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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Bruce Brown leads field at Elite 75

By Chris Bradley

WALTHAM, Mass. -– Some of New England’s top high school and prep school hoops products gathered at Brandeis University on Monday afternoon for New England Recruiting Report’s New England Elite 75 Showcase, organized by NERR founder and ESPN Recruiting Nation analyst Adam Finkelstein.

Vermont Academy guard Bruce Brown, who was on hand and was recently ranked No. 30 in the country in Recruiting Nation’s 2016 Super 60 rankings, has been as big of a stock-riser as any guard in the country. So far, the Roxbury native has accumulated scholarship offers from programs such as Miami, Rhode Island, Wake Forest, Boston College, Tulsa, and VCU.

“I’ve gotten a lot of college interest over the summer and my shot has improved a lot too,” the former Wakefield High star said, “I can knock down a consistent jump shot now. . . I really have no worries now about shooting the ball.”

Averaging 14.2 points per game during the regular season at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, Brown has been the leading scorer for the 17U team of the Boston Amatuer Basketball Club (BABC). Joined by local stars like Terance Mann, Robert Martin, Jr., Jeremy Miller, Tyree Robinson, Aamahne Santos, and Tommy Mobley, Brown and the BABC squad will head to South Carolina in mid-July for the Nike Peach Jam Final.

Brown and the team are confident that they have a legitimate chance at making a run for the title at Peach Jam, which puts the top teams from the EYBL regular season into a high-stakes tournament in front of hundreds of college coaches during the July live period. A guard-heavy team that is always known for versatility and defensive intensity, BABC has been anchored down low in a major way by Miller and Martin, Jr., Brown said.

“We can’t wait for Peach Jam. We know we can win it, we just have to bring everything we have to the table,” he said. “Bob Martin has been playing big for us, so our guards just need to step up make sure they help our bigs with rebounding.”

Santos, an ESPN Boston All-State selection last year as a junior at Catholic Memorial, was also one of the top players at the Elite 75 showcase. Santos was an integral member of a Knights team that went 23-2 and won the Division 1 South championship. On Monday, he proved to be one of the top point guards at the event thanks to his tough on-ball defense and willingness to share the ball in the open floor.

Here are five other locals who impressed:

David Giribaldi, Sr., Andover
The 6-foot combo guard, who was an ESPN Boston All-State selection this past season, proved to be one of the most underrated guards in attendance at Elite 75. He doesn’t necessarily own blow away speed or overpowering strength, but his many dribble moves and strong jumper are often how he does the most damage on offense. Returning Giribaldi along with senior forward Connor Merinder and sophomore wing E.J. Perry IV, Andover is expected to be a major contender in Division 1 next year.

Richard Harrington, Sr., Sutton
Harrington’s versatility, especially standing at 6-foot-7, was a major eye-opener for those on hand on Monday. He can score from pretty much anywhere on the floor –- his range legitimately goes out to well beyond the three point line, yet he has also had success as a slasher and as a true post player. With Harrington, the Sammies will hope to duplicate last year’s success, a season when they went 23-2 and lost by two points in the Division 4 Central final.

Kealan Ives, Sr., Putnam Science Academy (Conn.)
A graduate of Providence's Classical High School, Ives averaged 22.8 points per game this past season –- good for third overall in the state of Rhode Island. Ives, a gifted athlete who has been known to score in bunches, will spend the year improving his game as a postgraduate at Putnam Science.

Corey Romich, Jr., Groton-Dunstable
Write down Romich’s name now, he’s sure to be one of the most lethal outside shooters in the MIAA this coming season. He still needs to get stronger so that his offensive game is more inside-out, but Romich has proven that he understands how to move without the ball to get open and he will take any opportunity to hit jump shots from behind the three-point arc.

Nisre Zouzoua, Sr., Boston Trinity
The Brockton native was the NEPSAC Class D Player of the Year this past year for a reason. He finds a way to the rim on nearly any defender that crosses his path, but he also makes a concerted effort to distribute the ball and get his teammates open looks. Zouzoua was one of Expressions Elite’s most consistent producers this spring while playing in the Nike EYBL, and he can be expected to take that experience into the summer in his search for a scholarship.