Kaplan Makes 'Smart' Decision

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Sam Kaplan doesn't know where he's going to go to college. Not just yet. But he does know that he wants to get a great education. And the schools on his list are certainly some of America's finest.

The 6-6 Worcester Academy combo forward is fresh off an official visit this past weekend to hometown favorite Holy Cross. Also on his recruitment radar: Yale, Brown, Princeton and Penn.

"I want to be at a school where academics are a priority," Kaplan said here on Tuesday afternoon. "I want to be at a school where I can set myself up for the rest of my life."

He's slated to visit Yale this coming weekend. He's already been to Penn on an unofficial. He does have an offer from Clemson, too, but he's not sure if he's going to take a serious look at the Tigers of the ACC.

"A lot of big schools -- Big Easts, A-10s -- are asking him to wait (until the spring)," WA coach Mo Cassara said. "But I don't think he's going to do that. It's a tribute to the kid and his understanding of what's important to his future."

On the hoops front, Kaplan's a pretty darn good prospect, too.

Meshing with last year's super-talented Worcester troops -- a 27-4 outfit with seniors such as Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech), Craig Smith (Boston College), Darryl Pegram (Indiana) and Jason Chappell (Wisconsin) -- Kaplan averaged 15 points and eight boards.

Right now, unfortunately, he's on the sidelines, recovering from a minor surgical procedure done three weeks ago on a knee he first injured in July while playing for the BABC at the Peach Jam.

In team workouts earlier this fall, though, he proved to be the Hilltoppers' strongest player, maxing out at 290 on the bench and doing 40 reps at 135.

"He's one of the most hard-working kids I've ever been around," said Cassara, who's had the Worcester native on his varsity roster for four years now. "He's gotten better and better and better."

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