Top Prospects in the RIIL
The RIIL is almost always good for some budding young talent, and this year is no different, but what there may be slightly more of this year is upperclassmen talent that has opted against moving into the prep ranks for the time being and instead choosing to stay home and compete for a local championship.
Bishop Hendricken lost a ton from last year’s team, including Justin Mazzulla to George Washington, but the return of Tyrone Weeks gives them another scholarship level talent to build their program around. The son and namesake of a former UMass star, Weeks is a lethal slasher and tough defender who is developing from a hybrid forward into a true wing.
Westerly senior David Tiedemann already has his scholarship wrapped up after committing to Assumption earlier this year. The skilled 6’8 forward has made rapid strides over the course of the last year but is still just scratching the surface of his potential. Unfortunately, he’s out with injury to start the season but he’ll eventually team with Taber Gates to give Westerly one of the best one-two punches around.
South Kingston senior Keegan Records is a late blooming big man who was a virtual unknown until this summer when he was offered his first full scholarship by Mars Hill University. He’s a man among boys on most nights in the RIIL and just as disruptive defensively as he is hard to stop offensively.
The defending D2 state champions, Cumberland, return arguably the most prolific scorer in the RIIL in junior guard Tyler Kolek. Known primarily for his southpaw jumper, Kolek can certainly make shots in bunches from long-range but his overall floor game is more versatile than he sometimes gets credit for thanks to a high basketball I.Q. Kolek has a nice running mate up front as well in Jackson Zancan, who is another three-year starter.
Cranston East has a star guard of their own in Aireus Raspberry, who is powerful and experienced against quality competition. The lefty is known for his ability to get to the rim but has developed a complimenting jumper over the years and is now one of the most dangerous playmakers in the state as a result.
Fellow junior Aaron Gray also returns to the floor this season for LaSalle Academy after a gruesome arm injury cost him his entire grassroots season. Gray is smooth and naturally talented though and so once he works the rust off, he could be on the verge of a breakout season.
Juanita Sanchez sophomore Shakiru Odunewu is one of the more intriguing underclassmen in the state as the 6-foot-6 forward has both athleticism and soft touch alike to develop in the coming years.
Narragansett’s Michael Levesque and Shea’s Erickson Bans are two others talented sophomores while Wheeler freshman Miles Fiore was a member of the team’s starting line-up from day one.