Orion Outerbridge: Out of Nowhere

Orion Outerbridge was the "other" guy who left Boston and went out to California a year ago. However, the 6-foot-9, 210-pound junior, who will spend the next two seasons at New Hampton (N.H.), is starting to make a name for himself

Orion Outerbridge just wants to turn the page on last year.

The Boston native took a chance and went 3,000 miles away to Fremont High (Calif.) for what he was told was an "opportunity of a lifetime".

But Outerbridge's experience was hardly what he envisioned – and now the 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward is back on the east coast.

Outerbridge is basically an unknown despite playing at Fremont High (Calif.) last season. He got to the west coast a month into school and was a reserve – replacing fellow Bostonian Troy Gillenwater in the lineup.

Now the 17-year-old Outerbridge, an all-star at the New England Elite 75 Showcase last week, is ticketed for two years (he will re-do his junior campaign this year) under Jamie Arsenault at New Hampton Prep (N.H.).

Outerbridge spent his first two years at Beaver Country Day (Mass.), the same school that produced former Kentucky guard Wayne Turner. He averaged 18 points his sophomore season.

``I was scared of no one," he said.

Outerbridge said he went out to California, heeding the advice of a local AAU coach, Greg Jackson, and played with Gillenwater and another Massachusetts player, LeRoyal Hairston, at Fremont.

``Greg made it seem like it was the opportunity of a lifetime," Outerbridge said.

``They went at the beginning of the year, but I didn't go until the last week of October," Outerbridge said. "At first, it was hard because they had already played in two leagues – but as the season progressed, I got more playing time."

The harder part was off the court.

Outerbridge, Gillenwater and Hairston were ruled ineligible late in the season after an inquiry by the Boston Globe showed the teens transferred improperly. Fremont was forced to forfeit its season and the school was placed on probation through the 2007-08 campaign.

``It was because our parents didn't move out with us," Outerbridge said.

Outerbridge said he ate McDonald's most meals and was alone much of the time, so it was a no-brainer for him to return to the Boston area after the year.

``I didn't want to leave midway through the year because I didn't want it to affect my grades," he said.

When he got home, he decided to go to New Hampton.

Outerbridge fared well last week when he got a chance to go up against the top players from New England. He's long, runs the court well, blocks shots – but is still raw.

``He reminds me of a poor man's Chris Bosh," said Winchendon coach Mike Byrnes, who coached Outerbridge last week. "When the camp first started, he didn't go after rebounds and block shots – but by the end of the day, he was blocking shots, running the floor and making 17-footers."

Outerbridge is fully aware that he needs to gain strength and become more aggressive – but if he's able to do that, his recruitment should pick up. Then again, it's easy for it to increase.

``No one is recruiting me," Outerbridge said.

That's likely to change.

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