With the start of basketball season fast approaching, HEA took an in-depth look at its alumni competing in the NEPSAC. Many consider the NEPSAC to be the top high school basketball league in the country. A league that produced a 2013 NBA rookie class that includes Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Steven Adams, Ricky Ledo, Erik Murphy, Alex Oriakhi, and Phil Pressey. We broke our alumni down into 2 separate categories, those who are returning to the league, and those who are new to the league.
RETURNING TO THE NEPSAC
Terance Mann of the Tilton School headlines the list of HEA alumni returning to the NEPSAC. Mann is entering his second year at Tilton School, but this will be his first as the undisputed leader of the team. With the departure of top 20 prospect Wayne Selden to the University of Kansas, Mann will be looked upon to fill the role of lead playmaker and scorer. Mann and his teammates will compete against a gauntlet of competition that is NEPSAC AA. Mann will look to build off of his Class AA Honorable Mention selection in 2012, and look to solidify himself as one of the top players in all of the NEPSAC in 2013.
Aaron McLean looks to right the ship at St. Mark’s School after missing out on the AA playoffs a year ago. Going into his 3rd year at the school, McLean is now the leader in the front court. McLean will be asked to anchor the defense while providing rebounding and toughness on both ends of the floor. McLean will look to build off a Class AA Honorable Mention selection and First Team All-ISL selection in 2012.
Sultan Olusekun leads Belmont Hill School in its search of post season play at the Class A level. Olusekun has been a steady presence at the point guard spot since his freshmen season, leading the team in most statistical categories. As a junior, Olusekun will look to once again solidify himself as one of the top guards in Class A, and the ISL.
Eric D’Aguanno is entering his second year at Marianapolis Prep, which was the surprise team out of Class AA to make a run into the tournament. Look for D’Aguanno to be called upon to shoulder more of the scoring load in 2013, as he has grown more adept at putting the ball on the floor to get more shot opportunities in the paint. Combine that skill with his ability to consistently knock down shots with range, and D’Aguanno is poised to make an impact in 2013.
Unique McLean returns to Hoosac School for his sophomore year, after leading his team to the Class D Championship on his way to earning Player of the Year honors as a freshman. After a successful summer on the AAU circuit, McLean is ready to make the jump to Class B, as well as a run at defending the title and his player of the year status, all while incorporate a more refined offensive skill set. Look for McLean to be dominant in his 2013 campaign.
After an early exit from the Class B tournament last year as a result of an injury to their top player in 2012, Beaver Country Day School will look to regain its dominance in Class B in 2013. With a healthy Jacquil Taylor, BCDS has a legitimate shot at the title. Looking to contribute to this team is junior Leo Connelly and sophomores PJ Tucker and Niles Cohen. Connelly will be looked upon to help space the floor with his shooting. Tucker is returning from an injury that sidelined him during the 2012 season. Tucker is a powerful guard who will be looked upon to contribute with his ability to guard multiple positions, and create plays while slashing to the hoop. Cohen has been a contributor on JV since his arrival at BCDS, put will look to crack the Varsity lineup this winter.
Jarris Ashley is a sophomore guard looking to crack into the rotation for St. Andrew’s School, who was Class AA runner’s up in 2012. Ashley is capable of contributing meaningful minutes at the point guard spot, and will look to compete for playing time in what has shaped up to be one of the deepest backcourts in all of the NEPSAC.
NEW TO THE NEPSAC
Headlining the HEA alumni who will be joining the NEPSAC this year is Bruce Brown and Christian Vital. The duo will form the backcourt of Vermont Academy, who added a plethora of talent in the class of 2016. Brown will be looked upon to bring his tenacious defense, competitiveness, and athletic ability to a team that has as much talent as any in Class AA. Vital will be asked to anchor the point guard spot in what is to be a high octane type of offensive attack. Look for this young nucleus to make an immediate impact, and Vermont Academy to be a serious contender to make a run to the Class AA tournament.
Kimani Lawrence will be playing his first season in the NEPSAC at Cushing Academy. Expectations for the freshman are high, as he joins a group of talented players coming off of a thrilling last second shot to win the Class AA championship in 2012. Lawrence will be asked to contribute immediately in a front court that lost Andrew Chrabascz, who is now at Butler. Lawrence is versatile enough to contribute on the perimeter as well, possessing the ability to knock down shots with range and attack the basket off the dribble. The 6’6″ forward will be playing alongside a talented group of veterans that include Syracuse commit Kaleb Joseph, St. Bonaventure commit Idris Taqqee, and Jalen Adams in the backcourt.
Tyree Weston will make his NEPSAC debut for Cheshire Academy. Weston joins a talented group of 2016 prospects who qualified for the Class B tournament in 2012. Look for Weston to bring his trademark scoring ability, along with his ability to rebound the basketball out of the backcourt. Weston has the potential to propel Cheshire Academy deep into the Class B tournament in 2013.
Ellis Christmas is a powerful guard who arrives at Suffield Academy by way of New York. Christmas will be asked to contribute immediately as a sophomore, and will shoulder much of the ball handling responsibilities for the defending Class B champions. Look for Christmas to solidify himself as one of the top guards in Class B, and to utilize his length and athleticism to create consistent scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Although Geo Baker saw action for Buckingham Browne & Nicholas last year as an 8th grader, this will be his first in the NEPSAC as a high schooler. The freshman possess great poise for his age, and will be asked to make a significant contribution out of the backcourt for a school that plays in a highly competitive Class A.
Jayden Depina, son of South Boston star Jonathan Depina, will look to make an impact in his first year at Noble and Greenough School. Depina is a talented young guard who will bring added depth and shooting to the Nobles backcourt, as they look to make a run to the Class B tournament.
Audric Sandoval is a young guard entering his first year at Class AAA powerhouse New Hampton School. Look for Sandoval to climb the ranks and eventually develop into a contributor at the Varsity level.