Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Who's Going Where?
Keeping up with which players are transferring where in NH high school basketball is something that can make many fans' heads dizzy. Every other day it seems you hear about another player switching schools (particularly in the Manchester area) or going prep.
Here is an updated look at who is playing where this winter, including a couple of recent transfers that will really shake things up. This article contains transfer information for both boys and girls basketball.
Bell to Play for Brady
Jourdain Bell is easily one of the top incoming freshman in the state. He had been playing with Manchester Memorial during some league action, but he just recently made the decision to attend and play for Bishop Brady instead. Memorial has been a D-I contender for each of the last 3 years - ever since Mike Fitzpatrick took over as head coach. Meanwhile Bishop Brady is a program that has struggled, winning only 4 games each of the past 2 years in D-II. Also, Bell plays his AAU ball for Bishop Elite, a program that is directed by Memorial JV coach Sudi Lett.
"This has NOTHING to do with basketball, and everything to do with making sure Jourdain will be ready academically for college and\or prep school" said Jourdain's mother, Marsha Snow. "Being home-schooled, I just felt as a parent that a huge public school wasn't a place that he would be successful. Also, please squash any idea of bad blood or anything with the Bishop. Jourdain will continue to play for the Bishop. We love all the boys and the program. I just want to make it clear that this was not a basketball decision. This was an academic decision"
Bell is a 5'11" guard who is ready to step in as a freshman and make an immediate impact at the varsity level. His biggest attribute his quickness and athleticism. Bell can get up and down the floor in a hurry, is very quick off the dribble, makes explosive moves to the basket and has very impressive leaping ability. He's a tough defender, has an improving jump shot and is especially dangerous in the open floor. The Bishop Elite teams that he's played on have won NH States and also gone to AAU Nationals each of the past 2 years.
Even with this loss, Memorial still has some very talented young players coming up. Kabongo Ngalakulondi, Oumaru Kante, Wade Gop and Wenyin Gabriel were all teammates of Bell with the Bishop, and they'll all be freshmen at Memorial this year.
McKearin to Play for Campbell
Mt. Zion Christian Academy had to forfeit their last several basketball games last season. And now, the school doesn't even have a team. As a result, one of their former students will now be attending and playing basketball at Campbell High. Caleb McKearin is a 6'7" center who is entering his junior year. He has a lot of upside, and at Campbell he will have a chance to fulfill his potential.
"Caleb will be going to Campbell High come Aug 29th" said Caleb's father Jim McKearin. He has played with the summer squad in the Goffstown Summer League which just finished up."
With the graduation of guys like Ezra Hodgson and Conner Torrey, and Mike Auger going prep, there aren't many skilled big men left in Division III. So if McKearin continues to work hard he has a chance to have a couple of dominant years ahead of him playing for the Cougars. McKearin still has a lot to work on skill-wise, though. But for a 6'7" kid he is very athletic, runs the floor well and he is also a good shot blocker. McKearin played for the NH Spartans 16U AAU team this spring, and prior to that he played for the Bishop Elite and NH Fastbreak.
Campbell will have a strong young nucleus of players this winter. McKearin, point guard Max Gouveia and wing player Jacob Morgan will be juniors, while speedy guard Jesiah Wade will only be a sophomore. That is a talented group of players right there that will be fun to watch in D-III over the next couple of years.
New Look Little Green
Manchester Central made headlines last Friday night when they played without 2 key players and still beat Nashua North and Bishop Guertin by a combined 38 points to win the 2011 BST Summer League Championship. Many folks who watched them play over the course of the summer were probably left scratching their heads and wondering to themselves who some of their players were. Truth be told, there are only 4 players on the Little Green roster who got minutes just a few months ago in March when they went toe-to-toe with eventual D-I champs BG - Gabe LaCount, Junior Brown, Dylan Lafond and Troy Pelletier.
But this summer a number of new players have joined the fun at Central. Most notably Dawson Dickson, Stephen Gomez, Isaiah Joseph, Adrien Stillwell and Brett Hanson. Dickson, a 5'7" point guard, comes to Central after playing for Trinity last year as a freshman. He's a quick player who can handle the basketball well and also shoot it from the mid-range area or beyond the arc. Gomez and Joseph both played for the Manchester West JV team last year, but they will both be juniors on the varsity squad at Central this year. Gomez is possibly the quickest player in NH, he's only about 5'5" but plays extremely hard and has improved his game tremendously over the summer. Joseph is a long, athletic forward who rebounds well and is very active and aggressive on both ends of the floor. Stillwell has moved to NH from Charlestown, MA. The 6'3" forward is only going to be a sophomore this season but he is strong, athletic player can rebound, run the floor and finish inside. Hanson is only going to be a freshman this year, but is definitely one of the top players in his class. He's a 5'6" point guard who excels at making plays for himself and his teammates, he can hit the three but is also not afraid to take the ball to the rim. Hanson played most of the summer for Concord High, and would have likely been their starting point guard this winter as a freshman. But he decided instead to go to Central. He might not get as many minutes over the next couple years at Central that he would at Concord, but there's no doubt he'll now be playing for a better squad. Finally, there's 6'3" junior forward Christian Ortega, who returns to Central after a one year hiatus. Ortega had a strong freshman season for the Little Green 2 years ago, but was out of state last winter. He came back to the team at the BST Summer League's 'Tournament of Champions, and in the title game win over BG he had a game-high 15 points to go with 10 rebounds.
2 other notable transfers on the boys side are Travis Descoteaux going from Trinity to Manchester West, while Jordan Lates is transferring from Hollis-Brookline to Nashua North. Descoteaux is a 5'11" guard who played varsity at Trinity each of the past 2 years. He heads to West where he'll team up with Aaron Martin and Carl Jacques with the hopes of getting the Blue Knights back to their winning ways after a disappointing 2010-2011 season. Lates is one of the better incoming sophomore players in NH. The 5'4" point guard played JV last year as a freshman at Hollis. he goes to a North squad with a lot of talented seniors, but Lates is definitively a player to watch in the future.
Earlier in the summer the NH Notebook also reported the transfers of Dimitri Floras and Devin Gilligan, who are both transferring to Kimball Union Academy. Floras played the last couple years at Merrimack HS, but is reclassifying to the Class of 2014. Gilligan meanwhile leaves Souhegan HS and will reclassifies to the Class of 2013.
Who's Going Where for 2015's
So I already mentioned how Bell is going to Bishop Brady, that Gop, Gabriel, Kante and Ngalakulondi are going to Memorial and that Hanson is going to Central. What about the other players to watch for incoming freshmen? Well, Ian Sistare (from Dublin, NH) is going to Trinity, Sam Marquis and Zack Jones are both going to Concord HS, Luke Testa, Luke Rosinski and Brennan Morris are all headed to Pinkerton (yes, Luke is the son of Pinkerton head coach Pete Rosinksi), Ben Judson (from Plaistow, NH) is going to St. John's Prep in Mass, Ryan Brown is going to Bedford HS, Austin Franzen and Garrett Camacho are both going to Bishop Guertin, Andrew Davidson will be joining Hanson at Central, Dominic O'Neil will be going to Merrimack HS, Devon Wilson-Miles is headed to Portsmouth HS and Alex Hill is going to Souhegan. This is a very deep and talented class. Some of these guys will play varsity as freshmen, some will play JV. But over the next few years they'll all be players to watch. Player rankings for this class will likely not be released until the end of the 2011-2012 high school season.
3 More Transfers on the Girls Side
Earlier this summer we reported that Manchester Memorial incoming sophomore guard Kayla Stacy would be transferring to Pinkerton Academy. We also reported that incoming senior guard Megan Hartnett will be transferring from Winnacunnet to Tabor Academy, and incoming junior Yvonne Dean-Bailey would be transferring from Portsmouth Christian Academy to Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. Now comes news of 2 other player transfers that will have an impact on this year's high school basketball season.
Shayla Hubbard, a 5'9" wing player is going prep. Hubbard is an athletically gifted, skilled player, and she is transferring from Laconia High to the New Hampton School. Last year Laconia went 8-10 before falling in the 1st round of the tournament to Lebanon. But now Hubbard joins a star studded team at New Hampton which will include Samantha Brenner (committed to Vermont), Lizzy Ball (Committed to Fairfield University), Melissa Frase (committed to UMass Lowell) and Madeline Blais. That will be a VERY scary team for opponents to stop.
Hubbard has played her AAU ball for the last 2 years for the NE Shooting Stars on a team that won the D-II National Championship in 2010. Dennis Reed, who coached that team, confirmed the transfer and also stated that Hubbard will be reclassifying to the Class of 2013.
More transfer news on the girls side, and this also pertains to a Shooting Stars player. Paige Parkinson, a 5'11" incoming sophomore forward, is transferring from Nashua North to Bishop Guertin. Parkinson plays for the Shooting Stars 15U team, and her coach Frank Girginis confirmed this move.
Parkinson is a talented player who has the size, skill and speed to play inside or out. She started last year as a freshman for a North team that went 10-8. Now she joins an already talented BG girls team. They already had Meghan Green, Madison Gibbs, Jamie Sherburne, Nikki Hayner and Cassie Dauer for returning players. Then they also have one of the top incoming freshmen (Megan Kerutis) going there. Now you add Parkinson to the mix along with Jillian Barbaro and Gigi Piercy who have also played well this summer and this could definitely be a team that is capable of making some noise in D-I this winter. New head coach Scott Hazelton has to be very excited to coach these girls into a winning squad.
Another notable transfer on the girls side is Tighe Loch, a 5'5" incoming sophomore guard who is transferring from St. Thomas to Portsmouth. Loch was the only freshman on the Saint's varsity team last year, and this spring she played for the NE Crusaders Portland team. She joins a Portsmouth squad that will once again be expected to be among the top teams in D-II. The Clippers played without one of their top players (Ali Beauregard) for much of the season and they also had a very tough schedule, but they still managed to go 12-6. Markey Flewelling, Christina Jones and Faith Jenkins are all girls who were key players last year and will be back once again. Other returning varsity players are Phoebe Collins (started at point guard while Beauregard was injured), 6'2" center Alicia Brown and 5'10" forward Torieana St. Pierre, while the super-athletic Dominique St. Pierre comes up from the JV team. I've written in a couple different articles now that I think the top teams in girls D-II this year will be Souhegan, Lebanon, Hollis, Bedford and Windham (in no particular order). Well Portsmouth has a chance to be right in the mix with those teams, and if not they'll once again be a top 8 seed.
Who's Going Where for 2015's
Here's an updated list of players to watch for the Class of 2015 (incoming freshmen). Megan Kerutis (Bishop Guertin), Erica Hadad (Central Catholic in MA), Madalina Jeans (Windham HS), Casey Evans-Driscoll (Londonderry HS), Peace Kabari (Manchester Memorial HS), Hannah Neild (Campbell HS), Val Martin (Pinkerton Academy) and Taylor Choate (Nashua North). Player rankings for the Class of 2015 will likely not be released until after the 2011-2012 season.