Prep Profile - Worcester Academy
When Worcester Academy takes the court for their first game on Wednesday afternoon, they’ll have a much different look than when we last saw them.
Instead, that group has been replaced by what can only be described as a definite youth movement with as many as eight different underclassmen who could contend for time in this year’s rotation.
The lone returners with any real experience are Charlie Clay and Jack Zimmerman, a pair of senior guards who will need to play constant leadership roles this season, not just for the sake of this year’s team but also to set the tone for Worcester Academy teams of the future as they help establish a culture for this young core.
Clay is a point guard full of intangibles. He is a gym rat and extremely hard worker who maximizes his abilities and has natural leadership tools. Zimmerman made great strides during his first season in the prep ranks and could be ready to emerge and deliver a big senior year. He’s strong and quick with an attacking style and should be one of the team’s top playmaking threats this season.
A deep and talented sophomore class includes the likes of Mitch Doherty and Michael Rabinovich along the frontline, Matthew Corey and Jordan McAllister on the wing, and Dylan Lien and Paul Durkee in the backcourt.
Durkee is the most experienced of the bunch and so potentially able to have the smoothest transition to the prep level. He’s already strong with a high basketball I.Q. and an evolving perimeter skill set. Lien already owns a high skill level, especially when it comes to shooting the ball, and is now just filling out physically and growing into his body.
McAllister is a New York native who may only be just a sophomore but arrives with a man’s body. He can attack the rim, absorb contact or pull-up in the mid-range area to put points on the board. Corey is another shot-maker with deep range and the fact that his frame continues to stretch (he currently stands at 6-foot-6) means he has some very intriguing long-term potential.
If Durkee is the most experienced of the sophomores, Doherty may be the most talented. He is a highly skilled 6-foot-7 big man whose feel for the game and basketball I.Q. is maybe even more impressive. He was arguably the best player in the gym the day we watched and should start making a name for himself in the very near future. Rabinovich is a lanky forward who is fundamentally sound around the rim but gradually expanding his face-up game and reminds the coaching staff of former D1 recruit Tommy Rivard.
The most naturally talented prospect on the roster may be freshman guard Quest Harris. He’s explosive, charismatic and ready to make plays at a high level from day one in the NEPSAC. That isn’t to say he still doesn’t have plenty to learn, but he’s going to play an important role for Worcester right off the bat and is a big part of the program’s future.
The team’s other notable freshman is another highly talented youngster, albeit one who is currently out with injury. Judson Martindale is a 6-foot-5 wing who made a name for himself coming up the ranks with his ability to make shots and finish above the rim. He was expected to see immediate time before his injury and will likely make his presence felt before the season comes to an end.
With such a young roster, expectations must be tempered, but this is still Worcester Academy, where the tradition is as proud as any in New England. So while they may not be hoisting a championship at the end of this season, the Hilltoppers have those types of aspirations in the future and rightfully so with one of the deepest and most talented young cores in the NEPSAC.