Prep Tour: Notre Dame Prep

With the addition of Paul Harris, Notre Dame Prep should be pretty tough to beat. However, ND Prep coach Bill Barton feels that this won't be just the Paul Harris and Lazar Hayward show.

Harris is an old-school player who does whatever it takes to win. He doesn't shy away from anyone. Ditto for Notre Dame coach Bill Barton, who has earned the reputation as the "prep school road warrior" for spending the majority of his time away from the confines at Fitchburg, Mass., and taking on all comers.

Barton has had talented players with big reps before, but not like Harris.

The Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) coach not only has the versatile Harris (Syracuse), a 6-foot-4 ½, 220-pound guard/forward, at his disposal – but he'll also welcome back a much-improved Lazar Hayward.

``It's been a while since we've had two guys this talented," Barton admitted. "We had Carl Krauser and Brandon Robinson, but this team has a better supporting cast."

Hayward was a guy believed to be more of a mid-major player when he first stepped foot at Notre Dame Prep a little more than a year ago. However, now he's turned himself into a high-major guy because of his ability to score in a variety of ways. Hayward will take visit to Syracuse, Marquette, UConn and Virginia.

But it won't just be the Harris and Hayward show.

``We are versatile, athletic and we have a lot of guys who can score," Barton added. "We're not dependent on one or two guys. Scoring shouldn't be a problem for us."

Notre Dame Prep will likely start Wisconsin-Milwaukee commit Charles Swiggett, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior point guard from Chester High (Pa.) who re-affirmed his commitment despite Bruce Pearl's departure, alongside Harris. ``I don't think anyone realizes how good Charlie Swiggett is," Barton said.

Look for Hayward to come off the bench to keep him out of foul trouble. That means former Hamden High (Conn.) combo forward Lamont Ulmer is likely to battle for one of the two remaining starting spots – along with former Wheeler High (Ga.) swingman David Gonzalvez and 6-foot-5 New Rochelle, N.Y., native Terrance Parks.

``Parks has been unbelievable so far," Barton said. "He and Gonzalvez are the two guys who have really stood out so far."

Barton's group, as usual, has plenty of depth. Guys like Mike Davis (6-8) and Old Saybrook (Conn.) forward Cassius Chaney should give Notre Dame Prep some physical play off the bench across the frontline. High-scoring guards Vic Morris (Hofstra) and Jahmar Young (6-4) will have to earn a spot in the rotation by showing they can do more than just put the ball in the basket.

Robert Mitchell, a Brooklyn native who spent last season at Genesis One, was a late addition and should fixture to get playing time as the season goes on – as should defensive specialist Ruben Britt of Voorhees, N.J.

Barton rounds out his roster with diminutive point guard Randall Simon, a 5-foot-7 Michigan native who recently fielded an offer from High Point., Carlos Pellot (6-5), Michael Figueroa (6-2) and Ian Blazek-Guinan (6-1).

``There's no question we're going to be better than we were last year," Hayward said.

That doesn't bode well for those who welcome the "road warriors" into their home gyms this year.

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