Top Prospects in the MIAA
The 2017-2018 campaign looks to be a particularly strong one in the MIAA. The senior class in particular seems loaded with talent with a handful of players already committed to scholarship level schools and potentially more to follow before the year comes to an end.
Marlborough’s Chris Doherty is a man among boys, especially competing in the state’s division II level. If his teammates can get him the ball consistently, then Doherty is sure to put up some monster numbers. If not, the Notre Dame signee will probably put them up anyway, as his combination of aggression, power, and athleticism allows him to go get his own on the glass.
The MIAA boasts a trio of guards who are already committed to D1 schools. Newton North’s Ethan Wright is perhaps the most naturally talented of the bunch as he can score the ball from all spots on the floor, has the basketball I.Q. to match, and even averaged 9 boards a night last year to go along with his nearly 27 points. The Princeton commit even has a nice supporting cast at Newton North however Pace commit Chris Matthews unfortunately will miss the season due to surgery.
Brown pledge Thomas Shaughnessy will battle Wright tooth and nail, not just down the road in the Ivy League, but also this year for supremacy in D1 South. Shaughnessy had a breakout junior season in leading Needham to a sectional title last year and is as tough a guard as there is in the state. Brandon Monheimer gives him a nice running mate in the backcourt as well.
There isn’t a more potent scoring guard anywhere in the state than Lowell’s Alex Rivera. The UMass Lowell signee is known for his three-point range, and rightfully so, but he puts all part of his offensive repertoire on display at the high school level.
The favorites in D1 North though are likely St. John’s Prep who have a deep senior with plenty of size and a dynamic inside-out duo in Nate Hobbs and Tommy ONeil. Hobbs is one of the premier athletes in the state while O’Neil is an increasing versatile forward who is coming off a big summer. He’ll have plenty of help along the frontline with Matt Relihan and Colin Lomasney.
Maurice Works has returned to the city and his presence makes Tech Boston and instant contender in the D2 ranks as there simply aren’t many guards who can match his combination of explosiveness and playmaking ability. Ghared Boyce, who led Everett to a record of 19-3 a year ago, is another undersized guard with an exciting style as he can rain in jumpers from well beyond the arc and score it in bunches with ease.
Boston College’s Travis Evee and Bridgewater-Raynham’s Doug Alves are two of the best guards in D1 South. Evee, who recently scored his 1000th point, is taking over as the clear leader of the team but also has the likes of Riley Spencer as a strong running mate while Alves will be required to carry his team on most nights with his playmaking ability.
Jonathan Cenescar, a powerful and aggressive forward, will also be stepping into a new role at Cambridge following the graduation of last year’s storied senior class and back-to-back state championships. Colin Bradanese, one of the most skilled forwards in the state, will lead Central Catholic for the final time and add to his terrific career to date.
In the Central Division of the state, Shepherd Hill’s Jason O’Regan and Algonquin’s Kyle Downing will be relatively unmatched in D2 and D3 respectively. Cardinal Spellman big man Mikey Spencer is likely to be similarly dominant in D3 of the South while Admar Jaramillo leads the team on the perimeter. Watertown’s John Korte is already putting up huge number in D3 of the North while you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone capable of stopping Winthrop’s Tayjaun McKenzie in D4.
Other seniors to keep an eye on this year include Precious Okoh and Trahe Qualls at Brockton, Springfield Commerce’s Semaj Hunter, North Reading’s Colin Boucher, Pembroke’s Tyler Spencer and Sharon’s Malik Lorquet.
Top Juniors in the MIAA
A healthy Chris Camille is as explosive and naturally talented a junior as there is in the state and he’ll presumably be looking to make a big impact after missing most of the spring and the summer. He won’t have to go about it alone though as Mark Barrett puts up big numbers of his own and senior guard Andrew Geshickter is back to provide skill and leadership.
O’Bryant’s Rivaldo Soares and JE Burke’s Levar Williams will set the tone in the city. Soares is a powerful and increasingly versatile forward who is physically beyond most of his peers while Williams is a shot-maker who makes them in bunches and has been coming on strong over the course of the last year. Bedford’s Pete Kapanides and Newburyport’s Casey McLaren are a pair of junior forwards who are also ready to play starring roles in the D3 ranks.
There is another Layman brother coming up the ranks at King Philip and Kyle Layman demands the same attention his brothers did before him. Arlington has a player with equally impressive bloodlines as Jalen Samuels, the younger brother of Villanova freshman Jermaine, is ready for a big year.
It may be an uphill climb for Wellesley this season in D1 South but Alex Stoddard has made huge strides since last season and should be ready to play a starring role. Xaverian Brothers have a developing big man with a bright future in Patrick Mogan while Western Mass and Springfield Central is home to Hason Ward, a player with as much untapped upside as any 2019 in the MIAA.
Tyngsboro’s super skilled guard Christian Beck won’t surprise anyone by putting together another great year while North Andover’s Jake McElroy will rely on his skill and toughness to lead his squad as well this season.
Top Underclassmen in the MIAA
Sophomore Bensley Joseph may be one of the best point guards in the state regardless of class and he’ll get a chance to prove it this year as he takes the reigns for an Arlington program that went 20-1 last season while freshman Brendan McNamara is another to watch in that backcourt.
Chris Edgehill, who played a critical role in Franklin’s run to the D1 state finals last year, is ready to emerge into a true star as a sophomore as he teams with Samuels and Keene State bound senior Paul Mahon.
Aaron Cooley is loaded with long-term upside but the future is now in terms of competing for a state championship and so he’ll add to Newton North’s talented veteran core in that pursuit. Jarnel Snow Guzman will play an equally important role on a St. John’s Prep team with big aspirations.
Shrewsbury’s John West is already committed to Boston College for baseball but the 6’9 big man is still a major presence on the hardwood. The central region has another big man to watch at Whitinsville Christian’s in 6’10 Justin Vander Baan, who could be a diamond in the rough type.
Cambridge is building for the future as Khai Smith, who is already putting up big numbers, and Sage Ballard are talents in the 2020 class while Attleboro has a quality inside-out tandem in the sophomore class with Qualeem Charles and Bryant Ciccio. Catholic Memorial has a bright future as well with Jamall Griffin and Declan OSullivan in the class of 2020 and one of 2021’s best in Kurtis Henderson.
St. Peter Marian’s Shemar Dennis, Bedford’s Malachi Hazelton, Somerville’s Tyler Whitney-Sidney, Springfield Central’s Tarese Morse, O’Bryant’s Dasonte Bowen, Lynn English’s Ademide Badmus, Coyle & Cassidy’s Jayden Brown, Cardinal Spellman’s Craig Faria, Concord-Carlisle’s Graham Robinson, Lowell’s Carlos Nunez, Milton’s Earl Tucker, Needham’s Will Dorion, and Wareham’s Dominic Mello all contribute to an extremely deep collection of young talent in the MIAA as well.