Next up is the boys basketball recruiting rankings for the Class of 2017. We've seen these kids play in person, on film, we've talked to coaches. All to make the list as accurate as possible. Again, the criteria is simple. Any kid who resides in NH from the Class of 2017 is eligible. The rankings are based on how the players project as college recruits, and like on the girls side this article will also be e-mailed to our database of college coaches free of charge.
Like on the girls side, we have prep school players at the top. 5 of the top 10 prospects come from prep schools, including Proctor Academy teammates Caleb Green (Londonderry, NH) and Tshiefu Ngalakulondi (Manchester, NH) who occupy the top 2 spots on the list. Green, Ngalakulondi and Geo Baker in the third spot will all be playing for the same AAU team this year - the DC Blue Devils. Green already holds a scholarship offer from Stony Brook, and there's little doubt that all 3 of them are future D-I college players if they keep working.
Without any further ado, here's a breakdown of NH's top local boys basketball prospects for the Class of 2017.
1. Caleb Green, 5'10” Guard, Proctor Academy - this kid makes the game look easy. He never seems rattled, always under control - despite playing the game at a very fast speed. Always seems to know where to go with the basketball - when to drive, when to dish it off, when to shoot it. Thrives in transition, knows how to control tempo, get teammates involved, makes great passes but if you help off him he'll make you pay by hitting the shot. A tight handle and nearly impossibly to guard dribble-drive moves.
2. Tshiefu Ngalakulondi, 6’5” Wing, Proctor Academy - a freak athlete and physical specimen, another kid who makes the game look easy. You won't find many 6-foot-5 sophomores draining step-back / fadeaway 3's, slamming down alley-oop dunks with authority or blocking shots 10 rows into the crowd. But with Ngalakulondi that's what you get. Let him shoot it from the outside and he'll make you pay. If you don't double him in the post he'll make you pay for that too. He's also very active on the offensive glass. Good size, strength, athleticism and skill.
3. Geo Baker, 6’2” Guard, Pinkerton Academy - After dominating the NHIAA's Division I all winter, Baker really put on a show last week in the semi-finals at UNH. He scored 30 points, hitting six 3's and throwing down a slam dunk on the break. Seems like just yesterday this kid was only about 5-foot-8, but he has shot up like a weed and so has his recruiting stock. Baker is now able to really elevate high on jumpers and skies way up there for rebounds, often out-jumping 6-foot-5 kids for boards. He sees the floor and passes it well, and can make some crazy athletic finishes at the rim.
4. K.J. Matte, 6’0” Guard, Lebanon High - reminds us of former Merrimack High star Dimitri Floras at the same age. Floras may have been a more explosive scorer, but Matte is a better passer. Matte also has the ability to heat up at anytime and go off for a 12 point quarter. He has a killer pull-up jumper and a very quick release. Looks to score but also has good court vision and is just as happy making the assist. Can shoot from long range or slash to the rim. Always leaves it all on the floor. Excels in transition.
5. D.J. Frechette, 6’1” Guard, Nashua South - simply put, Frechette is the most lethal long range shooter in the class. He has in-the-gym range, and isn't afraid to pull-up off the bounce from anywhere (in transition or in the half court) and stick the 3 in your eye. Play too close up and he'll blow by you off the dribble. Frechette also moves well without the basketball in order to free himself up for looks. Also likes to run, get out and finish on the break.
6. Colby Gendron, 6’7” Forward, Bedford High - this kid has a ton of upside. The first time we saw Gendron play he was a 6-foot-6 freshman who drained five 3's in one game vs. rival Bishop Guertin. He can still shoot it, but this year he got much stronger physically and improved his inside game. He now has a good face up game, and can also post up on people and finish strong inside through contact. An improved interior defender as well.
7. Jacob Coleman, 5’11” Guard, Londonderry HS - the calm, cool and collected Coleman just got done leading Londonderry to an undefeated D-I championship season. Very poised, even under the pressure of an intense championship game. Not afraid to take the big shot to keep his team in a game, even if he's 3 or 4 feet behind the arc he can still hit it. Very strong with the ball, doesn't turn it over even against tough pressure 'D'. Can hit the 3 or the floater in the lane.
8. Julien Bufalino, 5’10” Guard, St. Paul’s School - one of the region's better up and coming young guards on the prep school circuit. Bufalino (Peterborough, NH) is the starting point guard for St. Paul's, averaged over 13 points per game and garnered all-league honorable mention. Quick, fundamentally sound point guard, handles the rock and changes speeds well. Has a smooth pull-up and is developing into a leader. Makes good decisions with the basketball.
9. Ben Swett, 6’0” Guard, Phillips Exeter Academy - a tough kid who is explosive with the ball in his hands - you really need to work to stick with him. Not only is he explosive with the ball but he moves well without it as well, will go back door if you overplay him on the wing. Swett (Exeter, NH) is a natural point though, and really excels at driving into the lane and dishing to open man or finishing it himself if the defense doesn't collapse. Very tough defender, plays his tail off.
10. Mitchell Kirsch, 6’1” Guard, Phillips Exeter Academy - similar player to Swett in a lot of ways, which makes it ironic that they're teammates at Exeter. Swett is quicker and more explosive, but Kirsch is an inch or 2 taller. Sweet is tougher off the dribble, but Kirsch is a little better shooter. Kirsch is a smart, fundamentally sound player. He doesn't force things, will take the shot if it's there. Can play the 1, but is more of a 2.
11. Joey Glynn, 6’4” Forward, Portsmouth HS - in his first 2 years of high school ball, Glynn has started at power forward in 2 state title games. He has a rugged but athletic frame, battles people inside and has developed into a strong interior defender and finisher. Rebounds well and sets good screens. Can step out, face up and hit the 15-18 foot jumper.
12. Trey Carrier, 6’3” Wing, Wilton-Lyndeborough HS - had a strong season, but really emerged in the title game when he scored 13 points in the 1st half alone. He did it with a combination of put-backs, transition finishes, slashes to the rim and turnaround jumpers out of the post. Carrier is quick off the dribble and has long strides, which makes him tough to guard for opposing bigs. Also has the quickness and athleticism to play out on the perimeter.
13. Harrison Vedrani, 6’3” Forward, Campbell HS - built strong, like a football player. But at the same time he has the skill of a kid who is in the gym year round. Vedrani is a beat in the paint, finishes strong and through contact. Uses his strength to gain good position on the low block, and if you let him get the ball 2 feet from the basket he's either going to score or get fouled, it's automatic. Tough rebounder and can hit 15-foot jumper.
14. Sam Anderson, 6’4” Forward, Derryfield School - fundamentally sound post player. Uses an array of drop step moves, up-fakes and up-and-unders to get looks inside. Handles ball well for a big and can even lead the break. Active on the boards, runs the floor well and can hit mid-range jumper.
15. Parker Smith, 6’1” Wing, Stevens HS - an intriguing prospect, a versatile player with good inside/outside game. Has a strong, athletic frame and is tough to guard off the bounce. Can hit shots but at his best when slashing to the bucket, especially in transition.
16. Craig Preston, 5’9” Guard, Manchester Memorial - tough kid who is not afraid of the big stage, or of taking the big shot. Has ability to go off for four or five 3's in a game. Can shoot it off the dribble or the catch. Cool under pressure with ball in his hands, makes good decisions and doesn't turn it over. Can shoot it like a 2, but run an offense like a 1.
17. Shon Parham, 5’10” Guard, Portsmouth HS - one of the best perimeter defenders in the state. A good on-the-ball or help side defender. A tough, fearless kid who doesn't back down from anybody. He can run an offense, looking primarily to distribute the basketball and get teammates involved. But if you leave him open he'll make you pay. Has already played in a lot of high pressure games.
18. Cal Connelly, 6’3” Wing, Spaulding HS - versatile wing player with good size, length and all-around skill set. Comes from a Spaulding program which is known for having smart, team-first blue collar kids who are disciplined. Connelly can face up, hit the outside shot or take his man off the dribble.
19. Ryan Milliken, 5’9” Guard, Lebanon HS - this kid plays the game with a ton of energy, which his teammates feed off of. He's lightning quick, always looks to push the ball, keeping pressure on the defense. Pressures the heck out of people on defense and has a good pull-up jumper which he can hit from beyond the arc or the mid-range area.
20. Freddy Schaake, 6’3” Wing, Winnacunnet HS - versatile wing player with good quickness. He can take people off the dribble, finish inside or hit the outside shot. Rebounds well, and likes to get out and finish in transition.
21. Mike Rinko, 6’2” Wing, Bishop Guertin - an athletic wing player with a strong frame, Rinko can finish inside or hit the mid-range jumper. Could be a breakout player next season.
22. Matt Quirk, 5’9” Guard, Bishop Brady HS - good long range shooter, off the catch or off the dribble. Also a tough defender and good passer. Started for D-II state champion Brady team.
23. Kyle Frank, 5’8” Guard, Pelham HS - tough kid, very good perimeter defender. A true point guard who is a strong with the basketball, makes good passes and doesn't turn it over.
24. Griffin Werth, 6’5” Wing, Con-Val - versatile wing player with good size and length at 6-foot-5. A high upside kid who is still filling out his frame and growing into his body. Werth has good size and skill set out on the perimeter.
25. Logan Galanes, 5’11” Guard, Keene HS - can play the 1 or the 2, Galanes was a key player for a Keene squad that had their best season in years. He defends well, can hit shots and is fundamentally sound.
Feedback is always welcome on the rankings. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org