Prep Profile: Worcester Acacdemy

Ed Reilly did the best with what he had a year ago, and it turned out to be pretty impressive. This season the Worcester Academy second-year head coach will be able to do different things because of more talent and depth.

A year ago, Ed Reilly had just taken over the Worcester Academy (Mass.) program and was trying to fill out his roster. One year later, the Hilltoppers will be far more competitive - with depth and talent that was lacking in 2003.

Reilly will have one of the top shooters in the prep ranks in James Baron, the son of URI head coach Jim Baron. The younger Baron, a 6-3, 170-pound shooting guard who played at Bishop Hendricken a year ago, will play for his father next season.

``He's got great range and has a terrific presence on the floor," Reilly said of Baron. ``When he gets his feet set, you think it's going in."

Baron will be joined in the backcourt by Hartford, Conn., native Aaron Jackson, a 6-3, 170-pound post-grad floor leader who recently visited Ohio University.

``He's perfect for the way we're going to play," Reilly added of Jackson. "He can push it and he has the unique ability to direct the team and also can create his own shot. He can score in a lot of different ways."

Worcester will have toughness and athleticism up front with 6-6, 200-pound forward Scott Friske, 6-6, 185-pound small forward Kyle Swantson and 6-8, 200-pound foreard Philip Okonma.

Friske is a hard-nosed, rugged undersized power forward from Charlesvoix, Mich., who is getting looks from Brown, Holy Cross and other Ivy and Patriot League schools. Swantson hails from Brooksville, Fla., and recently took a trip to East Carolina while Okonma played at the Blue Ridge School (Va.) a year ago and is getting interest from the likes of Montana State and Weber State.

Reilly will be able to utilize his bench far more than his did in his first season at Worcester. Dylan Holmes is a 6-7, 215-pound forward from Groton-Dunstable who should see extensive action - as will 6-3, 170-pound shooting guard William Karris and 6-2 wing Tony Pawlik.

``We should be able to get up and down the floor this year," Reilly said. "That was lacking last year. We didn't have the individuals to do it last year, so we had to play more of a cat and mouse game."

``From a skill standpoint and an athletic standpoint, we're much improved over a year ago," added Reilly. "We have the potential to be a real solid basketball team."

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