Bridgton Academy Profile
November 27th, 2006
Led by St. John’s bound forward Justin Burrell (pictured) and a host of talented perimeter players Bridgton Academy is looking for their third consecutive NEPSAC Class “A” Title.
No team since the Worcester Academy squad of 1977-1979 has won three consecutive NEPSAC Class “A” Titles. But if the scout.com pre-season top 10 prep school poll is any indication then Bridgton Academy has a chance to do something that no team has done in almost 30 years. Coach Whit Lesure’s squad earned the highest ranking of any NEPSAC team at #4 in the country prior to the start of the season. But after coming out of the gate with a perfect 3-0 record, including a 96-85 victory over the Patterson School (#2 Scout.com Poll) Bridgton is currently the second only to Notre Dame Prep in the latest poll.
At the National Prep Showcase last week Bridgton showed off their talented and versatile roster. Justin Burrell the 6’8 225 pound power forward originally from the Bronx holds the fort down under the basket. The St. John’s bound forward is super athletic, very strong, and terrific in Bridgton’s up-tempo game.
Coach Lesure prefers to surround Burrell with four perimeter players instead of the typical 3 out 2 in look. Last weekend those four were 6’2 guard Greg Hill, 6’3 ½ swingman Paris Horne, 6’6 small forward Cory Vejraska, and 6’1 point guard Brian Rudolph. Hill is a sharp shooting Indiana native who may be the most dangerous three-point shooter we have seen so far in the prep ranks. Horne is a super athletic player who is at his best in a fast paced game, and receiving heavy interest from the likes of Ohio and Boston College. Vejraska is the role player of the group who earns the starting nod by being a very fundamentally sound role player who always plays hard and understands his purpose on this team. Rudolph is the Massachusetts native who committed to Providence last year before having some legal problems that forced him to do a post-graduate year. He is a quick and efficient player who does a nice job of running the offense and is capable of getting into the lane off the dribble whenever necessary.
Coming off the bench is arguably one of the top two players on the roster in 6’8 forward Aaron Ellis who is already committed to attending South Carolina. Ellis has a definite European feel to his game after spending most of his childhood growing up on a military base in Germany. But he is a long, bouncy, and skilled player who provides Coach Lesure with some defensive flexibility because of his ability to guard multiple positions.
Also seeing significant time off the bench for what is definitely one of the deepest teams in the country are 6’0 point guard Paul Becklens from Massachusetts, 6’4 swingman Rashard Green, 6’2 guard Ronnie Moss, and 6’6 PF Clay Harris. Becklens is a superior defensive player who is bound to draw interest from a wide variety of low to mid major programs. Green is another tremendous defensive player who NC State has been heavily pursuing from some time and led the team with 20 points in their victory over American Christian at the National Prep Showcase. Moss was also impressive last weekend as well, showing a very versatile offensive arsenal that included a good three-point stroke, an excellent mid-range game, and even a willingness to attack the rim off the dribble. Harris is a native of England who has already pledged himself to Wagner for next year. He is a big body that mixes it up under the basket, rebounds the ball, and even blocks some shots.
The only noticeable flaw on this talented and versatile roster is a lack of front court depth. But Bridgton will try to push the tempo of the game by applying full-court pressure and rotating their ten very talented players in and out of the game to try and wear down their opponents. If they are able to do so this could be a very special and record breaking year for the team from North Bridgton, Maine.