Unsigned Series – Eric Long

New England Recruiting Report | Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Unsigned Series – Eric Long

The New England Recruiting Report’s “Unsigned Series” will profile some of the region’s top available prospects remaining in the class of 2014.  

This is the time of year when college coaches can occasionally realize that the things they were looking for in July aren’t necessarily the same things their team is missing right now.  

While it was length, athleticism, and a couple of high level plays that might have caught their eye six months ago, now they wish they had more toughness, unselfishness, and players willing to do anything necessary to win.  

Enter Eric Long.  

The Marianapolis Prep forward isn’t going to blow you away with his size or scoring totals, but he’s going to play with maximum effort, be an outstanding defender, and terrific rebounder.  

And he’s going to be able to play that role at virtually any level.

Long is a product of Team Scan, a New York City based AAU program which has quickly risen to a spot of prominence on Nike’s EYBL tour.  Long has been with Scan from the beginning and this summer played alongside the likes of nationally ranked prospects like Chris McCullough, Terry Larrier, and Cheick Diallo.

“Eric had a good summer,” Marianapolis head coach Andrew Vitale said.  “He just didn’t get noticed as much as some of the other guys did, playing behind all of those high-major bigs on the EYBL tour.”

While Long might never have been an offensive focal point this summer, he was undeniably an integral part of one of the best frontlines in all of grassroots basketball, proving his ability to defend and rebound with some of the very best prospects in the country as a result.  

“Playing with Team Scan and having spent his entire high school career playing in the NEPSAC, Eric is as battle tested as it comes,” Vitale said.  “He is a fearless player who backs down from no one.  He is an athletic, shot-blocking, rebounding player who has just scratched the surface offensively and is becoming more confident off the dribble.”  

While Long is currently averaging a double-double along with close to three blocks per game, it’s the qualities that don’t show up in the stat sheet that often times prove to be the most important for Marianapolis.  

“Defensively, he can guard an athletic wing but also a post player, because of his toughness and athleticism,” Vitale said.  “His toughness resonates throughout the team. The team goes as he goes defensively.”

That’s a recipe that now has Marianapolis playing their best basketball of the season, winning four of their last five including road wins at both Wilbraham & Monson and Brimmer & May in which they held the home squad to under 50 points.  

On the recruiting front, college coaches are once again beginning to notice Long’s total impact.  He once held early offers from mid-major programs in both the MAAC and CAA but is now primarily hearing from the likes of Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Colgate, Farleigh Dickinson, Wagner Byrant, LIU, NJIT, Vermont, and Maine according to Andrew Vitale, along with a slew of division II programs eagerly hoping to get a steal.  

With things getting busier by the week, essentially the only thing we know for sure is that whoever does get Eric Long won’t be left wishing for more toughness, defense, and unselfishness a year from now.