Team New England - #BeSeen Recap
Last week, in conjunction with the Impact Sports Network, we released the Be Seen video for Team New England.
The trailer documented the vision and execution of owner and program director Isaiah Davis, who left his full-time job years ago to build a wholistic grassroots program to serve inner-city youth throughout the region.
TNE now features roughly 80 teams and includes so much more than just basketball including corporate internships for high school juniors, a free summer enrichment camp for kids in Boston, and a true home facility complete with classrooms for tutoring and academic support.
On the court, Team New England is both talented and ascending, returning to their roots as a descendant of the New England Playaz, once an annual powerhouse.
Brown put up huge numbers at Mountain Mission high school but still flew relatively low under-the-radar, with the pandemic removing any opportunities for exposure last spring. Now, he’s headed to Vermont Academy for a post-grad year and getting a chance to show off his game this spring…which very frequently includes explosive dunks and shifty pull-ups off the dribble.
Ademide Badmus has been one of the most dominant big men in the MIAA in recent years. He’s known as a bully inside, using his thick frame and strong body to carve out real estate and overpower most defenders he sees in the state association. This spring, he’s showing some new nuances to his game though with footwork, fakes, and passing instinct. Prep school remains a possibility for the unsigned senior, but he recently landed his first D1 offer and is hoping to go to college right away.
TNE also features Mekhi Dedrick, a rising senior who is widely known as one of the most talented players in the city of Boston. The Dorchester native is still growing into his body but he’s smooth and quick off the dribble, able to shake his defender with ease and provide increasing frequent high-level plays.
Ty Higgins is the elite shooter of the group. A mainstay at Vermont Academy over the last two years, Higgins pure stroke and deep shooting range got him noticed at a very early age and since then he’s added inches to his frame, built up his body, diversified his game, and started to develop lead guard skills.
Ugo Nwachukwu and Orlando Wallace are new names to the region, but that won’t remain the case for long. Nwachukwu is a broadly built big man who is immovable inside the paint and typically able to assert his will. He’s headed to Springfield Commonwealth next season. Wallace attends Iona Prep in New York, where Davis’ connections have always led to impact talent. The 6-foot-9 big man arrives with D1 offers already in hand, but is still just coming back from an injury that cost him all of his junior season.
Jaden Hill and Martin Wilson are a reliable perimeter duo from Belmont Hill. Wilson is an original member of the program and a glue guy for this year’s varsity team thanks to his maturity and high character. Hill is a 94-foot defender who can pressure opposing ball-handler’s and spearhead the team’s defensive system.
Christian Fontanez is a similarly valuable blend player along the frontline as the 6-foot-6 forward from Paulo Freire Charter can plug a variety of holes while Denzel Correia is a long and smooth wing guard from Rocky Hill Country Day School with an intriguing upside.
Class of 2023
Cathedral High School’s Kamari James is another well-known product from inside the city of Boston. He has good size and strength in the backcourt, some attacking playmaking ability, and a developing jumper.
The player who has burst onto the scene this spring though has been Marianapolis Prep’s Jack Margoupis. A forward with good size and a guard-like skill-set, specifically with his ability to shoot the ball, Margoupis is an ideal fit for the modern game…and has enough bounce to rise-up and flush some big finishes too.
Margoupis started to announce his ascension at the Northeast Hoops Festival, and simultaneously so too did Tyrese Melo Garcia. He was already a player who had put himself on the radar earlier in his career, but the progression of his game matched with his still untapped upside has been very evident this spring.
New Mission’s Hassan Jenkins is a major mismatch problem. The strong-bodied 6-foot-3 wing can bully smaller defenders around the basket and drive slower or less mobile ones from the perimeter. As he keeps developing his perimeter skill-set, his stock should only rise as well.
Dante Kikuba is a jitter-bug guard from Framingham High School who provides steady contributions while Emmanuel Beldeh is a jack-of-all-trades 6-foot-3 utility player from Rocky Hill.
Josh St. Jean is an ultra-intriguing 6-foot-8 forward who attended Lynn English this year and is reportedly mulling a move back to 2024, where he would only strengthen an already very strong class within the program. St. Jean is long and athletic with an imposing frame and clear long-term potential.
Class of 2024
Duane Thompson is the best long-term prospect in the program right now and one who is poised to make his NEPSAC debut next season at Cushing. He is already a jumbo-wing with terrific size on the wing at 6-foot-6 along with the frame to absorb contact. He’s also one of the most skilled players in the program with a terrific shooting stroke from behind the three-point line.
Ramsay Checo has already made a name for himself, albeit in a shortened and unusual freshman year, but he’s a scoring lead guard who is highly skilled with threes, step-backs, and a tight-handle alike. Perhaps most importantly, he has that drive to improve with a motor that runs as hot on the practice floor as it does under the game lights.
East Providence’s Trey Resendes may be the best 2024 guard we’ve seen from the Ocean State thus far and is a true point guard with a throwback style approach as he runs the show, makes others better, and keeps the team organized with his maturity and feel for the game.