Top Prospects in the NHIAA
The sixth and final of our state association previews takes us to New Hampshire and the NHIAA.
The Granite State sees massive defections to the prep ranks every year, perhaps even more so than other New England states given the prevalence of various prep options relative to the population of the state, but what last season reminded us is that there are still sleepers to be found in the local ranks.
Kearsarge big man Tayler Mattos was a virtual unknown at this time last year, at least beyond his home state’s borders and he went on to put up some massive numbers with multiple 40-20 (40 point 20 rebound) games. He followed that up by making a name for himself on the grassroots circuit while proving himself against higher levels of competition. Mattos promises to be an impossible match-up again this year but he won’t be just a one-man wrecking crew. In fact, Kearsarge returns all five starters from a team that won a state championship in 2017.
Exeter returns Cody Morissette and while he is heading to the baseball diamond at the next level, where he’ll play for Boston College, he is a four year starter on the hardwood who has already earned all-state honors. Cody’s younger brother, Josh Morissette, is a freshman this year and expected to be one of the best underclassmen in the state.
Portsmouth is coming off back-to-back state championships with a D2 title in 2016 and a D1 title in 2017 but they’ll have to overcome some significant losses if they’re to have a chance at the three-peat. Cody Graham, who missed the grassroots season while recovering from surgery, will look to play a key role while Alex Tavares has led the team in scoring so far as they’re off to a 3-1 start.
Berlin’s Evan Arsenault and Moultonborough Academy’s Reece Swedberg are two other talented seniors in the state. Arsenault is a four year starter and undisputed leader of the team who runs the show from the point guard position. The 6-foot-7 Swedberg, who is returning to Moultonborough after a year at St. Paul’s, has a great combination of size and versatility to rely on.
Breakfield has a talented inside-out tandem to build around in the junior class. Keagan Calero is a three-year varsity startr who excels on the defensive end while Arie Breakfield is an athletic forward who can man the middle and dominate the paint. Cade Connelly, the younger brother of Tilton’s Cal, is also expected to take a big step forward.
Winnacunet junior Jack Schaake is both one of the state’s most improved players as well as one of its most dominant big men. He’s tough inside with good footwork but also has the skill set to face the basket and stretch opposing defenses.
Bishop Brady also has a talented big man in the class of 2019 in Ryan Johnson who plays primarily with his back to the basket and is still just growing into his body.
Inter-Lakes Eli Swanson and Manchester Central’s Yansel Reyes are two of the better sophomores to keep an eye on this year.