Young Gun: Nadir Tharpe

Nadir Tharpe started his freshman year of high school this week, but when the 5-foot-9 1/2 St. Peter Marian (Mass.) High point guard has the ball in his hands, he hardly looks like a youngster. In fact, Tharpe has more poise than many kids three or four years older.

It's not often that we take a look at guys that just started their freshman year of high school. Then again, it's not often that guys like Nadir Tharpe come along.

The 5-foot-10, 135-pound St. Peter-Marian (Worcester, Mass.) freshman point guard is the definition of a floor leader.

He may be young, but he's a leader. He's vocal, poised and knows how to play.

``He's so cerebral and runs a team so well," New England Playaz boss T.J. Gassnola said. "If he gets better, he's going to be a big-time player. The kid just makes everyone better and gets everyone easy shots. He's got a great personality to go along with his game. He's got the whole package. He's charismatic and jubilant."

Tharpe turned 15 in July and doesn't get caught up in the hype. Then again, he hasn't really gotten any hype outside of Worcester.

Tharpe was the only player from the Class of 2010 to earn all-star honors at the Elite 75 New England Showcase a couple weeks ago.

He didn't score all that much, but he made his teammates better – and controlled the tempo despite often being the youngest player on the court.

Tharpe was hoping to attend Worcester Academy this year, but the financial end was too steep and Tharpe will attend St. Peter Marian – where he played on the varsity as an 8th grader last season.

``At the beginning of the year, I wasn't playing," Tharpe said. "But then I was starting at the end of the season."

In fact, Tharpe put up 25 points against Doherty High and St. Bernard's.

``I just tried to take advantage of my opportunity," he said.

Tharpe attributes part of his success to his older brother, Tishawn Jenkins, an All-American at Salem State who taught him how to take control of the game as a point guard.

``I think a lot of guys don't take me seriously at first and look at me like a little kid," Tharpe said. "But once I get on the floor, I think they realize what I can do."

However, there are still things that Tharpe knows he needs to do in order to progress – such as get stronger and work hard on the defensive end.

While it's still likely a long ways away, Tharpe said that the schools that he'd like to recruit him are Duke, North Carolina, Memphis and UCLA.

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