Prep Profiles 2022-23 Season: Vermont Academy
It is that time of year again, when we start to preview the top prep programs in New England.
Vermont Academy had a very young team last year. As a result, they took a number of growing pains in NEPSAC AAA. Between their returners now with more experience and talented new additions, expectations have certainly been raised for 2022-23.
3 Things You Need to Know About This Year’s Team
1) The young guys have grown up.
They return 8 total players, 4 of which were major contributors last year (Joson Sanon, Chike Ndefo, Darin Smith Jr., Jared Berry). Rodrigo Dos Santos, Jayden Watkins, Kris Pokla, Yunus Ayyildiz all improved and are ready to help as well.
2) Reinforcements are also here.
Coach John Zall continues to find hidden gems. Darius Lopes, Mantas Zilys, Yuki Ishibashi, and Sean Gough are all ready to help right away. Rokas Zilys and Justin Betts are good long term prospects to keep an eye on too.
3) As talented a young core as there is in New England.
They will be returning a ton of contributing players for the 2023-24 season with eight in total. This core was built by Coach Zall with the idea that it would allow them to be real competitive in New England's top league for a while.
3 Questions Heading into the Season
1) Are they ready right now?
In their 2nd full season in AAA last year, VA improved to 4 wins from 1 win. Is this the season that they are ready to break through and make a dent to the upper half of AAA?
2) Senior Leadership?
Last year the upperclassmen never played a crucial role in AAA prior to the season. Are these seniors ready to step up, lead, and use their experience? Senority does not always equate to quality leadership so this will be something to watch.
3) Sanon/Ndefo ready to take the next step?
The two are as talented an underclassman duo as there is in New England. With this in mind, it will be important if they can use their immense talents to produce on the court and contribute to winning.