Prep Profile Wilbraham & Monson
No Drummond. No Dunn. No problem.
That might as well be the motto at Wilbraham and Monson Academy this year.
The roster may not have the headliners that it once projected, but there is still a whole lot to like about head coach Chris Sparks’ squad this year.
For one, their guard play will be as good as anyone’s in class AA of the NEPSAC.
Secondly, the future is incredibly bright with a stable of young up and coming talent, many of whom are likely to see plenty of playing time early in their prep career.
Jaylen Brantley and Naodo Lo will lead the way for this year’s squad. Brantley, now in his second year at Wilbraham, will run the show from the point while Lo, a post-graduate who comes to Massachusetts by way of Germany, will likely start off the ball. Together they form a duo that can make shots from long range as well as they can make good decisions with the ball in their hands. They are both incredibly poised with great presence on the floor and that veteran stability is the perfect fit for what is otherwise a fairly young team.
The Brantley/Lo one-two punch is just the tip of the iceberg in a backcourt that is as deep as it is talented. Alex Ramone, a post-graduate from Sprain, is already committed to Colgate for next season and provides the crafty floor game and instinctive I.Q. you would expect from a European product. Boston native Robinson Vilmont is the ideal compliment, as a quick creative guard who can make plays with his dribble as easily as he can heat up with his jumper.
The teams two other post-grads are Mike Boornazian, a graduate of Xavier High School in Connecticut, and Mark Overderost, a seven-foot-three center from New Zealand. Boornazian is one of the most improved players in New Engalnd over the course of the last year and appears to be playing the best basketball of his career in preparation for the upcoming season. Overdost will provide a huge presence in the middle while giving some international experience to what is otherwise a very young frontline.
One of the team’s most important additions will actually be a return of sorts as Kamali Bey is finally healthy and ready to make his debut in a Wilbraham and Monson uniform after missing all of last season with an injury. The Springfield native returned to the court this summer but has made huge strides in the three months since, looking noticeably smoother and more athletic when we watched him work out this fall.
Bey could ultimately provide minutes at a variety of different positions this year as could sophomore Joey OConnell, a skilled and smart six-foot-five sophomore swingman.
In the class of 2015, the squad has a “big three” both literally and figuratively. Marcel Pettway, Djery Baptiste, and Darnay Gray are not only uniquely talented but they are also especially big and strong for their ages. Pettway is the low post scorer, Baptiste the long and athletic hybrid rim protector, and Gray the combo forward who can create mismatches with his strength and skill. Together, they can hold down positions three through five and form what could develop into one of the premier frontcourts in all of New England.
So while this year’s Wilbraham and Monson team may not have two McDonald’s All-Americans on their roster, they may have more division I prospects than any other class AA program. With so much youth that might not make them the favorites in 2011-2012, but moving forward there may not be another program that is better set for long term success.