Vermont 2024 Rankings

By Owen Carlson | Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

Vermont 2024 Rankings

After the conclusion of the spring/summer grassroots season last weekend, we thought it was time to start putting out state by state rankings for the class of 2024, ultimately ending with New England as a whole. As always, these rankings are updated throughout the season as we get more eyes on players around the region. They also do not yet include players in the class who have just transferred in from other parts of the country. 


Here’s a first look at the top five players in the state of Vermont’s class of 2024 rankings


Coming in at the top three spots is the Vermont Academy trio of Chike Ndefo, Azmar Abdullah, and Mantas Zilys


Ndefo is a 6’7” wing/forward who is known primarily for his versatile defensive capabilities, but he is also able to handle the ball comfortably in the open court and finish with strength above the rim. He was a leading contributor on an already powerful VA team as a junior this past season, averaging 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He has already received offers from nine Division I schools, including UMBC, Fairfield, Siena, Iona, Drexel, Manhattan, Towson, Mount St. Mary’s, and Stony Brook. Ndefo competes for Crown Basketball in the Hoop Group Showcase League.


Abdullah is a 6’3” point guard/shooting guard who played for Bishop Hendricken in RI last season and scored 30+ points in multiple games, including a 47-point performance against Classical HS during which he hit 10 threes. He consistently knocks down shots off the catch and off the dribble, but he also has elite court vision and great handles. He also suffocates high-level guards on defense and forces turnovers. He has received offers from six Division I schools (all during this summer), including Fairleigh Dickinson, New Hampshire, NJIT, American, Boston University, and Brown. Abdullah competes for Basketball Club of Rhode Island in the Hoop Group Showcase League.


Zilys is a 6’5” lefty point guard who regularly knocks down quick-release shots from anywhere on the floor. He has a fast first step and gets going downhill with ease, and he can maneuver through traffic to create space to finish near the rim. He also guards players relentlessly on the defensive end and forces bad shots. He was another important piece of an already-strong VA team this past season, averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds to go along with his 36% three-point percentage. He has received offers from three schools, including Stony Brook, Western Illinois, and Eastern Illinois. Zilys competes for Young & Reckless in the Hoop Group Showcase League.


Coming in at fourth is 6’9” forward Drew Bessette, who has won two Vermont State Championships with Rice Memorial HS. He has been named to two Vermont Dream Dozen teams and earned Burlington Metro Player of the Year honors this past season. He has received an offer from Division II Saint Michael’s College. Bessette competes for NY Renaissance in the EYCL. 


Closing out the top five on the list is another Vermont Academy Wildcat in 6’0” point guard Jayden Watkins. He was named the most improved player in the Vermont Academy program last season, during which he averaged a 3/1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He handles the ball confidently on offense and defends the ball well. Watkins competes for Crown Basketball in the Hoop Group Showcase League.


Coming in at sixth and seventh on the list are two 6’7” forwards in Vermont Academy’s Matt Leaver and Champlain Valley Union High School’s Tucker Tharpe. They are followed by two guards at the eighth and ninth spots on the list, including St. Johnsbury Academy 6’1” combo guard Harry Geng and South Burlington High School 6’2” guard Tyler Bergmans. Finally, rounding out the top ten players in Vermont is Colchester High School 6’5” forward Zach Davis


Stay tuned as we continue to release our 2024 rankings in the next week.