Naadir Tharpe has long been recognized as one of the top up and coming point guards in the loaded Class of 2011. The Worcester, Massachusetts native has amassed a slew of honors and championships over his prep career, which began at St. Peter Marian in Worcester. He played two years at that school and then transferred to Brewster Academy, where he repeated his sophomore year.
As an AAU player, Tharpe has had tremendous success quarterbacking his team, the New England Playaz to multiple championships. Under Tharpe's direction, the Playaz made it to the finals of the 2009 Adidas Super 64 Tournament, the 2009 Playaz Spring Fling Championship, the Gold Championship at the 2008 Adidas It Takes 5ive Classic, and the championship at the 2007 Joe Brown Memorial Tournament.
Tharpe became an immediate starter at point guard at Brewster, and this past season led Brewster to a 35-5 record, as the team captured both the NEPSAC Class A championship and the National Prep Championship, the first NEPSAC Class A squad to accomplish that feat.
Coach Jason Smith has been in charge of the Brewster program for ten years, and has had a number of outstanding prospects pass through, including Providence's own Weyinmi Efejuku. With players like Tharpe, Will Barton, C.J. Fair, Melvin Ejim and Maurice Walker, Brewster was loaded this season.
"Naadir is a true point guard," commented Smith. "A lot of high school point guards see themselves as having to be high point producers, but Naadir concentrates on making others better. He has elite speed and quickness and a very high basketball IQ. He sees the floor exceptionally well and is a great passer."
At a shade under six feet tall and 170 pounds, Naadir is wiry strong but needs to get stronger. "He'll definitely have to continue to get stronger," Smith said. "The next two months, we ask that our players live in the weight room. That's the main focus in our program over the next two months. We want our guys to put in extra above and beyond the minimum when it comes to getting stronger."
Tharpe has never been about numbers. With players like Barton and Fair, among others, he was not called upon to score much; rather, it was his job to get the ball to the right player in the right place. He averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 assists per game this season, and the championships rolled in.
Recruiting was another area where Tharpe knew what he wanted. "The recruiting process tends to wear on kids," said Smith. "He realized that he didn't want to go too far from home. Boston College and Providence were the two regional schools recruiting him the hardest. He had an offer from UNLV and was getting recruited by Arizona, Indiana, Wake Forest and Virginia, but once he decided he wanted to stay home, he didn't even want to waste time visiting those schools."
"Keno Davis and Pat Skerry led the recruiting effort for Naadir," Smith said. "They had been on him the longest and the hardest. Plus Providence is close to Worcester so all of his family and friends can come and watch him play. And he liked that Providence was a smaller school, similar to Brewster in that way."
Tharpe had actually been ready to commit even earlier, but when Iowa fired its head coach, he was concerned about the Keno-to-Iowa rumors. "He was worried." Smith elaborated. "Other coaches were telling him that Keno might go when they heard he was close to committing, plus he was reading the rumors on the internet. He spoke at length with Keno and Pat, and they put his concerns to rest, so he committed. Academically, he's in great shape. His GPA is very good and he'll take the SAT and ACT this spring just to get a baseline."
"I felt it was great basketball wise because I was I good fit in their system," Tharpe told the New England Recruiting Report. "Academically, coming from Brewster Academy where the classes are very small, it was important for me to find a college where they had small classes, and Providence does."
"I'm really excited to be going to Providence and playing for Coach Keno," Tharpe said. "They've been recruiting me hard for a long time and I just felt like I had a great connection with him and Coach Skerry."
With Tharpe's commitment for 2011, PC will now turn its attention to filling open slots for the Class of 2010 and monitoring players that the school is close to in the '11 and '12 classes. Prospects for immediate 2010 help include Trey Zeigler, Jon Horford, Kadeem Jack and Byron Allen, among others.
Naadir Tharpe Commits to the Friars
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