Boston High School: South Kent (Conn.)

Valley Junior Warriors and former Malden Catholic standout center Ryan Fitzgerald leads the list of locals on the NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, which were released today.

Fitzgerald, who has 13 goals for 14 points for 27 points through 22 games with the Warriors, was ranked 46th on the list released Tuesday morning.

Here's the complete list of New England skaters making the grade:
46. Ryan Fitzgerald, C, Valley Jr. Warriors - EJHL (North Reading, Mass. - Malden Catholic)
79. Anthony Florentino, D, South Kent School
83. Zach Sanford, LW, Islanders - EJHL (Pinkerton Academy)
85. Tyler Hill, LW, Hotchkiss School
90. Jason Salvaggio, C/LW, South Kent School (Hanson, Mass. - Xaverian Brothers)
117. Brian Pinho, C, St. John's Prep
120. Eddie Ellis, LW, Phillips Andover (Burlington, Mass.)
121. Ross Olsson, RW, Lincoln - USHL (Billerica, Mass.)
125. Wiley Sherman, D, Hotchkiss School
133. Nick Hutchinson, C, Avon Old Farms
136. Ryan Segalla, D, Salisbury School
160. Quin Pompi, D, Berkshire School
163. Miles Wood, LW, Noble and Greenough
172. Daniel LaFontaine, C, Avon Old Farms
178. Connor Light, D, Phillips Andover
191. Mark Hamilton, D, Salisbury School
197. Tyler Wood, D, Noble and Greenough

Goaltenders:
34. Merrick Madsen, Proctor Academy
35. Shane Starrett, South Kent School (Bellingham, Mass. - Catholic Memorial)

South Kent's Freeman commits to UMass

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
3:52
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Citing multiple sources, ESPNU is reporting that South Kent 7-foot center Isaac Freeman is headed to the Atlantic 10 after committing to the University of Massachusetts earlier today.

Freeman, a Manassas, Va. native, chose the Minutemen over Drexel. He did a post-graduate season this year at the South Kent, Conn. campus after a standout career at Osbourn (Va.) High.

He played an integral role two years ago on an Osbourn squad that made its first Virginia state tournament appearance in program history, and could potentially be a sleeper for the Minutemen. He was reportedly cut from his middle school squad and didn't make the varsity until his junior year of high school, as the Washington Post's Preston Williams points out:



The most important choice for Freeman, who got cut from his middle school team and did not play high school varsity basketball until his junior year, might not have been the decision he made Monday but the decision he made last year to not go to college directly out of Osbourn. Freeman said at South Kent he has diversified his offensive game in particular, polishing his 12- to 15-foot jump shot, which in turn has boosted his confidence.

“The transition from high school to college would have extremely damaged my self-esteem and the way I thought of what college would be like,” Freeman said. “I thought the transition in the beginning of the school year was very, very hard. But once I started getting used to it, I accepted it and loved it.”


For the rest of that article, CLICK HERE.

Jordan Brand Classic rosters announced

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
12:00
PM ET
Rosters for the All-American Game of the 11th Annual Jordan Brand Classic were announced this morning, and among the nation's premier high school athletes on the roster are three native New Englanders -- St. Mark's center and Claremont, N.H. native Kaleb Tarczewski, South Kent (Conn.) swingman and Providence native Ricardo Ledo, and New London (Conn.) point guard Kris Dunn.

The game, annually comprised of the nation's top high school seniors and fifth-year players, will take place on April 14 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. It's a triple-header that will begin with the International Game at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Regional Game at 4:30 p.m., and the All-American Game at 7 p.m. The International and regional rosters will be announced at a later date.

ESPN will be carrying coverage of the Classic throughout the day.

Here are the full rosters for the East and West teams for the event:

EAST TEAM

Name Pos Hgt Wgt High School (School Location) College
Kyle Anderson PF 6-8 210 St. Anthony H.S. (Jersey City, NJ) UCLA
Kris Dunn PG 6-3 180 New London H.S. (New London, CT) Providence
Jerami Grant WF 6-7 200 DeMatha Catholic H.S. (Hyattsville, MD) Syracuse
Gary Harris WG 6-4 195 Hamilton Southeastern H.S. (Fishers, IN) Michigan State
Brice Johnson PF 6-9 210 Edisto H.S. (Cordova, SC) North Carolina
Ricardo Ledo WG 6-6 180 South Kent School (South Kent, CT) Providence
Tony Parker C 6-9 270 Miller Grove H.S. (Lithonia, GA) Undecided
Rodney Purvis PG 6-4 190 Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, NC) N.C. State
Kaleb Tarczweski C 7-0 240 St. Mark’s School (Southborough, MA) Arizona
J.P. Tokoto WF 6-6 195 Menomonee Falls H.S. (Milwaukee, WI) North Carolina

WEST TEAM

Name Pos Hgt Wgt High School (School Location) College
Brandon Ashley PF 6-8 215 Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV) Arizona
Isaiah Austin C 7-0 210 Grace Prep (Arlington, TX) Baylor
Anthony Bennett PF 6-8 230 Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV) Undecided
Archie Goodwin WG 6-5 181 Sylvan Hills H.S. (Little Rock, AR) Kentucky
Danuel House WF 6-6 185 Hightower H.S. (Houston, TX) Houston
Grant Jerrett WF 6-10 220 La Verne Lutheran H.S. (La Verne, CA) Arizona
Shabazz Muhammad WF 6-6 215 Bishop Gorman H.S. (Las Vegas, NV) Undecided
Marcus Paige PG 6-1 160 Linn-Mar H.S. (Marion, IA) North Carolina
Alex Poythress WF 6-7 215 Northeast H.S. (Clarksville, TN) Kentucky
Rasheed Sulaimon WG 6-3 175 Strake Jesuit College Prep (Houston, TX) Duke

National Prep School Invitational primer

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
5:34
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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
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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.)


Nerlens Noel No. 2 in latest Super 60

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
12:48
PM ET
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.


Local bigs highlight new ESPNU 2012 rankings

May, 25, 2011
5/25/11
2:00
AM ET
ESPN's basketball recruiting analysts have unveiled the first ESPNU 100 rankings for the Class of 2012, and to nobody's surprise much-hyped big man Andre Drummond of St. Thomas More (Conn.) maintains a vice grip on the No. 1 spot.

New England prep school talent is littered throughout the list, including Brewster Academy's Mitch McGary (4), St. Mark's Kaleb Tarczewski (9) and Nik Stauskas (100), Notre Dame Prep's Ricardo Ledo (13), South Kent's Anrio Adams, Hotchkiss' Mike Tobey, and Bridgton Academy's Kareem Canty. But what sticks out the most in this list is the number of quality big men, including Drummond, Tarczewski and McGary.

Dave Telep has previously opined that Drummond -- already profiled several times in Sports Illustrated, and tabbed by some as a once-a-generation talent -- can separate himself widely from the rest of the pack when he chooses to. Now, he writes, it's time to turn it up a gear:


ESPN analyst John Stovall summed it up best in a recent meeting when he said Drummond and [Isaiah] Austin clearly have the biggest ceilings as prospects. However, both can no longer live on potential and it's time they begin producing to meet their level of expectations. These two bigs are NBA prospects and have physical attributes and talents no one else in the class possesses. The next step is proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt. They're built like pros, they look like pros and we don't need them to play likes pros -- though it's not too much to ask for consistent, impactful efforts.


ESPN's Paul Biancardi has similar thoughts:


Drummond is a physical specimen who has a college/NBA-ready body and has the complete package for a post player. He's a great athlete who scores by finishing a break at the rim, or with his skills in the high or low post. You notice his passing instincts whether he has his back to the basket or is facing the action. Drummond has the speed to outrun defenders, and the length and timing to block shots and rebound. Overall, he has an outstanding combination of size and skill level. He'll need to challenge himself on a daily basis to get better, but he has the potential to be a dominant college freshman.



Telep and Biancardi also make note of Brewster's McGary, who has seen his stock explode since transferring into the Wolfeboro, N.H. prep school from his native Indiana and re-classifying. Perhaps nobody's made a bigger leap so far, as Telep writes:


We've postulated for a long time that 2012 would be the year of the big man and our No. 4 prospect is far and away the fastest-rising player in America. Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy) reclassified to the 2012 class and enrolled at Brewster Academy, which has paid off. Armed with an attitude and a restructured body, the Indiana native made the biggest leap onto our list.


Biancardi similarly praises the big man's frenetic energy on the court:


McGary has always been a solid prospect, but the high-energy power forward has used the spring evaluation period to catapult up the rankings. He has become one of the better rebounders in the 2012 class and can stretch the defense with his ability knock down the face-up jumper out to the 3-point line.


Not to be forgotten either is the 7-foot Tarczewski, still a developing prospect but still an ever-intriguing post player drawing praise as a true five. Biancardi writes:


Because of his size and ability to dominate the paint, Tarczewski might be the top true center prospect in the 2012 class. Whereas most big guys want to show their guard skills, he understands his strengths and rarely deviates from them. Tarczewski has shown consistent improvement every year throughout his high school career and earned his top-10 ranking.


Telep discussed the new rankings in a live chat this afternoon, a transcript of which can be found here.

South Kent's Djurisic commits to Georgia

March, 21, 2011
3/21/11
11:14
PM ET
ESPN's Adam Finkelstein is reporting on his recruiting blog that South Kent (Conn.) post-graduate big man Nemanja Djurisic verbally committed to the University of Georgia yesterday.

Finkelstein writes that Djurisic, a native of Podgorica, Montenegro, took visits earlier this month to both UGA and Kansas State, after visiting Arizona State earlier this season. He was also considering St. John's, Charlotte, Rhode Island, East Carolina, Fairfield and Stony Brook.

"Nemi really enjoyed the coaching staff," South Kent head coach Kelvin Jefferson told Finkelstein. "And he feels that he has a chance to compete for minutes on a team that has a chance to be very good."

Finkelstein also thinks that Djurisic -- believed to be one of the best uncommitted 2011 big men left on the East Coast at the time of his verbal -- could serve a versatile role for a program like UGA. He writes:


Djurisic offers something unique because he is a skilled power forward who can go both inside and out and has a game that is tailor made for offensive structure at the next level.

"Nemi is a very skilled four-man," Jefferson said. "He can score and rebound in the paint or he can stretch defenses with his ability to shoot the 3."

While he may never end up matching the 20 points and 10 rebounds he averaged this year at South Kent, I believe this is an important commitment for Fox and his staff. Djurisic is the type of guy who is going to have a long four-year career and continue to get better. The versatility of his skill set is exceeded only by his feel for the game. He is also a terrific passer, solid team defender on the interior and high-volume rebounder.


Scouts Inc.'s latest evaluation of Djurisic reads as follows:


Strengths:
Djurisic is a versatile big man who can impact the game in a variety of ways. He is a rugged big man with a strong body and willingness to play through contact, but also possesses an inside out skill set, good feel for the game, and crafty instincts inside the paint. He scores with both hands around the rim, is a capable low post scorer, can stretch opposing defenses to the arc, and handle the ball in the open court. He doesn't mind banging on the block, has a good nose for the ball, goes hard to the glass on both ends, and is a well schooled team defender.

Weaknesses:
While Djurisic is a little more mobile laterally than he looks he isn't an exceptional athlete vertically and so can run into match-up problems against bouncier and more explosive big men, especially when he can't match their size or length. Offensively, he is a bit of a jack of all trades but master of none as he doesn't have any one overwhelming weapon that consistently allows him to create his own shot.

Bottom Line:
Djurisic is solid in all aspects of his game and his biggest strength is his ability to do so many little things to help his team win games without having to score in high volume to make an impact. He projects as a solid role player at the high-major level or an impact player at the mid-major level.


For more recruiting updates on New England's top basketball talent, be sure to check out Finkelstein's blog.

Brewster defends New Hampton Invitational title

February, 20, 2011
2/20/11
1:20
AM ET
NEW HAMPTON, N.H. -- Brewster Academy defeated New Hampton School, 80-72, to win the 2011 New Hampton Invitational Tournament.

The Bobcats (26-1) entered the tournament yesterday after suffering their first loss of the season on Wednesday to St. Thomas More, 78-64. They defeated South Kent in the opening round Friday night, 86-67, to advance to the title game against the hosts and archrivals. St. John’s bound senior Jakarr Sampson had 14 points in the victory to take home tournament MVP honors, while junior big man Mitch McGary added 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Brewster would get going out of the gate taking a 12-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Durand Johnson led the charge as the Pittsburgh commit began the contest with a three, and a couple of quick buckets off nice feeds from Eli Carter (11 points) and Kansas-bound point guard Naadir Tharpe.

New Hampton (18-10) would weather the early storm and make it a contest, taking a 31-30 lead with five minutes left in the first half. Brewster would maintain their poise and get some key defensive stops to take a 36-31 lead into the half.

The Bobcats came out firing in the second half, extending the lead to as many as 14 points but the resilient Huskies would not cave in. Up by six with two minutes remaining, 67-61, Villanova-bound center Makus Kennedy stole an inbounds pass, and tossed a highlight-reel alley-oop to Johnson, who slammed it down and cement the win for Brewster.

Johnson led all scorers in the contest with 22 points. New Hampton was led by point guard Olivier Hanlan, who slashed to the basket all night on his way to scoring a team high 18 points.

“New Hampton is an outstanding basketball team,” Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith said. “They play disciplined, very hard and we were fortunate to come out with the victory.”

Brewster has now won back-to-back New Hampton Invitational tournaments, and four of the last five.

“It is a great time of year to come over here,” said Smith. “This tournament is special as I grew up watching it as a kid. It is an important tournament to get us ready for the postseason.”

St. John’s commitment Jakarr Sampson was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, adding 20 points in the semifinal to carry his team into the finals.

“It is tough to beat a team three times in a year,” said Sampson. “Hopefully we build off these two wins and keep the momentum going into the playoffs.

Brewster gets back to action Monday, when they host the Tilton School led by Everett’s Nerlens Noel and Boston’s Wayne Selden

Consolation game: Winchendon 86, South Kent (Conn.) 84


In the consolation game, Winchendon defeated South Kent 86-84 in an overtime battle. Winchendon led throughout the contest, but South Kent would storm back in the final minutes to make it a game.

South Kent guard Andrew Crawley hit a three-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game in to overtime. In the extra frame, Winchendon’s Xavier Pollard scored seven of his team high-21 points to lead Winchendon to the victory.

Winchendon guard Corbyn Moe also scored 21 points in the win. South Kent was led by St. John's-bound forward Maurice Harkless, who had 25 points on the night.

More on Ledo's decommitment from PC

February, 1, 2011
2/01/11
11:16
PM ET
ESPN's Adam Finkelstein has more details on elite Class of 2012 shooting guard Ricardo Ledo's decision to decommit from Providence College, today on his recruiting blog.

Ledo, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard currently enrolled at Notre Dame Prep after withdrawing from South Kent (Conn.) last month, wrote yesterday on his Twitter account: "I'm no longer a providence friar I decided to open my recruitment back up and view my other options." The Providence native initially committed to the Friars on Christmas Eve over a host of high-major suitors; he is currently the No. 11 player in the Class of 2012 on ESPNU's rankings.

"I just wanted to view my other options," Ledo told Finkelstein. "PC is still my number one school, but the thing is that I've never really gotten to see what any other school had to offer. I've never been anywhere else."

Ledo said that there are no specific schools he wants to visit right now, and that he's just "viewing all my options and just going to start getting recruited again."

Finkelstein also addressed the speculation of Ledo re-classifying to 2011:


Sources indicate that Ledo was originally hoping to return to the Class of 2011 (he reclassified to start the 2009-2010 school year at St. Andrew's) and head to Providence next year, but his decision to re-open his recruitment only happened when he realized he wouldn't be able to meet the NCAA clearinghouse standards by the end of this school year.

Notre Dame head coach Ryan Hurd didn't comment on that report but did rave of Ledo's impact since joining the team.

"I knew he was good but I didn't know he could pass the ball as well as he can," Hurd said. "He and Khem [Birch] were pretty special out there together last week."


Be sure to check out Finkelstein's blog for recruiting updates on New England's top basketball talent.

Hooper on fire again, Brewster at 20-0

January, 29, 2011
1/29/11
11:30
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WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- Maybe it's the shoes. Or maybe it's Max Hooper's breakfast cereal.

"I don’t know what he’s eating, if it’s the Wheaties," cracked his Brewster Academy teammate Naadir Tharpe. "I don’t know what it is, but we’re gonna make sure we keep giving my man Max Hooper the ball. That’s all that matters."

And justifiably so. One night after nailing six 3-pointers in a 99-36 win over Philips Exeter, and a week after sinking six in a 99-63 win over upstart Vermont Academy, the post-graduate shooting guard was at it again Saturday afternoon at the Smith Center. The Irvine, Calif. native was 4 of 6 from long range, part of a 14-point effort, to kick-start the Bobcats as they blew the doors open in the second half en route to a 108-68 win over the Connecticut-based South Kent.
[+] EnlargeJakarr Sampson
Phil Stiles for ESPNBoston.com Jakarr Sampson (16 points) put the game away in the second half with two monstrous alley-oops.

In all, Hooper's contribution was part of a 13-of-29 night from three-point range for the Bobcats. The Harvard commit was deferential, though, about his hot streak.

"That's because of my teammates," Hooper said. "I've been playing with these guys for the last six months, and we've developed a chemistry between the guards, especially Eli Carter and Naadir Tharpe. Knowing where I'm at on the wing, spotting up in transition, coming off down screens, stuff like that, in practice and open gym every day, you just get used to it.

"And then, I'm just ready to knock down my shots. I do the preparation, put in my work every day, 500 makes every day. So, that's just what helps me knock down those shots in the game."

Said the Kansas-bound Tharpe, who finished with 28 points and 10 assists, "It just opens up the court for everybody once Max starts hitting. He was knocking them down today, so we made sure to keep finding him."

To open the game, Hooper capped a 12-5 run for the Bobcats (20-0) with a three-pointer from the left wing with 13:35 left. Six minutes later, he pushed the lead out to 33-18 with two more shots from the perimeter -- first, a stepback two from the baseline, followed by a three from the right wing.

And while the Cardinal (12-6) never led in this game, they gave Brewster trouble early with a 2-3 zone that at times forced poor shot selection and unforced turnovers. Brewster still shot 44 percent from the field in the first half, and led 40-28 headed into the break, but needed to make some halftime adjustments to break this thing open.

"Mainly, it was just attack the zone," head coach Jason Smith said. "There was a lot of open gaps in the middle of the zone. We had to make sure we got ball reversal, find the shooter. And when Hooper came in the game, he can space the floor and make shots."

The Bobcats opened the second half with a 10-2 run, capped by back-to-back drive-and-kick three-pointers by Tharpe and Carter (17 points, five assists). Over the first seven minutes of the second half, Brewster outscored South Kent 21-6 to take a 61-34 lead.

And with the hot shooting opening up the floor, that gave way for St. John's-bound forward Jakarr Sampson (16 points) to show off his leaping ability with two thunderous alley-oops on the 21-6 run. Both came from the wing from Carter, and both were thunderous one-handed tomahawks.

By now, such is a regular occurrence at Brewster practices, but for Hooper "it never gets old."

"Eli, I think he's gonna shoot a floater, and then all of a sudden it turns into an alley-oop out of nowhere," Hooper laughed.

Six-foot-eight forward Maurice Harkless, another St. John's commit, led the way for South Kent with with 21 points, while Kentucky-bound guard Ge-lawn Guyn added 19 in the loss. For Brewster, junior forward Mitch McGary had a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) while Villanova-bound center Markus Kennedy added 10 points.

Ledo set to arrive at Notre Dame Prep

January, 19, 2011
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ESPN's Adam Finkelstein has confirmed through Notre Dame Prep coaches that Providence native Ricardo Ledo, one of the Class of 2012's most dynamic scorers, is set to arrive at the Fitchburg, Mass. campus today.

The 6-foot-6 Ledo, the Class of 2012's No. 3 shooting guard and No. 13 overall player, left South Kent (Conn.) earlier this month. A team source initially told ESPNBoston's Brendan Hall that Ledo was en route last night to Notre Dame Prep. This marks the third school in eight months for Ledo, who left St. Andrew's (R.I.) last June.

Ledo made a big splash locally last month when on Christmas Eve he verbally committed to Providence over a slew of high-major suitors, including Kansas, Kentucky, UConn, UCLA, Syracuse, Villanova, Texas, Pitt and West Virginia.

Nice Christmas gift for Ledo, Providence

December, 25, 2010
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Providence head coach Keno Davis has to be feeling especially giddy this Christmas morning.

South Kent junior shooting guard and Providence native Ricardo Ledo announced on his Twitter account that he is verbally committing to the Friars for the fall of 2012, a huge get for a program that is off to a surprising 11-2 start as it gets ready to open Big East play next week.

"I'm proud to be a PC Friar [and] happy with my choice," Ledo wrote.

Ledo is the No. 3 shooting guard, and No. 13 overall, for the Class of 2012 in the latest ESPN rankings. He chose to stay in-state despite a plethora of suitors from all over the country, including Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island, UMass, Florida, Miami, Florida State, Indiana, Texas and Villanova.

His latest evaluation from Scouts, Inc. reads as follows:



Strengths:
Ledo is a pure scorer who is capable of getting buckets from any spots on the floor. He has great size for his position with a long build, explosive athleticism, and the full range of offensive skills. He is quick off the bounce with a tight handle and corresponding range to the arc off the catch or dribble. He has great body control in the lane where he can finish either above his man or around multiple defenders. Ledo is a good pasers when he wants to be and is capable of taking the game over at any time.

Weaknesses:
Ledo's talent is virtually limitless and so he needs to become more consistent and efficient. He appears to pre-determine his moves at times and settles for shots with high degrees of difficulty when his versatile talents should make the game easy for him when reading the defense. He needs to show a more consistent sense of urgency on both ends of the ball, especially defensively, where he tends to over-gamble.

Bottom Line:
Ledo is as talented of a shooting guard prospect as there is in the class of 2012. He is a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor and can put up huge numbers when he gets into a groove. As he learns to be more consistent and efficient, he will only continue to improve.


Checking in with the Class of 2012

December, 1, 2010
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Even with Khem Birch’s recent decision to reclassify to the class of 2011 and head to the University of Pittsburgh next fall, the class of 2012 is still one of the best groups to ever come out of New England. Here is a look at some of the marquee guys, their background, and current recruitment.

Andre Drummond, 6-11, C
Hometown:
Middletown, Conn.
School: St. Thomas More (Conn.)
Background: Drummond exploded onto the national scene at the 2009 AAU nationals when he was practically anointed the nation’s top ranked prospect by virtually every national media outlet. Prior to that he had spent two seasons at Capital Prep in Hartford before transferring to St. Thomas More where he is currently in his senior season but has already stated that he will return next year for a post-graduate year.
Recruitment: Drummond has always refused to discuss specific schools with the media but judging from those who have followed him both on the summer circuit as well as at St. Thomas More, he will seemingly have his choice of any school in the country. Obviously UConn is desperate to keep him close to home while Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, West Virginia, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Georgetown have given pursuit and UMass has emerged as a potential dark horse.

Alex Murphy, 6-9, F
Hometown:
Wakefield, R.I.
School: St. Mark’s
Background: Murphy grew up in the gym and was already a well known talent by the time he made his high school debut for the Prout School of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. After one year of dominating his peers he transferred to St. Mark’s and reclassified to the class of 2012. While Murphy has always been a highly regarded national prospect, it has been in the last eight months when he has shot up national rankings to his current spot as the number one small forward in the national class.
Recruitment: Murphy came out with a preliminary list in September that consisted of eleven schools and trimmed that list to seven early in November following St. Mark’s two open gym workouts for college coaches. Arizona, Boston College, Duke, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia remain in the hunt for his services with no timetable being in place as to when he might further trim the list or make his final decision.

Ricardo Ledo, 6-5, SG
Hometown: Providence, R.I.
School: South Kent (Conn.)
Background: It seems like ages ago when Ricardo Ledo took over the first half of the state championship game and led Bishop Hendricken to their sixth straight RIIL title in March of 2009. That would be Ledo’s final game in a Hendricken uniform as he would transfer to St. Andrew’s and reclassify to the class of 2012 following the year. He made another move after that season and is now four games into his career at the South Kent School. Along the way Ledo has established himself as a top 15 player in the country and one of the best pure scorer’s in the national class.
Recruitment: Internet reports had him trimming his list to seven earlier this fall, a point that he has since refuted. He is reportedly in the process of scheduling unofficial visits to both Louisville and Kentucky. The hometown Friars have already had him on campus while Texas, Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, and UCLA are all heavily involved. Ledo has said that he hopes to play out his junior season and the upcoming summer before making any decisions.

Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, C
Hometown: Claremont, N.H.
School: St. Mark’s
Background: Tarczewski was a hidden gem early in his high school career as he flew totally under the radar until being discovered at the 2008 Hoop Mountain Big Man Camp. It was just about one year later, this time at Hoop Mountain’s Super Week II Camp, when Providence became the first high-major school to offer him a scholarship. Now, only two years after local New Hampshire sites had him listed outside the state’s top five prospects, Tarczewski is a consensus top 25 player in the country.
Recruitment: While Tarczewski has yet to come out with any type of official list, he said as recently as last weekend’s National Prep Showcase that such a list is on the way. What is well known is that he has recruitment from the highest levels of college basketball with Kansas and West Virginia typically considered to be among the favorites and a host of others including Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Arizona, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and others all heavily involved.

Best of the Rest from Massachusetts

Zach Auguste, 6-9, PF
Hometown: Marlborough, Mass.
School: New Hampton (N.H.)
Background: Auguste spent three seasons at Marlborough High School before transferring to New Hampton and reclassifying to 2012 to start the year.
Recruitment: The big man’s stock is rising rapidly right now as he has recent offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, and Boston College and appears on the cusp of a top 100 national ranking.

Evan Cummins, 6-8, PF
Hometown: Westborough, Mass.
School: Northfield-Mount Hermon
Background: Cummins did two years at his hometown Westborough High School before transferring to NMH and repeating his junior year.
Recruitment: He has gone from a low-major priority to high-major prospect in the last twelve months as he currently holds offers from Stanford, Notre Dame and Northwestern with Virginia also actively recruiting him.

Jake Layman, 6-7, F
Hometown: Wrentham, Mass.
School: King Philip Regional High School
Background: The only remaining MIAA product on the list, Layman is a true junior and one of the big winners of BABC’s AAU national championship this summer as his recruiting stock went soaring up during the week.
Recruitment: He holds an offer from Providence with a variety of other high-majors actively following his progress as he is really only starting to scratch the surface of how good he could become once he maximizes all of his tools and talent.

Adam Finkelstein is the founder and editor of the New England Recruiting Report, and also covers recruiting in the northeast for ESPN's Scouts Inc. Adam has the rare distinction of having coached or scouted at the high school, NCAA, and NBA levels, having worked as a Division I assistant at the University of Hartford and spent three years under the NBA's director of scouting Marty Blake.

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