2017 D1 & D2 Boys Basketball Tournament Players to Watch - Eastern Mass.
The brackets are set and the 2016-2017 MIAA Boys state basketball tournament is underway, with action starting fast and furious on Monday night.
Mass Prep Stars remains focused on the student-athletes, so in lieu of the traditional team and game predications this season, the staff has highlighted some of the top Mass Prep Star prospects to watch throughout the Divisions 1 and 2 state tournament.
We focus on Eastern Massachusetts Divisions 1 and 2 (North and South) today, with a look at Division 1 and 2 (Central and West) tomorrow.
Please continue to recommend and keep and eye out for our annual Mass Prep Stars post-season honors, rankings, watch lists, and commitment updates throughout the post-season and off-season.
DIVISION 1 NORTH
SEEDS: 1. Cambridge (19-0); 2. Everett (17-2); 3. Central Catholic (17-5); 4. Lowell (15-5); 5. St. John's Prep (15-5); 6. Methuen (14-6); 7. Malden (14-6); 8. Lawrence (13-7); 9. Peabody (13-7); 10. Somerville (13-7); 11. Andover (12-8); 12. Revere (11-9); 13. Charlestown (10-9); 14. Lynn English (10-9); 15. Billerica (7-13)
Players to Watch
Dimon Carrigan ‘17 C Cambridge Rindge & Latin – Last March, Carrigan took over the state tournament with 41 blocks over 5 games to helped the Falcons take home their first state title in 15 years. The 6-foot-8 center picked up where he left off this season with the same dominant defensive performance and his presence in the paint goes beyond shot blocking by forcing the opposition to reconsider driving the lane. Carrigan was also named the Co-MVP of the DCL Large along with teammate Jakigh Dottin.
Jakigh Dottin ’ 17 G Cambridge Rindge & Latin – The Falcons floor general and DCL Large Co-MVP was at the epicenter of the Falcons title run last season and he’ll lead an experienced Cambridge team back into the big dance as the top seed in the D1N bracket. The 6-foot-2 Dottin is even stronger this year and he’s improved his decision-making while averaging over six assists per game on the season. Cambridge adds a deep and talented rotation of Daniel Rhymer, Kareem Octavien, Aidan Keefer and Malik Correia to the mix to round out the best team in the state.
Ghared Boyce ‘18 G – Everett - Central Catholic gave the Falcons a run for their money in the Tuscan Brands Round Ball Classic at the end of the regular season, but the Crimson Tide may be the biggest threat to the defending champs. Led by Boyce, who is one of the best pure scorers in the state and a nearly impossible cover, Everett can score with anyone and potentially give the Falcons a run for their money.
Jordan McAfee ‘17 F Everett and Theo Zidor‘17 F – Everett - The Tide’s twin towers will have to be on their game if they want to navigate a bracket that’s full of stout front lines and physical teams. Should they make it all the way to the sectional finals and a potential matchup with Cambridge, the gridiron stars will be asked to match up with Carrigan and try to win the battle on the boards.
Alex Rivera ‘18 G Lowell – With Sean Bryan graduated and both Sidi Diallo and Quest Harris transferred, Rivera has been forced to carry a heavy load for the Red Raiders. So far, he’s been up to the task, as the MV Large MVP is averaging 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 1.8 steals while leading Lowell to a 15-5 record and the fourth seed in the D1N bracket. The Red Raiders may struggle to match up with some of the bigger teams in the field, but Rivera can dominate against guards on both ends of the floor.
Colin Brandanese ’18 – Central Catholic – The big man for Central has been one of the best in the area this year, as he has made a major leap in to the top echelon of scorers in the MVC. Combined with veteran Sam Lara, forward Manny Sanchez, freshman George Smith and company Central Catholic is playing as good as they have played at the right time of year.
Nate Hobbs ’18 St. John’s Prep – Hobbs is a freakish athlete who has had some big games for Prep this season. Along with rising freshman guard Jarnel Snow-Guzman and captain Tommy O’Neill, does St. John’s Prep has the talent to potentially give Cambridge a run for their money?
DIVISION 2 NORTH
SEEDS: 1. Arlington (18-0); 2. Marblehead (19-1); 3. Lynn Classical (18-3); 4. Latin Academy (15-4); 5. Brighton (17-5); 6. Belmont (15-5); 7. North Andover (15-5); 8. New Mission (14-5); 9. Melrose (13-7); 10. Malden Catholic (13-7); 11. Chelsea (13-7); 12. Beverly (12-8); 13. Winchester (12-8); 14. Salem (10-8); 15. Wakefield (9-9); 16. Burlington (10-10); 17. Tewksbury (5-15)
Players to Watch
Colin McNamara ‘18 G Arlington – The Spy Ponders 6-foot PG is as tough as they come and an extremely important leader on a very young team. This season he’s starred alongside freshman guard Bensley Joseph, junior, sophomore forward Jaden Dottin ’19 and junior co-captain Dominic Black ’18 and McNamara has allowed Arlington to maintain it’s 33-game home winning streak while winning the Comcast/Board 27 D2 title.
Tyrone Perry ‘17 G Brighton – No team is as loaded with talent as the Brighton Bengals, who are fresh off a Boston City League title and ready to make another deep run in the state tournament. Last year, Perry and company advanced all the way to the D2N Final as the 12 seed in this bracket and they’re only a 5 seed despite their impressive regular season, but should be considered one of the favorites.
Jerrod Clark ‘18 F Brighton – While they have plenty of size, no one on the Bengals roster has the same combination of skill and physically as the 6-foot-5 Clark. He missed the first 10 games of the year due to an injury suffered during football season, but since returning Clark has injected life into a Brighton squad that will be a very tough out.
Mykel Derring ‘18 G Brighton – One more name to watch from the prospective D2 North favorites, Derring is both a sharpshooter and a dominant defensive force for head coach Hugh Coleman. He was just named MVP of the BCL tournament and has made incredible strides on the defensive end during his third varsity campaign.
Charles Mitchell ’17 G - New Mission and Charlie Mitchell ‘17 G New Mission – Although they stumbled during the final month of the regular season and didn’t make the BCL Final for the first time in years, New Mission is still going to be a very dangerous team as the 8 seed in this bracket. Leading the Titans as always will be the Mitchell twins, who both wreak havoc on the defensive end while Charles knocks down some of the toughest three-pointers you’ll ever see in a high school game. Seniors Kevin Nunez and Alex Delarosa are also capable of taking a game over at any moment for the Titans.
Michael Boyd ‘17 G Malden Catholic – Another extremely dangerous team towards the bottom of this bracket, the Lancers poor record is mostly due to the fact that they play in the ultra-tough Catholic Conference against some of the best D1 programs in the state. Boyd has steadily put up great numbers while surpassing the 1,000-point barrier this season and he’s flashed improved passing ability when defenses double him. With him leading the offense, MC could certainly win at North Andover and make a run beyond that.
Jonah St. Clair ‘18 F Malden Catholic - The Lancers 6-foot-4 forward plays with an incredible motor and has enough ball skills to draw serious consideration from Division 1 colleges across the nation. He nearly willed MC back from a 19-point deficit against Arlington in the Comcast/Board 27 Classic and should control the boards when facing smaller teams in the state tournament.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH
SEEDS: 1. Mansfield (20-2); 2. BC High (18-2); 3. Needham (16-4); 4. Bridgewater-Raynham (15-5); 5. Catholic Memorial (15-5); 6. Newton North (16-6); 7. North Attleboro (15-7); 8. Quincy (13-7); 9. Brookline (13-7); 10. Braintree (11-7); 11. Newton South (12-8); 12. Taunton (12-8); 13. Attleboro (13-9); 14. Barnstable (11-9); 15. Wellesley (11-11); 16. Durfee (10-10); 17. Brockton (10-10); 18. Marshfield (5-11)
Players to Watch
Sam Goldberg ‘17 F Mansfield – One of the most well-rounded and well-coached teams in the state doesn’t depend on any single player for scoring, but the Hornets certainly depend on Goldberg to control the paint. The 6-foot-4 big man is a great screener and he can finish in the midst of the defense, giving Mansfield great balance offensively.
Carl Pierre ‘17 G/F BC High – It’s a mystery as to why Pierre isn’t receiving more attention from Division 1 colleges throughout the country. The 6-foot-4 wing player is quite possibly the most athletic guard in the MIAA and he’s honed his shot to the point that he flirted with the rare 90-50-40 (percentage from the FT line, field, and 3-point line) milestone this season.
Travis Evee ‘18 G BC High – Right alongside Pierre for the Eagles is a junior guard who has been making a difference for head coach Bill Loughnane for three years now. Evee has also made great strides as a shooter and he’s improved in an area that’s hard to quantify, i.e. he’s incredibly clutch. It was Evee who carried the Eagles in the Comcast Classic with a game-winning three against Newton North and a game-high 28 points in the finals against Brighton, so we should see more heroics from the point guard in the big dance. Look out for BC High big Jordan Minor ’18 in the middle as another potential match-up problem for D1 South foes.
Thomas Shaughnessy ‘17 G Needham – Perhaps there is no other player in the state that is more vital towards their teams’ success than Shaughnessy. He’s the Rockets leading scorer and often guards the oppositions’ best player, as he’s been in several battles with Newton North star Ethan Wright this year. The tough lefty always seems to step up in big moments and he’ll be at the center of Needham’s run this March.
Ethan Wright ‘18 G Newton North – It’s hard to fathom how good Wright has become over three years on the varsity squad. Yet with great mentorship from graduated star Tommy Mobley and calculated tutelage from head coach Paul Connolly, he’s second in the state in scoring at 26.2 PPG heading into the state tournament. The 6-foot-3 guard is a matchup nightmare for any team and the Tigers will run their offense through him. Junior transfer Chris Mathews has also provided Newton North with another scoring weapon in the back
Nick Timberlake ‘17 G/F Braintree – If Wright is second in the state, then who leads the MIAA in scoring? That would be the Wamps superstar, as Timberlake is averaging over 28 points per game and has broken the 40-point barrier on multiple occasions this season. He’s the main reason why Braintree is one of the most dangerous teams in this bracket as the10 seed.
Ulyen Coleman ’17 G – Catholic Memorial – Coleman is the focal member of a talented CM offense, which includes fellow guard Kani Glover ’18 and company. CM is popular pick to advance out of the South and they will need their explosive backcourt, led by Coleman to carry much of the offensive load if they are to be successful.
EJ Dambreville ’17 – Bridgewater-Raynham – Dambreville is an exceptional athlete and one of the many scoring weapons for B-R, who also boast sharpshooter Doug Alves Jr. and Bobby Long to a mix for a team who could make some serious noise in the South.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH
SEEDS: 1. Falmouth (16-2); 2. Westwood (17-3); 3. Whitman-Hanson (16-3); 4. Tech Boston (15-5); 5. O’Bryant (15-6); 6. Milton (13-7); 7. Nauset (13-7); 8. Scituate (12-8); 9. Silver Lake (12-8), 10. Foxboro (11-9); 11. Oliver Ames (12-10); 12. Hingham (10-10); 13. Sandwich (9-10)
Players to Watch
Luke Tamulevich ‘17 G Whitman-Hanson – The Panthers graduated a ton of talent after advancing all the way to the D2 EMass Final last year, but Tamulevich has stepped to lead his squad into the tournament with a 16-win season. He scored 21 points with 10 rebounds to clinch a tournament berth in a win over Scituate and kept his foot on the gas pedal over the final month of the regular season.
Walter Dew-Hollins ‘18 G Tech Boston – What the Bears lack in size, they make up for in ferocity and the 6-foot-3 Dew-Hollins exemplifies that attitude. He put up 21 points and 11 rebounds in a BCL semifinals upset of New Mission and led the team with 17 points in a loss to Brighton in the conference championship. We should see more transcendent performances from the crafty lefty in the state tournament.
Tyecliff Blake ‘18 F Tech Boston – Blake is the tallest rotational player on the Bears roster at 6-foot-4 and the teams’ leading rebounder. He’s going to have to be big throughout the state tournament if TechBoston wants to avoid losing the battle on the boards, because the Bears can score with anyone if given an equal number of possessions.
Rivaldo Soares ‘19 G/F O’Bryant – One of the top prospects in the state for the class of 2019, Soares is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-5 with all the skills of a guard. He can shoot, put the ball on the floor, or post up on smaller defenders and he knows how to use his teammates.
Kobe Smith ‘17 F O’Bryant – Another physical and versatile presence for the Tigers, Smith specializes in rebounding and scoring on the break. He’s a defensive stopper with a knack for blocking shots and could be considered as the emotional leader of the team.
Emmanuel Exhilhomme ‘17 G O’Bryant – Despite earning the 5 seed in the D2S bracket, you can see why O’Bryant is one of the favorites in that region. The Tigers are loaded with experienced seniors around the talented Soares as both Exilhomme and classmate Romario Ebanks can knock down outside shots whenever the defense collapses on the star sophomore.
Eddie Hassell ‘18 G Milton – A star on the gridiron as well as on the hardwood, Hassell’s finest moment this year was a game-winning put-back lay-up to upset Braintree at the buzzer. He poured in a team-high 21 points during that game and is one of the best shot creators in this bracket.
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