With all of these kids switching schools it can get confusing to keep track of them all. So with the season only a few weeks away we've put it all in one place. So below is a listing of the player transfers, followed by a breakdown of what it means for each division.
Jourdain Bell - Bishop Brady to Lee Academy (Reclassifies to 2016)
Joseph Bell - Bishop Brady to Lee Academy (Reclassifies to 2017)
Brett Hanson - Manchester Central to Tilton School (Reclassifies to 2016)
Wenyen Gabriel - Trinity to Wilbraham & Monson (Reclassifies to 2016)
Luke Rosinski - Pinkerton to Kimball Union Academy (Class of 2016)
Caleb Green - Londonderry to Proctor Academy (Class of 2017)
Geo Baker - Buckingham Brown & Nichols to Pinkerton Academy (Class of 2017)
Ben Swett - Exeter High to Phillips Exeter Academy (Reclassifies to 2017)
Josh Joyce - Gilford to Holderness School (Class of 2015)
Matt Glassman - Bedford to Lawrence Academy (Reclassifies to 2018)
Jesse Stiffler - Sunapee High to Newport High (Class of 2016)
Ryan Rondeau - Central Catholic to Pelham High (Class of 2015)
Also, it was previously reported that Trevon Maughn was transferring from Manchester Memorial to Hyde's School and Zach Bergeon was transferring from Campbell High to New Hampton School. However both players are back at their original schools - Maughn is at Memorial and Bergeon is at Campbell. Both are seniors this year.
Additionally, Manchester West and Timberlane are moving down from D-I to D-II, Pembroke is moving up from D-II to D-I, Pelham is moving down from D-II to D-III.
What these changes mean for Division I...
Let's see here. When the off-season began I would have picked Memorial, Central, Pinkerton, Londonderry and Trinity as the top 5 teams next year. And why not? Memorial has everyone back from a team that took undefeated champs Central to double-OT in the semi-finals, including the dynamic duo of Trevon Maughn and Kabongo Ngalakulondi. Central would be returning Brett Hanson and Joey Martin, who can both go off for 25+ points any given night. Pinkerton would have 7 of their 8 top players back, including Rosinski (6'7") and David Falks (6'6"). Londonderry would have a dynamic duo of their own, with Cody Ball and Caleb Green who would have formed possibly the best back court in the state plus wing Mark Corey. Trinity meanwhile would have potential Player of the Year Wenyen Gabriel, plus senior guard Luke Testa and versatile junior Connor Walsh. Memorial would have been the favorite, but all 5 of these teams would have been loaded and it would have been fun to watch them battle it out. Oh, and who would have been right behind those 5 teams in D-I? Probably Exeter and Bedford. Exeter would have had one of the top back courts in the state with the juniors Bryant Holmes and Ben Swett. I'm sure head coach Jeff Holmes had visions of Swett creating off the bounce and either finishing or dishing it out to his on Bryant for 3-pointers. And sophomore Matt Glassman would have been one of the most improved players in the NHIAA for a deep and talented Bedford team.
That above paragraph is what D-I hoops would have likely looked like this winter. So what happened to change that? Hanson, Gabriel, Rosinski and Green all went prep. That's four potential first team all-state players, all would have been Player of the Year candidates. All are potential scholarship players. Gabriel has bee offered by UNH and Providence, Green has been offered by Stony Brook and Rosinski has received strong interest from UNH. But they all went prep. So instead of Memorial, Central, Pinkerton, Londonderry and Trinity being the favorites that just leaves Memorial.
The Crusaders dodged the prep school bullet. Maughn returned to Memorial after spending a weekend at Hyde's School and deciding it wasn't the place for him. Maughn, Ngalakulondi, Wade Gop, Craig Preston, Malo Roumraj and Brandon Scott are gonna put a ton of points on the board this winter. They have their sights set on a title, and with all of these other kids transferring it gives them a better shot at it.
The question then becomes who is Memorial's biggest competition? That might just be Pinkerton. They lose a center to prep school but they gained a point guard. Right around the time Rosinski's transfer to Kimball Union Academy became official, word got out that electrifying point guard Geo Baker was coming home to Derry from prep school for his sophomore year. Simply put, Baker is a play maker and he's lightning fast. He joins a back court that already had Matt Rizzo and Drew Green coming back, plus the sharpshooting Brennan Morris on the wing. And down low you not only have the 6'6" Falks but also the 6'5" Caleb Godin and 6'5" Ryan Burke. So even without Rosinki in the post this will still be a tough team.
Central, Trinity, Londonderry and Exeter and Bedford will all be in the mix as well, but will all feel the affects of their prep school losses.That opens the door for some other teams to enter the mix and possibly make a run at a Final Four appearance. 3 teams in particular to watch out for are Bishop Guertin, Pembroke and Nashua South.
BG is definitely going into the season as a top 5 team, with a strong core of players returning from a team that went 13-5 last year. They're led by junior point guard Jack Zimmerman and senior wing Kyle Gavin who have both played in a ton of big games and both enter their third year as starters. Other returning player who played key roles on last year's team include Mike Rinko (look for him to make a big impact as a sophomore), Chad Olivieri, big man Garrett Camacho and speedy defender Alex Arika.
Pembroke moves up from D-II, and despite all of the controversy that circled their program over the off-season they do have a D-I schedule (but 2 D-I teams are refusing to play them). The Spartans will be even bigger up front than Pinkerton, as they boast 6'7" forwards Rob Wilson and Max Curran, plus 6'5" Dominic Timbas and Cameron Taylor at 6'4". All 4 guys can score, rebound and block shots, while Curran can also step outside and shoot it. Look for Connor Boucher to lead the back court. All 5 of them are seniors.
South should be in the mix as well, led by guard DJ Frechette who is on the verge of a breakout sophomore season. Look for Frechette and seniors Malik Langa and Mike Osgood to form a very tough trio for opponents to contain. Frechette is explosive and can shoot the lights out, Langa is one of the most athletic players in the state and Osgood is a versatile 6'5" kid who can play inside or take his man off the dribble. Salem will also be tough, with rapidly improving big man Matt Vartainian, Jared Gott and Jake Bosworth.
What these changes mean for Division II...
At the beginning of the off-season I would have said the 3 favorites in D-II would be Bishop Brady, Pelham and Pembroke. Brady would have had the best 'Big 3' in not only D-II but possibly the entire state with the Bell brothers Jourdain and Joe plus Brendan Johnson and big man Aaron Svendsen. Pelham would be returning potential first team all-state player Keith Brown and the rapidly improving duo of Ryan Cloutier and Dylan Silvestri. And Pembroke would have that big front line of Timbas, Wilson and Curran and Boucher in the back court. Brady, Pelham and Pembroke would have been the 3 favorites, with Portsmouth not being far behind as the other favorite to make the Final Four.
However, that all changed over the off-season. The Bell brothers transferred from Brady to Lee Academy and their coach at Brady, Mark Yeaton stepped down. Meanwhile, Pembroke moved up to D-I and Pelham moved down to D-III. As a result, D-II could be in for a down year.
Brady still has Johnson, Svendsen and sharpshooting sophomore guard Matt Quirk coming back. They should still definitely compete for a top 8 seed, but the loss of the Bell Brothers definitely hurts.
Portsmouth now has to be considered the favorite. They return 5 players who played valuable roles for a squad that gave Pembroke all they could handle in the title game. They return 2 starters in 6'4" sophomore forward Joe Glynn and senior wing Charlie LeHoux, plus 6th man Loden Formichelli and sophomore guard Shon Parham who also played valuable minutes off the bench last year. Devon Wilson-Miles started over Glynn early in the year and the Clippers hope to have him back this season. Plus you have freshman guard Cody Graham, who is expected to make an immediate impact.
Look for Lebanon and Goffstown to also be in the mix for a Final Four spot. Lebanon has the dynamic duo of sophomore guard KJ Matte (son of head coach Kieth Matte) and junior wing Austin Whaley. Goffstown has a strong returning core led by senior point guard Marcus Haynes, junior sharpshooter Michael Bailey and junior forward Tim Comeau. And with Manchester West moving down to D-II they should also be in the mix, as they return a strong core of players including Motu Maker and Corey Descoteaux.
What these changes mean for Division III...
It's a double whammy for Pelham. Not only are they moving down a division to D-III, but they also add an incoming transfer with Ryan Rondeau coming over from Central Catholic. They already had Brown, Cloutier and Silvestri coming back. Plus they have sophomore point guard Kyle Frank and senior guard David Rogers who are ready to take on bigger roles. Pelham now has to be considered the favorite in D-III and Brown will likely be preseason Player of the Year.
Campbell will also be in the mix, as they made the D-III title game last year without one senior on the roster. It looked like they'd be knocked down a couple notches when star player Zach Bergeon decided to transfer from Campbell to New Hampton, but Bergeon is back at Campbell now. Look for him to have a big senior year, alongside sophomore forward Harrison Vedrani and guards Andrew Smarse, Justin DiBenedetto and Kyle Shaw. These guys are hungry after falling in the finals last year.
Newport will be up there, as they went 15-3 last year and return their best player Andrew Houde. Houde, Bergeon and Brown are all early favorites for D-III Player of the Year. Houde has the ability to take it inside or shoot it from beyond the arc. He's a tough match up. He's a senior and so is the team's returning starting point guard Spencer Coronis. An already strong team got even stronger with the addition of Jesse Stiffler, who transferred in from Sunapee.
That brings us to Conant, who are the defending champs and have won 6 of the last 8 D-III titles. It will definitely be a challenge to repeat though. Pelham, Campbell and Newport all appear to very strong and Conant graduated their four best players off last year's squad. This is a great program though so expect them to still be in the mix. Returning is starting wing Nathan Wheeler and 6th man Josh Degrenier.
Christian Serrano leads a strong core of returning players for Winnisquam. Somersworth looks to rebound after a 5-13 season, as they only graduated 2 seniors. They lose head coach Lorne Lucas (now at Oyster River) but sophomore wing Chance Ennis can really shoot it. Speaking of sophomores on verge of breakout seasons watch out for Parker Smith for Stevens High, as the Cardinals again appear to be in the hunt for a top 8 seed.
What these changes mean for Division IV
The only change involving a D-IV school was Stiffler transferring from Sunapee to Newport. This will obviously hurt Sunapee's chances, but the Lakers still have the dynamic back court duo of Matt Tenney and Issaiah Cappell. They will certainly be in the mix, also graduated some key seniors and are not a lock to be the favorite. It may be too early to handicap this division, but Derryfield, Littleton and Epping all made runs last year and have key players back. Derryfield returns sophomore forward Sam Anderson and senior guard Rob Rizos. Epping will severely miss all-state forward Jimmy Stanley but has Colby Wilson, Dylan Derosier and Brett Couture coming back. Littleton returns the majority of a squad that went 16-2.