Mass 2018 Class Sets the Bar in New England
Massachusetts is the class of New England in 2018.
The core of Cormac Ryan, Nate Laszewski, A.J. Reeves, and David Duke have all earned their choice of high-major suitors. Ryan and Reeves came off the board early to Stanford and Providence respectively while Duke has been ascending quickly for the last year and Laszewski re-asserted himself as a national priority this summer.
So how do you assess the group against each other?
Right now, that’s a question that is going to ignite a variety of passionate responses. The reality though is that there isn’t an easy answer, precisely because they have yet to really separate themselves.
Ryan and Reeves have probably the most established national resumes through the years, Laszewski was undeniably the best of the bunch this summer, and Duke has the highest long-term upside.
The bottom line, at this point, is that they are united by more than what separates them. All four are consensus four-star and national top 100 prospects who are on track to have very strong careers at the highest levels of college basketball. All four also possess the high character that typically correlates to continued commitment and improvement at the next level.
Marlboro High School and New England Playaz big man Chris Doherty is now well on his way to proving himself at that same level after a summer in which he re-emerged as one of New England’s top prospects and finished the month with a Big Ten offer. While he may lack the size of a prototypical high-major big man, his toughness, athleticism, and productivity this summer against top national competition was undeniable.
MacDuffie School and Expressions’ forward Dana Tate has been a consistent riser in recent years. The recent Rhode Island pledge was best known for his power early on, but he’s obviously spent long hours developing his all-around game and continued to emerge along the way to become the truly versatile forward we see today.
Another big summer riser was Newton North and New England Playaz guard Ethan Wright. His trajectory has been similar to Doherty’s as he was a big name early on and re-emerged this summer to prove himself one of New England’s best. He made an early pledge to Princeton despite A10 offers and high-major interest, where he’s sure to have a great career.
The three players that round out the top ten – NMH and New England Playaz forward Chuck Hannah, Belmont Hill and Mass Rivals wing David Mitchell, and Needham and Middlesex Magic point guard Thomas Shaughnessy – are all cut from a similar cloth. These guys are absolute warriors and winners who have made a history of doing whatever it takes to win games and are bound to do the exact same thing at the next level as Mitchell and Shaughnessy are bound for Brown and Hannah is still undecided.
Lowell guard Alex Rivera had a huge spring with the Mass Rivals and saw his recruitment skyrocket to the A10 level before giving UMass Lowell a major steal earlier this month. A pair of NMH guards both took their games (and recruitments) to new levels in July as Calvin Whipple starred for CBC, leading to his commitment to Fairfield, and Kai Toews grew into a bigger role with the Playaz.
NMH’s Davis Franks and Lawrence Academy’s Travell Washington are two forwards who are just scratching the surface of their potential and could very possibly blossom during the coming winter season. The same can be said for MacDuffie and BABC big man Alex Christie, and that’s exactly why Stony Brook grabbed him early this month.
Mass Rivals forward Keigan Kerby missed the travel season with a foot injury but looked surprisingly impressive given the long lay-off earlier this month at the Hazelton Camp. Fellow Mass Rivals teammate Jovan Jones is a jack-of-all trades forward with his choice of D1 offers. Middlesex Magic, DC Blue Devils, and Metro Boston all had frontcourt prospects play their way into D1 offers as well with St. John’s Prep’s Tommy ONeil, Lawrence Academy’s Martin Mann, and Beaver Country Day’s Jarred Houston respectively.
Duncan Lexander is a name that many local fans probably haven’t heard since the winter but the onetime Presbyterian commit is now set to return to Williston Northampton and see his recruitment grow in the process. He’s followed in the top 25 by Brooks and Middlesex Magic forward Justin Connolly as well as the Bradford Christian tandem of DC Blue Devils’ Ronnie Silva and Rhode Island Elite’s Abdul Ajia.
Also earning consideration for the Massachusetts 2018 rankings were Newton North and Mass Elite guard Chris Matthews, MacDuffie and Boston Warriors power forward John Bella-Hunter, Commonwealth Academy and PTT wing Cam Sells, Rivers and Middlesex Magic guard Tyler Aronson, and the DC Blue Devils duo of Brooks’ Jacob Iwowo and Governors’ D.J. Frechette.