Rankings Revisited: Class of 2007
It was more than five years ago that the New England Recruiting Report became the first news outlet of its kind, launching a website that was completely dedicated to covering high school, prep school, and grassroots basketball along with college recruiting in the New England region.
Part of the NERR’s coverage has always been our player rankings, and after having offered our opinions on nine different classes over the years, we’ll be willing to put our record up against anyone’s.
But make no mistake about it, we have made our fair share of mistakes. Players have proven us wrong both by failing to live up to their potential, as well as by overachieving.
Today, it’s time to begin the process of recognizing the latter, as we take a look at the players who proved themselves to be more than we anticipated.
Hopefully, by the time we have finished analyzing the five classes to come out of the region during the time of the New England Recruiting Report, we will be able to identify some commonalities that will help us to better project success in the future.
Let’s begin in the class of 2007:
Tim Abromaitis, Farmington High School, 14th in New England – He may have finished his senior season ranked 14th in New England, but he was far from it in October when Notre Dame became the only high-major program to offer him a scholarship. His skeptics appeared to be accurate two years into his college career, when Abromaitis still hadn’t cracked the Notre Dame rotation, but he broke out in his third season, averaging 32 minutes and 16 points per game while shooting 43% from behind the three-point line. He solidified his reputation last year as a fourth year junior, only to earn a variety of pre-season accolades leading into the 2011-2012 campaign. Unfortunately, Abromaitis curtain call was cut far too short when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee just six games into his season.
What we missed – A few things. First, Abromaitis was a late bloomer who was just starting to grow into his body by the time he committed to Notre Dame. Second, his ability to shoot the ball with range gave him a true niche as a stretch forward. Third, he picked the perfect college program for himself, as Notre Dame’s patience and willingness to redshirt him as a sophomore was crucial to his development. In other words, he wasn’t a high-major player in his first season, but he certainly was by his third year. Finally, the strength of his character was crucial to his continued development as he continued to work and improve throughout his college career.
Dane DiLiegro, Worcester Academy, 98th in New England – A Lexington, Massachusetts native who was doing a post-graduate year at Worcester Academy, DiLegro was widely considered to be a division II prospect until New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion offered him his first division I scholarship in April. Five years later, the UNH skipper looks like a smart man because of it. DiLiegro started 105 of his 116 games in a UNH uniform, became the 14th player in school history to finish his career with 500 points and rebounds, and is the second leading all time rebounder in school history with 854. In August, he signed a professional contract with Assi Basket Ostuni of the Italian Basketball Federation.
What we missed – Clearly his rebounding prowess wasn’t something we gave him enough credit for, or if we did, we didn’t put enough stock in the importance that role plays in a big man’s success. It’s a trend that we’ll see a couple more times over the course of the next four classes.
Thomas Baudinet, Taft School, unranked – St. Anselm’s took two guards from Connecticut in the class of 2008, Baudinet and Trinity Catholic’s John Mariano. At the time, Mariano was considered to be the better of the two commitments, but Baudinet went on to have a storied career at the division II level. The Watertown, Connecticut native finished his career as the third leading scorer in St. Anselm’s history while also being named NE-10 Player of the Year and NABC All-American third team as a senior. Baudinet was drafted in the sixth round of this fall’s NBADL draft and currently plays for defending D-League champions, Iowa Energy, the minor league affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets, and Washington Wizards.
What we missed – He could flat out shoot the ball, and more than that, he was a gutsy shot-maker, meaning that he wanted the ball in his hands down the stretch of games and never shied away from having the team’s fate rest in his hands. That combination of skill and confidence is incredibly rare, and has suited him well since day one.
Mike Ringgold, Winchendon School, 59th in New England – He was part of a loaded Winchendon roster and so he flew a little under the radar. If you didn’t look closely all you saw was a long, but skinny, forward who played hard and defended but couldn’t make a shot. Ringgold cracked the starting line-up from day one at Rider, and held down the position for all of his four years in the MAAC. He finished his career with 1,486 points, 14th best in Rider history, and 789 rebounds, fifth most in program history, while also being named to the All-MAAC third team as a senior.
What we missed – While he didn’t necessarily look the part, Ringgold was another guy who could flat out rebound the ball, and while we knew he was a great defender, we didn’t put enough value on that characteristic, as it was single handedly responsible for earning him his starting spot so early in his freshman year. More than anything, he was tough, played extremely hard, and just outworked people on the court.
Troy Barnies, Edward Little, 90th in New England – After a standout career at Edward Little High School in which he was named Maine’s Mr. Basketball as a senior, Barnes went on to be a four year starter at the University of Maine. He was a four year starter for the Black Bears, putting up 14 points and 8 rebounds per game as a senior, and earning All America East nods. Following his senior season, he agreed to a professional contract in Turkey.
What we missed – For the most part, it was the opportunity to see Barnies produce against quality competition. The New England Recruiting Report was formed in August of 2006 and so the summer circuit had already come to an end. Despite his dominance during the high school season, he was rarely challenged and so it was hard to assess just how much career over there would be to the college level.