Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boys Basketball Preview - Class I

12/16/09
Milford’s “Big 3” make them the favorites

Class I has been topsy-turvy in recent years. Two of the past three champions entered the tournament as the #10 seed, and last year’s winner was 6th ranked Portsmouth. That makes it easier to fathom how this year’s favorite is a team that not only failed to make it to the semi-finals a year ago, but also lost their best player to graduation. Below is a breakdown of Milford, as well as the other top teams in Class I.

Ok, before you read any further, I'll warn you. This is a long, detailed post. If you want to read the whole thing keep reading. For a more condensed version of this post, check out my Class I preview on the New England Recruiting Report. It's right here.

The Top Dogs

1) Milford – The Spartans are the consensus top team heading into the season. Although they graduated Jasmin Handanovic, who was a 2009 first team All-State player and a 1,000 point scorer, the return plenty of talent. This year’s squad is led by the best trio of guards in the entire state in Mike Mitchell, Jamie Holder and Mike O’Loughlin. All three players are only juniors, but are extremely talented, and can put up points in a hurry. All three played high level AAU ball over the summer with the Granite State Jayhawks and Mass Rivals, respectively. Milford also returns two other key contributors from last year in senior guard Kevin Cyr and junior forward Kyle Nelson. Others who will contribute are junior forwards Scott McCallum and Dan Desmairas and sophomore guard Jovi Philbrick.

My Take: This is not only the favorite in Class I, but they might even be the best team in the state period. That's right, I think they would have a legit shot at winning Class L. They're that good. And they should be even better next year, with everyone returning except for Cyr. There are a couple things that could hold them back. One is the rotation that is used by Coach Dan Murray. Does he play he try to play everyone, keep everybody happy, give them all equal playing time, or does he stick with his top eight kids? If he sticks to his top eight kids, and sits his "Big 3" sparingly they will be VERY tough. This is Class I High Hchool varsity basketball. This isn't middle school. You don't play everyone. You play to win, especially with a group this talented. The other thing that could hold them back is defensive rebounding. Tonight vs. Keene, they gave up way too many offensive rebounds to the Blackbirds. They have to focus on getting defensive boards, and then getting out and running the break. Nelson and Desmairas will be key in that area. If they can answer both of those questions, watch out.

2) Pelham – Pelham has been a perennial contender in Class I ever since they made the jump from Class M a few years ago. Last season they lost in the title game to Portsmouth. Like Milford they also lose their best player to graduation. Justin Hojlo led the state in scoring last year with over 28 points per game, and now takes his game to Plymouth State. This year the team will have a more balanced offensive attack, and like Milford, Pelham will also be led by juniors. Forwards Stephen Spirou and Michael Lombard gained some valuable experience during last year’s title game run, and look to lead the Pythons back to UNH once again this season. Also adding size and muscle inside are seniors Josh Boissonault and Conor McColgan. Senior Sean Sweeney is another returning starter who gives them experience and is a lock down defender. The key newcomer is sophomore point guard Derek Defranzo. Defranzo, also a solid defender, is a tough kid who can handle the ball well and run the offense.

My Take: All of the parts are there for Pelham. They have size, toughness, defense, experience and rebounding. They have an excellent coach in Todd Kress, and two very capable scorers in Spirou and Lombard. Only question is can someone else step up and give them a third scoring option, because other than Spirou and Lombard the rest of the players aren't looking to score. The better question is, since the Pythons are so good at all of the other facets of the game, will it even matter? And finally, Defranzo will be forced to play A LOT of minutes. He played a ton of minutes vs. Trinity the other night, and that was just a scrimmage. And he has to play a lot, because when he's not out there, Pelham doesn't have anyone else who can run the point. That's a lot to ask of a sophomore, who played JV last year. Will he be worn down come March when the games matter most?

3) Oyster River – The Bobcats have also been a consistent Class I contender in recent years. They have been able to lose quality players and reload, and this year is no different. Gone are starters Tony Brownell, Zack Benuck and Jesse Brown. But the team returns a pair of talented seniors in guard Tommy McDonnell and forward Jack Nadeau. At 6’2”, McDonnell has good size at point guard, and Nadeau is a versatile 6’4” player who can score inside and out. The Bobcats also have a pair of junior forwards in 6'4" Adam Goodwin and 6'3" Alex Hennessey who will contribute. Goodwin missed the tournament last year, and also couldn't play basketball all spring, summer and for most of the fall with a knee injury. Junior guard Chris Walker will also be a key player, providing solid outside shooting.

My Take: Three good bigs, a do-it-all point guard who also has good size, and a sharp shooting wing. This team has what it takes to make a run deep into the tournament. This team seems to really have good team chemistry. They seem to all really get along. When things go wrong, there's no bickering or finger pointing that goes on. And that's a credit to head coach Stuart Mitchell, a very calm, level headed guy. As for the questions with this team. One is tempo. For the last couple years, Oyster River has been an up-tempo team. They like to run, push the ball up court and use their speed to their advantage. They have done this because they have lacked size over the last couple of years. In fact one of the main reasons why they lost to Portsmouth in the quarterfinals last year was because Portsmouth was a half court team, and they were able to make it a half court game rather than a fast paced game like the Bobcats preferred. Now back to this year's squad. When I watch them play, it seems like you have some players who want to run, and you have some players who want to slow it down and play half court basketball. McDonnell is your classic up-tempo, run and gun point guard. He is MUCH more effective in transition than he is in the half court. Nadeau is a player I think who can play either style. But the rest of the team, especially Walker and Hennessey are half court players. Goodwin also wants to slow it down, particularly while he's still recovering from the knee injury. So this team needs to get on the same page tempo-wise and find an identity. The other questions with this team are depth and whether Goodwin is fully recovered from off-season knee surgery. If they can answer these questions they'll be right in the mix.

4) Pembroke Academy – Pembroke is another team that has been a tough out year after year, especially since former UNH guard Matt Alosa took over as head coach two years ago. Not only did Pembroke graduate three starters, but they also had another one of last year’s starters move. Taylor Vasquez, a junior guard moved to Virgina in the fall. Luckily for Coach Alosa, he has one of the Class’s best players returning in senior guard/forward Sheldon Benson. Benson is one of the state’s most versatile players, at various points in a game he’ll play each of the five positions for the Spartans. The team also has one of the state’s best freshmen, guard Rene Maher, and guard Coleton Neely, who sat out last season. Senior guard Dalton Cheney and sophomore center Tyler Morrison will also start. Off the bench will be senior guard Jackson Riel, senior forward Brad Freeman and freshman guard Matt Persons.

My Take: People wonder how Pembroke can be ranked so high given the fact that they lost so much and return so little off last year's team. But they have two of the best freshman in the state coming up, and Neely didn't play last year. Then Morrison comes up from JV. And Cheney and Riel were on varsity last year but just couldn't get minutes with so many other talented players on the roster. Yes, Vasquez moving hurts them. But there is still plenty of talent there, and a solid eight player rotation. The question is whether these parts will be able to fit together, and how will they play as a team, considering a lot of these kids have never played together before, or at least not in awhile. Teams will likely double team Benson or at least focus there defense on him, will the other players step up and hit shots? Will Morrison stay out of foul trouble, because without him on the floor they have a very small team? Alosa is one of the better coaches in Class I, my bet is he gets the most out of this team.

Other Contenders

5) Portsmouth – Last season’s champs were hit hard by graduation. They return just one starter, and they lose five of the seven players in last year’s rotation. Gone is 1,000 point scorer John Mulvey, gritty point guard Mike Fransoso, tough forward Zach Abrams, inside scoring and rebounding machine George Tsougranis and the underrated Alex Sherrill. The good news for the Clippers is that graduation and transfers hit many Class I schools hard, so he's not alone. And Jim Mulvey’s team also has a pair of talented sophomores ready to step up. Point guard Billy Lane is one of the fastest players in the state, and wing Kyle DiCesare has a good all-around game. They join returning starter Mike Barton, a senior guard/forward, and senior forward Mike Montville. Barton is a good leader, a smart player and an excellent passer. And while Montville will be the first to tell you that basketball is his third best sport, he is still a solid defender and brings experience to a team that is lacking in that area. Completing the starting lineup is forward/center Riley McCarthy, a 6'3" junior.

My Take: There were rumors that Montville wouldn't play basketball this year, so as to not risk getting injured and jeopardizing his baseball career. But he's playing and that is huge for this team. He's not very talented offensively, but he brings toughness, defense, rebounding and experience. This a team that is a little rough around the edges right now, and they might start the season a little slow since so many of their players played football and haven't played basketball since last winter. But they'll get better as the season goes on. They will be very balanced offensively; any one of the five starters could lead the team in scoring on a given night. However they don't have a great bench, it's decent, but the starters will be relied on for a lot. Nate Jones is a good defender and shooter off the bench and Quinn Haggerty gives them a big body to defend and get some boards. Offensively, I can see this team going through some major dry spells, especially early in the year, or when they play against good teams.

6) Souhegan – With so many of last year’s top teams being hit hard by graduation, Souhegan is one team that was not. They have some talented players coming up from a JV team which went 17-1 last year, and that’s why they’ll be vastly improved from their 6-12 record in 2008-2009. The Sabers will be led by sophomore guard/forward Devin Gilligan, junior guard Seth Cordts and junior forward Ryan Redmond. Also contributing will be senior guard Stephen Daigneau and junior forward Brendan McKenna. Others providing depth will be sophomore guard Jack Nelson and senior forward D.J. Petropulos.

My Take: Coach Heaney has plenty of talent. Getting them to play together is another story. It will be difficult since some of these players played together on JV last year, and some played on varsity. Also, like Portsmouth, this team has a lot of football players still trying to get into basketball shape. It might take them awhile to not only get used to playing together as a unit but also to get back into basketball shape. But the talent is there, they have size and they have skill. How far will they make it?

7) Hanover – Hanover won Class I three years ago, and they are always competitive. They also return their best player off of last season’s squad, junior guard Sam Carney. Carney is a tough player and a good scorer. Hanover is a solid defensive team with good size, led by 6’7” center Keegan Dufty.

My Take: I kept hearing about how good this team was, and expected to come home from their scrimmage with BG and move them up to at least the 4th spot or at least to 5th. But I wasn't impressed. They gave me no reason to move them up. Don't get me wrong, there are some solid parts here. They have decent size, they play solid defense and they play hard. Offensively they still have some work to do. They have Carney and they have another kid who is a good shooter, but outside of those two they lack offensive threats. Even Carney struggles going off the dribble against good defenders. Dufty makes a difference defensively and on the boards, but is still a work in progress offensively. Hanover has an easy schedule, they'll beat up on the other teams up north like Laconia and Kennett. How they'll do come tourney time against the other top teams remains to be seen.

8) Lebanon – The Raiders were a top eight team a year ago, and they return two of their top three players. Guard Dillon McCarthy and forward Jake Woodward are both seniors and will be relied upon to lead this team to the promised land.

My Take: Woodward and McCarthy gives Lebanon a good one-two punch. They graduated the majority of last year's key players, though. They'll be a good team, but they'll need some other kids to step up in order to make it to Durham.

9) Bow – Here’s another team that will look to take advantage of other team’s graduation losses. Bow struggled last year, but they return the majority of their talent. They’re led by one of the state’s best centers, senior Tom Poitras. Poitras is a 6’6” player who can score and defend extremely well. The supporting cast is led by junior guard Connor Hill. junior point guard Erik Michaud is a smart player and compliments Hill in the backcourt well.

My Take: Don't be surprised if this team finishes even higher than their preseason #9 ranking. They really get after it on defense, pressing their opponents for the majority of the game. They have good size, with three key players 6'4" or taller, and they also have good team speed. They take good shots and run the offense through Poitras and Hill, a pair of talented scorers. Poitras is also a very good shot blocker, and along with the Falcon's other big players, they'll be tough to score on in the paint. Their achilles heal is experience. Most of their team is back from last year, but they were a bad team last year, and have not played in any big games yet. I saw them scrimmage and dominate a bad Plymouth team at home, how they can do on the road against some of the better teams in Class I is yet to be determined.

Other Teams to Watch

10) John Stark – Junior guards Greg LeBlond and Steve Johnstone lead a feisty team that plays hard and is well coached.

My Take: LeBlond and Johnstone are a formidable backcourt, but are they enough? John Stark has some big bodies on its roster, but are they skilled enough to make an impact? This is a well coached team that plays hard, hustles, and gets after it on defense. They like to push the ball up the floor and create some easy baskets in transition. They will have to do that, because otherwise they will struggle to score against good teams. Johnstone is a good slasher, but isn't a great shooter. LeBlond is one of the state's most underrated shooters, but isn't great off the dribble. Clearly these two guards compliment each other well. But are they good enough, and will they get enough help for this team to finish higher than 10th?

11) Bedford – The transfers of Connor Green and Jared Fahmy hurt this team, but for a program in just its second year playing varsity ball they’ll be competitive. Key players for them will be junior forward Joey Maher, senior forward Tyler Weber and senior guard Mike Marinelli.

My Take: The major question for them is when will Joey Maher return from his ankle injury? He was their best player in their scrimmage vs. West. He is a very good inside player when healthy. But how long will he be out? He was walking around with a cane as late as Saturday afternoon. Also, this team has a lot of pieces, but can they get those pieces to fit together? I saw them scrimmage three times, and sometimes they play some great basketball, and sometimes it's like they've never played together before. This will be an interesting team to watch as the season goes on. I could see them finishing as high as 6th or as low as 14th.

12) Bishop Brady – Tyler Penney and Eric Feehan give Bishop Brady a pair of talented senior forwards to build around. The question is what kind of depth do they have, and will the guards step up?

My Take: Bishop Brady is the Pinkerton of Class I. They have a pair of dominant senior forwards, but little else to get excited about, and some definite coaching issues. Now I'm not saying Penney and Feehan are as good as Mathieu and Proulx, just making the comparison. Can this team get along, stay on the same page, and get some quality guard play? That will determine how many games they win.

13) Merrimack Valley – This team will be led by another good 6’6” center in Kevin Cressy. Neely played with Merrimack Valley all summer, but instead will be playing for Pembroke. That will hurt the Pride, since they lack depth.

My Take: Cressy is one of the best players in Class I, and one of the best centers in NH, but he can't do it himself. Neely was the only other player who stood out for MV over the summer, and he's now back at Pembroke. This team will need some other kids to step up, or it will be a long year.

Ranking the Rest
14. St. Thomas Aquinas
15. Coe-Brown
16. Kennett
17. Kearsarge
18. Kingswood
19. Monadnock
20. Plymouth Regional
21. Laconia
22. Hollis/Brookline
23. Con-Val

My Preseason All-State Picks
First team: Stephen Spirou, Jr., Pelham; Mike O'Loughlin, Jr., Milford; Tommy McDonnell, Sr., Oyster River; Sheldon Benson, Sr., Pembroke; Kevin Cressy, Sr., Merrimack Valley; Tom Poitras, Sr., Bow

Second Team: Sam Carney, Jr., Hanover; Jamie Holder, Jr., Milford; Mike Mitchell, Jr. Milford; Mike Lombard, Jr., Pelham; Jack Nadeau, Sr., Oyster River; Jake Woodward Sr., Lebanon

Honorable Mention: Tyler Penney, Sr., Bishop Brady; Mike Barton, Sr., Portsmouth; Devin Gilligan, So., Souhegan; Eric Feehan, Sr., Bishop Brady; Connor Hill, Jr., Bow; Seth Cordts, Jr., Souhegan; Greg LeBlond, Jr., John Stark; Dillon McCarthy, Sr., Lebanon; Joey Maher, Jr., Bedford; Coleton Neely, Sr., Pembroke

113 comments:

  1. I'll finish the "My Takes" for each team later on. For now I need some sleep...

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  2. My Take: This is not only the favorite in Class I, but they might even be the best team in the state period. That's right, I think they would have a legit shot at winning Class L. They're that good. And they should be even better next year, with everyone returning except for Cyr

    I think Milford is very good and would be able to beat anyone in Class L but to win Class L is another story. I do not believe they are big enough or play good enough defense to be able to win Class L.

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  3. Having played against Milford twice last year I can not argue that they are very good. However, I think that rebounding could really really hold them back. Jasmin was pretty ridiculous getting after rebounds (keeping him off the glass, especially offensive glass, was one of the keys to our gameplan) and I do not recall any other player on Milford that stood out in the rebounding department. However, I do believe that their guard play will be able to carry them in most games, though, I think their could be a game or two where they are going to have to rebound to win.

    On Pelham (played them 3 times last year)... I am curious to see how Spirou does without Hojlo and to see if defenses really clamp down on stopping him. I think they will be good again this year, just in a different sense. I feel instead of outscoring everyone, they will play more of a grind it out game.

    On Bow (played them once)... I think they will be a middle of the road team as their mediocre guard play and lack of shooting stuck out. They will go as far as poitras is able to carry them.

    On Bishop Brady (Played them once)... I think they will either be a very low seed in the playoffs or miss them all together. This is also a team that lacked good shooters and quality guard play. Also, their forwards did not impress me all that much.

    Finally on Souhegan (My Alma Mater)... I believe they will be very good this year (bias? maybe, but I truly believe they will). Gilligan is a complete player on the offensive end and will just need to make sure he continues working hard defensively. Cordts can stretch out defenses with his 3 ball and he is a very good defender. Daigneau is a good point guard, however I believe that it is essential that he pushes the ball up the court for transistion oppurtunities (sometimes slows it down to much). Wes Crowell and Brendan Mckenna are both huge and will be key in the rebounding game (Jeremy thinks Wes's talent is raw, however I think he will be surprised a little by his talent). HOWEVER, I believe the key for Souhegan this year will be DJ Petropoulus. DJ is a good basketball player, but sometimes does not play within himself (forces shots, gets outside the offense), if he can play within himself he is a huge component of what this team will be able to do. Also, I believe they may have a headscratching loss or two because of their youth, but overall Coach Heaney will have them ready for a great season.

    Thats my input on some of the teams, do with it what you want.

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  4. Slow down Jeremy, lets not brand this team with such glory they will never be able to live up to. They are a very good offensive team but have many unanswered questions to answer this season. You do have to wonder though, if this team does find a way to win class I this year would coach Murray ask to move up to class L next year? With only one major contributing senior and juniors across the board you could make the argument that playing up in L next year would be the best way to go.
    As for this year, it is a major crime that this team isn't in Manchester or Nashua over the Holidays. I think next year someone needs to pay the right person to get this team to stay local for the Holidays.

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  5. Can you do one of these for class L?

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  6. Yes, I will be posting my Class L Preview shortly...very shortly.

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  7. NHSportsPage.com missed the boat big time in not including Jamie Holder on their first, second, or honorable mention Class I all-state team. What are they thinking?

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  8. keep in mind Lebanon's Jv team (not Souhegans)was the best JV team in the state. Pounded everybody.
    Also got two of the best freshmen in the state.

    plus Mcarthy and Woodward

    Lebanon underated at #8

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  9. Souhegan way overated here. Great preview article however. I think to last year and everyone thought Kearsarge was going to be good and Milford was going to be bad. Some of these will be way wrong, Souhegan looks like the biggest stretch. Everyone is saying Hanover looked awful against BG and not much better last night against an inept Kearsarge team. They weren't great last year and did not beat a team with a winning record. Bow should be good if they have a true first teamer. Move them up

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  10. great preview......my video camera will again get to 25-30 Class I games, and this article will be in the carrying case

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  11. the dude might just love basketball, nothing wrong with that...

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  12. No one loves hoop more than I but I would never use my camera to film another teams game. Get film from another team or go watch them play but just wouldn't feel right filming a team that my kid does not play on..

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  13. FYI.....Souhegan beat Portsmouth in Portsmouth tonight. To all those who said that the Sabers had to beat somebody meaningful......well, they just did and let the rest of Class I be warned.

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  14. Seth Cordts 20 points and soph Jack Nelson 15 in Souhegan's win at Portsmouth. Petropulos 15 rebounds and Gilligan double figures in points even though minutes were limited due to foul trouble

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  15. Nelson played great stepping in for Giligan in the starting lineup (Gilligan was sick all week and missed practices). It was a great chance for Jack and he shined, outplaying Bill Lane in every aspect. Cordts, Petropolus and Gilligan also looked good although you could tell Gilligan was playing at about 75% he still played well scoring in double figures and handing out some nice dishes. Petropolus was a beast on the boards and Cordts made about 15 foul shots some in very clutch situations as well as handling the ball well. Watch out for Souhegan.

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  16. Milford was beating Oyster River in the fourth by 34 points. Final was 77-54 but it wasn't that close. Milford got 60 points out of the big three, Scott McCallum played well rebounding and hitting some nice three's.
    Oyster River may be a little over rated, Milford didnt play a great game and still had little trouble frustrating Oyster River. Maybe Souhegan should jump ahead of both Portsmouth and OR?

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  17. I am very happy for Coach Heaney who finally has a trio of basketball players (Cordts, Nelson and Gilligan) who can carry the program forward and resurrect the Sabers and bring them to Class I prominence on the hard court. Watching the Sabers for the past three years has been difficult at times but there is an abundance of hope this year with the young guard talent that Coach Heaney has for the next couple seasons. Go Sabers!

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  18. PORTSMOUTH — With only one returning starter and four returnees overall, the Portsmouth High School boys basketball team that stepped onto the Stone Gymnasium floor on Friday night didn't resemble the Clipper squad that ended a 15-year championship drought by winning last season's Class I...

    That's out a local Portsmouth news paper yep one returning starter who isn't very good and four returning players over all yep doesn't quite get me as excited about the amherst win as it does these stupid amherst poster's nice try now go back to your silly 2012 site.

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  19. I'm pretty certain the Portsmouth homers would describe it that way after they got their butts kicked by Souhegan in their own house.

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  20. I saw what happened to Hanover when they had to play a decent team away from their gym where its not 7 on 5. A blow out.

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  21. Went to Portsmouth game. #14 for Souhegan looks like a player, some other good athletes. I don't know what the rest of the class has but I don't think either team will challenge for the top 4/5 spots at end of year.

    I wouldn't say Sabers kicked butt, they were losing by 5 with about three minutes left. They had a nice end of game run as Portsmouth had five guys foul out and they lost all their guards. Souhegan took advantage and made Portsmouth turned the ball over and they scored - they did the job and Portsmouth didn't - too many sophs and freshman playing at end of the game due to foul trouble. Portsmouth had 3 starters on the bench with 5.

    Portsmouth called for 39 fouls resulting in 51 foul shots and Souhegan took advantage making 32 free throws. They shot much better than Portsmouth who missed about 10 layups. Souhegan did a better job on boards beating younger PHS players to the ball.

    Not a real fun game to watch, way to many fouls called, most legit but many tic tac fouls called by the refs - should have let the kids play a little more considering first game of the year. The 5'4" ref called about 90% of the fouls, he became the show instead of the players.

    I think both teams will be ok at end of the year but neither team that great.

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  22. Last post re: Portsmouth v. Soughegan seems to represent the least biased summary. Doesn't sound like Souhegan beat a "powerhouse" as earlier posts suggest. Must of been frustrating to watch with the refs calling as many fouls as they did. Basketball is a physical game and the kids need the opportunity to play.

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  23. As for the "neither team that great" comment (Souhegan/Portsmouth)clearly both teams are legit candidates to have a home playoff game in the first round and certainly advance...are either one of the teams Milford? No way. But that was a huge win for Souhegan and Portsmouth will get their 10 wins because Mulvey is too good of a coach to let them underachieve

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  24. Didn't Portsmouth give one away to Bedford last year? Souhegan the "new" Bedford?

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  25. Still does not make Portsmouth the old Portsmouth... trust me

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  26. Keep telling us that Souhegan has nothing we love it. Yes Milford you're great - do you have to disrespect every post that is not about you?

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  27. Had nothing to do with Souhegan, any win on the road is a very good win. Souhegan is tough.. I was just pointing out that POrtsmouth lost a lot and will take some time to rebuild. By no means was that a dig at Souhegan trust me.

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  28. Pembroke put an old fashioned whipping on the bigger Hanover team...There might be better teams in their class...no one quicker.

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  29. Fair enough - but while you pointed out how much Portsmouth lost, you neglected to add that Souhegan started 4 kids who had never started a Varisty game before - and one went for 20 and another 15. And you're right - just about any road win in Class I is a tough win - especially on the coast or up North.

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  30. I wasn't at the game, how would I know the stats, I know Souhegan has some real good players and will be very good this year. I posted that they would beat Portsmouth yesterday before it happened. Was not surprised by their win at all. Did not know the stats of the game but once again I was not trying to lesson the win for Souhegan or take anything away from them.. I think there a good team with some real nice kids as well.
    I wish them 16 wins this year..

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  31. Pembroke 68 Hanover 42 Very interesting after all the predictions by the Hanover clan!!!! Maybe a closer look should be taken relative to the rankings of the point guards in this division as well as class L. Neely 22 points vs. Carney 4 points. Carney all-state, I don't think so!!!!!!!!

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  32. At least I only picked Carney as second team all-state. Most others have him on the first team. However it is just one game into the season, so it's not like we can draw major conclusions, here.

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  33. I am sorry Jeremy but in this case you CAN draw a major conclusion!! The differences between Neely and Carney in every area were not small they were huge!! I'm pretty sure Carney himself would admit that! Nothing at all against Sam Carney he seemed to me to be a class act on the court. That said Neely is much better. Not one word of trash talking between Neely and Carney just two kids giving it 100%. Carney I'm sure he will put up some good numbers against lesser opponents but there is a huge gap with Neely and Carney!! A better match up would be Mitchell and Neely. Neely has about four or five inches on him. Both see the court very well!! Mitchell probabley has the best ballhandeling skills in class I, but Neely also has a good handle, and a more well rounded offensive game.

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  34. but Neely also has a good handle, and a more well rounded offensive game.

    You have to be kidding me he's not even in the same class as mitchell and to say he has a more well rounded offensive game? Do you guys in pembroke drink right out of the river or something? Neely would most likely be locked down by mithcell or by holder. You guys are funny though. All summer long they play the best basketball players in the country and then you get pembroke who drills with frank all summer in a gym for a ton of money but never play any tournaments posting how good or how much better they are than mitchell? Please god let us face these clowns in the first round Milford 120 pembroke 18.

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  35. How about a little holiday goodwill and basketball-brotherly-love here. One comment that challenges doesn't need to prompt an over-the-top response. Mitchell's good, so is Neely, so is Carney, so is..... Give 'em the credit their due, forget such disparaging comments - they're just plain wrong....anytime of year.

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  36. That was brotherly love. I'm not the one posting how neely is a better all around player then mitchell. That's just asking for your big brother to slap some brotherly love and a little more common sense into you. And to give Carney a little credit he is the go to guy and there is a lot of pressure on him to be the guy so obviously you just double him and take the ball out of his hands or make him take crazy shots. But that won't work against teams like pelham and milford where you have to defend the whole team not just one. Put neely on hanover and see what would happen? Get my point brother.

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  37. what does Neely do better than Mitchell?

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  38. Post how good he is. And beg jeremy to move him up.

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  39. Wasn't long ago Carney was said to be the best player in the state. Since then he was a turnover waiting to happen at BG and Neely outplayed him in the second game of the year. So was last year a fluke or is it that he has played better players lately and that is showing him to be less than expected?

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  40. Nobody said Carney was best in the state? And like i just said put neely on hanover and see how that works for ya.

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  41. just take the big two away from mitchell and put shorty on hanover what will he do.

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  42. A hell of lot more then neely could ever do that's for sure. Let me see where neely is ranked at here? Hmmmm All the way down there must be a reason for that don't ya think.

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  43. I wont argue who is best but Mitchell really has nothing to prove. He has been branded as a great passer for years. Everyone has always said that he cant score, now he is shooting the ball and droppin 25 on the road against a real solid Oyster River team. If he hasn't proven he is a good player now it is only because you are not big enough man to admit it.
    He can play this game and he does it with a more of a disadvantage than others. He is quite often the smallest player on the floor and usually the youngest as well. Nothing to prove at all.

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  44. Come to think of Mitchell scored 25 on tommy odonell and lets see here hmmm he's listed at 15 and neely at 29 that makes him twice as good as neely so if he scored 25 on odonell that would give him 50 on neely so much for a more rounded offensive then mitchell don't ya think.

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  45. give rene a few months hewill hold his own with mickey.

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  46. Only someone from Milford could make so much out of a number in front of a name and be so ignorant not to realize that he just might have a teammate that might take such a comment personally.

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  47. Or not considering the whole team would be laughing at your ignorant posts and rants about how great a kid at 29 and a 14 year old freshman are.

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  48. Here's a good way to think about it take the raider program and put raider 16's against either the 16's jayhawks or 16's mass rivals and let me know how you do. In fact you can even throw in renea with 16's raiders even though he plays for the 14's that should make you win against those two teams hahahahaha.

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  49. I think it all sounds ignorant and I am his father. Neely and Carney must both be solid players they start for their high school team so I give them both respect. Mike seen Carney play and thought he had good skills and could be a good player. Have not seen Neely so nothing to say on that. However Mike has improved a ton in the last year. His range and pull up jumper has been very good. He has worked on getting a little stronger and is now able to elevate and get shots off over players that are taller.

    Neely,Carney and Mitchell will most likely not even play each other this season but if they do it will be a real fun thing to watch. The guy that plays best will be the guy that plays again, because there are no better judgement of a point guard than his team wins. As of now neither of the three have won anything at the high school level so to me they are all just players with an opportunity. We will see which player makes the most of that opportunity.

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  50. Alright people, let's calm down here. We should be able to talk about these players and teams without getting personal or name calling.

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  51. Nice post Mr. Mitchell, I largely agree with your post above, the part I disagree with is that just because one team beats another does not mean that their "x" player is better than "y" player on the other team. Someone can clearly outplay someone in a losing effort. As far as Mikey goes...if we are talking about how talented of a player he is, and comparing apples to apples...Ryan Bougeois the ex-point guard from Trinity, who is of close physcial stature to Mikey was unable to play at Keene State. I would be willing to bet Ryan would get the better of Mikey in a high school basketball game. Maybe that will help you to evaluate your college sitaution for your son.

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  52. Bougeois had the talent to play at Keene. Reason he couldn't stay on the team was academics and off-court behavior.

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  53. My point is that the team winning is a little more important than who's point guard was the best while it happened. I think discussing which guy is the better is silly when all three kids goals should be to get their team to a state title. As for skills, at 5'6" there isn't another point guard in the state that can do what Mike does. He gets the most out of what god gave him and if his team wins a state title he will be fine with saying Neely is better or whatever.
    This team is playing to win, not to prove who they are individually.
    Mike has been on the court with Ryan and held his own and Mike was 4 years younger. I will not say Ryan was or will be a better player than Mike. I do not think anyone could make that argument knowing that Mike is still so young and you do not know what the next 2.5 years will bring.

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  54. Just curious what do you think Ryan did better than Mike at this point. I do not see a big difference in any of their skills. Please say shooting...

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  55. 2.5 years? So Mike is going to Prep School next year.

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  56. Mike will do one of two things, he will reclassify next year or do a PG year somewhere. I think he should be at least 18 before he goes to college.

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  57. Does that mean hell leave milford after this year. Is that an option.

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  58. Less of an option than him doing a post grad year. He really wants to finish what he started with his friends and current team. It would depend on many things including the others returning as well. Right now I would think he will just do a pg year somewhere.

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  59. I was at the Stark / Milford game tonight. Best player on the floor was Mitchell - Milford has an outstanding team, a ton of talent and they will be tough for anyone to beat. But without Mitchell they are good not great. Nelson's inside hoops and Scotty's 3 were all the result of Mitchell's running the show. Kid can play and anyone who does not see it is ignorant or jealous. There is not a coach in the area who would not want that kid at point.

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  60. I wouldn't call him the best player on the floor tonight. I would say he has 9 assist and did control the tempo with the help of the others. I thought the game was so sloppy today that both teams need to look at their schedules and if they have any other Monday night games cancel them. It seemed as if everyone had better places to be. Anyway, good news for Milford is the step up in play of McCallum and Nelson tonight. Nelson rebounded well, finished nicely around the hoop and had at least 5 blocks. McCallum is a real spark for these guys. He spreads the floor and makes it real tough for anyone to help on the drives of the big three. He also rebounded well also. It was an ugly win but last year Milford played bad in Stark at the end of the year and held on to win by less than ten. This year they played bad and won by 22.
    Merry Christmas!

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  61. Class I highlights on WMUR.com

    http://www.wmur.com/video/22031879/index.html

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  62. I think monadnock is in for a rough couple of years. After watching them play last night their varsity team has 6 seniors of the 9 guys on the team and lost by 40 to a relatively young Pelham team. And if that was not bad enough the Pelham JVs beat Monadnocks 70 something to 20. What has happened to them after a couple of really good years?

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  63. I was at the Stark / Milford game tonight. Best player on the floor was Mitchell - Milford has an outstanding team, a ton of talent and they will be tough for anyone to beat. But without Mitchell they are good not great. Nelson's inside hoops and Scotty's 3 were all the result of Mitchell's running the show. Kid can play and anyone who does not see it is ignorant or jealous. There is not a coach in the area who would not want that kid at point.

    Monday, December 21, 2009 11:22:00 PM EST

    I think if you take anyone of those three kids off the team it would ruin what they have. All three of them offer different things to the team and tough match up's for other teams offensively and defensively.But If i had to choose a player to lose off that team it would be mitchell over Oluaghlin and Holder. I think you can make up the point guard spot easier than the other two spots.

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  64. Who ever is constantly pushing Mitchell as the best player/point guard is doing the kid a disservice. According to past posts "Mickey" is now a great scorer, but according to the stats he didn't score that much against Stark..and especially considering the minutes he was out on the floor. After all the hype entered on this blog about him ...I guess it was just that...hype.

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  65. I do not remember any post saying Mitchell was a great scorer. I did see some that said he got hot and shot the ball well against Oyster River. I do know that he impacts games more than most point guards as far as assist on most nights and now he does have the ability to get hot and knock down shots. The poster above is correct in his summary that all three of these kids compliment each other very well. They are all playing very unselfish and they all have the ability to get anywhere they want on the floor off the dribble. That is tough to defend and they will be tough for the next two years.

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  66. No one has said it recently, but someone did say in the past that Mitchell has turned into such a great shooter and a threat to score from anywhere on the court. However, with that said...he is a junior in HS. He will have an off night scoring from time to time. The question is, did he do other things well on the floor?

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  67. Mcarthy from Lebanon is better, theres more to being a point guard than dribbling

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  68. Mcarthy will get his wish if they can get past the first round they will be able to see if that's a true statement or not because they will face milford in the second round. My money is not on Mcarthy.

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  69. Who is Mcarthy? I can't find him any where in the rankings however he's supposed to be is better? Better at what not being ranked.

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  70. Sp Pembroke beat up on CB today. Maher was on fire and could do what ever he wanted. They could have won by 40

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  71. McCarthy's not ranked because I haven't seen him play yet. But based on what I've heard he's probably the best player in the state I haven't seen yet.

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  72. Well from what i just read in the box score he had a whooping 11 points against bedford who is at best a weak team. And is a senior and nobody knows about him? So I'm still not convinced he is better than mitchell that's just my opinion.

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  73. Sp Pembroke beat up on CB today. Maher was on fire and could do what ever he wanted. They could have won by 40

    Wow!!!! Coe Brown that's something to brag about but then again it's Pembroke they actually think that's impressive. Beat oyster river by thirty plus in their own gym and then get back to us.

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  74. So who is better McCarthy or Carney? I thought Carney was the best point guard in the north?

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  75. I think no matter what now that carney has not impressed anyone in preseason or reg season it's very easy to see that they are not comparable and does not deserve the to be mentioned in the same sentance as the people from the south that got no mention at all for the all state team. I said it all along it's a much higher level game with better player's coming from the south.

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  76. ok, that being said is McCarthy better?

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  77. No Carney is a much better athlete and has a much better upside then Mcarthy. With that said Mcarthy would not crack the top forty in 2011. And Carney is around thirty.

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  78. How did the games go between them last year? Anyone actually see the matchup before?

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  79. Souhegan plays at Plymouth last night and one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen goes on with the sabers assistant coach. The officials called a pretty bad game both ways but this coach was stomping his feet on the floor like a 2 year old in a tantrum. After the game he was so out of his mind he wouldn't shake hands with the Plymouth kids. Just walked through the line blindly.The sabers won 59-54 but you wouldn't know it watching this guys antics. He must be something at practices.

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  80. If some of these coaches that perform like maniacs on the side lines could watch them selves on tape, even they wouldn't believe it. If that tape was shown to their wife, parents or other relatives then that would be a real eye opener for the family. Coaches should think about that before they embarass them selves and their programs for 60 to 90 minutes.

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  81. If you were at the Plymouth game, your first concern should be with the officals, and your second concern shoudl be with #10 for Plymouth. The kid is a dirty player, and it was made clear to him by the officials that is was ok. In the hallway after the game #10 was still trying to challenge Souhegan kids and coaches. I don't disagree at all that all coaches need to think about their sideline behavior, but when officials allow kids to play dirty, and maybe their coach does as well?? Its hard to point a finger at an opposing coach. #10 is the Plymouth Captain - tells you alot about Plymouth.

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  82. Mcarthy vs Mitchell isn't really fair because neither has had a competitive game yet. I have seen them both and they are very different. Mitchell much flashier Mcarthy much more of a leader. Not to say Mitchell isn't a leader or Mcarthy doesn't do flashy things.

    Mcarthy runs that complicated Princeton offense while Mitchell is push, push push so there games don't even look alike. I would say colleges will be more interested in Mitchell as he can pressure better and shoot it better. Mike looks more like a college point guard.

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  83. Pembroke could have won by 40 huh?? but never led Coe-Brown by more than mid teens...and led by only four in the 4th quarter...

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  84. Officials should be required to pass fitness tests. The two guys who worked at Plymouth last night were so badly out of shape that they were constantly trailing the play and guessing at calls. There are enough quality refs around that these guys should be working rec games only.

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  85. Wasn't it #23 for the sabers that got the technical for rough housing? And the Souhegan bench got a "T" also. I don't recall Plymouth kids with excessive fouls so to call them dirty is mostly unfounded and sour grapes.

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  86. Thats hilarious - Souhegan won the game. #23 for Souhegan got the T becuase the refs only saw his reaction, not the elbow to the head he took first. And the Souhegan bench was T'd when the coach asked how many more kids had to get thrown to the floor. Sour grapes?? Thats usually what the losers do. Winners challenge the refs and a dirty player even after a W.

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  87. And by the way - you don't recall Plymouth with excessive fouls because the homer refs did not call them! LOL

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  88. Who is number 23 for souhegan. Is it Gilligan? I would not be surprised.

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  89. What you should not be surprised about is that the kid dropped 20 in a half against a bad team so their only option on D was to rough him up - if they didn't he would have had 40. Plymouth wont win a game away from home.

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  90. Typical amherst person defending a kid that has proven to be a good player but an on court problem for his team.

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  91. anonymous said...
    Mcarthy vs Mitchell isn't really fair because neither has had a competitive game yet. I have seen them both and they are very different. Mitchell much flashier Mcarthy much more of a leader. Not to say Mitchell isn't a leader or Mcarthy doesn't do flashy things.

    Mcarthy runs that complicated Princeton offense while Mitchell is push, push push so there games don't even look alike. I would say colleges will be more interested in Mitchell as he can pressure better and shoot it better. Mike looks more like a college point guard.

    This post is strange.. Skill wise how do they stack up? I know different offenses show different skills but can McCarthy pass? Good court vision? Does his dribble get him anywhere on the floor? Leader? Vocal?
    Range? defense? If anyone has seen both play they must have an opinion about them. I do not really know why we are comparing them since McCarthy is a senior and the other kid a junior but how are there skills comparable?

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  92. Their not Mcarthy is average at best not even worth a ranking.

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  93. So who is better the flashy leader or the leading flashy one? Not sure what any of you are saying!

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  94. Got a "T" for asking how many more kids had to get thrown to the floor? I doubt it was as simple as that. I know your thinking #23 is the innocent one and only lashed out at his poor treatment by society. You people can always justify ignorance.

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  95. http://www.newenglandrecruitingreport.com/recruits/player/1143/Mike-Mitchell.php

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  96. What??? Treatment by society???? Are you serious? Go back to your psych 101 class.

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  97. why am I not suprised there is a highlight video of Mike Mitchell on New England Recruiting Report?

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  98. the same reason your surprised he was a notable performer. Mike has been on NERR for three years.

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  99. Is there a reason he shouldn't have a video there

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  100. not surprised he's been a notable performer, because he's a good player. But not sure he needs his father constantly going online, promoting him, discussing his stats, trying to get him noticed on NERR, etc. There's a saying in recruiting circles that says "if you're a good player, they'll find you". All the self-promotion on these various blogs and forums gets a little old.

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  101. Videos of players in high school are a great way to get their name out there, get them recognized and recruited in New England. Not sure why this offends or bothers anyone. Seems to me that is what all of the players on these pages should be doing.
    You always hear on this site and others that the players in New Hampshire are not seen enough and the area is not recruited enough to get the players in the area college options. Now wether or not you think my son is college material is all relative I feel that I owe it to him to do whatever we think may give him a shot at playing at the next level.
    This is nothing different than what the Rivals do on their website with player promotion and stories of nice performances. IN fact I can name several websites like MAXPREPS,RIVSALS,Scout.com all that use this tool. I think if you are paying big money to have your child play AAU or training in the offseason it only makes sense to use this resource to give them one more opportunity to be seen by the right college coach and or Prep school coach. I do not mean to offend I just do what most other parents on here hope to do, give their child a chance to continue their education and play basketball at the next level.

    PS, Jeremy if you truly hope to get financial assistance in this blog, one way to do that would be to make it possible to attach video clips or profiles to the players. Maybe a recruit/profile page that would allow this would make parents more likely to feel it is a good investment and a tool that a college coach could use to enhance the recruitment of the players. I know myself that I would be much more interested in financial support of you and the blog if I thought a coach could come here and actually use it as a tool for recruiting.

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  102. Mike, I'm not sure the college coaches really look at those little video highlight clips. If Mike Jr. is going to be recruited, which I think he will by some schools, the coaches will simply come watch him play in some AAU games and exposure events next Spring. They will know right away whether he can play at their school, they don't need to see the little video highlight tapes. They might ask you for a full game tape, though, because anyone can look like a player if you splice together his best plays.

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  103. Agreed, clips will not get you recruited but it will open some eyes if a player shows something on the video that has not been talked about in his clippings and articles. I do plan on stocking some game film to present also.I do think that the more your recruitment page on a site like NERR is the more serious a college will think you are about playing at the next level.
    I do appreciate the sound advice, nice change from the you will never be a college player that this site is soon coming known for.

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  104. Is there a clip of Lebanon beating Milford? I know you have it on Video...

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  105. read the other pages and see what I actually said about Lebanon.

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  106. see what Lebanon didn't do at www.keeneowls.com

    just lost to Conant by 10

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  107. Conant 58, Lebanon 48

    KEENE, N.H. (12/29/09) - On the final day of the 2009 Cheshire Tire/Ted's Shoe & Sport Holiday Basketball Tournament, Conant defeated Lebanon 58-48 for the Red Division championship in Spaulding Gymnasium at 8:30 P.M. on December 29.

    In the first half of the Red Division championship game, Conant looked controlled the tempo early and went up by four on a Sean Martin steal and layup conversion. Martin would do it again, and go on a personal 7-0 run against Lebanon. Conant would lead by as many as 14 points in the first half shooting 47% from the floor (11-23), and holding Lebanon to just five field goals.

    For the Orioles, Martin led all scorers with 12 points on five-of-seven shooting and four steals. Ezra Hodgson and Kemph Kim each added seven points of their own.

    The Raiders of Lebanon were led by Jacob Woodward's six points and four-of-four free throw shooting. James Kane added five points and three boards. As a team, Lebanon out rebounded Conant 19 to 12.

    In the second half, Lebanon would start on a 7-0 two forced turnovers. Conant's Dan Sirios would answer with a three to start an Oriole 9-2 run of their own. Martin would end the third quarter on a buzzer beating three to extend the lead to 12, 45-33.

    Conant would open the fourth on a three pointer from Sirois to make the lead 15, the largest of the game for Conant. The Orioles 78% free throw shooting and would propel them to the 10 point win.

    For Conant, Martin had 20 points on seven-of-nine shooting, and stole the ball four times from the raiders. Sirois had 12 points, all three pointers. Hodgson ended up with nine points and led the team with five rebounds.

    Lebanon saw 18 points from Woodward, who shot seven-of-eight from the free line. Kane shot five-of-eight from the field and scored 15 points.

    The tournament teams were as follows:
    White Division:
    Alex Wageling - Goffstown High School
    Kevin O'Connor - Stevens High School
    Mickey Martel - Mascenic High School
    Cam Salo - Mascenic High School
    Jack Ringling - Plymouth High School
    Taylor Newberry- Plymouth high School -MVP

    Red Division:
    Theodore Speas - Keene High School
    Mike Mitchell - Milford High School
    Devin Gilligan - Souhegan High School
    Jacob Woodward - Lebanon High School
    Jimmy Peard - Conant High School
    Sean Martin - Conant High School -MVP

    Stephen Record Memorial Sportsmanship Award - Kemph Kim

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  108. Red Division All-Tournament Team
    Theodore Speas - Keene High School
    Wow, was the Milford/Leb game a fluke? Milford beats souhegan by 17, souhegan is only down by 3 to Conant with 2 minutes to go and leb gets beat by 10 to Conant. merrimack valley beats pembroke in another tournament. plymouth beats goffstown.

    Keene tournament all-tourney team

    Mike Mitchell - Milford High School
    Devin Gilligan - Souhegan High School
    Jacob Woodward - Lebanon High School
    Jimmy Peard - Conant High School
    Sean Martin - Conant High School -MVP
    Stephen Record Memorial Sportsmanship Award - Kemph Kim

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  109. I said all along Conant was aas good as any class I team. They prove it every time they are on the floor.

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  110. Jeremy should move Lebanon back down after losing to Conant by ten. Milford beat Conant by thirty in preseason and soughegan only lost to Conant by ten. No doubt in my mind Milford vs Lebanon was just a bad game for Milford.

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  111. and Campbell good as any class "L" team, already beaten Alvirne and Nashua...good showings for smaller schools that no one respects.

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  112. Lebanon 55 Milford 53!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Need I say anymore??????????? They may be a very good team, but not quite as good as they think they are!!! Quit boasting Milford and just play the game!!!!

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