The MacDuffie School could be poised to make waves this year in Class AA; they have been ranked fifth in NEPSAC Class AA by New England Recruiting Report.
With a new coach and several new faces, this is certainly the most talented team we’ve seen yet in Granby and definitely a group that should be in strong contention for their first birth in the Class AA play-offs.
The most notable name is that of junior power forward Omari Spellman (Middletown, NY), the wide-bodied six-foot-nine junior with a skill set that stretches to the three-point line and very deceptive bounce around the rim.
Spellman, who is ranked among the top 20 prospects in the national class of 2016 by ESPN, has been collecting high-major scholarship offers in recent weeks and just landed one from UConn earlier last month.
He’ll play side-by-side with another junior big man, Jordy Tshimanga (Montreal, Canada), who is returning for his second year at MacDuffie. The six-foot-ten southpaw might as well have returned a brand new player though after dramatically improving his conditioning this summer.
Together, Spellman and Tshimanga form not only Class AA’s version of the twin towers but very possibly the most sheer talented front-court tandem in all of New England.
Unique McLean (Brooklyn, NY) is technically new to New England but he’s far from unknown, having previously starred at both Elite 75’s as well as in the NEPSAC for the last two years with Hoosac. He’ll be perhaps the most explosive player in the class from day one and also the most dynamic of MacDuffie’s guards.
McLean’s explosiveness and play-making ability will be complemented by the stability and efficiency of guys like Brad Calipari (Memphis, TN) and Jaylen Franklin (Springfield, MA).
Calipari is a junior guard and the son of Kentucky head coach John Calipari. He’ll provide a perimeter shot and decision maker who can be dependable with the ball in his hands. Franklin will be making a homecoming of sorts as he returns to Western Mass, and will be similarly suited to distribute the ball while helping to set the tone defensively.
Janvier Johnson (Windsor, CT) could also be a nice piece in the back-court. Another holdover from last year’s squad, Johnson is much improved over the years, and seemingly anxious to prove his worth at a high level of competition. Tyrell Jackson (Amherst, MA) and Carlos Gonzales (Springfield, MA) provide even additional back-court depth.
There isn’t nearly as much depth to work with up front behind the twin towers and so Jair Johnson (Springfield, MA) is going to have to prove his worth with versatility. A highly athletic six-foot-six southpaw, he’s capable of playing next to both big men or spelling either way and moving over to the four-spot.
Six-foot-five swing-man Kashaun Hicks Jersey City, NJ) is another talented newcomer. His game might not be as flashy as some of the others but he’s no less important than anyone on the roster thanks to a big time shooting stroke from downtown.
The task of guiding the ship falls on first year head coach Jacques Rivera, who has already set the tone with an intense pre-season regiment and a commitment to scheduling at the highest level. Coach Rivera distinguished himself as a coach for several local teams including Chicopee High School, Springfield Central High School, and most recently as Head Coach for Dean Technical Vocational High School in Holyoke, MA.
The Mustangs start their season at home, Wednesday, November 19th against Redemption Christian Academy, tip-off at 4:30pm.
Students, faculty, and fans are invited to join in for a #maroonout during the home opener.
Wear as much maroon as you can and come cheer on your Mustangs!