Cheap Seats: The New England Prep Scene

Some mid-winter thoughts and observations from some present or potential PC prospects in the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) or local prep independent scene.

With the new year upon us, and the meat of the season about to begin, here are a couple of quick thoughts and opinions on some of the big name, and not so big names, that could perhaps be on the PC radar screen right now in the New England prep school scene.

Available Seniors (Class of 2007)
6-4" 2G Josten Crow, Naval Prep, Newport (via Texas). I have no idea if PC has an interest in this kid, nor do they have a need for another 2-guard, but if they do, this kid is certainly someone to watch as the winter progresses. Is 6-3", muscular and quick, and he can really light it up from the outside. Although slightly leaner, he reminds me a lot of the infamous Vinnie-The-Microwave-Johnson in the way that he can enter a game, and start to make an immediate impact. A tough perimeter defender, and an absolute steal if he is indeed headed to the Naval Academy.

6-5" 2G/SF Rich Grant, Maine Central Institute (via Rockland County, NY). A real surprise of this early season, and apparently under everyone's radar. He reminds me a lot of Darryl Ashford from this year's New Hampton School squad, someone who has signed on with Texas Tech and Bobby Knight. Is 6-5", agile and long, and does a great job at attacking the basket from all points on the floor. He has nice stroke on his outside shot, and with some practice, he can become bonafide long ball threat. Has an apparent weakness in the fact that while he does do a good job at attacking the basket, his ball handling skills could use some improvement. However, that's easily correctable - all he needs is a blanket and pillow, and keys to the gym. An A-10 caliber player, and with continued hard work, perhaps a PC caliber prospect. A real sleeper, and someone to watch as the season unfolds...

6-6" PF Jamine Peterson, Notre Dame Prep (via Brooklyn). Make no mistake about it - this kid's an undersized power forward, not a small forward. This is the type of a kid that brings energy and enthusiasm into the game whenever he enters the game, and is a real live wire act. You need to immediately put a body on this kid whenever and wherever he enters the game, because he'll touch, grab, or alter anything within 10 feet of the basket. Recently, Jamine has exploded on the national scene, and I assume may veer toward some of the big time national programs such as Cincinnati, etc... What he really needs to find is a team where his niche is needed and appreciated; otherwise, in my opinion, he'll end up riding the pine and eventually transferring. With the right coach, this kid could be a real key ingredient toward a team's season success... just a real key ingredient of the team pie, and a prospect that is on the PC radar....

6-5" SF Billy Clark, Worcester Academy (via Los Angeles). Hails from the same neighborhood in Los Angeles as former Worcester Academy and present Minnesota Timberwolves big man Craig Smith. Is 6-5", muscular and quick, and can be a real intimidating force out on the floor. Played wide receiver this past fall for the Worcester football team, and is not in the least bit afraid to bang. Agile and quick, Billy does a great job shutting down smaller, less physical perimeter guards. Has a nice stroke on his outside shot, and can really get it going from 3-point land. Big time leaper as well. Needs to work on both putting the ball on the floor, and keeping himself on his toes at all times on defense. Has offers from Nevada and St. Joe's., etc., with some recent interest from PC. Will excel with the right coach and program....

6-5" 2G Cory Vejraska, Bridgton Academy (via Alachua, FL). Saw this kid at Jeff Goodman's early season November tournament at Assumption College, and he was my personal surprise of the tournament. Is about 6-5", has decent speed, and is a really nice spot up shooter. Reminds me a lot of former Worcester Academy 2-guard Chris Peyes, who's currently playing for Long Beach State. A very fundamentally sound player that does a very nice of job of moving without the ball, Cory just needs to work on giving himself a little more spacing for his outside shot. Perhaps not a Big East caliber player, but a very nice complementary guard for an mid-major program.

6-6" SF/PF Mehet Salem, Tilton School (via Turkey). This kid reminds me of former Worcester Academy big man Sam Kaplan, who's currently playing at Yale. Is 6-6", has good upper body strength, and has a real nice touch from outside. He'd be a nice get for an America East program, a program that could utilize his upper body strengths and long ball threat in the overall scheme of the offensive set. Good kid as well.

6-6" SF/PF Mike Ringold, Winchendon (via Philadelphia). A very active, agile player, Mike plays multiple positions on the floor, and is a real live wire. Has a real knack for always being around both the ball and the basket. Always seems to be tapping, chipping, and powering his way to the rim. Much like Jamine Peterson, above, he brings some real energy and enthusiasm into the game, and must be watched and accounted for whenever he enters the game. Mid-major plus prospect, with perhaps the opportunity to go higher. A sleeper....

6-6" SF/PF Romaric Lasme, Winchendon (via Gabon, Africa). Probably a mid-major prospect when all is done, Romaric is interesting for the simple fact that he is extremely quick off his feet (read Torin Francis). Very active and agile down low, Romaric is very much like his teammate Mike Ringold in that he is always around the ball. Potential A-10 caliber prospect with the ability to perhaps go higher. Intriguing....

Available Juniors (Class of 2008)
5-10", 165 lbs. PG Quasim Pugh, Worcester Academy (via Brooklyn). A well publicized speed demon in the open court, Quasim (pronounced "Qua-seem" and nicknamed "Q") is a classic push guard that can excel with or without an up tempo style team. Has a brutal crossover move from the point, and is extremely difficult to contain one-on-one. Hails from Brooklyn, NY, and has the potential to be another one of those classic New York City Big East point guards. Needs to continue to work on his outside shot. Also needs to get into the weight room, as he needs to get used to the hand checking and gut grabbing that is unfortunately so prevalent in the college game today. Has been getting a real wake-up call in this early young season as all the teams in the league are all geared up to go up against him. Good defender from the perimeter as well. May be actually quicker in the open court than former Worcester Academy point guard Jarrett Jack, who's currently starting for the Portland Trailblazers. Visited PC for its Opening Night Madness festivities...

6-1", 170 lbs. PG Terrell McKenzie, Brewster Academy (via New York City). Another lightening quick point guard out of New York City, Terrell has recently been reclassified as a junior. Outside shot can be suspect at times, but this kid is great at both forcing tempo and pushing the break. Loves to take it straight down the lane to the hole to the rack from either one of the wing positions. Is in a constant state of potential explosion, and must be accounted for at all times. Big East caliber prospect.....

6-2", PG/2G Darius Gabriel, Winchendon School (via New York City). Yet another highly touted NYC point guard in the NEPSAC ranks, Darius excels in both the open floor and out on the wing. Is more of a 2 than a 1, and will excel at the next level as part of a 1-2 (point guard/off-guard) tag-team match. Has a couple of key weaknesses in that he is presently not a good dribbler, and thus has the tendency to get bogged down at the point. Also has the prospensity to get bottled up on drives to the hoop. None-the-less, is presently a mid-major plus type of prospect, and with hard work and good coaching, he has the potential to hit that Big East caliber echelon.

5-8", 170 lbs. PG Isaiah Thomas, South Kent (via Tacoma, WA). A recent early winter addition to the South Kent team, Isaiah is a waterbug point guard in the mode of John Linehan, and is really fun to watch out on the floor. While he doesn't posses anywhere near the defensive tenacity of John Lineham, Isaiah is as quick as or perhaps even quicker than John in the open floor. Has an even better jumpshot as well, and can really light it up at a moments notice. Recently reclassified to a junior on this move to South Kent, Isaiah had a previous verbal to Pac-10 University of Washington.

6-10", 230 lbs. PF Andrew Van Ness, Northfield Mount Hermon (via Weston). A late bloomer, and a definite Big East caliber talent. Andrew is a "Kurt Rambis" clone with the eye glasses and physical play similar to that of Kurt Rambis. Make no mistake about the eyeglasses though, this kid has game. Has nice footwork and positioning skills down low, and is one of the few big men out there that already knows where and when he is going to go once he does get the ball down low. Is a very aggressive defender down in the block, and does a nice job boxing out. Additionally, has both long arms and a long torso, aspects which allow him to get bits and pieces of rebounds that would generally fall into opponents with better low post position. Can be somewhat "spastic" or perhaps overly aggressive at times, but chalk all of that up to inexperience. Potential high-major prospect.

6-9", 270 lbs. PF Christian Morris, South Kent (via The Bronx). Simply put, a bull in a china shop. Currently a mid-major plus candidate in my book, this kid is yet another local prep school player that has all the ability to become a Big East caliber player. Appearance can be intimidating, as he has the pipes, frame, and the beef to play linebacker for the Patriots. His weaknesses are that while he has all the talent in the world to become a dominant player, he hasn't arrived at that status as of yet. Has very weak footwork down low, doesn't box out well, and has limited inside moves. Currently relies on god given talent down low, and his posting up skills and knowledge of the low post game are very weak. A tough competitor, and a good kid, but he needs to skip the summer AAU season and instead, get himself into a good big man school like a Pete Newell camp. Would be a good fit for a UNC, or Syracuse type program, programs used to dealing with very talented, but underskilled, big men....

6-6" 2G/SF Mathiang Mauot, Winchendon (via the Sudan). Generally, guards from the the African countries are further behind the learning curve than that of the big men, as the height and general athleticism of African big men can be plugged into the team's system much faster than that of the guard play. This kid is the exception. Tough and wirey in the mode of Dwight Brewington, Mathiang does a great job at attacking the basket, and being a perimeter threat. Outside shot needs work, as does his dribbling technique, but all these aspects are easily correctable. A Big East caliber prospect, and someone to watch....

6-5" 2G/SF Chris Turner, Winchendon (via North Carolina). A big framed perimeter guard, Chris has both good upper body strength, and the ability to get his shot off against smaller and weaker perimeter guards. Has good lateral quickness and jumping ability, and does a very good job getting out and pushing the break. His major weakness is that he tends to be overly aggressive with his outside shot, to the point where he is firing away from all points but the locker room. Needs to become more disciplined with his perimeter game, as well as doing a much better job spacing for his outside shot. Presently a mid-major prospect with the potential to go much higher....

6-8" SF/PF Devan Ebanks, St. Thomas More (via Queens)). A highly touted prospect out of New York City, Devan has all the tools to become an elite national prospect. Very tall and mobile, Devan excels at either the low post or the wing position. Reminds me a lot of Bernard King in that he takes these little "tippy-toe" steps at times, while all the while leaning his upper body forward. Has all the potential to perhaps be another Bernard King, Devan just needs to continue to learn and grow, and become a little more fluid. High-major prospect....

6-8" PF Orion Outerbridge, New Hampton School (via Boston). Good looking low post player with the big frame and athleticism to potentially turn himself into a Big East player. While he presently tends to hang a little too much time out on the wing, Orion is one of those types of players that just explodes between his junior and senior year. Mid-major plus prospect, with the potential to play much higher. Someone to watch.....

6-7", 230 lbs. PF Emmanuel Negedu, Brewster Academy (via Nigeria). Just a real powerful and athletic inside force, Emmanuel excels in and up and down uptempo game. Possesses a 44" vertical leap, and can become dominant down low in the blocks if left unattended. Tends to jump over everyone's backs for a rebound, and thus needs to become much more disciplined with his rebounding game. Additionally, low post footwork needs attention as well, as he needs to put the ball on the floor every time in order to manuever down in the blocks. High-major prospect, but low post game presently has an asterisk. Getting heavy interest from Luke Olson and Arizona.....

Available Sophomores (Class of 2009)
6-9", 180 lbs. or so Erik Murphy, St. Mark's School (via South Kingstown, RI). The son of Jay Murphy of Boston College fame, Erik has absorbed all his father's low post skills, and everything in between. Has some of the most advanced footwork and low post skills than I have ever seen for someone of his age bracket. Is agile and nimble, and is just a real scoring machine down low. His weakness is that he is really skinny, to the point where all those offensive skills will go for naught for the simple reason that opponents will simply muscle him off or away from the block. Supposedly being recruited as a 3/4 by BC, UNC, and others.

6-9", 260 lbs. Ben Crenca, Worcester Academy (via Exeter, RI). Think Nebraska farm boy meets the agility and low post footwork of a young Craig Smith. 6-9", 260 lbs., and he hasn't even gotten into the weight room yet. Growing pains are hampering his full court speed, but once that all comes together, look out. Is becoming a beast in the paint, and once he gets a hold of a rebound, there's no way anyone is going to get it away from him. Nimble, agile, and mobile down low, this kid just oozes potential. Potential high-major prospect.

6-3", 180 lbs. SG Austin Carroll, Worcester Academy (via Bedford, MA). The son of John Carroll of Boston Celtics fame, Austin is a classic coaches son in that he has been drilled in the finer points of the game. An excellent outside shooter, Austin excels at moving in, at, and around outside picks. Has great upper body strength, and can really handle himself on drives to the hole. Mid-major prospect, and someone to keep an eye on...

6-6" SF/PF Jason Morris, Hotchkiss School, CT. Another big time underclassman in the NEPCAC ranks, Jason excels at either the perimeter or low post game. With great upper body strength and athletic ability, Jason can either take you off the dribble or pull up in front of you with the dribble. Agile and athletic, Jason has all the tools to be a high-major prospect. Someone to watch over the upcoming season.....

6-9" PF Peter Kaasila, St. Mark's School (via Plaistow, NH). A real intriguing prospect in that fact that Peter has the both the beef and the tools in the toolbox as that of Ben Crenca above. A nice agile power forward, Peter excels in the low post offense. Perhaps not as agile as Ben Crenca, or as offensively advanced as Erik Murphy, Peter is none-the-less a D1 low-post prospect, and someone to watch...

6-6", 205 lbs. or so SG/SF Givon Crump, Tilton School, NH (via Washington D.C.). A big, active small forward with good upper body strength, Givon excels with the pull up jumper. While he needs to work on taking opponents off the dribble, Givon is active and aggressive in the offensive set, always looking for weaknesses in the armor such as to utilize his pull up jumper. Currently being categorized as an A-10 caliber prospect, Givon is intriguing...

6-9", 180 lbs. or so SF Jin Soo Kim, South Kent (via Korea). With a style very reminiscent of a European game, Jin brings a stroke from the wing and an athleticism to this year's South Kent team. Has recently been reclassified as a sophomore, Jin is intriguing for both his frame and his agility on the floor. Needs to work on both moving without the ball, and getting used to playing down in the block. Needs a couple of good summers in the weight room as well. Low to potential mid-major prospect.

Scout Friars Top Stories