Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seacoast Duo Going Prep

The prep school movement continues, as two players from New Hampshire's seacoast have recently committed to attend and play basketball at NEPSAC schools during the 2012-2013 school year. Portsmouth High senior Kamahl Walker will be doing a post-grad year at Bridgton Academy, and Mike LeBlanc will be transferring from Dover High to the New Hampton School where he will repeat his junior year.

Walker and LeBlanc were two of the top players in the NHIAA this past season, and will now get the opportunity to showcase their talents by playing in the most competitive prep school league in the country - the NEPSAC AAA. Both Bridgton and New Hampton are consistently two of the top programs in New England. By reclassifying (Walker is now in Class of 2013 and LeBlanc is 2014), both players also get an extra year of AAU ball. This spring/summer, Walker is playing with a very good Bishop Elite 17U team, while LeBlanc is running with a star-studded Mass Rivals squad that includes NBA prospect Noah Vonleh.

Walker led Portsmouth to the Division II state championship just last month, and was named D-II Player of the Year by the NHBCO. Walker moved to Portsmouth from Worcester, MA prior to the 2010-2011 season, and he has been a first team all-state player in D-II in each of the two years he's been in NH. Walker is a 5'10" point guard with exceptional quickness, athleticism and play making ability. He can hit the outside shot, take it all the way to the rim and also has a dangerous mid-range game. Walker is most effective in transition with his blazing speed and ability to lead or finish on the break. He's also a very good defender who anticipates and jumps the passing lanes well. Walker simply took over in the D-II title game in the win over Bedford, doing anything he wanted to on both ends of the floor. he was the most consistent player in the NHIAA this winter.

LeBlanc was an all-state player for Dover this past season as a junior. Dover beating Salem in the D-I preliminary round was the upset of the year in NH high school basketball, and LeBlanc had a game-high 22 points in that game for the Green Wave. LeBlanc is a 6'6" wing player with a lot of upside. For a player his size he is very agile and can also stroke the three ball as well as attack the rim off the dribble. The Rivals have a track record of turning tall, lanky kids with solid but raw skill sets into scholarship players and LeBlanc is the latest pupil of Coach Vin Pastore. Reclassifying gives LeBlanc an extra year to get in the weight room, fill out his frame and also to work on his defense. But there's no question he has a ton of upside with his size, athleticism and ability to shoot the basketball.

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