New England talent continues to grow

New England talent continues to grow

Published Jul. 10, 2010 1:00 a.m. ET

New England basketball is healthy.

That’s what I was reminded when I stopped by the New England Top 75 — the event that Adam Finkelstein and myself started five years ago.

When we conjured up of the idea, basketball in the area was down. Many of the top players hadn’t received the same level of exposure as their peers throughout the country.

It was a chance for all the top players in New England to get together in one gym.


The inaugural event pitted two of the rising stars in the area, Erik Murphy, against Alex Oriakhi.

Since that time, there has been plenty of elite talent to come through the event: Guys like Nate Lubick, Carson Desrosiers, Jordan Williams, Gerard Coleman, Jamaal Coombs, Naadir Tharpe, Billy Baron, Kyle Casey and plenty more.

This year, the crop was headlined by Alex Murphy, Kaleb Tarczewski, Nerlens Noel and Kuran Iverson.

All elite guys. In fact, all potential McDonald’s All-Americans.

And then there were big-time guys that weren’t able to make it.

Andre Drummond, the top player in the Class of 2012, is playing for the U.S. team in Germany. Syracuse-bound guard Michael-Carter Williams and Ricardo Ledo were both faring well in Cleveland at the prestigious LeBron James Skills Academy.

With Drummond (1), Ledo (8), Tarczewski (16) and Murphy (22) all in’s Top 25, it could be a historic class for New England.

“The elite New England players are also elite national players,” said BABC’s Leo Papile, who also doubles as the director of player personnel for the Boston Celtics.

The camp was loaded with talent from the high-major guys like Murphy, Tarczewski, Noel and Iverson to a ton of mid and low-major guys.

In fact, I’d be shocked if nearly all of those in attendance don’t receive Division I scholarship offers.

Murphy, the middle of three brothers, has recently exploded on the national scene. He was, according to most coaches I spoke to, one of the top players in Indianapolis, and his play re-affirmed why Duke head man coach Mike Krzyzewski and several other elite programs have already offered scholarships.

Murphy rattled off a list of Duke, Florida, Arizona, Butler, Texas, Syracuse, Kansas, Boston College (where his father, Jay, played) and Wagner. He also said North Carolina and Kentucky have expressed interest, but neither has been offered a scholarship.

“I don’t think New England gets as much respect as it deserves,” Murphy said. “I think maybe it’s because only a few of the programs play a national schedule in the spring and summer.”

Murphy’s New England Playaz and St. Mark’s teammate, Tarczewski, was completely anonymous two years ago when he attended a Hoop Mountain big man camp, which happened to be run by Jay Murphy.

Since that point, the small-town New Hampshire native has grown in size to 7-feet tall and also with his game. So much, in fact, that his ranking is actually higher than Murphy’s.

"I don’t think I should be ranked higher,” Tarczewski said. "Alex is a great player.”

Tarczewski is moving in that direction. He already has an offer from Kansas, and Duke is intrigued by his talent and potential. He also mentioned Arizona, Indiana, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Boston College and Providence.

"It’s crazy how much has changed in two years,” Tarczewski said. "It’s not overwhelming now, though. It’s definitely a position I want to be in and makes me feel good.”

Then, you’ve got the 6-foot-10, 200-pound Nerlens, the next big thing to come out of Papile’s BABC program. Nerlens will head to Tilton (N.H.) in the fall and move into the Class of 2013.

Nerlens, 15, is a long and active big man out of Everett High (Mass.) who plays hard on both ends of the court. He said he already has offers from Syracuse and Florida and likes Pittsburgh and Providence, but he admitted Georgetown is at the top of his list due to the success of the Hoyas' former big man, Greg Monroe.

It was my first look at the 6-foot-8, 205-pound Iverson, a young and talented forward from Hartford, Conn., who played at Northwest Catholic last season.

Iverson recently became a household name among recruiting analysts with his play and potential at the Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis.

In fact, put him all the way up to No. 2 in the nation.

“I didn’t really care,” Iverson said of the accolades.

— Jeff Goodman

Coaches head overseas to watch U17 team

While the majority of the coaching nation has been traveling gym to gym watching AAU ball in the states, there were a number of college coaches watching ball in Germany.

With guys like Quinn Cook, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Tony Wroten and Andre Drummond playing for the U17 squad, several big-name coaches wanted face-time with some of the nation’s best.

According to a source, Bruce Pearl, John Calipari, John Pelphrey, Andy Kennedy, John Thompson and Jim Calhoun were all there.

There were also assistants from Memphis, Ohio State, Georgia Texh, Stanford, Maryland, Florida Atlantic, Hartford, Duke, Boston College and Northwestern.

— Evan Daniels

Free Throws

- Colin Hartman, a 2013 prospect out of Indiana, took over down the stretch during the adidas invitational 15s championship. He's a 6-foot-6 versatile forward who can really shoot it. He already has offers from Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame and Butler.

- The state of North Carolina is known for pumping out talent, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down. The Garner Road 15s team has a pair of high level prospects: Isaiah Hicks and Anton Gill. Hicks is a talented 6-foot-8 big man with a massive wingspan, while Gill, a 6-foot-2, is a scorer with an impressive scoring package.