Prep Profile – Bridgton Academy
October 12th, 2011
New England Recruiting Report
Amir Garrett's late arrival gave Bridgton Academy a big boost that could have them on the brink of contention.
It wasn’t very long ago that Bridgton Academy was the standard of excellence by which others were judged in prep school basketball.
From 2005 to 2009 head coach Whit Lesure’s club took four NEPSAC Class A championships, a feat that no New England prep school had achieved in almost thirty years.
And while it is barely more than two years since the Wolverines hoisted their last championship trophy, lots has changed in North Bridgton. In reality, the winds of change had already started gusting long before the 2009 championship, as that last title was more of a Cinderella run than any of its predecessors.
While the Bridgton Academy basketball programs of old were lined with the type of talent and depth to contend with any program in the country on a nightly basis, recent years have seen them attempt to make more out of less.
With Lesure remaining at the helm of the program, the Wolverines have been able to do just that, annually surmounting a win total that is greater than the sum of their individual parts. 2009 was a shining example of that, but the reality is that the program has lacked the resources since to be a true title contender.
While no one would mistake this year’s roster for the league’s most talented either, there may be just enough pieces in place to be, at least, a contender.
This year’s starting five projects as possibly the program’s most talented in the last few years. While the core lacks a true post presence, there is undeniable talent and a good amount of long, duplicate parts in six-foot-six forward Markus Crider, six-foot-six swingmen Malik Nichols and Amir Garrett, and six-foot-five swingman Darrick Wood. Jarryn Skeete, a long and savvy six-foot-two floor general, will steady the ship from the point.
If history has shown us anything in prep school basketball it’s that a strong starting five can make you successful, but a strong bench is crucial to any championship aspirations.
In there lies one of the keys for this year’s Bridgton team.
On the surface this isn’t a particularly deep team. However, one of Lesure’s specialties is cultivating role players who can thrive in his team’s offensive structure. This year’s bench offers a couple of potential candidates in Billy Thompson and Chris Green Jr. James McDonald will also play a pivotal role as the team’s only true post player.
The second key for this squad could very well be their unique blend of personalities. They are a feisty group, complete with a lot of personality and a noticeable chip on their collective shoulders. It’s the type of group that lesser coaches could potentially lose control of, and the type that Lesure has historically flourished with.
And if Bridgton hopes to return to their championship ways, they can’t depend on talent alone to do it. Instead they’ll need to rely on that personality, harness it, and steer it towards a common goal. It’s a daunting task to be sure but one that has been done before…most recently in 2009.