Some of the top boys’ basketball players in New England will come to Chelsea High this weekend for the 2009 Prep Classic. Hosted by the BABC, the event features schools from the prep school ranks, many with rosters loaded with local talent and familiar faces.
On Saturday, a doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. with Cushing Academy taking on Brewster Academy. Cushing, of Ashburnham, has two of New England’s top underclassman in 6-5 sophomore James Kennedy (Dorchester) and 6-3 freshman Dominique Bull (Worcester), who transferred from Burke and St Mary’s of Worcester respectively last year. Cushing competes in NEPSAC Class B and will face NEPSAC Class A power Brewster (Wolfeboro, N.H.). Brewster features sophomore Nadir Tharpe (Worcester, St Peter-Marian), who is considered one of New England’s top point guard prospects in the class of 2011. Brewster will send three members of their 2009 class to the Big 12 in September: Thomas Robinson, 6-8, (Kansas), Givon Crump, 6-7, (Baylor) and Andrew Fitzgerald, 6-8, (Oklahoma), along with Vermont signees Simeon Marsalis (6-0) and Luke Apfeld (6-7).
In the second game at 3:30 p.m., defending NEPSAC Class B Champion Tilton (N.H.), 10-0, faces St. Andrews (2007 NEPSAC Class B Champions from Barrington, R.I.). Tilton, with Dorchester residents Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (6-7, UConn signee) and 2008 Globe All-Scholastic and New England’s Class of 2010 top recruit Gerard Coleman (6-3, transfer from West Roxbury; Boston College, Providence, Clemson, Miami, Kansas, Louisville, UConn) and Alex Oriakhi, 6-9, Lowell/Boston native and fellow UConn signee.
Coombs, Oriakhi and Coleman were starters on the 2008 BABC team (72-8) that ranked among the top 3 club teams in the country. Other Boston area players of note for Tilton include 6-5 Georges Niang (sophomore, Methuen), 6-2 Alex Kershaw (Junior, Oliver Ames/Easton) and 6-0 Sam Malone (sophomore, Scituate). St Andrews features local Michael-Carter Williams, a 6-3 sophomore who is considered among the top New England Class of 2011 prospects, formerly of Hamilton-Wenham Regional.
Sunday’s tripleheader begins at 2 with nationally ranked prep schools No. 3 Notre Dame Prep of Fitchburg (14-2) vs. No. 4 Bridgton Academy (Maine) (12-3). Notre Dame Prep is led by three Big East signees: Providence signee Johnny Lacy (5-10, Milwaukee), Syracuse signee James Southerland (6-6, Queens, N.Y.) and Cincinnati signee Sean Kilpatrick (6-4, White Plains, NY). Local prospects Malik Smith (6-1 senior, Boston, Madison Park) and Ron Giplaye (6-6 junior, Lowell) are starters as well for Notre Dame Prep, which plays an independent schedule.
Bridgton Academy, defending NEPSAC Class A champions, feature 12 postgraduates led by George Washington signee Duane Smith (6-5, Toronto) and University of New Orleans signee Carl Blair (6-2, Houston).
The 3:30 game features two NEPSAC Class B powers. Brimmer and May (8-1) of Chestnut Hill is led by Kyle Casey (6-7, Medfield) who is currently being recruited by Harvard and URI. Marianapolis Prep (8-2) of Thompson, CT (2008 NEPSAC runner-up) features post grad Chris Flores, currently averaging 17.6 ppg (6-3, O’Bryant).
The final game at 5 features Lawrence Academy (Groton), a member of the ISL and 2007 NEPSAC Class C Champions against Boston Trinity Academy (Hyde Park), which advanced to the NEPSAC Class D tournament in 2008. Lawrence Academy is led by two Boston natives: Daryl Bishop, a 6-4 senior who signed a letter of intent to play ACC football at NC State and was invited to play basketball as well. He was heavily recruited for basketball nationally and was also a starter for the BABC along with the Tilton trio of Oriakhi, Coombs, and Coleman. Shabazz Napier, a 5-10 junior (Roxbury/Charlestown) is seen as a Division 1 recruit in the Class of 2010. Lawrence Academy and St. Marks will compete for both the ISL and NEPSAC Class C 2009 Championships.
NEPSAC features some of the most competitive high school age basketball competition in the United States. Recent graduates like Michael Beasley (Notre Dame Prep ’07, Miami Heat Rookie of the Year candidate), Antonio Anderson (Lynn, MA/Maine Central Institute ’04, University of Memphis), and Demetrius Nichols (Boston, MA/St. Andrews ’03, Syracuse ’07 and Chicago Bulls ’08) are among the many recent graduates of New England prep school basketball.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.