU season and has only continued to raise his stock since arriving in the prep ranks, scoring his first division I offer in the process.
Kendrick Gray was part of a budding dynasty at Rice Memorial High School but won’t be able to rely on just his physical tools and high level athleticism in the NEPSAC. Conversely, Corey Romich is a skilled and cerebral bigger wing who really knows how to play while Will Brady is another perimeter option who is tough, smart and can make open shots.
The perimeter depth doesn’t end there though as a pair of post-graduates are also on board this year in Kaden Baugh, a quality utility guard from upstate New York, and David Huber, a three-point shooter from Pittsburgh.
When it’s all said and done Vermont Academy currently has seven players with division I offers, three of whom at the high-major level, and no less than 13 future college basketball players on their roster. That’s a recipe that makes for the most talented team in Class AA. Whether or not that team becomes champions depends on just how well all of those individual parts come together over the course of the next four months.