Even with Khem Birch’s recent decision to reclassify to the class of 2011 and head to the University of Pittsburgh next fall, the class of 2012 is still one of the best groups to ever come out of New England. Here is a look at some of the marquee guys, their background, and current recruitment.
Andre Drummond, 6-11, C
Hometown: Middletown, Conn.
School: St. Thomas More (Conn.)
Background: Drummond exploded onto the national scene at the 2009 AAU nationals when he was practically anointed the nation’s top ranked prospect by virtually every national media outlet. Prior to that he had spent two seasons at Capital Prep in Hartford before transferring to St. Thomas More where he is currently in his senior season but has already stated that he will return next year for a post-graduate year.
Recruitment: Drummond has always refused to discuss specific schools with the media but judging from those who have followed him both on the summer circuit as well as at St. Thomas More, he will seemingly have his choice of any school in the country. Obviously UConn is desperate to keep him close to home while Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, West Virginia, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Georgetown have given pursuit and UMass has emerged as a potential dark horse.
Alex Murphy, 6-9, F
Hometown: Wakefield, R.I.
School: St. Mark’s
Background: Murphy grew up in the gym and was already a well known talent by the time he made his high school debut for the Prout School of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. After one year of dominating his peers he transferred to St. Mark’s and reclassified to the class of 2012. While Murphy has always been a highly regarded national prospect, it has been in the last eight months when he has shot up national rankings to his current spot as the number one small forward in the national class.
Recruitment: Murphy came out with a preliminary list in September that consisted of eleven schools and trimmed that list to seven early in November following St. Mark’s two open gym workouts for college coaches. Arizona, Boston College, Duke, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia remain in the hunt for his services with no timetable being in place as to when he might further trim the list or make his final decision.
Ricardo Ledo, 6-5, SG
Hometown: Providence, R.I.
School: South Kent (Conn.)
Background: It seems like ages ago when Ricardo Ledo took over the first half of the state championship game and led Bishop Hendricken to their sixth straight RIIL title in March of 2009. That would be Ledo’s final game in a Hendricken uniform as he would transfer to St. Andrew’s and reclassify to the class of 2012 following the year. He made another move after that season and is now four games into his career at the South Kent School. Along the way Ledo has established himself as a top 15 player in the country and one of the best pure scorer’s in the national class.
Recruitment: Internet reports had him trimming his list to seven earlier this fall, a point that he has since refuted. He is reportedly in the process of scheduling unofficial visits to both Louisville and Kentucky. The hometown Friars have already had him on campus while Texas, Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, and UCLA are all heavily involved. Ledo has said that he hopes to play out his junior season and the upcoming summer before making any decisions.
Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, C
Hometown: Claremont, N.H.
School: St. Mark’s
Background: Tarczewski was a hidden gem early in his high school career as he flew totally under the radar until being discovered at the 2008 Hoop Mountain Big Man Camp. It was just about one year later, this time at Hoop Mountain’s Super Week II Camp, when Providence became the first high-major school to offer him a scholarship. Now, only two years after local New Hampshire sites had him listed outside the state’s top five prospects, Tarczewski is a consensus top 25 player in the country.
Recruitment: While Tarczewski has yet to come out with any type of official list, he said as recently as last weekend’s National Prep Showcase that such a list is on the way. What is well known is that he has recruitment from the highest levels of college basketball with Kansas and West Virginia typically considered to be among the favorites and a host of others including Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Arizona, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and others all heavily involved.
Best of the Rest from Massachusetts
Zach Auguste, 6-9, PF
Hometown: Marlborough, Mass.
School: New Hampton (N.H.)
Background: Auguste spent three seasons at Marlborough High School before transferring to New Hampton and reclassifying to 2012 to start the year.
Recruitment: The big man’s stock is rising rapidly right now as he has recent offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, and Boston College and appears on the cusp of a top 100 national ranking.
Evan Cummins, 6-8, PF
Hometown: Westborough, Mass.
School: Northfield-Mount Hermon
Background: Cummins did two years at his hometown Westborough High School before transferring to NMH and repeating his junior year.
Recruitment: He has gone from a low-major priority to high-major prospect in the last twelve months as he currently holds offers from Stanford, Notre Dame and Northwestern with Virginia also actively recruiting him.
Jake Layman, 6-7, F
Hometown: Wrentham, Mass.
School: King Philip Regional High School
Background: The only remaining MIAA product on the list, Layman is a true junior and one of the big winners of BABC’s AAU national championship this summer as his recruiting stock went soaring up during the week.
Recruitment: He holds an offer from Providence with a variety of other high-majors actively following his progress as he is really only starting to scratch the surface of how good he could become once he maximizes all of his tools and talent.
Adam Finkelstein is the founder and editor of the New England Recruiting Report, and also covers recruiting in the northeast for ESPN's Scouts Inc. Adam has the rare distinction of having coached or scouted at the high school, NCAA, and NBA levels, having worked as a Division I assistant at the University of Hartford and spent three years under the NBA's director of scouting Marty Blake.