This is big news folks. As many of you know, Matt Bonner is the only New Hampshire kid to ever play in the NBA. Well guess what, besides Bonner, Kaleb Tarczewski is the highest rated basketball prospect in our state's history. He is the #6 ranked player in the entire country for the Class of 2012 by espn.com. And according to the New England Recruiting Report, the 7'0" center from Claremont, NH officially ended his recruitment on Monday, committing to the University of Arizona on a full basketball scholarship.
Tarczewski attended and played basketball at Stevens High in Claremont for his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to St. Mark's, a prep school in Massachusetts. It was then when his game really started to develop, playing in not only the most competitive prep school league in the country but he also started playing with the NE Playaz on the AAU cicuit (one of New England's premier AAU programs).
There's finesse big men and there's power big men. Tarczewski is definitely the latter, as he has a strong, rugged frame for a 7'0" kid and is physical inside as he powers his way to the rim for dunks, inside shots and rebounds. For such a big kid he is very agile, runs the floor well and has excellent footwork. Tarczewski has good hands, passes well out of the double team and has very good low post moves and finishing ability inside. Simply put, he has all of the physical tools and skills you could want in a center, and he is still just starting to reach his potential.
Tarczewski chose Arizona over Kansas, who had been recruiting him heavily for the last 2 years. They are both 2 of the best Division I basketball programs in the country. He chose Arizona where he will have sunny, warm weather year round and play in the PAC-10 conference. He joins a star studded recruiting class for the Wildcats, which now features 3 of the top 10 and 4 of the top 40 players in the nation. In other words, watch out for Arizona, and Tarczewski to make some serious noise in the coming years.
It is scary to think how dominant Tarczewski would have been if he stayed at Stevens and kept playing in the NHIAA. He also played alongside 6'6" forward Kevin O'Connor while at Stevens, a school which plays in the NHIAA's Division III. O'Connor transferred to the St. Paul's School following his junior year. If they had stayed at Stevens they would have both been seniors last year. It is safe to say that team would have not lost a game! But of course if they did that their games wouldn't have developed as rapidly.
Other NH kids to go on to play Division I college basketball in the last few years include Jordan Laguerre (Manchester, NH) who is a freshman at Massachusetts, Scott King (Derry, NH) who is a freshman at Stony Brook, Carson Desrosiers (Windham, NH) who is a sophomore at Wake Forest, Tyler Roche (Hooksett, NH) who played at Boston College, Chris Lutz (Bedford, NH) who played at Purdue and then Marshall, and Corey Hassan (Merrimack, NH) who played at Sacred Heart.
Those are all great players, but Tarczewski is the one with the best shot at playing in the NBA. If he keeps working hard and developing his game watch out! That's impressive stuff for a kid from a tiny town in the northern NH.
Congrats to Kaleb, and best of luck at Arizona!