With the NBA Division (top varsity division) set to tip off Saturday morning in pursuit of The Basketball Circuit Championship, here's a look at some of the players to watch around the NBA Division.
Derrick Thomas Jr., PG, MCIB 2022
Thomas might not be the flashiest, biggest or most athletic player at his position at a listed 5'10" (although he's no slouch either), but he's the player who has drawn the highest praise from opposing Varsity coaches at T.B.C. A true point guard, Thomas never looks rattled and is a player who genuinely wants the ball in his hands in the games biggest moments. He's extremely tough to guard because of how crafty and creative he is with the ball, and how he seems to always see defensive counters before they're even in position and already have a counter of his own ready. Thomas can shoot it from deep, get to the rim, plays hard on the ball defense, and above all, makes his teammates better while running the offense.
Todd Brogna, Mass Select Gold
The 6'6" Brogna is heading to Worcester Academy as a member of the class of 2023 after finishing up a public school career that saw him named to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette Super Team. Brogna is quite possibly the most skilled and polished big man at T.B.C. And at only 16 he has a lot of room to grow physically and for his game to follow suite. Brogna is a versatile big that creates matchup problems with his diverse skill set. He has the ability to shoot with range while also put the ball on the floor to create for both himself and his teammates. He runs the floor well, has a sky-high IQ, and can make tough, contested shots with either hand.
Sam McElliot, SG, One-Dream (New Hampshire)
A big, strong off-guard, the University of New England commit can stroke it with a nearly impossible to defend left-handed shot out to well behind the perimeter. He also knows how to use his size and strength and makes an impact on the glass, will post up smaller guards and finish with either hand around the hoop. Also a deft passer. An explosive athlete. McElliot can finish either above the rim acrobatically, or simply by going through or around a defender. On the defensive end he's proven to be one of the best on ball defenders in the league.
Junior Efosa, SF, Team Synergy
The 6'4-ish Efosa plays with an insane combination of top-notch athleticism and motor that seems to never stop running on the court. While Efosa is technically a small forward and is capable of knocking down shots out to the 3-point arc, he excels when Synergy presses and turns into a human highlight-reel of jaw dropping dunks in transition as well as when he's able to get going towards the hoop in the half court. When we say he's capable of dunking anything, we mean momentum taking him away from the hoop, jumping off his off foot, throwing down a cross body dunk with the same side hand.
Jackson Cox, PG, One-Dream (New Hampshire)
When he puts his head down, he GOES TO WORK. At 5'10" he finishes through bigs without issue and can read passing lanes like a collegiate player. Tempo, Tempo, Tempo. Jackson controls the pace of play and can drive opponents insane playing at seemingly a crawl one minute before shifting gears and going 0-100 in .6 seconds.
Sam O'Toole, SG, Mass Select Gold
Pure shooting lefty 2-guard that runs the floor and gets to his spots. Shoots the ball at a high clip from three but also has the ability to change levels and score in the mid range. Moves well without the ball and has the ability to make tough, contested shots.
Davonte Sweatman, PG/SG, One-Dream (Mass)
The first time you look at Sweatman, you probably look by him, or more accurately over him. Listed at 5'7" he's probably more like 5'6" 150, which is probably why it took him until this late in the game to sign with a Division I college program for next year -- and Central Connecticut State may have gotten a steal. Sweatman is a Plus-Plus-Plus athlete capable of playing elbows above the rim. Take your eye off him and lose him for even a moment and he's going to embarrass you -- most likely by catching a two-handed alley-oop dunk right on your dome. Sweatman is more than just dunks, though, he's very capable of getting to the rim in the halfcourt, is lethal from behind the arc, and is jaw dropping on the fast break.
Pat Freeman, PG, Mass Select Gold
At 5'10" (and that might be a bit generous) Freeman doesn't necessarily wow you when it comes to the eye test. But the kid can flat out play. a true point guard that looks to facilitate, Freeman controls the tempo and pace of the team. He has a unique ability to use angles and knock down unorthodox shots in traffic. Freeman possesses great court vision and is a high-level passer with either hand. A competitor at both ends of the floor, he is a dogged defender with good on ball instincts.
Roni Andujar Jr., SG, New England Fire
Adujar, a member of the class of 2022 at East Boston High, is within range as soon as he enters the parking lot. Andujar can score from all three levels, and is adept at finishing acrobatically around the rim in traffic. "Scared" isn't a word that's in his vocabulary when it comes to shooting the ball. Adujar is also a capable passer who can bring the ball up the floor if needed.
Marat Belhouchet SG/PG MCIB
The 5’10” Class of 2022 guard from Newton North joins teammate Derrick Thomas Jr. to give the Mass Commanders one of the most diminutive but also most ferocious and dynamic back courts in the league. Belhouchet is a ferocious defender who makes opponents fight for all 94 feet of the floor. On offense, they should start calling him "Big Shot Marat" as he can score from all levels and has already hit multiple game winners over the spring season. Marat also rebounds the ball terrifically for a guard. Perhaps no play best summarized his game as a player than in a grudge match against One Dream (Mass) when Belhouchet swooped in from behind to pick the pocket of his opponent and drove coast to coast to hit the game winning runner at the other end.