Top Prospects in the VPA
As we said when we updated our state rankings earlier this fall, there are a lot of unknowns in the state of Vermont this year.
Of the six New England states, Vermont was the one that very rarely made their presence felt beyond their own state’s borders in many exposure settings and as a result they aren’t as well known to college coaches.
There were, of course, some exceptions.
Kam Farris had a breakout travel season while running with the New York Jayhawks as he showed an advanced skill set and picked up his first D1 offer in the process. This came on the heels of finishing as the runner-up for the state’s Player of the Year award as just a sophomore and so expectations were big coming into this junior season. Unfortunately, Farris went down with an injury in just the first game of the year. Stepping up in his absence for Rice Memorial have been a host of underclassmen in Leo Chaikin, Kiaran Connolly, and freshman Michael Ndayishimiye.
Crosstown rival Burlington, a program with an equally proud tradition, fell to Rice last week despite an 18 point performance from Kevin Garrison. An all-state award winner in each of the last two seasons, Garrison is one of the premier defenders in the state as well as a proven offensive weapon. He was a big part of Burlington’s 2016 state championship and has led the team to a D1 Final Four in each of his first three seasons.
The defending D1 state champions Rutland, took a 55-48 win over Rice before the holiday. Jamison Evans, a junior shot-maker, has quickly emerged into an impact player while Jared Nelson, Jack Morgan, and Noah Tyson are also key players for a team that is again expected to contend.
CVU, who fell to Rutland in last year’s state final, lost quite a bit of last year’s rotation but still returns Graham Walker, an athletic junior wing who could have a big year, while Will Burroughs has also emerged in the first couple weeks of the season.
BFA-St. Albans has a talented 6-foot-6 forward with versatile tools and clear upside in Jens Ulrich-Verderber. He’s off to a strong start to the season and getting plenty of help from the likes of Will Harvey as well.
Other players to keep an eye on include the St. Johnsbury duo of Antonio and Alex Carlisle, South Burlington’s Ethan Klesch and Evan Parker, Milton junior Ian Jennings, U-32 senior Kyle Booth, and Mount Mansfield senior Zach Reinhardt.
More than anything though, we’re looking forward to the coming season and the subsequent spring and summer revealing more names and building up the prospect list in the state of Vermont.