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NEW HAMPTON, NH. -– New Hampton School senior Mike LeBlanc '14 of Dover, New Hampshire, recently signed his acceptance letter and enrollment agreement for Princeton University. A recruited student-athlete, LeBlanc will play for the Tigers' storied basketball program beginning in the fall.
A former Dover High standout, LeBlanc — who verbally committed this summer — has spent the last two years attending New Hampton School, where he is a member of the Men's Varsity A Basketball team, a candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and a residential house proctor. LeBlanc, who stands 6-foot-6 and is known for his combination of athleticism and three-point shooting range, chose Princeton over a number of other Division I programs and Ivy League schools for the combination of academics and basketball at the university. He follows former Husky forward and New Hampshire native Pat Saunders ’08, who also took his game from NHS to Princeton. Former NHS women's lacrosse standout Anna Menke ’12 is a sophomore on the Princeton women's lacrosse team.
"The biggest part of my decision was I loved the atmosphere there," said LeBlanc, who will play for former Princeton standout Mitch Henderson. "I visited three times before making my decision and had really good relationships with the coaching staff and felt like I could fit into their system. I am excited about the academics and want to study some combination of business and pre-med.
"I like the way they play. I like the Princeton offense. I met they guys on the team and they are a really tight group, and that's a reflection of the coaching staff and how they interact with the players. They've been watching me for two years now and always kept in contact."
LeBlanc believes his New Hampton School experience has prepared him in a variety of way for the college classroom and Division I basketball.
"As far as academics, the International Baccalaureate Program has been a big help," said LeBlanc, who is in his second year of the rigorous academic curriculum that balances classwork, service, and an extended essay over two years. "It's difficult. It pushes you to manage your time. The class size and interaction with teachers here makes it so much better and the teachers are always around for help."
New Hampton coach Pete Hutchins ’01 was pleased to see LeBlanc find a school that seems to be an ideal fit for his basketball ambitions and intellectual curiosity.
“I'm very happy for Mike earning the opportunity to attend an exceptional school like Princeton," Hutchins said. "He's been a contributing member of this community in all aspects, and I expect him to be a significant contributor on the floor for Princeton and a leader in the locker room.”
A former member of the Mass Rivals and Rhode Island Hawks AAU teams during his high school career, LeBlanc credited his parents, Hutchins, Dover High coach Mike Romps, AAU coach Vin Pastore, and his trainer Ryan George for helping develop as a player. The competition he faced the last two years in workouts, practices, and games was a difference-maker as well.
"I've played against the best competition in the country the last two years and you have no choice but to get better," LeBlanc said. "You have access to a gym that's a five-minute walk away and it makes it easy to work hard and get better."