The NEPSAC playoffs kick off this week, and once again there is no shortage of intrigue for Providence fans.
The potential feature matchup at the Class AAA level could come on Friday night. #3 seed Brewster Academy may be the hottest team in New England over the past two months and should have their way with #6 Bridgton Academy, setting up a semi-final against #2 Northfield Mount Hermon. If the two were to meet then two top Providence targets would be on the floor, with 7’0 2015 center Josh Sharma starring for NMH and 2014 guard Jared Terrell seeing big minutes for Brewster.
Sharma was particularly impressive at the National Prep School Invitational earlier this month, showing a skill set that you don’t see from many seven footers his age. Terrell continues to grow physically and has the size and athleticism to become an elite defender at the next level, but his offensive game remains a work in progress.
The other side of the bracket could set up for a semi-final featuring McDonald’s All American Noah Vonleh and New Hampton taking on the top overall seed in St. Thomas More. 6’8 2014 power forward Tory Miller is a PC target worth monitoring, while St. Thomas More is always one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in all of New England. This year’s team may lack a superstar, but they make up for that with the fundamentals that Jere Quinn’s teams seem to typically always play with.
All Class AAA playoff games will be played at Endicott College in Beverly, MA.
Class AA Features Joseph, Abu, Adams and more
The Class AA playoffs make have even more intrigue for Friar fans.
Worcester Academy and Tilton would play in an outstanding semifinal if both can win their quarterfinal games on Wednesday. Worcester is led by Butler-bound combo guard Rene Castro, one of the most productive players in all of the northeast. PC target Matt Cimino is a dead eye shooter for Worcester who happens to stand at 6’10. He’s a 2014 prospect. 2013 power forward Darryl Reynolds had been listing PC interest prior to the season, but not as much of late. For Worcester to make it to the semis they’ll have to get passed St. Andrew’s of Rhode Island – the 8th seed.
Tilton doesn’t have the frontcourt of past seasons, but they still have McDonald’s All American Wayne Selden and talented young wing Terrance Mann (6’5, 215) who attended PC’s Elite Camp last summer.
The bottom half of the bracket is where the action is. #2 seed Cushing Academy plays Brimmer & May on Wednesday and a win there could set up a Friar recruiting bonanza on Friday night in Groton, as Abdul Malik Abu and Kimball Union could be waiting in the wings. Kimball will have to get by Vermont Academy in the 3/6 game.
Cushing versus Kimball Union would be a terrific one for Friar fans with Abu, perhaps their top big man target in 2014, going up against 2014 uber-recruit Kaleb Joseph as well as 2015 PC recruit Jalen Adams and Butler commit (and Rhode Island native) Andrew Chrabascz.
The Class AAA, AA and A finals all take place at Endicott on Sunday in what is always a terrific day of basketball.
Marial Shayok One to Watch
Remember the name Marial Shayok. The 6’6 Canadian small forward was a relative unknown as recently as last fall, but has exploded this year at Blair Academy in New Jersey – a school made famous when Luol Deng and Charlie Villanueva played there together six years ago.
Shayok, a 2014 wing, is now up to #55 in ESPN’s top 100 and has a growing list of suitors including Providence, Villanova, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Georgia.
Andre Lafleur was in attendance when Blair played at the National Prep School Invitational earlier this month and Shayok clearly caught his eye.
Craig Leighton and I saw him as well and walked away impressed with his ability to do work inside and handle the ball at his size. Listed at 6’6, he plays much bigger. He was one of the most impressive players I saw over the weekend.
Kecoughtan Headed for States
Rodney Bullock and Kecoughtan had a solid win on Sunday night. After being held without a field goal in the first half of the Eastern Regional Semifinals, Bullock had a big second half to finish with 18 points and 15 rebounds to turn a six point halftime deficit into a 10 point victory. Bullock made 14 straight free throws in the win.
They lost on Monday night to Great Bridge, but still qualified for the state tournament. At last check, Rodney Bullock had 20 points and 10 rebounds on the night. He’s now scored 1,760 points for his career.
Their next game is Thursday night at 8:30 versus Henrico.