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December 9, 2009 New England Hoop News Staff
1. Bishop Hendricken High School - Hendricken is consistently ranked as the state's best, year after year and 2010 is no different. That being said, this could be the year where they aren't able to capture the state crown. Hendricken lost all-state guard Billy Baron to graduation and Worcester Academy. Baron, who recently committed to play for his father at URI, was a do-everything combo guard. Even more devastating than the expected loss of Baron, was the unexpected loss of Ricardo Ledo to St. Andrew's. Ledo, only a sophomore, was one of the state's best last year and is being targeted by numerous Division I school such as Kansas and UConn. Returning for Hendricken to help soften the blow though are Nick Manning, a 6'0 guard who can really score the ball and Ryan Palumbo, both averaged a little better than 9ppg in 09. Another player that will be counted on is Bryan Vachon, who can really shoot. Height comes from Junior Tim Lyons, at 6'4. All in all, Hendricken looks solid, but not as solid as in the past. They'll be a lot of teams gunning for them because of their name. Will they be able to capture #7 in a row?
2. Mount Pleasant High School - The team gunning for BH more than anyone will be Mount Pleasant. Pleasant is looking like a much different team this year. Frank Robinson and Billy Soriano are both playing ball elsewhere and they've also had a coaching change, as Coach Coleman became the Assistant Principle at Roger Williams Middle School. Charlie Holliday, a longtime assistant, will step in as Head Coach. Pleasant will be led by Isaiah Odunlami, a 6'3 athletic wing that is a tough match-up.
3. Central Falls High School - Central Falls has arguably the state's best senior in Robert Alers, a 5'10 guard. Alers will carry his team when needed and can really score in bunches. Helping Alers, who led Central Falls with 17ppg last year, will be 6'2 Antonio Mena, combining for a dynamic 1-2 punch. Although Falls lost quite a bit (8 seniors) to graduation, these two should off-set the loss.
4. North Kingstown High School - With a lot of talent graduated last year, some new faces will emerge among the state's best. One of those is North Kingstown. The Skippers will be led by 6'4 senior Tom DeCiantis. DeCiantis is a coach's son, and plays like it (his father was the former head coach at Stonehill College). He can knock down the perimeter shot, has a very cerebral game and uses his size well. Helping DeCiantis will be 5'11 sophomore Rob Hazard, 6'4 junior Derryck Kilgore and seniors James Factor and Robbie Walker. With so much talent returning, look for the Skippers to be the top team in the Division I south.
5. Shea High School - Shea has a great senior class in 6'2 Rudy Brito, 5'10 Malcolm Moniz, and 6'0 Kevin Walker. After a 19-7 campaign in 2008-2009, Shea returns quite a bit of fire power and they're hoping this is their year in Division II - north. Moniz led Shea last year with almost 21ppg.
6. Classical High School - Classical, last year's Division II champs, will look to defend their crown, and although they graduated a lot, they should have enough fire power to do so. Mike Palumbo, a senior guard, will look to lead Classical this year after averaging 14ppg last year. Jordan Jones is another player providing quite a bit of scoring punch of Classical, as he averaged just under 10ppg in 08-09.
7. Portsmouth High School - Although young, Portsmouth has a great deal of size this year, and thus we had to give them their due. Portsmouth is led by a sophomore with an extremely high upside in Andrew Chrabascz and senior Patrick Fagan. Chrabascz, at 6'6 and Fagan, 6'4 make Portsmouth the state's biggest team. Last year's team finished 15-6 so look for Portsmouth to improve on this behind head coach, Mike Lunney.
8. Hope High School - A pair of junior guards will look to lead Hope in 2009-2010. Dante Gomes, a 6'2 point guard that can really handle and control the rock and Denzel Lewis. They'll be aided by sophomore Shaquille Jones, at 6'4, who will provide some toughness and size.
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