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.
Madison Springfield - Marianapolis Prep to Conant High (Class of 2016)
Casey Evans - Londonderry to St. Andrew's School (reclassifies to Class of 2016)
Amanda Torres - Trinity to Proctor (reclassifies to Class of 2017)
Gabrielle Hunter - Bedford to Tilton (reclassifies to Class of 2016)
Kylee Julia - Campbell to Tilton (reclassifies to Class of 2016)
Hannah Fabiano - Campbell HS to Trinity HS (Class of 2017)
Angelina Marazzi - Memorial to Northfield Mount Hermon (reclassifies to Class of 2016)
Jenoyce Laniyan - Memorial to Bedford (Class of 2017)
Abby Streeter - North to BG (Class of 2017)
Bri Nordengren - Merrimack to BG (Class of 2017)
Lexie Hamilton - Hanover to Sunapee (Class of 2016)
Nicole Anderson - St. Thomas to Marianapolis Prep (Class of 2017)
What these transfers mean for Division I...
Well first off, the talent level in D-I was already going to be down this year because the Class of 2014 was one of the deepest, most talented classes NH girls basketball has produced in a long time. Then you add in the fact that Torres, Evans, Hunter and Marazzi were all potential D-I all-state players and they all left for prep school.
Trinity only had 1 senior last season. If Torres had stuck around there's a possibility that she would have been preseason D-I Player of the Year and (with the addition of Fabiano) her Trinity team would have been one of the preseason favorites in D-I. They will miss Torres, but with players like Fabiano, Ashley Hill, Hope Willard, Shannon Roberge and Eireann Kolden they will still be a solid team.
How about Londonderry? Even though they graduated Gatorade POY Aliza Simpson and legendary coach John Fagula retired, the Lancers would have still had 7 players coming back who played key roles on their championship team (plus get Jenna Conroy back from injury). With Torres gone Londonderry would have likely been the favorite. But the loss of Evans definitely hurts. Now they not only have to replace Fagula but they lose their 2 best players from last year, both of whom started each of the past 3 years.
Memorial also loses two players plus their coach. They lose their starting point guard last year Marazzi to prep school and Laniyan was primed for a breakout year is now at Bedford High instead. Plus their coach Maureen LaRoche is now the head coach at Fisher College (a replacement has not yet been announced). If they still had Marazzi, Laniyan and Coach LaRoche this team would probably be the favorite.
Bedford loses Hunter, who was in for a huge senior season if she stuck around. The addition of Laniyan definitely helps to soften the blow. But if Hunter was still there you would have Bri Purcell and Nikki Tucci in the back court (either way that's probably the best back court in the state), along with Courtney O'Connell, Laniyan and Hunter up front. Safe to say that squad would have been the favorite in D-I.
How about North? They didn't lose a player to prep school but instead to BG. Streeter was a key player for them as a freshman, and she would have had an even better sophomore season for them. If she had stayed at North, the Titans would have had Taylor Choate, Dezi Okorie, Sara Cordova and Streeter which would have been the most feared 'Big Four' in the state and would have likely made them the favorites. This is the third year in a row that a North player has transferred to BG (Paige Parkinson 2 years ago and Marie LaPlante last year).
"I had always planned on going to BG eventually, my father went there" Streeter told the NH Notebook.
As a result, there is no clear cut favorite. There aren't any dominant teams that are going to blow people out every night. There's not 1 or 2 teams at the top who everyone else will be chasing. There will be more parity.
There isn't 1 favorite now, there's 5. Bedford, Pinkerton, Londonderry, Bishop Guertin and North are the favorites. I listed them in no particular order, because at this point it's too early to tell.
Bedford will be up there. Purcell and Tucci is a scary back court. If opposing team's guards don't bring it, Purcell and Tucci are going to eat them alive. Both could be first team all-state. O'Connell and Laniyan are both versatile, athletic kids with emerging skill sets and inside/outside games.
Pinkerton has possibly the best player (Val Martin), the best freshman (Nicolette Arnold) and 3 more players who played valuable roles for a team that made the Final Four (Marissa Stacy, Melissa Martel and Sara McLeman). With Evans and Hunter both now in prep school, will anyone be able to match up with Martin's strength inside?
Londonderry will still be up there. They will miss Evans, but still have Ashley Berube and Tara Burke to provide an inside presence and Brittany Roche a.k.a 'Big Shot Brittany' who adds depth to the front court. They'll miss Simpson in the back court but still have Jackie Luckhardt, Kelsey Coffey, Noelle Lambert and get Jenna Conroy back from the knee injury that caused her to miss last season. Junior guard Kate Balcom adds to the back court depth. This is still a deep and talented squad.
While other schools had players transfer out BG had a pair of talented, up and coming players transfer in - Streeter and Nordengren. Both are only sophomores, and they add to a 2017 class for BG that was already loaded (Molly Dee, Abbi Field, Meghan Donovan, Meghan Cramb and Meghan Morelli). It's scary to think how good BG is going to be when they are all seniors. Other returning key players include Megan Kerutis, Marie LaPlante, Sara Sherburne and Sara Shields. This is is a very deep team but with so many sophomores they're also very young.
That brings us to North, who will still be right in the mix despite the loss of Streeter. The bottom line is this was a Final Four team last year and their 3 best players are all back (Choate, Okorie and Cordova). Choate is a potential Player of the Year candidate. Her and Okorie are as fast and explosive off the dribble as anyone in the division and Cordova can shoot the lights out. All 3 of them can go for 20 points on any given night. Junior Ali Nelson gave solid minutes off the bench last year, sophomore Isabel Dunning could play a key role and there are 2 more Choates now in the mix in Alana (Taylor's sister) and Mikayla (Taylor's cousin) who are both freshmen.
After those top 5, look for Winnacunnet, Dover, Trinity, Memorial, Alvirne and Central to be up there. These 6 teams will all be solid and could knock off one of the top 5 on any given night.
What these transfers mean for Division II...
Last year's D-II Final Four teams were Merrimack Valley (champs), Coe-Brown (runners-up), Milford and Hanover. Most of the top players on those four teams were underclassmen, so it would make sense to call those 4 teams the favorites again this year, especially with teams like Lebanon, Portsmouth, Souhgan and Windham graduating most of their top players. Mayson Kimball and Cassidy Huckins are back for MV, with Kimball bring a potential Player of the Year candidate. Coe-Brown was only a 3-pointer shy of possibly winning the title and they did it without 1 senior on the roster. Jenny Schlim and Abigail Ahern are both potential first team all-state players for the Bears. Milford returns their best player in Adelle Pitsas, plus their bigs Rebecca Cleary and Jessica Ryan.
Hanover would have been right in that same conversation with those 3 teams, as they would have returned their 2 best players JJ Daniell and Lexie Hamilton with both being potential first team all-state players plus scrappy guard Christine Croitoru. But with Hamilton's transfer to Sunapee that hurts their chances.
After those 4 teams I had St. Thomas pegged as my sleeper team this year. They were playing some great basketball late in the season after new coach Tim Bradley took over. They gave Coe-Brown all they could handle and then nearly beat Lebanon in the playoffs - AT Lebanon. St. Thomas only had 2 seniors last year and were led by a strong group of underclassmen including Ashley Coneys, Nicole Anderson and Reagan Williams. This team will still be good, but if Anderson didn't leave for prep school they could have possibly made a run at a Final Four berth.
What these transfers mean for Division III...
To put it bluntly, these transfers mean good news for Conant and bad news for Campbell. Campbell won the title last year but 2 of their top 3 players transferred to other schools, while the NHIAA's best player regardless of division returns to Conant from prep school.
As Campbell celebrated their championship last March, you couldn't help but do the math. Hannah Neild was the D-III Player of the Year and she was only a junior. Kylee Julia and Hannah Fabiano were the other members of their 'Big 3', with Neild only being a junior at the time and Fabiano a freshman. Plus starting forward Kali Trunca was only a junior. How could you not be doing the math and immediately calling Campbell the favorites to repeat?
Well, think again. Because now Fabiano is at Trinity and Julia is at Tilton. Campbell will still be good, but they're no longer the hands down favorite.
Meanwhile, Conant went a respectable 10-8 last season. That's even more impressive considering they only had 1 senior. Then you add to the mix Madison Springfield, a junior who already holds over 4 Division I scholarship offers. She's 5'11" and can play all 5 positions on the floor. Springfield was first team all-state as a freshman at Conant and was a NEPSAC all-star as a sophomore last year at Marianapolis. She's back at Conant now, and she joins 6'0" forward Sarah Gonsalves and guard Katie Chadbourne, who both started alongside Springfield 2 years ago. Springfield's father David Springfield will be coaching the team. He previously coached the Conant girls from 2002-2005 and they won the title in 2005.
Conant and Campbell appear to be the favorites in D-III.
What these transfers mean for Division IV
The addition of Lexie Hamilton at Sunapee is huge. The depth of talent isn't as high in the lower divisions so to add a player of Hamilton's caliber makes a big difference. Sunapee already had the division's 2 best returning bigs in 5'11" senior Anna Richardson and 6'0" sophomore Katie Frederick who are both shot blocking machines. They were also returning sophomore guard Sydney Clark who can score in bunches. Now they have Hamilton, who along with Clark gives the Lakers 2 guards who can really shoot it. With Hamilton, Richardson, Frederick and Clark leading the way, Sunapee is the team to beat in D-IV.