Turning the Page on 2012
New England’s class of 2012 will go down as one of the most memorable in the region’s history.
Coming up through the ranks as underclassmen, the group appeared to have the collective potential to be one best classes to ever come through New England with the likes of Andre Andre Drummond, Alex Murphy, Khem Birch, Nerlens Noel, Kaleb Tarczewski, and Ricardo Ledo all being listed in 2012 at one point or another.
Ultimately of course, graduation years would shuffle with Drummond, Murphy, and Birch leaving in 2011 and Noel returning to 2012. But new stars emerged as Kris Dunn played his way into the McDonald’s All-American game; Georges Niang, Jake Layman, and Nikolas Stauskas solidified their status as top 100 national prospect; and Steven Adams arrived to headline a group of prep talent that also featured guys like Mitch McGary, Jakarr Sampson, T.J. Warren, Myles Davis and others.
With their high school and prep careers now a thing of the past, here’s a preview of what we can expect from this group at the next level:
Most Likely to Make an Immediate College Impact
1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – The path has been cleared by Anthony Davis but with virtually the entire country expecting Noel to just step in for arguably the best college freshman since Kevin Durant, expectations and pressure will both be in high supply as soon as Noel puts on the blue uniform.
2. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh – Adams should have the same immediate opportunity as Noel but without quite the same pressure of having to defend a national championship. The New Zealand native has all the tools, and will be asked to utilize them from day one in Pittsburgh.
3. Ricardo Ledo, Providence – He may have the biggest opportunity of all. Like Noel and Adams, he has minutes waiting for him on his arrival. But more than that, he’ll also have available shots as he’ll be asked to do what he does best (score the ball) following the transfer of Gerard Coleman.
Most Likely to Make the Biggest Long Term College Impact
1. Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona – The man they call Zeus took the path less traveled when he picked Arizona, spurning better opportunities to make a quick jump to the NBA in favor of long term development. If he stays in college for four years, he could play in multiple Final Fours.
2. Georges Niang, Iowa State – Niang could be as rare on the college level as he was in high school because he’ll have the ability to put points on the board from day one, but also projects as a four year college player. Odds are he’ll score a lot of points in that time.
3. Kris Dunn, Providence – The injury that will delay the beginning of his college career is an obvious setback, but there are some silver linings as he’ll get on the job training from senior Vincent Council and then get to step right into the starting point guard spot next year.
Most Important Under the Radar Commitments
1. Olivier Hanlan, Boston College –He’s the rare player who projects better at the next level because of his efficiency, acumen, and skill set. Given that, the immediate opportunity he’ll have, and the ideal fit in B.C.’s system and Hanlan is going to be a big part of the Eagles’ future.
2. Semaj Christon, Xavier – The Musketeers have a tradition centered around guard play and Christon is the latest playmaking guard to head from the prep ranks to the Musketeers. His arrival is only that much more anticipated given Mark Lyons recent transfer to Arizona.
3. Jarryn Skeete, Buffalo – He looked like a guy who was poised for a breakout season last fall, but Buffalo came in to get it done just before the early signing period. Now they’ve got a guy who a variety of higher level programs could ask themselves how they missed in a couple of years.
Biggest Mid-Major Steals
1. John Papale, Boston Unviersity – Facts are facts. NEPSAC Class A MVP, NEPSAC Class A Tournament MVP, school’s all time leading scorer, 46% career three-point shooter, 25 division I offers, 8 Atlantic 10 offers and he committed to a school in the America East Conference.
2. Ethan ODay, Vermont – The Catamounts locked O’Day up early and it was a good thing. He had an Atlantic 10 offer to his name at the time but that would have been just the tip of the iceberg given his phenomenal senior season and spot on the NEPSAC AAA 1st Team.
3. Ahmad Reid, Stony Brook – He had a record setting high school career in the region and yet most New England fans still don’t know his name. Word is that he had a great summer session at Stony Brook and may be poised to make immediate contributions in the America East.
Best Division II Value
1. Stefon Williams, Southern Connecticut – Athletic, long, six-foot-seven, lefty, with a rapidly developing skill set out to the three-point line. That’s the definition of a division I player and had Williams not been bit by the injury bug that’s exactly what he would have been.
2. Rodney Sanders, Southern NH & Adam Bramanti, Stonehill –Sanders was playing at such a high level at the end of the year it’s hard to believe a D1 program didn’t scoop him up, meanwhile had Stonehill not gotten Bramanti done early, he too would have likely found his way to a higher level.
3. Tyler McFarland & Alex Furness, Bentley – Furness was a guy drawing wide-ranging D1 interest for a long time and arrives at Bentey with still an abundance of upside. Meanwhile, his Maine counterpart is more about production than potential, and physically ready to step right in.
Biggest Division III Steals
1. Nate Howard, Keene State – When you’re 6’10”, can run and jump, have division I offers on the table, and are just starting to scratch the surface of your basketball ability you don’t commit to a division III school. But there is an exception to every rule.
2. Thomas Palleschi, Tufts – He’s got the type of size and physical presence that you rarely see outside of scholarship levels and while many expected him to end up in the Ivy League, the staff at Tufts locked in early and got their man.
3. Kyle Reardon, Rochester – Had he been interested in a division II scholarship his final destination would be somewhere different, but Reardon was committed to academics at the highest level and that helped Rochester land a highly skilled and versatile forward.