Winchendon to move out of Class AAA

After nearly two decades as a basketball power atop the NEPSAC's highest level of competition, Winchendon School Athletic Director Daniel Chretien told ESPNBoston.com tonight that the school's boys program will no longer be competing in Class AAA.

The NEPSAC expanded to six divisions starting in the 2010-11 season, with Winchendon competing in its highest class of AAA. The Green Wave had been one of the most dominant programs in the NEPSAC's Class A for the last two decades, first under current Maryland assistant Scott Spinelli (1993-95), then current Robert Morris assistant Mike Byrnes (1995-2010), sending countless players to Division 1 colleges.

Winchendon won NEPSAC Class A Championships in in 1997 and 2004, and is also the alma mater of two NBA Draft picks -- Bruno Sundov (Mavericks, 1998) and Francisco Garcia (Kings, 2005). A third alum, Randell Jackson, went undrafted but enjoyed a brief NBA career with the Wizards.

The Green Wave are currently coached by Matt Quinn, and went 9-23 this past season. Two former MIAA school stars did post-graduate years at the Winchendon, Mass. campus this season, and signed National Letters of Intent to Division 1 schools -- Newton North's Tevin Falzon (Sacred Heart) and Charlestown's Akosa Maduegbunam (Penn State).

Chretien explained the decision in an email tonight to ESPNBoston.com:

We are repositioning our program to one that better serves multi-year, student-athletes who are committed to our academic mission and aspire to matriculate and potentially play basketball at competitive colleges. This decision comes after careful consideration and the evaluation of many factors, most importantly the School’s mission, strategy, and the potential benefits to the greatest number of students.

Our goal is to transition to a varsity basketball program that serves a significant portion of underclassmen as well as seniors who have been students at Winchendon for multiple years. We would like to have this team compete in a division with schools of similar size, goals, and visions. The emergent program will provide those qualified athletes with aspirations to play at college with visibility, and our target will be to regularly qualify for post-season play in the appropriate division. A junior varsity team will provide a developmental opportunity for those students who have the passion for basketball and want to further develop their skills, hopefully to at some point step up to the varsity team.

For classification purposes, we expect to maintain our boys’ enrollment at approximately 140 and our girls’ enrollment at 100. I believe our enrollment places us in class C, but understand that the coaches’ association plays a role in making that determination and that it may be some time before that reclassification occurs. Please contact me with any questions regarding this transition, as I move to restructure our basketball schedule.