Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bell Brothers Leaving Bishop Brady for Prep School

The prep school movement continues for NH basketball. The Bell brothers Jourdain and Joe are two of the most talented players to come up through the NH ranks in recent years. They're explosive, athletic guards who love to run, push the tempo, attack the rim and are also active on defense. If they stayed at Bishop Brady, the Giants would have been the preseason favorites next year in Division II. Jourdain would have likely won Player of the Year next year, and Joe would have probably won it the year after that.

However, the Bell brothers are leaving Bishop Brady to attend Lee Academy.

"Jourdain and Joseph Bell have committed to attend and play preparatory basketball for Lee Academy, in Lee Maine, starting fall 2014" the Bell family told the NH Notebook on Wednesday. "Jourdain will reclassify to the Class of 2016, Joseph to the Class of 2017. We are looking forward to the opportunity provided to us by Coach Igor Vrzina and the rest of the Lee Academy community. The intense daily routine, high level practice/game schedule and the attention to detail paid to player development provided by Coach Vrzina will help us to attain our goals of playing at the highest of levels."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Madden, Harper & Rhoades to do PG Year

Basketball players aren't the only ones migrating from the NHIAA to the prep school ranks, as three seniors have committed to do post-graduate years next season at NEPSAC schools. They are Pinkerton standouts Matt Madden (Worcester Academy) and Phil Harper (Bridgton Academy) and Trinity High's Brad Rhoades (Bridgton Academy). All 3 players officially join the Class of 2015, and should be on the radar of college coaches everywhere.

At 6-foot-1, 315 lbs, Harper has been an absolute beast at nose tackle for the Astros these past 3 years. He clogs the middle to stop the run and overpowers blockers. With his combination of size, strength, power, technique and agility Harper has the potential to be a scholarship level player. He recently told the NH Notebook, "Jeremy I would like to inform you that I am committed to Bridgton Academy." Harper's Hudl page can be found here: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/191712/phil-harper

Bridgton is located in Maine and is a post-grad only school. It has served as a nice 'bridge' for athletes going from high school to college (pun intended. Rhoades will be joining Harper at Bridgton. Rhoades excelled at both running back and DB at Trinity. He could play both at Bridgton but projects best at the next level as a DB. At 5-foot-9, 160 lbs. Rhoades is quick, tough, scrappy and plays with a lot of heart. He posted on Twitter, "Excited to announce my commitment to Bridgton Academy, Class of 2015." Rhoades Hudl page is here: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1916237/brad-rhoades

Madden was a four year starter at Pinkerton and helped them win a D-I state title as a freshman. He is one of the top linebackers to come out of New Hampshire in a long time, and he is now going to play for a coach in Tony Johnson at Worcester Academy who is best known for producing tremendous LB's. It should make for a perfect match, look for the 5-foot-11, 214 lbs. Madden to take his game to even greater heights at Worcester. He will be attending Worcester next year according to nhfootballreport.com, and here is the link to his Hudl page: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/148658/matt-madden

Prospect rankings for NH football players (prep school players included) for the Class of 2015 will be posted within the next week. And yes, Madden, Harper and Rhoades will all be on the list.

HS Insiders Podcast on ESPN NH - Pembroke Basketball Controversy

The story that everyone in New Hampshire is talking about right now is Pembroke Academy boys basketball. Pembroke has won back-to-back D-II state titles, going 43-1 during that span. They successfully petitioned up to play Division I, but the D-I A.D.'s and principals are refusing to put them onto the schedule.

Earlier today I spoke to Pinkerton Athletic Director Tim Powers about the issue, while Pembroke head coach Matt Alosa was not able to be reached for comment. Then I joined host Nick Anastos on ESPN New Hampshire's HS Insiders program on Tuesday evening to discuss the topic. Click play below to hear the podcast.


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Monday, April 21, 2014

NH Elite Girls Workout Recap

We continue our tour of the top AAU programs in the state with the NH Elite girls program, based out of the seacoast with players from southern NH and Maine. They have experienced quite a bit of success for such a new program. The NH Notebook was in the house to take in one of their recent skills & drills sessions to scout the local talent on display.

Head coach Dustin Freeman puts an emphasis on defense, basketball I.Q., end-of-game situations and really has these girls playing hard. They started off with half court and full court skill work drills, followed by full court fast break drills before getting into controlled scrimmages. Everything was done at a fast pace and with high intensity.

The players ranged from grades 7 through 11, but most were from grades 8, 9 and 10. The story of the night was the play of Portsmouth High's freshmen duo Libby Underwood and Heather Durand. They are clearly 2 of the top freshman players in the state - the future is bright for the Clippers. Winnacunnet's duo sophomore Katie Valcich and freshman Nicole Elbeery, as well as the Peucker sisters from Exeter (Alex and Lydia) also stood out. There is definitely some young talent coming up on the seacoast.

Here's a closer look at the local players who stood out the most from the Classes of 215, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Torres Transfers to Proctor

Amanda Torres was the only sophomore in girls basketball this past season to make Division I first team all-state. She had numerous games scoring 20+ points, and led Trinity to an 11-7 regular season record and a trip to the D-I quarterfinals. Torres had such a great sophomore year she has decided to do it again. The explosive, talented 5-foot-7 point guard is transferring to Proctor Academy, where she will repeat her sophomore year and reclassify to the Class of 2017.

"Deciding to go to Proctor was never really a difficult decision to make" Torres told the NH Notebook. "I know Proctor was going to benefit me tremendously. My reasons to transfer are not just about athletics. Proctor has great academics and I feel that this is where I need to be for my future. Proctor has many opportunities for me and there wasn’t any way I could give them away."

Torres has been training with TJ Thompson, who coaches the DC Blue Devils AAU program and plays professionally in Europe. Thompson has been instrumental in Torres' development as a player.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prep School Parade Continues

There is so many basketball players leaving the NHIAA for the NEPSAC right now it's like a parade. The list of top local prospects who have left the NHIAA for prep school in the past few years is so long not even Santa Claus could keep track of it. Well, on Thursday three more players were added to that list.

"Luke Rosinski will be transferring to Kimball Union Academy, Caleb Green is transferring to Proctor Academy and Angelina Marazzi will be transferring to Northfield Mount Hermon" said DC Blue Devils AAU coach TJ Thompson, who coaches both Rosinski and Green in AAU and trains Marazzi.

Rosinksi is a 6-foot-7 forward who made the Division I all-state team. He is aggressive attacking the rim, has a solid low post game but can also face up from the high post and make plays. With his size and skill set he has a ton of upside, and the move to prep school will only help his development.

Green was arguably the best freshman player in the NHIAA this past season. He was the starting point guard for a Lancers team that went 14-4 during the regular season. The 5-foot-10 point guard is a wizard with the ball in his hands, and with his quickness, ball handling, hesitation moves and court vision he is certainly a play maker to watch in the coming years.

The Manchester Memorial girls basketball team had a strong season going 11-7. Marazzi was the starting point guard, and used her quickness and ability to score and distribute the basketball to held the Crusaders. The 5-foot-6 guard played for West as a freshman, Central as a sophomore and Memorial as a junior. Northfield Mountain Hermon will be her fourth school in as many years.

"Rosinski will be a junior, Green will be a sophomore" Coach Thompson told the NH Notebook. "Marazzi will reclassify to the Class of 2016."

The girls basketball Class of 2016 rankings of NH prospects will be posted within the next week. Stay tuned!

NNE-Prospect Camp Series on Tap

The invites for the New Hampshire portion of BST Basketball's 'Northern New England Prospect Camp Series' have been released. We at NH Notebook will be on hand to take in the event, evaluating NH's top prospects as they showcase their abilities on an exposure platform.

BST has invited the top NH prospects for the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the NNE-Prospect Camp Series. All three classes are impressive groups. 2015 has some solid college level prospects. Class of 2016 with pending prep reclassifications is proving to be a very impressive group that could have the most scholarship players the Granite State has seen in some time. The 2017 class is shaping up to be a very impressive group and could be the strongest, top to bottom that NH has seen in a very long time.

BST will put the prospects through a series of positional drills, situational team drills and scrimmaging. This will allow prospects to showcase their skills, basketball I.Q. and coachability to coaches and evaluation / recruiting services. Over the last five years, the BST-NNE Prospect Camp Series has become the leading exposure opportunity for northern New England's top basketball prospects, providing a platform that has not been available in years past.

Event Schedule
Class of 2015 - June 2 5:30-9pm @ Rivier College in Nashua, NH

Class of 2016 - June 4 5:30-9pm @ Rivier College in Nashua, NH

Class of 2017 - June 6 5:30-9pm @ Rivier College in Nashua, NH

Check back to nhnotebook.com in the coming weeks for the list of players who will be playing at the event, plus complete coverage of all 3 nights.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gabriel Transferring to Wilbraham & Monson

Another one of New Hampshire's best local basketball prospects is leaving the NHIAA for prep school. Wenyen Gabriel had a huge junior season this past winter at Trinity High. He was a double-double machine, was selected to the Division I all-state team and led Trinity to the D-I Final Four. But the 6-foot-7 wing / forward has decided to transfer from Trinity to Wilbraham & Monson Academy, where he will repeat his junior year and reclassify to the Class of 2016.

"Deciding to go to Wilbraham & Monson was an easy choice" Gabriel told the NH Notebook on Tuesday. "During my visit to WMA I felt really comfortable there and welcome. I liked the campus and the they have a really nice athletic facility. I spoke with the coach and I feel that his way of coaching will really help me reach my potential."

Yeaw Verbals to Lasell

There is no doubting that the Class of 2014 is one of the deepest, most talented classes New Hampshire has produced in girls basketball in quite some time. And now you can add another recruit to the list of players from this class who will continue their career at the collegiate level, as Allison Yeaw from Keene High will attend and play basketball at Lasell College.

"My top 2 choices where UNE and Lasell" Yeaw told the NH Notebook. "Both has strong academic programs and were the size I was looking for. Coach Ewing at UNE has built a competitive team and has made it into the NCAA’s the past 2 years. It would be exciting to be part of that. However Lasell seems like the perfect fit for me both academically and for basketball. Lasell offers a competitive Athletic Training program. Being close to Boston offers tremendous opportunities and choices for my clinical rotations. Coach Carla Flaherty was a big part in me choosing Lasell. She has a ton of excitement and is consistently improving every year. She has high goals for her program and I cant wait be a part of it and contribute."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Robinson Wins NCAA D-III Rookie of the Year

This winter Duncan Robinson (New Castle, NH) had one of the best freshman seasons in Division III men's basketball history. Robinson led Williams College to to the D-III national title game, averaging 17.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He shot shot 55.7% from the field, 45.3% from 3 point range and 87.8% from the free throw line. Those are staggering numbers for any player, let alone a freshman.

Robinson was voted D-III National Rookie of the Year, NESCAC Rookie of the Year, he made the All-NESCAC 2nd Team, D-III National 4th Team All-American and also made the D-III Final Four All-Tournament Team. The New Hampshire native did all of that while playing in one of the most competitive leagues in the country for academics and basketball.

"My first season at Williams was everything I had hoped it would be" Robinson told the NH Notebook. "The run we made in the tournament was one of the best basketball experiences I've ever had in my life. Towards the end of the year we started playing our best basketball when it mattered most. Fortunately for me I had the opportunity to start and contribute right away. Right from the start both the coaching staff and the entire team showed that they had a lot of confidence in me and wanted me to step in and be aggressive on both ends of the floor."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Springfield Returning to Conant

The best player in New Hampshire girls basketball is switching schools. Madison Springfield is finishing up her sophomore year at Marianapolis Prep in CT, but in the fall will be transferring back to Conant High in Jaffrey, NH where she spent her freshman year.

Springfield led Conant to the NHIAA Division III Final Four and was a first team all-state selection as a freshman. She transferred to Marianapolis for her sophomore year this past winter, and played in the NEPSAC (New England Prep School Athletic Conference) all-star game a few weeks ago. But now she has decided to return back to Conant.

"I enjoyed my year at MPS and am grateful for the boarding school year" Springfield told the NH Notebook. "I have decided to return home for my last two years of high school, because I'd like to spend this time with my family before I go off to college."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rivals Girls Workout Recap

In just a few short years the Rivals Basketball Club has become recognized as one of the premier AAU programs in the northeast region for girls looking to play college ball. And with AAU season now in full swing the NH Notebook was in the house for their skills and drills workout on Tuesday night at the Brooks School in North Andover, MA to scout the local talent.

The Rivals are coached by Scott Hazelton, who runs a great workout with nothing but skill work. Intense, demanding, fast paced drills. They started off with ball handling, followed by full court drills before getting into controlled scrimmages. There was roughly 30 players in the gym, all working hard.

They were being pushed by playing against former Rivals (and BG) player Jamie Sherburne, who was giving back to the program she played for the past 2 years. Sherburne will be playing at D-I Niagara University this winter. Another player out there who was raising the level of play was Ciara Dillon from Mass, who is only a sophomore but is a sure-fire D-I recruit. Here's a look at the top local players in attendance.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hartnett Resigns at Coe-Brown

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The Coe-Brown girls basketball team made the Division II finals just a few weeks ago. They did it with no seniors, so the whole team will be back next year. Their coach however, will not be.

David Hartnett took over an average at best program 3 years ago. He turned the program around, and they averaged 16 wins over the past 3 seasons including a title game appearance this year, when they fell in a heartbreaker to Merrimack Valley. But on Wednesday we informed his team that he was stepping down as head coach.

"I'm a demanding coach, and if I demand 100% of my players then I should be giving 100% myself as coach" Hartnett told the NH Notebook in an exclusive interview. "But things have changed with my personal life and my work life, and I just wasn't building the program up the way I should."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Purcell Verbals to Keene St.

After covering her final high school game a few weeks ago, a heartbreaking playoff loss to Winnacunnet, I wrote that Sandi Purcell plays as hard and with as much heart as any player I have covered. I still stand by that statement. Purcell led the Broncos to the Final Four as a freshman, she scored 1,000 career points and made Division I first team all-state twice. She may only stand 5-foot-3 but Purcell is still one of the best guards to come out of NH in recent years.

She was a Bronco in high school but now she'll be an Owl in college, as Purcell will be attending and playing basketball at Keene State College.

"Keene has been very successful in the past, but aside from the success of the team, the girls themselves made the athletics really desirable" Purcell told the NH Notebook. "On my official visit to Keene, I met the entire team, and instantly felt like I was already being taken in as one of them. They didn't treat me like another recruit, they treated me like a teammate already, and that really made me adore the Keene State program."

Monday, March 31, 2014

Granite Games Recap - D-I vs. D-II Girls All-Star Game

After all the years growing up that Bishop Guertin's Jamie Sherburne (D-I Niagara recruit) and Londonderry High's Aliza Simpson (D-I UNH recruit) have gone head-to-head on the basketball court, now fans would get the chance to see them play on the same team. Not only that, but playing with them on the Division I All-Stars at the Granite Games was Sandi Purcell (Alvirne), Brenna Blakslee (Salem) and Kayla Stacy (Pinkerton). Five outstanding point guards right there, it was possibly the best collection of NH back court talent on one team in a VERY long time. The biggest decision for head coach John Fagula was who to have run the point? Well, all five of them got their chance during the course of the game.

Plus you had star players in the front court, like Bedford's McKenzie Brown and Haley Driscoll and Melissa McLeod (Winnacunnet) who turned out to be the MVP with a game-high 19 points. Simply put, it was a stacked team for D-I.

With that being said, you have to give D-II head coach Steve Signor (Milford) and his players credit, because even going up against a heavily favored D-I squad they still kept it close all game. With 9:00 left in the 2nd half they only trailed 78-70, and only lost by 15, 98-83. Lebanon's dynamic duo of Heather King and Samantha MacDonald and Clairee Putnam (Windham) lead the way for the D-II All-Stars.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coveney Overcomes Injuries, Will Play at UNE

The story of Londonderry High senior Drew Coveney is one of perseverance. Very few kids have overcome more injuries in order to reach their goal of playing college basketball. Coveney has had four surgeries in his four years of high school. Did he give up? Absolutely not.

Instead Coveney led the Lancers to a 15-5 record (their best season in years), he made Division I Second Team All-State and now has made his college decision. The 6-foot sharp shooting combo-guard will attend the University of New England where he plans to play basketball.

"I had a four hour nose reconstruction the summer of my freshman year" Coveney told the NH Notebook. "I initially tore my meniscus the summer of my sophomore year while practicing with the Granite State Raiders who asked me to join them after playing against them in AAU States for Bishop Elite. The 2nd meniscus tear occurred the 3rd game into my junior year of high school ball. This year I dislocated my shoulder during the BG game and just recently had surgery to repair damaged ligaments to prevent future dislocations."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Granite Games Recap - D-III vs. D-IV Boys All-Star Game

Next up in our series of Granite Games recaps from Sunday over at NHTI is the Boys Division III vs. Division IV All-Star Game. It's funny how it worked out, because both girls games were fairly close whereas both boys games were 30+ point blowouts, although all four games were decided by double digits. That's surprising, since usually every year there is at least 1 or 2 of these games that go down to the wire.

In the D-III vs. D-IV boys game though, it was actually a very close game for most of the 1st half and it wasn't until the 2nd half when the D-III All-Stars ran away with it. Late in the 1st half D-III was only up 36-30 following a 3-pointer by Bailey Johnson (Profile). Jimmy Stanley (Epping) had an impressive game with a team-high 19 points and 8 rebounds for D-IV, but as the game went on the D-III squad just kept hitting shots and increasing the lead. They were a deeper team with more weapons with Robert O'Brien (Conant) and Isaiah Prince (Monadnock) showing the ability to score at will.