Prep Profile - Winchendon School
A new day has dawned at the Winchendon School.
Longtime head coach Michael Byrnes, who had been at the helm of the program since 1996, has moved on to the college ranks at Robert Morris University and Matt Quinn has assumed control of the program. Quinn comes into his new position as a first time head coach with a terrific reputation and even pedigree, being the eldest son of St. Thomas More head coach Jere Quinn.
The program that Quinn inherits is one that has undergone significant philosophical changes since last season, with the Winchendon School now attempting to target high academic students and hoping to utilize their basketball program as a catalyst in that endeavor.
The end result will be a team that may lack the size and star power of years past but one that will be just as scrappy and disciplined as ever.
The team’s best assets will be in the backcourt where Xavier Pollard and Dennis Green form a talented tandem.
Pollard, a post-graduate from Suffield Academy, projects as the team’s most capable scorer and creator this year. An all league performer at Suffield, Pollard is an explosive playmaker who goes right at the defense and is capable of putting points on the board in bunches.
Green is a New York native who arrives at the school as a sophomore and may already be the team’s most talented player. A big and strong guard who can handle, pass, shoot, and defend, Green’s biggest challenge will be attempting to impose those talents against opponents who are two and three years his senior.
Possibly rounding out a three guard line-up could be Amadou Bah. While not the pure scorer that Pollard is or as individually talented as Green, no one may be more important to this team’s success. A sheer competitor with undeniable leadership skills, Bah will have no adjustment period to his new head coach after having spent last year at St. Thomas More and will act as the coach on the floor in many ways.
In reality, the starting line-up is likely to still be determined, especially in the backcourt, where competition among teammates in practice will undoubtedly carry over to the games. Varum Ram, Morgan Young, and Corbyn Moye could all contend for those spots.
Ram fits the new Winchendon prototype, a tremendous student in the classroom who will also contribute on the hardwood, he is a pure point guard with a high motor and even higher GPA. An asset on both ends of the floor, he distributes the ball and attacks with his dribble while locking down on the defensive end.
Young is a sniper from Montana who was on fire the day we were in the Winchendon gym and projects as a definite zone buster off the bench. Finally, Moye wasn’t in action when we watched but is said to be one of the team’s most talented players.
While the team has good depth in the backcourt, they will be noticeably undersized up front. Florida native James Cambronne is the team’s biggest player at 6’6” and a good looking prospect along the frontline, capable of producing both with his back to the basket as well as facing up, while Jamil Ebo, a post-graduate from Kingswood-Oxford in Connecticut, has the size and explosive athleticism to be effective as a face-up/hybrid four-man.
Siondueh Burnette is an undersized big man at six-foot-four, but one who can overpower bigger players thanks to his powerful build and low center or gravity. Meanwhile Trey Tucker, a natural wing player who shoots it well from the perimeter, could see time at either of the forward positions.
Ultimately, there is no denying that this team will be undersized and without some of the big names that have headlined Winchendon rosters of the past, but they have weapons with which they can compensate. They are very quick, with good depth in the backcourt, and a legitimate ten players who should see time in the rotation. Look for Coach Quinn’s guys to push the tempo, apply a significant amount of defensive pressure, and play a hard-nosed and gritty brand of basketball that will be reflective of the tradition that Winchendon basketball has established over the years.