By KEVIN McNAMARA
BARRINGTON – No one knows what the coming high school basketball season is going to look like but that’s not stopping Mike Hart and his St. Andrew’s Saints.
Basketball at St. Andrew’s is rolling along despite the coronavirus pandemic. Workouts came and went with hoopsters running with an assortment of decorative masks on their faces. It’s quieter on campus, especially with the ban on Division One college coaches watching workouts after the school day ends. But Hart and long-time assistant John O’Shea spent the summer adding talented youngsters from far and wide – as in Guam and Ireland – like they always do. They also stayed in contact with some key holdovers from last year’s squad that reached the Class AA semifinals in the always-loaded New England Prep (NEPSAC) tournament.
“We think we got better in every position,” Hart said during a recent workout. “We do need some help at point guard. Sean James (now a freshman at Southern Connecticut) is a big loss but we have some options and guys have to step up. We have guys returning who got a lot better.”
Hart says he uses a HUDL camera in the gym to record workouts. College coaches far and wide request the tape and check in on his players, especially his seven seniors or post-grads.
The Saints graduated a high-major recruit in Butler freshman Myles Wilmoth and while they don’t currently seem to have another Big East level target, Hart is high on a few key additions to the program.
Two natives of the Washington, D.C. area will make a major impact. Jordan Brathwaite (6-7, Glenelg, Md.) began his high school career at famed DeMatha and then bounced to his hometown Glenelg County School outside Baltimore. Brathwaite is a multi-skilled forward with good size, shooting ability and plus ball handling skills. He’s a certain D-1 prospect.
Michael Katsock (6-5, Washington, D.C.) starred for St. Albans School in the competitive IAC, scoring over 1,000 points in his career. The deep-shooting Katsock was heavily recruited by a host of Ivy League and Patriot programs but chose to head to Barrington to get stronger and more prepared for college basketball. He’s another certain D-1 player.
St. Andrew’s has prospered as a school with students from outside of the USA and two additions this year will help the Saints up front. Matt Fegurur (6-9, Guam) and Daire Kennelly (6-9, Tralee, Ireland) are both physical big kids, a bit raw, but worth a close look by college coaches.
“I like all of the new guys,” Hart said, “but especially their work ethic. They love basketball and come to the gym ready to go.”
Leading the returning senior class is guard Matt Constant (6-0, Londonderry, NH) and aggressive forward Dylan Ahearn (6-4, Marshfield, Mass.). Constant has been knocking down jump shots for the Saints for three years and his quick-trigger 3-pointers are a valued weapon. He clearly spent the summer polishing his handle and appears quicker, stronger and more dangerous taking the ball to the basket and scoring in traffic. He would be a steal at the Division 2 level but will likely find a fit as a low-D 1 recruit.
Ahearn, the younger brother of Bobby Ahearn (Binghamton), has also clearly improved. He’s shooting the ball better from the wing and remains a wing who does the dirty work. Hart also says John Paulino (6-2, New Bedford) will work his way into the mix.
The underclassmen are led by junior Preston Murphy, the son of the former Rhody Ram guard who is now living in Barrington. Murphy is a 6-footer with a quick handle, shooting range and savvy. He reportedly has offers from the likes of URI, Clemson and DePaul but after missing most of the summer due to the limited, virus-shortened AAU season, Murphy may just be a hidden gem. The 2023 class includes guard Elijah Rodrigues (New Bedford) and Patrick Spennard (6-8, Rochester, Mass.), an intriguing physical big man who plays with the BABC and could blossom into a major force.