Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Girls Basketball Recruiting Rankings - Class of 2017

Like we have done on the NH Notebook since the site began in 2009, we rank the top local prospects in boys and girls basketball as well as football. Why? To give exposure to the kids, that's it. We'll be e-mailing this article to our database of college coaches free of charge. Who's eligible? Local NH players only, from the Class of 2017. They can be attending an NHIAA school, a prep school like Tilton or a private school like Central Catholic, but they have to be a NH resident. Players are ranked in order of how they project as college recruits, not necessarily who the better high school player is today.

It's no secret who the top rated player in this class is. Rebecca Ripley (Stratham, NH) is the most sought after local recruit since Tiffany Ruffin. She is only a sophomore, but already holds 9 scholarship offers - from Syracuse, Clemson, Seton Hall, Providence, BC, Fordham, URI, Bryant and UMass. The first time we saw Ripley (pictured above) play she was ripping down boards, leading the break, then putting the ball through her legs and draining step-back 3's - not bad for a 5-foot-11 freshman. Her game has continued to get better since then.

Rounding out the top 3 is 2 more prep school players, Amanda Torres (Hudson, NH) from Proctor Academy and Ripley's teammate at New Hampton, Kaitlyn Petrocelli (Merrimack, NH). Both are potential D-I college prospects. The rest of the list comes from the NHIAA. The top public school player in the class? The answer may surprise folks who only follow the bigger schools in the southern part of the state - it's Katie Frederick from Sunapee. We already had her pegged for the #4 spot on the list, then she dropped 25 points and pulled down 37 rebounds (no, that's not a typo) in the D-IV title game to lead the Lakers to the ship'. In at #5 is Bishop Guertin wing Meghan Cramb, the first of a whopping 6 BG players on the list. It's scary to think how good BG will be when they're all seniors.

This is a very deep and talented class. Without any further ado, here are New Hampshire's top girls basketball prospects for the Class of 2017...

1. Rebecca Ripley, 5’11” Wing, New Hampton School - this kid can flat out score the basketball. She is a lethal outside shooter, hit seven 3's in a game this year. She can post up smaller defenders, take bigger defenders off the dribble. Very good in transition, can lead or finish on the break. Her size and all-around skill set make her a very intriguing prospect at the next level. A fearless, confident player who can also defend and make good passes. Ripley just plays at a different level and speed than most in the region.

2. Amanda Torres, 5’7” Guard, Proctor Academy - the most impressive parts about Torres' game are her insanely quick first step and ability to finish. Simply put, there's very few players in the region who are as quick off the dribble and who finish as well as Torres. You're only hope is playing off of her and making her take 3's, but she's improving that part of her game as well. She is not only explosive to the rim with an array of dribble-drive moves, but she stays under control with the ball. Also a tough defender.

3. Kaitlyn Petrocelli, 6’2” Forward, New Hampton School - players with this kind of size, agility, and soft shooting stroke out to 15-18 feet away usually get scholarships. Petrocelli has good fundamentals, uses up-fakes inside and other post moves. She runs the floor well. Can take people down on the block, but is even better when facing up from the baseline or elbow and either taking her man off the dribble or sticking the jumper in their eye.

4. Katie Frederick, 6’2” Forward, Sunapee HS – did we mention she had 25 points and 37 rebounds in the D-IV championship game a couple weeks ago? Did we mention she is 6-foot-2, yet runs like a guard? If college coaches don't know about Fredrick by now they should. Frederick finishes well inside, she rebounds, she blocks shots, she's athletic. She still needs to get bigger and continue to work on all around skill set, but there's a lot of upside here.

5. Meghan Cramb, 5’8” Wing, Bishop Guertin - coaches around NH have been raving about Cramb this year. She plays hard all the time, she hustles, she is coachable, she has a good understanding of the game and she does the little things well. Cramb projects as a 2 at the next level. She can shoot the rock from the outside or mid-range area as well as slash to the rim. She rebounds well, defends and is an unselfish team-first player. Reminds me of Courtney Walsh (now playing at Stonehill) at that age.

6. Libby Underwood, 5’8” Guard, Portsmouth HS - a lethal scorer from the perimeter, there simply aren't many kids in NH who can guard Underwood 1-on-1. So all season long teams through double teams, box-and-ones or triangle-and-twos at her and she still put up numbers. Underwood is quick off the dribble, has good dribble-drive moves and a killer pull-up jumper. She can also post up and score inside over small defenders. A natural 2, but could play the 1 at the next level if she is able to create for teammates better.

7. Kaya Cadagan, 5’11” Wing, Winnacunnet HS - the versatile Cadagan has a lot of upside with a strong inside/outside game and good size. She plays hard, is active on the boards and really hustles after loose balls. Good feel for the game, can operate out of the low or high post. Cadagan can also step outside and hit the 3. Quicker, more skilled and athletic than most sophomores her size. One of the better defenders in the class.

8. Hannah Fabiano, 5’9” Wing, Trinity HS - we knew this kid was going to be special when she dropped a game-high 16 points in championship game as a freshman. One of those kids who is tenacious on both ends of the floor and goes 100 miles an hour, especially on the boards. Has a variety of good post moves, which allow her to score inside over bigger players. At the same time Fabiano is quick enough to play out on the perimeter. Can score and rebound in bunches.

9. Jenoyce Laniyan, 6’0” Forward, Bedford HS - another kid with a high ceiling. 6-feet tall, with strength and athleticism that is matched by almost nobody in this class. Her game is still raw, but the potential is there and she works hard. Laniyan goes hard for rebounds, boxes out. She has a rapidly developing post game.

10. Molly Dee, 5’10” Wing, Bishop Guertin - lots of untapped potential here. Dee reminds us of Ali Glennon at the same age. Guess what, Glennon made all conference rookie team this year at St. A's. Dee is a versatile face-up forward who can take people off the dribble, finish through contact and is a menace on the boards. Very quick for a kid her size, goes hard to the rim, runs the floor well. Quick on her feet defensively and anticipates well.

11. Amanda Wetmore, 5’11” Forward, Alvirne HS - an intriguing prospect - Alvirne was never out of a game this year and Wetmore is a major reason why. With her size at 5-foot-11 and ability to both shoot the ball from the outside as well as face up and take people off the dribble she reminds us of Amra Elezovic at the same age. Wetmore is aggressive looking for her shot but also sees the floor well and sets up her teammates.

12. Kelsey Coffey, 5’8” Guard, Londonderry HS - a lethal outside shooter with in-the-gym range, Coffey is also a clutch shooter who is cool under pressure. She has started for back-to-back D-I championship teams at Londonderry. Has the ability to heat up at any time and hit 3 or 4 outside shots in a row. Can also back down smaller down smaller defenders and post them up with some crafty moves inside. Smart, fundamentally sound player.

13. Abby Field, 6’1” Forward, Bishop Guertin - a 6-foot-1 kid who plays hard and has been starting for 2 years on a top 5 team in D-I. Field was raw, soft and inconsistent as a freshman, but has been rapidly improving in all phases of the game as a sophomore. Now Field is a physical player, not afraid to mix it up in the paint. She could already hit the 12-15 foot jumper, and has been improving her footwork, post moves and finishing ability.

14. Abby Streeter, 5’10” Wing, Bishop Guertin - Streeter can flat out shoot the basketball, and does it better than most sophomores her size. She can spread the opposing defense with her shooting prowess, you have to always know where she is on the floor. Streeter plays hard, she thrives in a transition game and has also improved driving ability and defense.

15. Heather Durand, 5’9” Wing, Portsmouth HS - another high upside kid. One of the strongest, most athletic kids in the class without question. Really excels when facing up from high post with ability to take her man off the dribble, finish through contact and if you back up she can hit the mid-range jumper. One of the best rebounders in the class. 5-foot-9 might be pushing it but she plays much bigger.

16. Bri Nordengren, 5’11” Wing, Bishop Guertin - versatile face-up 4, Nordengren is a very good offensive rebounder and always plays hard. She missed some time this year to injury and sickness, but look for her to really step up over the next 2 years. Good size and skill set.

17. Meghan Donovan, 5’7” Guard, Bishop Guertin - an intriguing prospect, Donovan can play the 1 or the 2. Regardless of which spot she's at Donovan always plays hard and always looks to push the ball and keep pressure on an opposing defense. Quick off the dribble when driving to the bucket and a tough defender.

18. Caroline Merguerian, 5'8" Guard, Hanover HS - the starting point guard for a team that came within a few points of a D-II Final Four berth. Merguerian is a good passer who sees the floor well - she made a nice wrap-around pass in the prelims vs. Lebanon which lead to a layup that sent the game to OT. Also a strong defender and shooter.

19. Shannon Roberge, 5’8” Guard, Trinity HS - Roberge is a 2 who can hit shots in bunches, either from mid-range or beyond the arc. Also finishes strong inside and defends well.

20. Casey Dinga, 6’1” Forward, Windham HS - high upside player. 6-foot-1, and when she's in a rhythm out there she can rebound as well as pretty much anyone in this class. Finishes through contact inside and runs the floor well.

21. Isabel Dunning, 5’8” Wing, Nashua North - smart, fundamentally sound, team-first player. Dunning does all the little things well. She sets good screens, can rebound, defend and hit the 3.

22. Marissa Sweeney, 5’11” Forward, Alvirne HS - raw inside player, but she has good size and really plays hard out there. Very active on the boards and aggressive on defense as well, especially when deflecting passes or forcing turnovers on the press.

23. Riley Bennett, 5’6” Guard, Bishop Brady - a natural 2, Bennett has a good pull-up jumper and also drives it strong to the rim. Bennett is unselfish but is not afraid to pull the trigger if left open. Look for her to step game up even more with graduation of Sarah Thomas.

24. Eireann Kolden, 5’9” Wing, Trinity HS - good size and length out on the wing, Kolden can score inside or out. Has good athleticism and high release on jumper.

25. Amanda D’amico, 5’5” Guard, Merrimack HS - the lefty can handle the basketball, has good court vision, can dish the rock and shoot it from the outside.

26. Devany Pitsas, 5’7” Guard, Milford HS - tough kid, with good athleticism and feel for the game. Very strong defender who can slash to the rim and rebound.

27. Erin McGuire, 5’4” Guard, Windham HS - McGuire would no doubt be ranked at least a few spots higher, but she suffered a torn ACL during the middle of the season. Prior to the injury, McGuire had emerged as Milford's top defender.

28. Lilly Shlimon, 5’8” Guard, Pelham HS - part of a strong young nucleus of talent at Pelham, Shlimon can play the 1 or the 2. She can hit shots from the outside or take it to the rim and hit floaters. Also a tough defender and good ball handler.

29. Emily Britton, 5'6" Guard, Winnacunnet HS - a natural 2 who can hit shots off the dribble or off the catch. Britton hit a huge 3 in Winnacunnet's semi-final win over Pinkerton. A tough kid with good fundamentals. Not afraid to take (and make) the big shot.

Feedback is always welcome on the rankings. I can be reached at jeremy.leveille@gmail.com