Which State Association has the Best Talent?
With most of New England’s top talent typically converging on the prep school marketplace it can be easy to forget about the prospects that remain in the six local state associations. Today we profile each of those respective associations, ranking them from top to bottom in terms of the number and quality of college prospects they possess:
The CIAC was bitten by the prep school bug this year with two of the state’s top rising seniors, Quincy McKnight and Jared Wilson-Frame, both opting to leave the region in order to reclassify at Phelps School and Believe Prep respectively. Nevertheless, the return of Fairfield Prep’s Paschal Chukwu still gives the CIAC the undeniable top individual senior prospect in any of the state associations. Bunnell’s Isaac Vann, East Hartford’s Kahari Beauford, Farmington’s Obi Momah, Darien’s Chima Azuonwu, Capital Prep’s Levy Gillespie Jr., East Catholic’s Winston Morgan, Crosby’s Tyshon Rogers, Hillhouse’s Raiquan Clarke, and Greenwich’s Alex Wolf are other seniors who have all attracted division I attention. A similarly strong junior class is headlined by St. Joseph’s Arkel Ager, Bloomfield’s Tyrique Jones, Fairfield Prep’s Thomas Nolan, East Hartford’s Devin Marsh, Xavier’s Elijah Pemberton, Ridgefield’s Patrick Racy, and Norwalk’s frontcourt tandem of Steve Enoch and Roy Kane. A strong underclassmen crop is led by Fairfield Prep sophomore Ryan Murphy, Weaver sophomore KeAndre Fair, University sophomore Brandon Hurst, Trinity Catholic sophomore Peace Ilegomah, Trumbull sophomore Matt Turner, Holy Cross big man Shawn Coles, and Weaver guards Chelyn Martin and Jacee Martin.
Central Catholic’s Tyler Nelson and Nick Cambio headline the seniors in the MIAA while Brookline, New Mission, and West Roxbury all have one-two punches of their own in Obi Obiora and Elijiah Rogers, Shaquan Murray and Asante Sandiford, and Freddie Oliveria and Markus Neale respectively. Other top seniors include Cambridge R&L’s Fredens Deneus and Cardinal Spellman’s Ryan Roach. The top junior prospects in the MIAA include Springfield Central’s Chris Baldwin, Milton’s Juwan Gooding, Lynn English’s Johnny Hilaire, Mansfield’s Brendan Hill, Newton North’s Tommy Mobley, Durfee’s Tyree Robinson, and Catholic Memorial’s Aamahne Santos. The St. Peter Marian tandem of Makai Ashton-Lanford and Greg Kuakumensah headlines a sophomore class that also includes Braintree’s Keyshaad Dixon, Bishop Feehan’s Mike Nelson, East Boston’s Ernie Chatman , Catholic Memorial’s Kellan Grady, and St. Bernard’s Garrett Stephenson while Cambridge RL’s Jakigh Dottin, Belmont’s Jalyn Hinton, and Luneburg’s Calvin Whipple headlines the freshmen.
While Connecticut and Massachusetts typically lead the way in New England, Maine isn’t as far behind as you might expect in the public school ranks. A particularly strong senior class includes Hampden Academy’s Isaiah Bess, Bonney Eagle’s Dustin Cole, Hampden Academy’s Zach Gilpin, Greely’s Mike McDevitt, and Portland’s Jayvon Pitts-Young, all of whom have already received scholarship offers, along with others like Nate Alexander (Edward Little), Andrew Cartwright (Nokomis), Andrew Middleton (Leavitt Area), Reuben Moses (Thornton), and Brad Shields (Presque Isle). The junior class isn’t quite at the same level but still features Kyle Bouchard (Houlton), Jack Simonds (Falmouth), Ben Malloy (Bonney Eagle), and Nicholas Mayo (Messalsonskee). An up and coming sophomore class features Shyheim Ulrickson (Mt. Ararat), Nicholas Gilpin (Hampden), and Justin Guerette (Cape Elizabeth) among others.
It’s a pretty noticeable jump from three to four although the state of Vermont does have the St. Johnsbury tandem of Vlad Cobzaru and Brendan OShea along with a similar one-two punch at U-32 in Ryan Booth and Chris Collins. Other top seniors include Pavin Parrish (Rochester), Jason Manwaring (Williamstown), Tom Fitzgerald (Rice), Marcus Thornton (Spaulding), and Lucas Aube (CVU) among others. James Wells (Rice), Tristan Ross (St. Johnsbury), and Tinga Adiang (Mt. Mansfield) lead the way in the junior class while Rice’s Kendrick Gray headlines a strong sophomore contingent which also includes his teammate Ben Shungu and Josh Hale (Burlington).
#5 Rhode Island
Classical’s Kealen Ives is perhaps the lone bright spot in a senior class that has been otherwise decimated by prep school transfers. Corey Daugherty is on a similar level all to himself in the junior class while Chris Diclemente (Prout) is also notable. A few highly talented youngsters, most notably Prout freshman Tomas Murphy, keep the RIIL out of the cellar, while Smithfield sophomore Nathan Patenaude and Portsmouth freshman Cole Swider are nice prospects as well.
#6 New Hampshire
Merrimack’s Eric Gendron is head and shoulders above the competition in the senior class while others like Patrick Welch (Pembroke), Caleb McKearin (Campbell), and Roger Larrivee (Derryfield) attempt to close the gap. A deeper junior class includes Trinity forward Wenyen Gabriel, Bishop Brady guard Jourdain Bell, and the Manchester Memorial duo of Oumaru Kante and Kabongo Ngalakulondi.