It was a fairly quiet week in Massachusetts baseball, as most of the top teams in the POWERADE state rankings enjoyed first-round byes in the MIAA tournament.

No. 1 St. John's (Shrewsbury) and No. 2 Springfield Cathedral were among the inactive teams, but they'll have to knock off the rust quickly as their playoff schedules resume this week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. John's of Shrewsbury (20-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Springfield Cathedral (18-2) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Franklin (19-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
The regular season has come to an end, and while there isn't much turnover in this week's POWERADE state rankings, expect that to change in the coming weeks as we get deeper and deeper into the state tournament.

No. 1 St. John's (Shrewsbury) is the top-seeded team in the Central Mass Division 1 bracket, while No. 2 Springfield Cathedral is the top seed in Western Mass Division 1. The postseason is unpredictable, but both teams have to be considered heavy favorites to win their brackets and advance to the state semifinals.

Division 1 North is a loaded bracket, with No. 5 Lowell and No. 3 Franklin on a collision course as the top two seeds.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. John's of Shrewsbury (20-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Springfield Cathedral (18-2) — Last week: No. 3
  3. Franklin (18-2) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
The top half of this edition of the POWERADE state rankings remains unchanged from last week, but there has been significant turnover in the bottom half.

The most shocking is probably the absence of East Longmeadow, which spent a good portion of the season ranked No. 1. But the Spartans have hit a rough stretch over the past couple weeks, and a loss to West Springfield was enough to drop them out of the Top 10 for the first time all season.

New teams this week are No. 6 Lowell, No. 9 Milford and No. 10 Chelmsford.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. John's of Shrewsbury (16-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Walpole (16-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Springfield Cathedral (15-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
For the second week in a row, there's a new team atop the POWERADE state baseball rankings, as St. John's (Shrewsbury) takes over the No. 1 spot for the first time this season.

The Pioneers beat two elite teams last week, silencing No. 10 Burncoat and then dropping BC High, which was ranked No. 1 at the time.

Walpole jumps from No. 5 to No. 2 after a 3-0 week, and Springfield Cathedral is the new No. 3 team after holding off Western Mass rival East Longmeadow.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. John's (Shrewsbury) (14-2) — Last week: No. 4
  2. Walpole (14-1) — Last week: No. 5
  3. Springfield Cathedral (14-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
After a two-week run in the top spot, East Longmeadow is no longer the No. 1 team in the POWERADE state rankings after dropping a tough decision to No. 5 Walpole.

Last week's No. 2 team, Lowell, couldn't capitalize, however, losing to Chelmsford and dropping to No. 8. That left the door open for BC High to ascend to the top spot despite having the week off.

BC High may have backed into the No. 1 ranking, but the Eagles will get a chance to prove their worthiness very quickly. They've got dates with No. 6 St. John's Prep and No. 4 St. John's (Shrewsbury) this week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. BC High (11-1) — Last week: No. 3
  2. Lincoln-Sudbury (10-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Springfield Cathedral (12-1) — Last week: No. 8
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
East Longmeadow remains at No. 1 for the second week in a row, but it wasn't easy. The Spartans had to outlast No. 9 Minnechaug, 1-0, in order to hold on to the top spot.

BC High enjoyed a fantastic week, beating then-No. 2 St. John's (Shrewsbury) and then-No. 3 St. John's Prep. Those impressive wins bumped the Eagles up to No. 3 in this week's rankings.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. East Longmeadow (11-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Lowell (7-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. BC High (10-1) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Nerlens' Notebook: UK all the way

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
11:22
AM ET
Nerlens NoelESPNHS IllustrationNerlens Noel, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, blogs about his recruiting experience.
Nerlens Noel | Senior | Center | Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)

Read all of Nerlens' Notebooks

After reclassifying from 2013 to 2012, Nerlens Noel went from being the No. 2-ranked junior to the No. 1-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100. He recently picked Kentucky over Georgetown and Syracuse. Noel has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access into his world by chronicling his thoughts in a blog.

What’s up, everyone. It’s the newest member of Big Blue Nation!

By now everyone knows that I picked Kentucky, and I am definitely happy with my decision and that’s it’s all finally over. I never let it get to the point that it stressed me out, but it was a lot to think about and it was a big decision so now I can just relax and focus on working to improve.

I know y’all liked the “UK” that I got cut into my head, right? I had been thinking about doing something big leading up to the decision, and that’s what I came up with. James McDonald from VIP Barbershop in Charlotte, N.C., hooked me up while I was in town for the Jordan Brand Classic.

I’ve decided to keep the “UK” throughout the college season. So it’s not going anywhere.

After the decision, I had a lot of fun at the Jordan Brand Classic. It’s one of the best events I’ve ever been to. We met Jadakiss, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and saw Fabolous perform after the game. The whole week was fun.

I got a chance to talk to my man Anthony Davis for a quick second at the game, too. He welcomed me to Big Blue Nation, and since I’ve been committed I’ve talked to Ryan Harrow and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Everyone’s excited about next year, but not as much as me.

I know that it’s gonna be a crazy year. I’ll probably get down there in June or July.

I think I’m mostly looking forward to the college life. I’m looking forward to more freedom. Here everything is really structured and scheduled, but in college you’ve got to be more responsible and you can get things done on your own time. I’m really looking forward to that.

My goals for next year are to win a national title first and foremost.

Then I want to beat Anthony Davis’ shot-block record, and I want to win National Player of the Year. I definitely plan to put the work in to accomplish those goals.

Other than that, I know a lot of people are asking if I’ve signed yet, and I am planning to sign this week. And I’m definitely going hard trying to get more guys to come play with me next year.

I’m trying to get Anthony Bennett. I’m not even sure where he’s at in his recruitment, but I think I can probably get it done. I’d say I have a little higher than a 50 percent chance of getting it done.

We’ll see how it goes.

Well, once again, thanks for reading my blog everyone and hanging out with me the whole time I was deciding on a college. It was a long process, but I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad to be a Kentucky Wildcat!

I’m out.

Don't forget to follow Nerlens Noel on Twitter: @NerlensNoel3
There is a new No. 1 in the Massachusetts POWERADE state rankings after last week's top team, Lincoln-Sudbury, suffered its first loss of the season. L-S fell to Xaverian, leaving the door open for BC High to slide into the No. 1 slot.

No. 3 St. John's Prep also lost its first game, coming up short against St. John's (Shrewsbury). East Longmeadow moves up to No. 2 in this week's rankings, while St. John's (Shrewsbury) assumes the No. 3 spot.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. BC High (5-0) — Last week: No. 2
  2. East Longmeadow (6-0) — Last week: No. 5
  3. St. John's (Shrewsbury) — Last week: No. 8
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
With the first full week of baseball season complete, there hasn't been any major commotion at the top of the POWERADE state rankings. The top four teams all took care of business in Week 1, holding onto their spots from the preseason rankings.

Things really start to heat up this week, as No. 1 Lincoln-Sudbury faces its first major challenge with a matchup against No. 9 Xaverian. No. 2 BC High has a tough game against Catholic Memorial, and No. 3 St. John's Prep hosts a quality Malden Catholic team. There could be some big changes in the rankings at this time next week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lincoln-Sudbury (1-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. BC High (2-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. St. John's Prep (2-0) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Nerlens' Notebook: Pre-decision thoughts

April, 10, 2012
4/10/12
11:44
AM ET
Nerlens NoelESPNHS IllustrationNerlens Noel, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, blogs about his recruiting experience.
Nerlens Noel | Senior | Center | Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)

Read all of Nerlens' Notebooks

After reclassifying from 2013 to 2012, Nerlens Noel went from being the No. 2-ranked junior to the No. 1-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100. Since then, heavyweight programs like UConn, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse, among others, have scrambled to get him on campus next season. He recently narrowed his choices to Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse. Noel has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access into his world by chronicling his thoughts in a blog.


What’s good, everybody. Like I promised, I’m back to check in with you guys and get a few thoughts out before I make my big decision.

It’s my birthday today, so I’m back home to celebrate with my family but also to sit down with them and talk about these schools and come up with a decision.

Before I get into that, I know everyone was talking about the game we lost the other night against the World Team in the Nike Hoop Summit.

We were all feeling pretty down after the loss. It was tough. I thought we competed a lot better in the second half because coach (Kevin) Boyle made some good adjustments. He wanted us to pick it up defensively and we definitely did.

They missed their first 12 shots and that allowed us to get back in it, but they made some big shots in the end and got the win.

The locker room was a little quiet at first, but we had good leaders that spoke up and made us all feel a little better. Like Mitch (McGary), he just talked about how we were a family and that we were all brothers and that we played our hearts out. It made a lot of us feel better.

OK, so back to the announcement. Like I said, tonight we’re gonna have a group discussion and write things out and see where we’re most comfortable and what the best decision will be. The rumors about me already being committed are just crazy.

Anyone who knows me knows my mom, Dorcina, has to sign off on any decision and that she will play a major part in any decision. So tonight is when I’ll talk to her about it all.

Any “recruiting guy” saying they got some news from a “source” is funny too because the source would have to be me or my mom and they’re not talking to her and I don’t talk to anyone. Like I always say, only believe what you read here.

This is such a tough decision, though. I look at Syracuse and I love the way that the coaches say that they’ll use me in their offense. I really like the family atmosphere there and I feel really comfortable there. Syracuse has been on me the longest of all three schools and that is big for me.

Then you’ve got Georgetown, and I really just like everything about them. When I went down there with my mom, it really opened my eyes to what they were all about. I have to factor in what a school like that can do for me, even away from being a basketball player. It’s just a great school and they have a history of developing big men. Georgetown is definitely a great option for me.

Then there’s Kentucky.

Of course they’re coming off the national championship, but I’d look more at how I’d be able to fit in and how I’d be used there. I’d factor in what my role would be offensively, like Anthony Davis with a lot of lobs and catching it at the high post and things like that. Defensively I think it’ll take care of itself.

So as you all can see, this thing won’t be easy. Of course me and Shabazz (Muhammad) will be deciding at the same time and I talked to him about that at the Hoop Summit, but we didn’t talk about schools at all. We never have.

I read the story where all the players gave predictions on where me and Shabazz would go. That was pretty funny. Man, they were sleeping pretty hard on the other schools, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinions.

Well, I’ve definitely got some celebrating to do and some discussing to do with my family, so I’m gonna head out now everyone. Definitely check out the decision (7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday on ESPNU) and again, I have 100 percent not made any decision yet because I really don’t know.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

I'll holler at y'all later.

Don't forget to follow Nerlens Noel on Twitter: @NerlensNoel3
Rhett WisemanScott KurtzOne of the fastest outfielders in the nation (29 stolen bases in 2010), Wiseman has signed to play at Vanderbilt.
This story originally appeared in the April issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

It’s not easy being a high school baseball phenom from Massachusetts.

As BB&N's Rhett Wiseman can attest, he has to face obstacles that players from other parts of the country don’t have to deal with.

“It’s really tough being from New England because we only play 17 to 20 games per season,” says Wiseman. “That’s only 60 at-bats. Compared to out west and down south where they get over 200 at-bats per year, it’s a disadvantage for Northeast guys.”

Wiseman makes up for it by playing as much as he can during the offseason. And that approach has paid off for the senior outfielder, as he’s developed an elite all-around game that’s already drawing attention from MLB teams. He is rated the No. 41 player in the Class of 2012 by ESPN.

“Rhett is a complete player,” says BB&N coach Rick Foresteire. “His bat is what the scouts love. He can really hit, and he’s got pop.”

Last season, his smooth left-handed swing produced a .447 average and 11 home runs. Wiseman also has elite speed, which may be his most impressive skill. He stole 29 bases as a junior, and his legs help him cover an enormous amount of ground on defense. The center fielder drew raves for his glovework at last summer’s Area Code Games, one of the many events Wiseman attended while trying to log as many innings as the good-weather players from Cali and Florida.

“The Area Code Games were great, and the Aflac All-American Game was amazing,” says Wiseman. “It was good experience, and it gave people a chance to see me against top talent. We’ve had 26 major league teams over to the house, and I’ve spoken to every team. This offseason has been a whirlwind, but it’s really exciting and it’s been really fun.”

A potential first-round pick in June’s MLB draft, Wiseman has signed to play at Vanderbilt next year.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Nerlens' Notebook: Decision day set

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
5:30
PM ET
Nerlens NoelESPNHS IllustrationNerlens Noel, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, blogs about his recruiting experience.
Nerlens Noel | Senior | Center | Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)

Read all of Nerlens' Notebooks

After reclassifying from 2013 to 2012, Nerlens Noel went from being the No. 2-ranked junior to the No. 1-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100. Since then, heavyweight programs like UConn, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse, among others, have scrambled to get him on campus next season. He recently narrowed his choices to Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse. Noel has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access into his world by chronicling his thoughts in a blog.

Hey, what’s up, everybody. Of course it’s me, Nerlens. Sorry I haven’t written in my blog in a couple weeks. Things have been pretty crazy.

I just got back from New Orleans playing in the All-American Championships and had a ball. The game was fun, of course, just playing with all my boys, but we had even more fun hanging out in the city.

I checked out Bourbon Street and, man, that was just crazy! No other word for that.

I’ve never taken that many pictures in my life. Ever.

I literally got stopped hundreds of times and took dozens and dozens of pictures. The fans were showing me so much love out there, and I definitely have to say that most of the fans were from Kentucky.

Now, of course that had a lot to do with the fact that they were playing there, but I’m always just shocked at how dedicated Kentucky fans are. One man asked me if I wanted to take his wife home with me, ha ha. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Nah, I’m good,” but that’s just how insane the fans were down there. Great atmosphere.

OK, so by now I assume most of you guys know that I cut my list to Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse a few weeks back. I just thought it was time to get it down to the schools that I was really looking at the hardest.

Kentucky had the big win Monday night and I had a good time watching that game. I was really liking how Anthony Davis continued to be effective even without scoring the ball. I know how it feels to not be able to get it going on the offensive end at times, and that makes you just want to go even harder defensively. I loved that he got Most Outstanding Player, too.

Just seeing him have all the success that he’s had this year definitely makes me think a lot about what I could be doing there. That’s really appealing to me.

His IQ on the court is crazy. I talked to him a lot while I was down there and he told me all about how much better he’d gotten since he got there. He told me that I’d have to be ready when I got there because it was going to be a lot of hard work.

I’d definitely say it makes me think about Kentucky more, and with them winning with all of those freshmen was very attractive. Just seeing that it doesn’t matter how young you are, you can win a national title.

I talked to (Kentucky assistant) coach Orlando (Antigua) after they won and he was really happy, of course. He said that all he could think about was me being a part of something like that next season.

I wouldn’t say that all of that stuff gives Kentucky an advantage, though. It’s just something I think about a lot.

With Syracuse, they’ve been on me the longest of the three schools on my list. That factors in heavy with me. That’s big for me. With Georgetown, I would've been crazy not to really give them a look with all the history they’ve had with big men and the development that I could get there.

This is going to be a hard decision, y’all.

I’ve decided to announce my decision a week from today on ESPN, so I’ve got a lot of thinking to do between now and then. And I’ve heard the rumors about me making a decision already. That’s not true. Rumors are rumors, what can you do, but just know that I'm far from a decision no matter what you hear.

Like I always say, don’t believe things you don’t read from me right here in my blog. I definitely haven’t made up my mind yet.

Me and Shabazz Muhammad are deciding at the same time on ESPN, so that should be pretty cool. It’s definitely just a coincidence, because me and Shabazz have never even talked about schools or anything like that.

I would love to play with him in college, though, but we’ve never talked about that and he’s got to do what’s best for him like I’ve got to do what’s best for me.

I will say that one of the biggest factors in my decision will be who will be there on the team when I get there because my No. 1 goal is to win a national title.

OK, everybody, I’ve got to run off to class now, but I’m planning to do another blog next week before I decide so check back for that. And I’m going to have something cool planned for how I announce on TV so definitely check that out, too.

Now if only I could figure out which school that’s going to be …

OK, thanks again for reading, everyone. I’m out.

Don't forget to follow Nerlens Noel on Twitter: @NerlensNoel3

POWERADE hoops rankings: Final

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
5:13
PM ET
With the state tournaments wrapped up, there isn't much room for debate in the final edition of the 2011-12 POWERADE state rankings. St. Mark's was the preseason No. 1 pick, and the Lions held on to the top spot by going 27-2 and winning the NEPSAC AA tournament.

Springfield Central was unranked to begin the season, but made up ground by going 22-1 and claiming the Division 1 state championship with a 67-46 win over No. 4 Brockton. Northfield-Mt. Hermon started the season at No. 2 and finished at No. 3 after locking up the NEPSAC AAA crown. St. John's (Shrewsbury) and Mahar were both outside the Top 10 when the season started, but they climbed to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Mahar won the Division 2 championship.

Looking ahead to next year, both St. Mark's and Northfield-Mt. Hermon will lose a significant amount of talent to graduation, but they should be able to re-stock and build around the players that are returning, like junior forward Anthony Dallier (NMH) and freshman forward Aaron Falzon (St. Mark's).

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. St. Mark's (27-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Springfield Central (22-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Northfield-Mt. Hermon (23-4) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 13

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
4:29
PM ET
The state tournament wreaked havoc on this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings, with five of last week's top 10 squads seeing their seasons come to an end.

There is stability at the top, however, as St. Mark's remains at No. 1 after winning the NEPSAC AA title two weeks ago. Springfield Central is the top MIAA team, checking in at No. 2. Central will take on No. 5 St. John's (Shrewsbury) in the Division 1 semifinals, with the winner of that game advancing to face No. 4 Brockton in the state title contest.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. St. Mark's (27-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Springfield Central (22-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Northfield-Mt. Hermon (23-4) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 12

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
3:49
PM ET
As MIAA teams get deeper and deeper into the postseason, a pair of non-MIAA schools have already clinched impressive championships. No. 1 St. Mark's won the NEPSAC AA title, while Northfield-Mt. Hermon claimed the NEPSAC AAA crown.

The win keeps St. Mark's locked into the No. 1 spot, while NMH's takedown of Brewster Academy (N.H.) in the AAA final helps the Hoggers jump from No. 7 to No. 4 in this week's POWERADE state rankings.

In MIAA tourney action, No. 2 Springfield Central still looks like the favorite to come out of WMass, while No. 3 Charlestown and No. 5 Central Catholic are on a collision course in the Division 1 North bracket.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. St. Mark's (27-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Springfield Central (20-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Charlestown (18-4) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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