Prep Countdown: No. 13 Northfield Mount Hermon

These guys may not scare anyone on paper, but NMH will surprise some people. Mark it down. These guys are balanced and will pull a few upsets along the way.

We're unveiling the most extensive and only prep school poll of its kind and we'll take a look at Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.), which checks in at No. 13.

There may not be a ton of talent these days in Massachusetts, but if you want to know where to find it, just check Bill Batty's squad.

Lynn native Dorien Brown, a 6-7, 225-pound forward who played last season at Bellingham High (Mass.) and run with Metro Boston during the summer, will likely be the go-to guy. However, this team is solid up and down the roster and should have plenty of balance.

Look for 6-8 ½, 205-pound Boris Meno, a post-grad from Paris, France, who played at the Shipley School (Pa.) and can stroke it from beyond the three-point arc, to make a major impact. He's receiving looks from Michigan State and some other high-majors.

Diminutive 5-8, 160-pound point guard Kashif Payne, a Pennsylvania native receiving interest from Toledo, will run the show for Batty for the second straight year. He was the primary reason why NMH was able to finish 19-7 a year ago and make it to the NEPSAC quarterfinals.

One fairly unknown player on the national scene is versatile 6-7, 200-pound forward Tony Gaffney, a BU pledge who hails from Berkeley, Mass. It's likely that the final starting spot will go to shooter Alex Popp (6-5, 195), who is getting Patriot League interest and comes to NMH by way of Winchester High (Mass.).

The bench will be headlined by 6-4, 180-pound wing Alex Thayer, 6-7 ½, 205-pound re-classified junior forward Colin McIntosh, a super athlete who played at BC High last season, and 6-5, 200-pound junior guard Andre Lyell (Newport, R.I.). Post-grads Chris Vasiliov (Philadelphia, Pa.), Erik Holm (Canada) and Nahr Felder (Paterson, N.J.) will also see time as well. ``We have strength and speed," NMH assistant John Carroll said. "This group has a high basketball IQ and they have great chemistry. It was important for us to follow up last season with a strong Boston class and we feel like we did that with Tony, Dorien and Alex."

These guys, who have five kids on the roster with an SAT score of more than 1,100, will tip-off the season at Exeter on Dec. 6.


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