Shittu Dominates Small Vermont 2018 Class
Vermont’s class of 2018 is regretfully less deep than their other New England counterparts.
That isn’t to say that they don’t have quality pieces in the local state association, because they certainly do with the likes of both BFA St. Albans forward Jens Ulrich-Verderber and Burlington guard Kevin Garrison in 2018, but that we haven’t seen players from the Green Mountain State distinguish themselves outside their states borders with the same frequency with which we have those from Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
The Memorial Day Super 16 was certainly one exception when Lone Wolf had a strong showing against good competition allowing players like Ulrich-Verderber to prove themselves and earn their just recognition.
Unfortunately though, those moments have been few and far between this year, despite a strong passion for basketball within the state. Not one player from the state accepted an invitation to the Elite 75 and so missed out on the opportunity to play in front of 75+ college coaches and be noticed by our NERR staff.
Consequently, these latest Vermont 2018 rankings are limited to just five players, three of which come from the state’s prep powerhouse at Vermont Academy.
What the state does have, thanks to Vermont Academy, is New England’s best overall prospect and a top ten national prospect in Simisola Shittu who is now considering Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, UConn, and New Mexico after essentially having his choice of college programs in the country.
At 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, Shittu is a plus athlete who can dominate the game inside but where he really differentiates himself is with his ability to handle and pass the ball for his size. He has some point forward type potential and his ability to take the ball off the glass and start the break himself is among the very best. As he continues to develop defensive versatility and improve the mechanics and consistency of his jump shot, his long-term ceiling is the highest in New England.
Shittu’s two returning teammates, Sebastijan Skoko and Jon Lyons, both had big summers in their own right. Both starred side-by-side with the Boston Warriors while Skoko also had the honor of playing with the Serbian national team. Skoko earned a division I offer from Rider earlier in the year while showing his ability to make plays from the lead guard position. When he left the Warriors to play for the Serbian national team, Lyons embraced the opportunity to step-up and showed just how much his game has developed in the last year as he not only made shots but was able to put the team on his back for stretches at a time.
For the time being, those are the only five players that have thus far distinguished themselves in the state of Vermont, but we remain hopeful that others will emerge, not just during the coming high school season but by embracing the opportunity to compete against the region’s best during the non-scholastic season as well.