The Best Class in Mass
Massachusetts’ class of 2009 went down as one of the best in the state’s history. Besides the obvious influx of prep school talent, the class featured an incredible amount of local New England talent including Alex Oriakhi, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Erik Murphy, Mike Marra, and others.
2012 has similar potential and could end up going down as another one of the best classes to ever come through the Bay State.
Tops on our list is Khem Birch. The Canadian native made his first appearance in New England last spring on the grassroots circuit and while he played to rave reviews then, what he has done this season at Winchendon has surpassed that.
Birch has already emerged as one of the top interior players in Class A of the NEPSAC using his size, length, and unmatched athletic ability to make a huge splash in the league, and with two more years left in his career his ceiling is very high.
Alex Murphy secures the second spot on this list. The Rhode Island native is as smart, skilled, and versatile a player as there anywhere in the country and has a recruiting list that already features some of the very best college basketball programs in all of the land.
Filling the third spot is Nerlens Noel. Despite suffering a recent injury Noel has as much long term potential as anyone. He has all the length and athleticism to be special, but what makes him different are his incredible instincts, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Fourth ranked in the state is Kaleb Tarczewski, a six-foot-ten center from St. Mark’s School. Like the players ahead of him Tarczewski has already been targeted by a number of high major programs. Beyond his obvious size, Tarczewski also has a great frame and tremendous mobility for a player his size.
Cushing’s Domonique Bull comes in at fifth on the list and that in and of itself shows you just how special this class really is. Bull is another guy who we expect to see significant levels of high major recruitment. Best known for his ability to attack the basket and make plays off the dribble, Bull also sees the floor, passes well, and has a rapidly improving perimeter jumper.
Bull’s Cushing teammate Egi Gjikondi takes the sixth spot on the list. Gjikondi is just beginning to hit his stride in this, his first season in the NEPSAC. He may not have quite the same upside as some of the other big men on this list but he’s another guy who could see recruitment from the highest levels.
Rodell Wigginton is a newly arrived phenom at Boston Trinity Academy. On talent and tools alone he can hold his own with anyone on this list, but after making the move from Canada this fall he just needs a little more experience competing against a high level of competition, but his upside is tremendous.
Evan Cummins may be the most improved player in the class of 2012. We got to see him a decent amount last spring but by the summer he had already generated a solid buzz. His development has continued at a rapid rate this year at Northfield Mount Hermon and his recruiting stock has benefited because of it.
Olivier Paul Betu is the third Canadian native to crack Massachusetts’ top ten. The 6’1” guard has terrific vision and playmaking ability and appears poised to be the future of the Worcester Academy program. He comes in at nine.
Rounding out the top ten is Kamali Bey. He puts up staggering numbers at Sabis Charter but will have to alter his game in order to maintain the same levels of productivity against better competition this summer.
Honorable Mention: Macam Bak Macam, Newton North; Jaylen Brantley, Springfield Central; Tommy Carpenter, Northfield Mount Hermon; Aaron Davis, Brooks; Matt Ellis, Westford; Jared Johnson, Cushing; Eli Lubick, St. Mark’s; Akosa Maduegbunam, Charlestown; Elijah Okagbare, Boston Trinity; Kyle Reardon, Rivers; Shaquor Sandiford, Rivers; Canaan Severin, Worcester; Jaymie Spears, St. Mark’s; Mike Thorpe, Newton North; Lucas Van Nes, Northfield Mount Hermon; Steve Wynn, New Bedford.