Prep Countdown: No. 6 Bridgton Academy

When Whit Lesure first got a close look at the 2005 edition of Bridgton Academy, he almost did a double-take.

This year's edition at Bridgton Academy (Maine) is similar to last season's – and that's not good news for those in the prep ranks.

Whit Lesure took a squad a year ago void of big names and helped lead them to the NEPSAC Class A crown.

This year's group is a little more well-known – with guys like Qa'rraan Calhoun (St. John's), Keaton Grant (former Missouri commit) and Jarvis Hill (previously committed to Auburn). However, Lesure feels this team has some of the same attributes that helped Bridgton surprise many of its New England foes a year ago.

Calhoun starred at Hazlet Raritan (N.J.) last season and may be the most publicized player on the team. He'll likely start alongside 6-foot-8 power forward Matt Pilgrim and Grant on the frontline.

The starting backcourt will consist of flashy 6-foot-3 ½ Californian point guard Josh Acosta and Hill.

``I like our overall athleticism," Lesure said. "We have versatility and depth, and like last year, we have guys who can play multiple positions."

Calhoun is a 6-foot-7 small forward who is well-known and gave Norm Roberts and his staff an early commitment. Lesure calls him the "as good as athlete as I've ever coached." Pilgrim is the younger brother of Seton Hall redshirt freshman forward Mike Pilgrim, but is more developed physically than his older brother.

Grant will bring an athletic wing who can attack and defend. His weakness in the past has been his perimeter shot, but it's gotten better and there should be a place for him at the high-major level somewhere.

Acosta, who never played AAU ball and his claim to fame was playing against the And1 team when they came to Oakland, will likely be the key to Bridgton's success. He's talented, has good court vision and pushes the ball – but he'll need to tone down some of the flash and keep things simple at times.

``I don't mind flash," Lesure admitted. "Josh has a high skill level, is a pretty good athlete and is the consummate teammate. We just need to have him become more of a floor general."

Hill, who began his career as a youngster on the same Starkville High (Miss.) team that featured NBA player Travis Outlaw, has been impressive since landing at Bridgton.

``There were a lot of questions about Jarvis coming here because he didn't get a lot done last year," Lesure said. "But he's been nothing but solid in every aspect since he got here."

Lesure will have a strong bench with 6-foot-7 former St. Mary's (N.Y.) forward Tyrone Hanson, arguably the team's top outside threat; 7-foot-2 Polish big man Bartosz Lewandowski; 6-foot-6 Eastern Michigan commit Will Cooper, a big-time athlete; 6-foot-5 ½ localk kid Tyler Emmons; 5-foot-11 point guard Tyler Marsh and 6-foot-2 guard Shavar Bernier.

``I liked how physical we were last year," Lesure said. "We are more athletic this year, but it remains to be seen if we'll be as physical. We need to compete day in and day out."

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