Prep Profile: Notre Dame Prep

Bill Barton's group went 31-6 last season and this year's group won't be all that much different - except for maybe a little less size up front.

It's become a staple of Bill Barton's teams at Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.). Tough, hard-nosed, under-recruited kids who may not be as talented as their opponents, but they find a way to win.

This year's group isn't any different.

``We're not as talented as other teams, but if we play hard and play together we can be competitive," Barton said. "That was true last year and we're very similar to last year – except we're not as big inside."

Led by Illinois-bound point guard Chester Frazier and holdover Cam Tyler, Notre Dame Prep should still win its fair share of games. Last season the Crusaders went 31-6.

Frazier is a 6-1 ½ floor leader from Baltimore who can run a club and also score when necessary. Tyler hails from Queens, N.Y., and put up 22 in the team's first game on Wednesday night.

``I think we'll go as far as those two guys take us," Barton said. "However, I also don't think that two guys can take us where we want to go. We need eight guys and a total team effort this year because we're not as good as some of the other teams on paper."

"But they don't play the games on paper," he added.

Barton rarely has a set rotation, but expect another Baltimore native, 6-4, 225-pound forward Paris Carter, to get plenty of minutes.

The key will be what Barton gets up front from guys like Fordham-bound 6-8 ½ big man Demetrius Phillips, 6-8, 215-pound junior power forward Travis George and former Wilmington High (Mass.) big man Zach Mitzan (6-8, 205)

Alex "Sasha" Popovic is a 6-9 Serbian who can really shoot it while 6-4 Canadian Phillip Nkumrah could get his share of minutes because of his strong rebounding abilities.

``I worry about rebounding and a lack of a polished inside man," Barton said. "I think a couple of good big men could dominate us inside."

Barton will have better perimeter shooting than he did a year ago with wings Donovin McLendon, a native of Miami, and Lazar Heywood, who hails from Buffalo, N.Y.

Jason Wilson, who played at Bloomfield Tech (N.J.), will see plenty of time in the backcourt – and other guys expected to compete include Jesse Brooks (5-11), Matt Zink (6-1), Chris Diasparra (6-0), Andre Dupree (6-0) and D.J. Fields (6-1).

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