Boston High School: Mitch McGary

There are a slew of happy souls in Roxbury's Mission Hill neighborhood tonight, as one of its finest products ever, two-time national champion Shabazz Napier of UConn, was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft tonight.

The Miami Heat traded their first-round pick, No. 26 overall, and two second-round picks to the Charlotte Hornets to move up two spots to grab Napier with the 24th pick, a move that drew the praise of free agent-to-be LeBron James:



Napier starred first at Charlestown High, then Groton's Lawrence Academy, before earning two national championships at UConn, in 2011 and 2014. In this most recent national title run, UConn's fourth since 1999, Napier was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

Napier's native Mission Hill neighborhood is a revered breeding ground for some of the best point guards to come out of Boston, from Wayne Turner to Will Blalock to Tony Lee. In a 2010 interview with ESPNBoston.com, Napier talked about the mentoring of those past and present, most significantly Blalock:



"I grew up in the Mission Hill projects in Roxbury. I didn’t have a father, so I ended up staying with…he’s not really my brother, but I consider him my older brother, Will Blalock. I was the youngest of three kids, and my mother raised us on her own, sometimes with one job, sometimes with no job. It was tough, so I tried to make it easier for her by staying in the arms of someone who cares about me and is going to make me a better basketball player. I learned my skills basically from him, watching him play, watching my other older brothers play, learning from them. They had great IQ’s, they know how to play the game real well, and it was just a pleasure to learn from them. I had a group of guys I consider brothers who just took me underneath their arms…Will Blalock, Steve Hailey, Tony Lee, Will Dickerson, Shawn Davis, Kenneth Jackson. They’ve been big mentors."



Napier told ESPN's Brian Windhorst he hoped his arrival would help persuade James to return to Miami.

"I would hope so," Napier said. "He's one of the best players in the world. So if me going there helps him come back, it just betters our chances of being a complete team."

Napier told ESPN.com he's eager to prove himself in the NBA.

"No, the chip never leaves my shoulder. It will never leave my shoulder," Napier said. "That's what makes me who I am. And I was saying that not to belittle any other point guards. There's a reason why they're here. But I was just saying that because that's who I am. I wouldn't be Shabazz Napier if I wouldn't have said that. I believe it, and I'm going to prove it.

"What I always learned was that whatever you put in is what you're going to get out. If I don't put in the work, it's not going to show. So there's always a chip on my shoulder to prove to myself that I'm the best, and to do that, I've got to work hard."

Napier was one of several local prep school products to get selected tonight.

Missisauga, Ont. native Nik Stauskas, who starred at Southborough's St. Mark's School for two years before a decorated career at Michigan, was taken eighth overall by the Sacramento Kings. Stauskas was named First Team All-ISL in his senior season of 2011-12 after averaging 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in leading the Lions to the NEPSAC Class AA championship. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year this past season at Michigan.

One pick after Stauskas, Haverhill native Noah Vonleh was selected by the Charlotte Hornets. Vonleh was named to ESPNBoston.com's inaugural All-State Team in 2010-11 as a sophomore at Haverhill High, before moving on to a decorated career at New Hampton (N.H.) School. Vonleh was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season at Indiana.

Three Brewster Academy (N.H.) products were selected in the first round. North Carolina State product T.J. Warren, a Durham, N.C. native who prepped at Brewster in 2011-12, went 14th overall to the Phoenix Suns. Xavier guard Semaj Christon, a Cincinnati native who also prepped at Brewster in 11-12, went in the second round to the Miami Heat.

Chesterton, Ind. native Mitch McGary, a power forward who spent two seasons at Brewster (2010-11, 11-12), was taken 21st overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, out of Michigan. At one point in his career at Brewster, McGary was ranked the No. 2 overall high school recruit in the country.

New York native Russ Smith, who prepped for one year at South Kent (Conn.) in 2009-10, was also selected in the second round by the by the Philadelphia 76ers after a four-year career at Louisville that included a National Championship in 2013.

Noel, Tarczewski, McGary named to Team USA

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:43
PM ET
USA Basketball today named the roster for the 2012 USA Junior National Select Team, which will take on the World Select Team in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit, April 7 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.

The Nike Hoop Summit is the country's premier annual basketball game for high-school boys and features America's top seniors playing against a World Team comprised of international players who are 19-years-old or younger.

Everett native and Tilton (N.H.) senior Nerlens Noel, the nation's No. 1 overall player, was named to the team, as was St. Mark's 7-foot center and Claremont, N.H. native Kaleb Tarczewski. Brewster Academy (N.H.) big man Mitch McGary, an Indiana native, was also named to the team.

The three will be joined by Kyle Anderson (St. Anthony H.S./North Bergen, N.J.); Archie Goodwin (Sylvan Hills H.S./Little Rock, Ark.); Gary Harris (Hamilton Southeastern H.S./Fishers, Ind.); Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.); Marcus Paige (Linn-Mar H.S./Marion, Iowa); Tony Parker (Miller Grove H.S./Lithonia, Ga.); and Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas).

NEPSAC: NMH 87, Brewster Academy (N.H.) 83

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
11:28
PM ET



BEVERLY, Mass. –- Spike Albrecht is one clutch player.

Scoring only 11 points in regulation, the 6-foot-1 guard hailing from Crown Point, Ind. stuck his neck out in overtime, taking three trips to the line and going 5-6, including 2 with 2.7 seconds left in the game, lifting Northfield Mt.-Hermon over previously-undefeated Brewster Academy (N.H.), 87-83, in overtime during the semifinal round of the NEPSAC Class AAA basketball tournament at Endicott College.

“It was fatigue, both teams were feeling it,” said Hoggers head coach John Carroll. “The team that had the most left in the tank was going to win, and it looked like it was our guys.”

The teams played point tag for nearly the entire game, first knotting it up at 5 early in the first and lastly at 82 with 2:49 left in overtime. NMH (28-5) won the tap to begin overtime at 78, but a block by Brewster’s Jakarr Sampson thwarted that effort. The Hoggers’ Evan Cummins lit up the board with a free throw at 4:15, sinking one to put them ahead at 79-78. A Brewster miss and an Albrecht rebound resulted in a three by Anthony Dallier -- with an assist from Cummins -- to put them ahead 82-78.

After Cummins missed two free throws, Sampson grabbed the rebound and came down the other end of the court with a put-back, plus the foul, to tie it up at 82. He was unable to complete the three-point play, however, and the game remained even.

The next points would again come from Albrecht, hitting two free throws with 32.5 seconds left in the game. Down 84-82, Brewster’s Mitch McGary went to the line with 17.3 seconds left, made the first but clanged the second. Anthony Dallier got the rebound for the Hoggers, and once again Albrecht was fouled. He was unable to sink both this time, but it was enough to put the Hoggers up by 85-83 with 12.8 seconds to go.

The Bobcats (30-1) were able to get the ball off the Albrecht miss. Down at the other end, Semaj Christon drove to his right but lost control of the ball after colliding with Cummins; Albrecht scooped up the loose ball and immediately was fouled.

With 2.7 seconds left, and with all of the pressure on his shoulders, Albrecht coolly strode to the free throw line and let the ice drip onto the ball, sinking both free throws and putting the game indefinitely out of reach at 87-83.

“He’s the guy that keeps us together, he’s the guy who makes clutch plays,” Carroll said. “When he stepped to the line with that time left, there was no doubt in my mind that they were going in.”

O'Day, What a Day: Although Albrecht carried the Hoggers during overtime, it was Evan O’Day’s 31 points, including five points within the last three minutes of regulation, that gave Northfield Mt. Herman the spark they needed to carry the game into overtime and upset the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

"We've been preparing for these guys for a while," O'Day said. "They beat us by eight at our place the first time. We definitely scouted, did the work. Definitely hats off to Coach Carroll and [assistant coach John] Halas, for doing the scouting report. They really made us work, and we were prepared for them this time for sure."

Big Spike Albrecht was able to score 5 of his team’s nine points in overtime, not because he is a scoring assassin, or has to prove to scouts that he will perform for them because they’ve committed resources to his future, but because he has a big heart.

Albrecht was willing to sacrifice his body in the lane, was able to drown out the noise from the crowd as well as that little voice of doubt that rings whenever a pressure situation pressure situation presents itself, and come through for his team when they needed him to.

“It was nice,” said Albrecht of being fouled and having a chance to shoot uncontested shots. “I always enjoy going to the line at the end of the game. I pride myself on making free throws because that’s what wins games.”

Up Next: NMH will face St. Thomas More (Conn.) in Sunday's Class AAA Final at Endicott at 4 p.m. The Chancellors are coming off a thrilling victory of their own, beating New Hampton on a buzzer beater in the Class AAA semifinal following NMH's win.

The Hoggers beat St. Thomas More in both of their regular season meetings, both by six points oddly enough -- 90-84 on Jan. 13, and 76-70 on Feb. 8.


Layman, Niang among top performances

January, 27, 2012
1/27/12
12:04
PM ET
Each week during the high school basketball season, ESPNU highlights the top performances around the country from players ranked in the ESPNU 100 (Class of 2012), Super 60 (2013) and Terrific 25 (2014). Making the list this week are King Philip's Jake Layman, Tilton (N.H.) stars Georges Niang and Nerlens Noel, and Brewster Academy (N.H.)'s duo of Mitch McGary and T.J. Warren.

The entire list of top performances can be viewed here. Below are how the locals did:



CLASS OF 2012

No. 21 Mitch McGary, PF
The future Michigan man had 15 points and 14 rebounds in Brewster’s 88-44 demolition of Proctor on Wednesday.

No. 28 T.J. Warren, SF
Warren led the way for Brewster with 21 points in a 98-57 rout of Winchendon School on Friday night. On Monday, he scored 23 as the Bobcats moved to 17-0 following a 125-68 romp over Maine Central Institute.

No. 61 Jake Layman, SF
Layman led King Philip with 27 points in an 84-69 win over Attleboro on Friday night. He had 30 points and 13 rebounds on Tuesday but the Warriors fell to Stoughton, 73-69.

No. 68 Georges Niang, PF
Niang led all scorers with 27 points in leading Tilton past Villa Angela-St. Joseph, 65-49, on Friday at the Mountaineer Showcase. On Saturday, the senior scored the 2,000th point of his career and finished with 29 in a win over Arlington Country Day (Fla.).

CLASS OF 2013

No. 2 Nerlens Noel, C
Noel posted 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in a win over Arlington Country Day (Fla.) on Saturday.


National Prep School Invitational primer

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
5:34
PM ET
Media Director Pat Stevens forwards along a press release on what to expect from the annual National Prep School Invitational, February 2 through 5 at Rhode Island College.



PROVIDENCE, R.I. --- Thirty of the country’s top prep school basketball teams, up to 100 college coaches on hand to evaluate prospects, and several NBA scouts will gather for the 14th annual National Prep School Invitational.

Held at Rhode Island College from Thursday, February 2 through Sunday, February 5, the nation’s elite exposure event during the school year will once again have its top games broadcasted on COX Sports.

With an upwards of 50 players impressively already committed to colleges, the event’s main goal is to provide a springboard for many more to join that group.

The featured young talent competing ranges all the way from the traditional powers of the New England Prep School Athletic Conference to as far as the Canarias Basketball Academy of the Canary Islands.

Highlighting the field is last year’s National Prep Championship Tournament winner St. Thomas More (CT) and NEPSAC champion Maine Central Institute (ME). Previous titleholders Brewster Academy (NH), Bridgton Academy (ME), Notre Dame Prep (MA) and Tilton School (NH) return as well.

Considered the strongest All-American candidates for their success throughout their high school and prep school careers are South Kent’s Ricardo Ledo (Providence) and Tilton’s Nerlens Noel (Undecided) along with Brewster Academy duo Mitch McGary (Michigan) and TJ Warren (North Carolina State). Notre Dame Prep recently welcomed Steven Adams (Pittsburgh) for the second semester, a talented center from New Zealand who made waves this past summer with his play at the Adidas Nations global event. Some of college basketball's top contenders are also showing high interest in a number of underclassmen on the rise - Tilton's Wayne Selden and Goodluck Okonoboh, New Hampton's Noah Vonleh and Jared Terrell, and Vermont Academy's DaQuan McNeil, Dominic Woodson and Jamel Artis.

St. Andrew’s (RI) star All-American guard Michael Carter-Williams (now at Syracuse) took home back-to-back NPSI MVP awards in 2011 and 2010. The 2009 MVP went to Lawrence Academy’s Shabazz Napier, who has since gone on to win a NCAA National Championship at the University of Connecticut.

Currently, 28 active NBA Players have participated in the NPSI. Those once awarded the NPSI MVP for their performances in the event include Michael Beasley (Notre Dame Prep ‘07/Kansas State/Minnesota Timberwolves), Lazar Hayward (Notre Dame Prep ’06/Marquette/Oklahoma City Thunder), Shawne Williams (Laurinburg Institute ‘05/Memphis/New Jersey Nets) and Dorell Wright (South Kent ‘04/1st Round Draft Choice out of prep school).

For more information, visit NPSIhoops.com and NationalPrepInvitational.com.

Tickets are $10 per day or passes for the entire event can also be purchased at the door.

MEDIA REQUESTS please contact Pat Stevens at pat@npsihoops.com


2012 NPSI SCHEDULE

Thursday, February 2
10 - Lee Academy (ME) vs. Robinson (NJ)
11:30 - St. Thomas More (CT) vs. CJEOTO Academy (NJ)
1:15 - Brewster Academy (NH) vs. St. John’s Northwest Military Academy (WI)
2:45 – NIA Prep (NJ) vs. Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain)
4:15 - Notre Dame Prep (MA) vs. Wilbraham & Monson (MA)
5:45 - La Jolla Prep (CA) vs. South Kent (CT)
7:15 - Phelps (PA) vs. Cushing Academy (MA)
9 – Mont Clare (PA) vs. New Hope Academy (MD)

Friday, February 3
9 –CJEOTO Academy (NJ) vs. Lee Academy (ME)
10:30 - Robinson (NJ) vs. La Jolla Prep (CA)
12 - SJNWMA (WI) vs. New Hampton (NH)
1:30 – Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain) vs. Notre Dame Prep (MA)
3 - South Kent (CT) vs. NIA Prep (NJ)
4:30 - Mont Clare (PA) vs. St. Thomas More (CT)
6 - Worcester Academy (MA) vs. Phelps (PA)
7:30 - Vermont Academy (VT) vs. Winchendon (MA)
9 - New Hope Academy (MD) vs. Bridgton Academy (ME)

Saturday, February 4
9 – Marianapolis (CT) vs. SJNWMA (WI)
10:30 – Winchendon (MA) vs. Mont Clare (PA)
12 – Cushing Academy (MA) vs. New Hope Academy (MD)
1:30 – REDA (Canada) vs. Vermont Academy (VT)
3 – Bridgton Academy (ME) vs. Northfield Mount Hermon (MA)
4:30 - La Jolla Prep (CA) vs. Notre Dame Prep (MA)
6 – New Hampton (NH) vs. Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain)
7:30 - Maine Central Institute (ME) vs. Next Level Prep (Canada)

Sunday, February 5
9 - Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain) vs. Bridgton Academy (ME)
10:30 - Wilbraham & Monson (MA) vs. Winchendon (MA)
12 – Next Level Prep (Canada) vs. St. Thomas More (CT)
1:30 - Tilton (NH) vs. REDA (Canada)
3 - Northfield Mount Hermon (MA) vs. Lawrence Academy (MA)
4:30 - St. Andrew's (RI) vs. Maine Central Institute (ME)
6 - New Hope Academy (MD) vs. Worcester Academy (MA)

2012 NPSI COLLEGE COMMITTED PLAYERS
Semaj Christon (G - Brewster Academy - Xavier)
Mitch McGary (F - Brewster Academy - Michigan)
Jalen Reynolds (F - Brewster Academy - Xavier)
Aaron Thomas (G - Brewster Academy - Florida State)
TJ Warren (F - Brewster Academy - NC State)
Jarryn Skeete (G - Bridgton Academy - Buffalo)
Alex Furness (G - Cushing - Bentley)
Tyler McFarland (G - Cushing - Bentley)
Darrell Bowie (F - La Jolla Prep - Northern Illinois)
Strahinja Gavrilovic (G - La Jolla Prep - Southern California)
Darnell Harris (F - La Jolla Prep - Cleveland State)
Jarion Henry (G - La Jolla Prep - Oklahoma)
Travion Leonard (C - Lee Academy - Fordham)
Jean Yves Toupane (F - Lee Academy - Saint Bonaventure)
Barry Webster (F - Lee Academy - Maine)
Jared Brandon (F - Maine Central Institute - Cal State Fullerton)
James Farr (F - Maine Central Institute - Xavier)
Tobe Okafor (C - Maine Central Institute - Loyola Marymount)
Barrington Alston (F - New Hampton - Towson)
Zach Auguste (F - New Hampton - Notre Dame)
Olivier Hanlan (G - New Hampton - Boston College)
Ramon Johnson (F - NIA Prep - Coastal Carolina)
Tommy Carpenter (F - Northfield Mount Hermon - Dartmouth)
Evan Cummins (F - Northfield Mount Hermon - Harvard)
Ethan O'Day (F - Northfield Mount Hermon - Vermont)
Steven Adams (C - Notre Dame Prep - Pittsburgh)
Myles Davis (G - Notre Dame Prep - Xavier)
Adonis Filer (G - Notre Dame Prep - Clemson)
Shawn Valentine (G - Phelps - Rider)
Richard Audu (G - REDA - Siena)
Naz Long (G - REDA - Iowa State)
Jarrod Davis (F - Robinson School - Maryland Eastern Shore)
Laimonas Chatkevicius (C - South Kent - Kansas State)
Ricardo Ledo (G - South Kent - Providence)
Chris Ortiz (F - South Kent - Kent State)
Cedric Kukamensah (F - St. Andrew's - Brown)
Josh Hall (F - St. John's Northwest Military Academy - Cal Poly)
Andy Martin (C - St. John's Northwest Military Academy - Montana)
Curtis Jones (G - St. Thomas More - Manhattan)
Barrington Stevens (G - St. Thomas More - South Alabama)
Dominique Bull (G - Tilton - Missouri)
Kevin Crescenzi (G - Tilton - Dartmouth)
Georges Niang (F - Tilton - Iowa State)
Tevin Falzon (F - Winchendon - Sacred Heart)
Akosa Maduegbunam (G - Winchendon - Penn State)
Nick Victor (G - Winchendon - Yale)


ESPNU 100 rankings updated

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
2:47
PM ET
ESPN's basketball recruiting section has updated the ESPNU 100 rankings for the Class of 2012 today, and there is some significant shakeup involving local players.

Most significant of them all might be Brewster Academy (N.H.) big man Mitch McGary, who fell from No. 2 overall in the country down to No. 21. The Chesterton, Ind. native signed with Michigan last November.

ESPN's Dave Telep explains the drop:


Michigan signee Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy (N.H.)) dipped from No. 2 to No. 21 overall. Why? When a player is ranked that high, it's entirely up to him to stay there. Our vision with his ranking is to reset expectations so that they are reasonable once he arrives at Michigan. We loved his energy and motor in the past, but it's up to McGary to find his comfort zone and return to the level he played at last spring.




In other movement, St. Mark's big man Kaleb Tarczewski cracks the top five, moving up to No. 4, while Notre Dame Prep's New Zealand-bred big man Steven Adams enters the list at No. 5 overall after making his American debut two weekends ago.

New London (Conn.) point guard and Providence signee Kris Dunn moves up to No. 23 overall, six spots better than his previous ranking.

King Philip's Maryland-bound star Jake Layman falls eight spots to No. 61, while Tilton (N.H.) big man and Iowa State signee Georges Niang makes the biggest leap, up 15 spots to No. 68.

St. Mark's Canadian import Nik Stauskas rounds out the locals at No. 78, up five spots.

You can view the entire list here. The locals on the list are copied below:



4. Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0 C, Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's (Mass.)
5. Steven Adams, 6-10 PF, New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep (Mass.)
18. Ricardo Ledo, 6-6 SG, Providence, R.I./South Kent (Conn.)
21. Mitch McGary, 6-10 PF, Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy (N.H.)
23. Kris Dunn, 6-3 PG, New London, Conn./New London HS
28. T.J. Warren, 6-7 SF, Durham, N.C./Brewster Academy (N.H.)
61. Jake Layman, 6-8 SF, Wrentham, Mass./King Philip HS
68. Georges Niang, 6-7 PF, Methuen, Mass./Tilton (N.H.)
78. Nik Stauskas, 6-6 SF, Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark's (Mass.)


Local McDonald's All-American Nominees

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
1:13
PM ET
Nominees for the McDonald's All-American Game were announced this morning. The Final Teams announcement for the prestigious high school basketball all-star game will be announced on Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., on ESPNU.

The boys and girls games will take place on March 28 at the United Center in Chicago, with the girls game at 7 p.m. and broadcast on ESPNU. The boys game will take place immediately after, at 9:30, and will be on ESPN.

One interesting omission to note is Andover senior guard Nicole Boudreau, a Boston College signee who is the state's defending Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPN Boston Miss Basketball. Boudreau has also been ranked in the ESPNU 100 for the Class of 2012.

Below are the nominees from the New England states:

MASSACHUSETTS
Lexi Sells, Bishop Feehan
Jake Layman, King Philip
Ricardo Ledo, Notre Dame Prep
Kaleb Tarczewski, St. Mark's
Nik Stauskas, St. Mark's

CONNECTICUT
Kris Dunn, New London
Ben Freeland, Suffied Academy
Timajh Parker-Rivera, St. Joseph
Erik Sanders, Suffield Academy
Mike Tobey, Hotchkiss
Bria Holmes, Hillhouse

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Zach Auguste, New Hampton
Mitch McGary, Brewster Academy
T.J. Warren, Brewster Academy
Georges Niang, Tilton

RHODE ISLAND
Amber Holgate, St. Andrew's
Thomas Garrick, St. Andrew's
Cedric Kuakumensah, St. Andrew's
Kalusha Ndoubme Ngollo, St. Andrew's
Tyler Sabino, St. Andrew's
Austin Van Bemmelin, North Providence
Rob Hazard, North Providence

MAINE
Darrick Wood, Bridgton Academy

VERMONT
Chad Copeland, Twinfield Union
Jaskin Melendez, Mount St. Joseph
Avery Whitcomb, Twinfield Union
Sara Illingworth, Hartford
Alexandra Jones, Poultney

Noel-McGary matchup lives up to billing

January, 15, 2012
1/15/12
10:33
PM ET
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- It was like a clash of basketball titans Sunday at the Hoophall Classic when Brewster Academy squared off against the Tilton School.

There was a playoff atmosphere with two well-traveled crowds verbally jousting in the stands while two NEPSAC teams featuring highly-touted recruits did battle on the court, which Brewster won 57-53.

Nerlens Noel, a 6-foot-11 Tilton junior -- ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2013 by ESPNU -- went up against the No. 2 ranked recruit in this year’s class, Mitch McGary, at the center position.

It’s not often that a player can record seven blocks in a game and have it be considered an average night, but that is what life is like now for Noel now.

He has become so notorious for his defensive presence and penchant for having double-digit block totals, that when he has a game like he did Sunday, some might even call it an off night.

Nerlens still was able to make his presence felt on offense though. He was 7-of-10 from the field, finishing with 22 points.

In one defensive sequence in the first quarter, he had two blocks that brought the crowd to its feet. It immediately set the tone for what Brewster would be facing around the basket all night.

Brewster was able to get the big man in foul trouble though, picking up his fourth foul with 2:13 left in the third quarter, which forced him to the bench.

“Our guards got more open looks at the rack [when Noel went to the bench] and we had a lot better rebounding,” said McGary. “We had to box out, but we didn’t have to look out behind our backs for Nerlens and Goodluck (Okonoboth) going over the top of us.”

That left Okonoboth alone to protect the Tilton basket for the rest of the third quarter, and part of the fourth. He knew he was up for the challenge though.

“I knew I just had to play smart, move my feet, because I wasn’t trying to get in any foul trouble,” he said. “When Nerlens is in foul trouble, and he’s rarely in foul trouble, you just have to play really smart.”

Together, they held the Michigan commit to 3 points all game, but couldn’t keep him away from the glass. He finished the game with 12 rebounds.

“Mitch, he’s a very rugged player, very strong,” said Noel. “He posts up where he needs to, uses his body real well.”

McGary’s frontcourt mate, JaKarr Sampson, had an efficient night offensively matched up against Okonoboh, finishing with 13 points and 7 rebounds. He is a perfect counterpart to McGary’s game, providing speed and quickness to balance McGary’s strength and power in the post.

He had two highlight reel put-back dunks in the fourth quarter that showed off his athleticism. After Aaron Thomas put up a shot from the perimeter, Sampson came from the foul line and then rather than trying to out-muscle the already positioned post players, he just jumped over them and put the ball in the basket for a thunderous two points.

With his team down by 12 points early in the fourth, Noel reentered the game before it could get out of hand. He was noticeably cognizant of his situation, and would often not jump when defending players equally as strong as him, like McGary.

He was not having his most successful night from the field (1-for-8), but that did not stop him from attacking the basket against the Tilton big men.

“You just have to get into their body and back them down in the post,” said McGary. “Offensively I didn’t do as well tonight because they’re such major factors down low. There’s not much you can do. They’re both really good shot blockers, so you just have to body them up and get up and go through their body when you’re shooting.

With five and a half minutes to go in the game, Noel converted an and-one to make the score 50-43. On the next Brewster offensive possession, he blocked two Brewster shots in a row, then got the ball and sent an outlet pass to teammate Wayne Selden, who dunked the ball in front of an oncoming McGary.

The respect Noel and McGary have for each other was evident when they both reentered the game in the fourth. When they checked in and sat down at the scorers table, McGary said something to Noel, who nodded in response and reached out his hand, which McGary high-fived.

Sunday was a chess match between four premier big men who came to play on a big stage. For a few hours, there was no talk about rankings or college commitments. It was simply a competitive basketball game between two quality teams who wanted nothing more than to win. Brewster came out on top Sunday, but it was one of those games where people will remember who and what they saw from both teams for a long time to come.

Video: Brewster Academy stars talk Hoophall

January, 15, 2012
1/15/12
7:28
PM ET
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Brewster Academy stars Mitch McGary, Aaron Thomas and Joe Bramanti (also a former ESPN Boston All-Stater at Andover High) talked to ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall following the Bobcats' thrilling 57-53 win over Tilton on day three of the Hoophall Classic.


Hoophall: Paul Biancardi's Players to Watch

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
8:21
PM ET
The Hoophall Classic kicked off today with a hard-fought victory by ESPNBoston.com's No. 1 team in the MIAA, Central Catholic, over Springfield Cathedral. Over the next four days, some of the nation's best high school players will be squaring off on the campus of Springfield College, the birthplace of basketball.

We've got you covered all weekend, between ESPNBoston.com, ESPNHS and ESPNU's expert recruiting analysts. Today, ESPN's Paul Biancardi breaks down the top players to watch in this tournament. It's a loaded field that includes Las Vegas power Bishop Gorman and the nation's No. 1 overall player, Shabazz Muhammad, along with national powers like St. Anthony (N.J.), DeMatha Catholic (Md.), Simeon (Ill.), Oak Hill (Va.) and Findlay Prep (Nev.). But there is tons of local talent to watch, too.

You can read the full list here. Below are the locals Biancardi will be watching:



Kaleb Tarczewski (Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's)
Class: 2012 | ESPNU 100: 6 | C rank: 2
The Arizona signee is a legitimate 7-foot true center with excellent mobility, terrific hands and enormous upside. He scores the ball by finishing drop-off passes and off any clear paths to the rim, although he is starting to score on the block with a jump hook. Defensively, he's hard to score over and he changes and blocks a lot of shots.

Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy)
Class: 2012 | ESPNU 100: 2 | PF rank: 1
He is known for bringing a high motor and big-time energy to the game. The future Michigan Wolverine's intensity is infectious and his teammates feed off his energy. He runs the floor, outhustles his opponent, and scores off drop-off passes, high-post jumpers and low-post moves.

Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./The Tilton School)
Class: 2013 | ESPNU 60: 2 | C rank: 1
The junior is the nation's best shot-blocker. No one protects the rim better, whether he's guarding his own man or helping a teammate. If he doesn't block the shot he certainly will alter it and when it comes to the glass, he puts in an honest effort and grabs a good percentage. He is much improved offensively and can catch, sweep and drive from 15 feet and is a better passer than people give him credit for. Overall, he is one of the best NBA prospects in high school basketball.

Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton)
Class: 2014 | ESPNU 25: 6 | PF rank: 1
He has a strong frame (6-7, 215 pounds), huge hands and good footwork to finish through contact. He possesses supreme athletic ability and skill at such an early age. His upside is undeniable.

Steven Adams (New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep)
Class: 2012 | ESPNU 100: NR | C rank: NR
The debut of Adams for Notre Dame Prep is one of the biggest stories of the entire weekend. The true center has already signed with Pittsburgh and dominated the adidas Nations in August, including a dominant performance against Tarczewski. NBA scouts are already clamoring for him thanks to his size (6-10, 235 pounds), mobility and skill set. Plus, Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd said Adams is even more skilled than he expected.


'Bold predictions' for McGary, BABC stars in '12

January, 3, 2012
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Today on ESPNHS' national basketball blog, basketball writers Jason Jordan and Ronnie Flores offer 12 "bold predictions" for 2012.

Included among those predictions are some high-profile local ballers:



4. Nerlens Noel will lead BABC (Boston) to repeat as champs of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League this summer. The trio of Noel, a junior center at Tilton (Tilton, N.H.) who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPNU 60, Jaylen Brantley, a junior point guard at Wilbraham & Monson (Wilbraham, Mass.) and Wayne Selden, a sophomore shooting guard at Tilton who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPNU 25, will be too much for teams to handle.

7. Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) forward Mitch McGary, who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPNU 100, will take home MVP honors at the Jordan Brand Classic. Much like James McAdoo last season, McGary, a senior who is signed to Michigan, will clean up the misses from guards who are trying to do too much in the all-star setting.


Brewster's Mitch McGary chooses Michigan

November, 3, 2011
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5:14
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Brewster Academy (N.H.) forward Mitch McGary, the nation's No. 2 overall player, just announced moments ago on ESPNU's "Recruiting Nation" show that he is verbally committing to the University of Michigan for the 2012-13 season.

The Chesterton, Ind. native chose the Wolverines over Duke and Florida.

"I felt most comfortable being there and I trusted the coaches [more] than any other staff," McGary told the show's host Justin Kutcher. "I can talk to them about anything. They're a program that's on the rise again, and I feel I can build the program up and make an impact there."

Asked if by Kutcher if he will sign his National Letter of Intent when the early signing period begins next Wednesday, McGary said, "I'm not sure at the moment. I have to talk with my parents, I'd like them to be there when I sign, so I'm not sure right now if I'll sign next week."

Brewster's McGary to announce decision today

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
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Brewster Academy (N.H.) forward Mitch McGary will announce his college decision during ESPNU's Recruiting Nation today. The show airs at 5 p.m. ET.

The Chesterton, Ind. native is expected to decide between Duke, Florida and Michigan.

The program will also feature ESPN recruiting experts Paul Biancardi, Dave Telep and Reggie Rankin discussing the recent high profile commitments. Locally, that will include the pledges of St. Mark's center Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), and Brewster forward T.J. Warren (N.C. State).

Brewster's McGary to take six official visits

September, 2, 2011
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ESPN's Adam Finkelstein checks in today on his recruiting blog with Brewster Academy (N.H.) big man Mitch McGary, who will be taking six official visits this fall.

Wait, isn't a recruit only permitted five such visits? Finkelstein explains:


With McGary set to take an official visit to Michigan's campus this weekend and consecutive trips to North Carolina and Duke scheduled for the following weekend, it appeared as if he would only have two official visits left to choose between Kentucky, Maryland and Florida.

Turns out that's not necessarily the case.

Because McGary was a senior in 2010-2011, and will be a post-graduate this year, it will be possible for him to visit all six schools officially this fall if he so chooses.

According to Brewster Academy coach Jason Smith, McGary's upcoming three official visits will all take place before Brewster begins classes and will technically fall under McGary's five allotted senior visits. That means he'll be eligible for five more official visits, as a post-graduate, as of Oct. 15. In other words it's very possible that McGary takes official visits to all six schools on his final list between now and November's early signing period.

The only downside for Kentucky, Florida and Maryland is that they're now in a holding pattern, hoping McGary doesn't fall in love on any of his first three visits, and having to wait until at least Oct. 15 to have him on campus.

That makes it especially difficult if Kentucky was hoping to add McGary to an already star-studded list of recruits expected to attend their Big Blue Madness on Oct. 14 including Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), DaJuan Coleman (Dewitt, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt), Willie Cauley (Spearville, Kan./Olathe Northwest), Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills), Alex Poythress (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast), T.J. Warren (Durham, N.C./Brewster Academy), among others.

As for the chances that McGary ultimately ends up seeing all six campuses officially, Smith said he expects that his star big man will, but admits it could change as he visits each school along the way.


For more recruiting updates on New England's top high school basketball talent, be sure to check out Finkelstein's ESPN blog as well as his New England Recruiting Report.

Brewster's McGary leaves mark at Elite 24

August, 27, 2011
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Brewster Academy's Mitch McGary is participating at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 this weekend in Venice Beach, Calif.

And the 6-foot-10 power forward left and indellible mark (while delaying competition), breaking the back board while going through the layup line Saturday night.

Check out the video here, along with McGary's interview with ESPN senior recruiting analyst Dave Telep.

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