Boston High School: Kuran Iverson

New England Roundup: Connecticut

September, 27, 2012
Xavier High School held its opponents to no more than seven points in 12 of 13 contests last season, when the Falcons went 13-0 and won the Class LL state championship. Nine starters from that defensive unit graduated, making defense Xavier's biggest concern entering the 2013 season.

ConnecticutThat side of the ball has been anything but a problem through two games, however.

Xavier has allowed seven points in its two contests – victories that extended the program's winning streak to 28 games.

The Falcons have been particularly stingy against the pass. Xavier's Nathan Gonzalez and Max Tylki each had an interception during a season-opening 44-0 triumph over Notre Dame-West Haven, and the Falcons didn't allow any yards passing in last weekend's 49-12 victory over North Haven.

Boston College-bound quarterback Tim Boyle has guided on offense that has had little trouble finding the end zone. Boyle, who suffered through a injury-plagued junior season, has completed 24 of 38 passes for 433 yards.

Xavier, the No. 1 team in the state's media and coaches' polls, is attempting to become the first team to win three consecutive Class LL championships.

Last weekend's results for the Connecticut's top 10 teams, as ranked by the Hartford Courant:
  1. Xavier (2-0): Beat North Haven, 49-0. Up next: Fairfield Prep.
  2. Hand (2-0): Defeated Hillhouse 37-19. Up next: Cheshire.
  3. Staples (2-0): Knocked off Bridgeport-Central 49-6. Up next: McMahon.
  4. Ansonia (2-0): Beat Woodland 47-16. Up next: Derby.
  5. Windsor (2-0): Defeated Bristol Central 49-7. Up next: Bristol Eastern.
  6. Greenwich (2-0): Topped Bassick 48-2. Up next: idle.
  7. Ledyard (2-0): Defeated Killingly 35-18. Up next: at Windham.
  8. Berlin (2-0): Snuck past Rocky Hill 25-14.
  9. Holy Cross (2-0): Beat Watertown 28-13.
  10. Glastonbury (2-0): Had no problem beating Newington 63-28. Up next: at Conard.

(Read full post)

Kuran Iverson commits to Memphis

September, 25, 2012
Kuran IversonBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comWindsor, Conn., native Kuran Iverson, the nation's No. 27 overall senior, committed to Memphis on Tuesday morning.

Windsor, Conn. native Kuran Iverson gave a verbal commitment to the University of Memphis this morning for the 2013-14 season, his high school coach Ed Huckaby confirmed with this morning.

The 6-foot-8 Iverson is the No. 27 overall player, and No. 6 overall small forward, in the ESPNU 100 for the Class of 2013. Two summers ago, he was ranked as high as No. 3 overall in the class nationally.

Iverson starred the last three seasons at West Hartford, Conn. powerhouse Northwest Catholic. Last season, the lineup featured Iverson and point guard Zack Lewis, who committed to Hofstra in April. Iverson transferred to Fishburne (Va.) Military School over the summer, and is expected to finish his high school career on the Waynesboro, Va., campus.

Selden, Iverson selected to Elite 24

July, 31, 2012
The first 12 players selected to participate in the seventh annual Under Armour Elite 24 event have been announced, and once again there is New England local flavor to it.

Hartford native Kuran Iverson and Tilton (N.H.) swingman Wayne Selden, a Boston native, were among the 12 announced today, in a loaded field that includes Prestonwood Christian (Texas) forward Julius Randle and Huntington Prep (W. Va.) wing Andrew Wiggins.

The Elite 24 will be held at the famed outdoor Venice Beach Courts in Los Angeles on August 24 and 25. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25, while the slam dunk contest will air Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

For the full release, CLICK HERE. Below is the roster of the first 12 announced:

(NOTE: It was reported earlier this month Iverson is transferring from Northwest Catholic (Conn.) to Fishburne Military School (Va.) for next season)

Nate Britt II, 2013 PG, Gonzaga College (D.C.)
Aquille Carr, 2013 PG, Patterson (Md.)
Isaac Hamilton, 2013 SG, Saint John Bosco (Calif.)
Aaron Harrison, 2013 SG, Travis (Texas)
Andrew Harrison, 2013 PG, Travis (Texas)
Kuran Iverson, 2013 SF, Fishburne Military (Va.)
Rondae Jefferson, 2013 SF, Chester (Pa.)
Jermaine Lawrence, 2013 PF, Pope John XXIII (N.Y.)
Marcus Lee, 2013 PF, Deer Valley (Calif.)
Julius Randle, 2013 PF, Prestonwood Christian (Texas)
Wayne Selden, 2013 SG, Tilton (N.H.)
Andrew Wiggins, 2014 SF, Huntington Prep (W. Va.)

Locals shining at LeBron Skills Academy

July, 9, 2012
ESPN's team of basketball recruiting analysts have been checking in this week at the LeBron Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, where several locals have stood out.

To read the complete recaps, CLICK HERE (Insider only) and HERE (Insider).

On day one, Salisbury (Conn.) forward Chris McCullough and Hotchkiss (Conn.) forward Austin Colbert made a favorable impression on Paul Biancardi, Joel Francisco and John Stovall:

Austin Colbert (Lakeview, Conn./Hotchkiss)
2013, PF, 6-foot-9, 200 pounds

He is an athletic, skilled forward who always stands out during drills. He showed he could make 17-foot jumpers and finish above the rim.

Chris McCullough (New York/Salisbury School)
2014, PF, 6-9, 200 pounds

Chris has great skills and moves well for someone who is 6-9. He even worked out with the wings and fit right in.

On Day 2, Northwest Catholic (Conn.) wing Kuran Iverson made a splash:

Kuran Iverson (Windsor, Conn./Northwest Catholic)
2013, WF, 6-8, 200 pounds

Iverson is a long and lean wing forward prospect with excellent ball skills and a smooth shooting stroke. During the many shooting drills, Iverson exhibited an effortless shooting touch out to 22 feet.

All eyes on Kuran Iverson during July period

July, 2, 2012
The July evaluation period is amongst the most feverish times of the year for high school basketball, and Northwest Catholic (Conn.) senior Kuran Iverson will have at least a few eyes following his path over the next 30 or so days.

Two summers ago the 6-foot-8 Windsor, Conn. resident was ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the Class of 2013 by ESPN. In the first ESPN 100 rankings for the Class of 2013, he comes in at No. 81. But if his strong spring season is to be taken into account, he could soon be making a jump back towards the top.

[+] EnlargeKuran Iverson
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comMany eyes will be watching Northwest Catholic (Conn.) forward Kuran Iverson to see if he can return to his promising form from two summers ago.
In a roundtable on RecruitingNation about players analysts are most excited to see, which you can find HERE (Insider only), ESPN's Adam Finkelstein goes with Iverson:

Adam Finkelstein: Kuran Iverson, SF (Windsor, Conn./Northwest Catholic)
His stock was revitalized this spring with steady performances on the AAU circuit and a big showing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, but now the question remains whether or not he can sustain that high level of play with all eyes on him this summer. For Iverson, it's always been about effort and efficiency.

In another roundtable piece on RecruitingNation, ESPN's analysts discuss players who could most see their stock improve. You can find the piece HERE (Insider only). Both Joel Francisco and John Stovall make note of Iverson:

Joel Francisco: Kuran Iverson, SF (Windsor, CT/Northwest Catholic)
Iverson was a well-known commodity among national scouts early on in his high school career. However, his overall game and approach didn't evolve during the next couple of seasons and as a result, many of his peers surpassed him. But after a scintillating performance at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, he showed that his lethal combination of skill, length and athleticism makes him one of elite talents in his class.

John Stovall: Kuran Iverson
He is a player who was highly ranked as a freshman but has slipped since then. There are many rumors as to why, but he now has a chance to gain it all back if he can stay focused during the month of July. There are not five players in the 2013 class with more talent. He is a legitimate 6-8 wing and is definitely one of the top five NBA prospects in the class.

ESPNU updates hoops player rankings

May, 24, 2012
ESPNU's basketball recruiting section updated its national rankings for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 classes this afternoon. For the respective classes, this is the first ESPNU 100 for 2013, Super 60 for 2014 and Terrific 25 for 2015.

Northwest Catholic (Conn.) forward Kuran Iverson is the lone New Englander represented in the Class of 2013, coming in at No. 80, but there is plenty of local flavor in the underclass rankings. Haverhill native Noah Vonleh comes in at No. 4 overall in the 2014 class; the power forward was named to ESPN Boston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team in 2011 as a sophomore at Haverhill High, before transferring to New Hampton (N.H.) and reclassifying.

Below are the locals represented on the new rankings:

ESPNU 100 (Class of 2013)
80. Kuran Iverson, 6-8 SF, Windsor, Conn./Northwest Catholic

Super 60 (Class of 2014)
4. Noah Vonleh, 6-8 PF, Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton (N.H.)
12. Wayne Selden, 6-5 SG, Boston/Tilton (N.H.)
18. Chris McCullough, 6-9 PF, Bronx, N.Y./Salisbury (Conn.)
53. Kaleb Joseph, 6-3 PG, Nashua, N.H./Cushing Academy
56. Jared Terrell, 6-4 SG, Weymouth, Mass./New Hampton (N.H.)

Terrific 25 (Class of 2015)
18. Jarred Reuter, 6-8 PF, Rochester, Mass./Tabor Academy

For the complete rankings, follow the links here: 2013, 2014, 2015.

ESPN's Paul Biancardi breaks down the new rankings over on Recruiting Nation Basketball, and highlights several of the aforementioned locals, excerpted belo:

SG Wayne Selden (Boston/The Tilton School)
When it comes to power and strength Selden is at the top of the class. His ability to overpower defenders, even ones bigger than him, with his college-ready body is what separates him from the pack. He is physically dominant on the fast break, finishing through contact.

PF Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton)
He has a strong frame and his physical tools are becoming elite as he grows into his body. Vonleh's versatility and ability to create his own shot off the dribble make him unique. His handle is a weapon that we just don't see that often at this stage for players with his frame.

For Biancardi's full breakdown, CLICK HERE (Insider only)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

March, 22, 2012
Recappping last weekend's CIAC state championship games in boys and girls basketball:

ConnecticutCLASS LL BOYS: Top-seeded St. Joseph used an 18-0 run in the second half to knock off second-seeded Hillhouse 62-54.

St. Joseph (27-1) received a game-high 26 points from James Jennings, and 18 from Timajh Parker. Parker made 14 of his 15 free throw attempts.

St. Joseph didn't make a field goal in the second quarter, and Hillhouse (24-2) led by 13 in the third. It was the 11th state title for St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli, who has won a state-record 880 games (all at St. Joseph). Montelli guided St. Joseph to victory over Fairfield Prep in last year's Class LL championship game.

CLASS LL GIRLS: A Jessica Lynch layup with 21 seconds to play gave ninth-seeded Newtown the lead for good in its 44-42 triumph over 10-seeded Mercy.

Mercy (21-6) overcame a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 42-41 lead with 29 seconds to play, but Lynch's basket came on the ensuing possession. Riley Wurtz tossed in a team-high 18 points for Newtown (22-4).

Mercy has lost the Class LL championship game in each of the last three seasons.

CLASS L BOYS: Treyvon Moore scored a game-high 25 points to help second-seeded Career, Magnet defeat top-seeded Northwest Catholic 51-49.

The victory handed Career Magnet (27-2) the program's first state title.

Northwest Catholic (23-4) missed 17 of its 20 field goal attempts in the first half and trailed 29-13 entering the third. Kuran Iverson scored 20 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots in the loss.

CLASS L GIRLS: A strong finish handed third-seeded Bacon Academy a 38-34 victory over top-seeded E.O. Smith.

Bacon (22-3) closed the game with a 12-0 run. E.O. Smith (25-2) failed to score in the final 5:49 and made one field goal in the fourth quarter.

Taylor McLaughlin led Bacon Academy with 13 points.

CLASS M BOYS: Senior Nolan Long, a 6-foot-9 center, scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as second-seeded Waterford collected the program's first state championship by beating fourth-seeded Watertown 71-57.

Senior guard Geary McLeon added 18 points, seven assists and five steals for the Lancers (25-2). It was the fourth loss for Watertown (24-4).

CLASS M GIRLS: Guard Fifi Walcott scored 16 points as top-seeded Weaver won its first state championship with a 55-47 triumph over second-seeded Tolland.

The Beavers (25-2) set a school record for victories en route to the title.

Kristin Schatzlein, Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year, scored a game-high 32 points in the loss. Tolland (24-4) committed 32 turnovers.

CLASS S BOYS: Vitor Melo collected 14 points and 13 rebounds to help top-seeded Immaculate defeat third-seeded Capital Prep 67-53.

Capital Prep (23-4) entered the game averaging 85.9 points per game, but was held to its lowest point total of the season. Immaculate (26-1) outrebounded Capital Prep, 49-30.

CLASS S GIRLS: Three players scored in double figures for top-seeded Coginchaug, which won its first state championship by beating second-seeded Capital Prep 58-48.

Lauren Esposito scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Coginchaug (25-2). Audrey Biesak scored 11 and Jessica Solomon added 10 for Coginchaug.

DeJane James tossed in 19 for Capital Prep (23-4).


Billy Vizzo scored three goals as second-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven (20-3-1) defeated fourth-seeded Glastonbury (20-5-0) 5-0 in the Division I championship game.

It was the only time Glastonbury has been shut out this season.

In last weekend's other championship games, fifth-seeded Trumbull scored five third-period goals during a 5-3 triumph over seventh-seeded Branford in the Division II championship game; and Drew O'Leary made 18 saves to help top-seeded Newington/Berlin beat third-seeded Northwest Catholic 2-1 in the Division III championship game.

Sophomore Brendan Strobel scored twice for Trumbull (17-9-0). His second goal gave Trumbull a 4-3 lead with 1:35 to play.

Brandon Ralph and Brendon Richard scored in Newington/Berlin's victory.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.

Updated Super 60 and Terrific 25 rankings

January, 25, 2012
This morning, ESPN's Basketball Recruiting section updated its Super 60 and Terrific 25 lists for the Class of 2013 and 2014, respectively, and several familiar locals populate the list.

Simeon (Ill.) swingman Jabari Parker retains the No. 1 overall spot in the Class of 2013, but the gap is closing between him and Everett's own Nerlens Noel. ESPN's Dave Telep explains in his column today:

Following last summer, we targeted two players for our top spot -- small forward Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon) and center Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton). Fast-forward six months and our opinion is that they remain the lone candidates for the No. 1 spot, however, the gap between the two is more negligible than ever.

Parker is viewed by many as the top prospect in high school basketball, regardless of class, and for good reason. He embodies physical and mental traits needed in a player to perform, succeed and win at the highest levels. He has competitive greatness and a balanced floor game. Noel, his competition for the top spot, is the Anthony Davis of high school basketball. No one player in high school affects the game as much as Noel does on the defensive end.

As Noel's offensive repertoire expands, so does the discussion regarding the top spot. Ultimately we decided to stick with Parker, a player everyone on our staff feels worthy of the honor. However, our straw poll of staffers as to who gets the nod for No. 1 was closer than ever.

Meanwhile, Northwest Catholic (Conn.) forward Kuran Iverson continues his descent down the list. Nearly two years ago, the Hartford native was ranked in the Top 5 for the Class of 2013. After falling from No. 3 to No. 30 in the last update, the 6-foot-10 wing player has dropped out of the Super 60 altogether.

You can view the entire lists here (2013) and here (2014). Below are the locals making the Super 60 and Terrific 25:

SUPER 60 (Class of 2013)
2. Nerlens Noel, 6-10 C, Everett, Mass./Tilton (N.H.)
38. Dominic Woodson, 6-9 C, Round Rock, Texas/Vermont Academy (Vt.)

TERRIFIC 25 (Class of 2014)
4. Noah Vonleh, 6-7 PF, Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton (N.H.)
6. Wayne Selden, 6-5 SG, Boston/Tilton (N.H.)
12. Chris McCullough, 6-8 PF, Bronx, N.Y./Salisbury (Conn.)

Hoophall: DeMatha (Md.) 78, Northwest Cath. 57

January, 14, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A year ago at this time, in this tournament, on this floor, DeMatha Catholic was getting embarrassed by St. Anthony's on national television, a 50-point loss to New Jersey powerhouse St. Anthony in the Hoophall Classic. Burly big man BeeJay Anye struggled with his weight, and in turn struggled to stay on the floor with his low stamina.

Fast forward 12 months, and the Stags were getting a little bit of retribution tonight, easily downing Northwest Catholic (Conn.), 78-57, behind 24 points, nine rebounds and three steals from the 6-foot-8 junior big man.

"It feels a lot different," said Anye. "We haven't won up here the last two times we've been up here, so getting that monkey off our back feels good. But it's time to move on to Monday [against Bishop Gorman, at Hoophall]."

Anye scored six of the game's first eight baskets to spot the Stags a quick 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest. The Stags led 26-9 after one quarter, and 41-21 at the break, largely thanks to his work both underneath and around the perimeter. He had 13 points at the break, and his movement helped them have a 20-12 advantage on the boards (and 39-23 for the game).

Pitt signee Jerami Grant added 14 points, while Marcellous Bell was a perfect 4 of 4 from three-point range to aid the Stags in the win.

"We usually try to get him the ball early to get him going and keep him involved," DeMatha head coach Mike Jones said of Anye. "He's a monster on the defensive end -- he always will be, no matter what -- but when he's able to score for us, it opens up a lot of other things for us."

Meanwhile, Northwest's star junior Kuran Iverson ended up watching most of this blowout on the bench, picking up two fouls in the first quarter and his fourth midway through the third. The 6-foot-10 wing -- who counts offers from Syracuse, UConn, Pitt, North Carolina, St. John's, Oklahoma and Florida, among others -- did minimal damage in this one, with just three rebounds and four points on 2-of-7 from the field in 18 minutes.

"We could have competed, but we didn't," Iverson said. "The foul trouble came, and I was just out of my game from there."

If there was a silver lining for Northwest, it was the emergence of senior guard Zach Lewis, who scored 15 points in the second half to total 23 on the night. Head coach John Mirabello acknowledged that the late-blooming shooting guard's performance tonight could do measures in justifying his affirmation that he's a scholarship player.

"I'm working like crazy, to be honest with you," Mirabello smiled. "I can't speak for a college coach, I know I'm biased, but I think...more people will be coming around now for him. Not that they shouldn't have before -- I don't think he needed this game to prove that -- and he wasn't at his best tonight."

Top performances from local ballers

January, 11, 2012
Each week, ESPN's college basketball recruiting section spotlights top performances from players listed on the ESPNU 100 (Class of 2012), Super 60 (Class of 2013) and Terrific 25 (Class of 2014).

This week, that includes St. Mark's center Kaleb Tarczewski, New London (Conn.) point guard Kris Dunn, King Philip forward Jake Layman, and Northwest Catholic (Conn.) forward Kuran Iverson.

The complete list can be found here. Below are the locals' accomplishments:


No. 6 Kaleb Tarczewski, C
The Arizona-bound center scored 17 points as St. Mark knocked off St. Andrew’s 61-47 on Friday.

No. 29 Kris Dunn, PG
Dunn continued his torrid senior season with 29 points and seven rebounds as New London rolled by East Lyme, 74-44, on Friday. He didn’t slow down on Saturday, going for 32 points and 26 rebounds in a win over Saint Raphael Academy.

No. 53 Jake Layman, SF
Layman had 12 of his 18 points in the second half and added 13 rebounds and three blocks in a 55-37 win over North Attleboro on Friday. He exploded for a career-best 40 points in a 74-52 rout of Sharon on Tuesday.


No. 30 Kuran Iverson, SF
The junior had 16 points in a win over Southington on Thursday night. He went for 15 points in an 83-39 rout of Conard on Monday.

2012 Hoophall Classic schedule set

October, 21, 2011
The Basketball Hall of Fame has unveiled the schedule for the 11th Annual Hoophall Classic, annually one of the nation's top high school invitationals, at Springfield College's Blake Arena, and once again it's a loaded list.

Traditionally held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend, the invitational has now expanded to five days, with a slate of local Western Mass. teams facing off on Thursday to kick things off.

St. Mark's, Oak Hill (Va.), Findlay Prep (Nev.), Bishop Gorman (Nev.), St. Anthony (N.J.), St. Patrick (N.J.) and DeMatha Catholic (Md.) all return for the second straight year, and all will be involved in key matchups. Some of the more enticing local matchups include Northwest Catholic (Conn.) and its prized 6-foot-8 junior Kuran Iverson takes on national power DeMatha, led by ESPNU 100 stars Jerami Grant (Syracuse) and James Robinson (Pitt).

A trio of New England prep school matchups also highlight the weekend, with Tilton (N.H.) and Brewster Academy (N.H.) squaring off early Sunday evening, followed by Notre Dame Prep and New Hampton (N.H.). Monday afternoon, Wilbraham & Monson will face St. Thomas More (Conn.).

Here is the complete schedule for the weekend:

4 p.m. - Springfield Commerce vs. Springfield Sci-Tech
5:30 p.m. - Springfield Cathedral vs. Central Catholic
7 p.m. - Springfield Central vs. Springfield Putnam
8:30 p.m. - Mahar vs. Hampshire

3 p.m. Sabis vs. Springfield Central (Girls)
4:30 p.m. - Sabis vs. New Leadership
6 p.m. - West Springfield vs. Cicero North (N.Y.) (Girls)
7:30 p.m. - East Longmeadow vs. Christ the King (N.Y.) (Girls)
9 p.m. - East Longmeadow vs. Longmeadow

Noon - Springfield Central vs. Windsor (Conn.)
2 p.m. - St. Patrick (N.J.) vs. LaVerne Lutheran (Calif.)
4 p.m. - Gonzaga College (D.C.) vs. Riverside Academy (La.)
6 p.m. - Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Prestonwood Christian (Texas)
8 p.m. - Northwest Catholic (Conn.) vs. DeMatha Catholic (Md.)

10 a.m. - Our Savior New American (N.Y.) vs. Mount St. Joseph (Md.)
Noon - St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Wilbraham & Monson
2 p.m. - St. Mark's vs. Friends Central (Penn.)
4 p.m. - Tilton (N.H.) vs. Brewster Academy (N.H.)
6 p.m. - Notre Dame Prep vs. New Hampton (N.H.)
8:30 p.m. - Skills Challenge

11 a.m. - St. Anthony (N.J.) vs. Miller Grove (Ga.)
1 p.m. - DeMatha Catholic (Md.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
3 p.m. - Simeon (Ill.) vs. Findlay Prep (Nev.)
5 p.m. - Christ The King (N.Y.) vs. Mater Dei (Calif.)
7 p.m. - Granby vs. St. Joseph's (Pittsfield)

Nerlens Noel No. 2 in latest Super 60

August, 11, 2011
ESPN's basketball recruiting section has updated the Super 60 rankings for the Class of 2013 today, and it should come to little surprise where Tilton (N.H.) big man Nerlens Noel comes in.

After an explosive summer on the AAU circuit with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, the 6-foot-11 Everett native comes in at No. 2, ahead of Prestonwood Christian (Texas)'s Julius Randle but behind Simeon (Ill.)'s Jabari Parker.

South Kent (Conn.) shooting guard and Denver native Chris Thomas comes in at No. 13, while Northwest Catholic (Conn.)'s Kuran Iverson continues his slide down the list. Once a top five prospect on ESPN's list, the Windsor, Conn. native fell to No. 30 on the list.

Brewster Academy (N.H.) small forward and Milwaukee native Deonte Burton also comes in at No. 36. ESPN's Dave Telep also lists Tilton (N.H.) forward Goodluck Okonoboh as one of the players "knocking on the door" of the Super 60.

The full Super 60 can be found here.

Telep goes on to explain his placement of Parker, Noel and Randle:

After the summer, if you polled recruiting analysts and college coaches, there's a good chance SF Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon) would prevail as the top overall prospect in high school basketball, regardless of class. When an underclassman draws reviews like that, it's a big deal. Parker is a smooth operator with NBA bloodlines, poise and an overall package that features a competitive game with grace and skill. The fact that he's in the conversation about the best prospect in high school basketball is an achievement. The fact that he's ranked ahead of C Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton School) and PF Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood) is almost as big of a statement. The three have separated themselves from the pack as high school players, similar to what O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Eric Gordon did in the 2007 class.

Entering the summer, our rankings read Randle, Parker and Noel, in that order. After Parker continuously set the standard, the question became: Who's No. 2? Enter Noel. Not since Greg Oden has high school basketball had as dominant a shot-blocker in its ranks. He's an elite rim-protector and his summer team's accomplishments were aided by this enormous presence at the rim. You couldn't have asked for a more successful summer run.

Randle, our former No. 1, also had a tremendous summer. From his work at the Nike Skills Academy right on through July, his game was in bloom. A powerful 4-man with a perimeter skills package, he's a matchup problem in different areas of the court. These guys -- and the order may one day change -- could easily go 1-2-3 in a future NBA Draft.

Five Things We Learned at Elite 75

September, 29, 2010
The third annual "New England Elite 75 Showcase -- Frosh/Soph Edition" took place on Saturday at Boston University’s Case Gymnasium and included many of the top underclassman prospects the New England region has to offer. The event featured two sessions, with the freshmen taking the court in the morning and the sophomores in the afternoon.

Here is a look at five lessons we learned after taking in the day’s action:

1. Noah Vonleh is a Potential Star in the Making

Haverhill High School sophomore Noah Vonleh stood out as the most impressive prospect at the event. What sets him apart is a combination of three factors. First, he has the talent to dominant his peers right now. Second, he has demonstrated the work ethic to consistently improve his game. Third, his physical upside is tremendous. Vonleh only recently celebrated his 15th birthday and already stands 6-foot-7 with a strong body. He could still be growing and is certainly still growing into his body and consequently hasn’t nearly peaked athletically. He has terrific economy of motion, taking the ball off the defensive glass and going coast to coast in three or four dribbles and only requiring a single bounce to get to the rim in a half-court set, to go along with a rapidly developing skill set. If this young man continues to work hard and make good decisions, the sky could be the limit.

2. The Class of 2013 has Tremendous Depth

New England has some very well known talent in the class of 2013. Connecticut native Kuran Iverson is the second ranked player in the country and Everett native Nerlens Noel is third, according to ESPNU’s most recent Terrific 25 list. But beyond the obvious star power of Iverson, Noel, and Vonleh the region, and the state of Massachusetts specifically, has great depth in the class. Beaver Country Day guard Rene Castro already owns a scholarship offer from Boston College, Brimmer & May’s Jake Fay has one from UMass, and a variety of others in action on Friday had the potential to earn similar opportunities including Milton Academy’s Ikemefuna Ngwudo, Cushing Academy’s Andrew Chrabascz, Springfield Central’s Cornelius Tyson, and Weymouth’s Jared Terrell.

3. Getting to Know the Class of 2014

This was our first major opportunity to check out the incoming freshmen and there was plenty to like. Milton’s Jeremy Miller has the size and raw talent to potentially be a high level prospect down the road. Fellow big men Aaron Falzon (Newton North) and Bonzie Colson Jr. (St. Andrew’s) have similar upside. There are plenty of talented local guards including Lawrence Academy’s Johnnie Vassar, Cushing Academy’s Idris Taqqee and Stoughton’s Jonathan Joseph. The state of Connecticut also offers a particularly talented group with the likes of Jared Wilson-Frame, Levy Gillespie Jr., Winston Morgan and Kahari Beaufort.

4. Prep Talent Arriving Earlier than Ever

New England has always been the hub of prep school talent in the country, but it used to be that talented players only arrived for their post-graduate, or sometimes senior, seasons. Saturday’s event showed they are now coming much earlier and opting to play in the NEPSAC for multiple seasons. Some of the event’s top prospects, like Northfield Mount Hermon’s Dekeeba Battee, Worcester Academy’s Asur Madison, Winchendon’s Dennis Green and the Kent School’s Travis Berry are all from outside of the region but are boarding students at local prep schools.

5. One Year Can Make a Big Difference

There was a notable difference between the morning and the afternoon session as the sophomores delivered a significantly higher quality of play. The biggest difference was obviously physical as players were bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic given the extra year of physical maturity. But the other interesting trend was the higher caliber of basketball acumen. Some examples were more obvious as the sophomores tended to both share the ball more as well as play without it, but others were more subtle like looking into the post, using jab fakes or understanding how to defend from the weak side of the floor.

N.E. talent high on new ESPN rankings

September, 3, 2010
Could New England be turning into a high school basketball hotbed?

ESPN released its new basketball rankings today, and some of the region's premier talent ranks highly on the list.

In the Class of 2011's ESPNU100, St. Andrew's (R.I.) shooting guard Michael Carter-Williams is ranked 18th overall. The Hamilton, Mass. native is committed to Syracuse. Meanwhile, Brewster Academy point guard and Worcester native Naadir Tharpe comes in at 66th; St. John's Prep two-sport star Pat Connaughton was one of the players who just missed the cut.

Four New Englanders are in the top 25 of the Class of 2012's ESPNU Super 60, including St. Thomas More's Andre Drummond at the top overall spot and Notre Dame Prep's Khem Birch at No. 2. St. Mark's stars Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarzcewski are ranked seventh and 24th, respectively.

Kuran Iverson of Northwest Catholic (Conn.) ranks No. 2 in the Class of 2013's ESPNU Terrific 25, with Tilton (N.H.)'s Nerlens Noel right behind him at No. 3. Brewster's Deonte Burton, a Milwaukee native, is also ranked No. 14 on the list.