CCC - Central Region
By: Nate Rubinstein (@Nate_Rubinstein) & Sam Rubinstein (@_samruby)
To wrap up the CCC preview, the CTHoopsNews team gives their outlook on the CCC Central Region. See who will be making noise in 2016-2017.
2016 record: 4-16, did not make post-season play.
Outlook: After a rough showing in the 2015-2016 season, the Chieftains come into this year with a roster that has a bit more experience under their belts. Senior guard, Aidan Maloney, has a smooth shot off the dribble and has the ability to consistently hit the three pointer. Alongside Maloney in the backcourt will be senior point guard Silas Rivers. Rivers is lightning fast and has the ability to blow by defenders given the opportunity. Sophomore guard Ajaye Fair is one of the rising underclassmen of the league and will have a chance to play very well this year.
2016 record: 3-17, did not make post-season play.
Outlook: The other West Hartford school had a difficult time getting wins last year. Hall returns with players that have a bit more experience under their belt. That starts with senior forward Dan Brocke. Brocke is the real deal, and will make even more of an impact in his final campaign with Hall. Brocke stands at 6-foot-7 and mans the block on both ends of the floor. He is an exciting player who moves well without the ball and has the bunnies, along with the wingspan, that allows him to throw down jams. Look for Hall to run majority of their offensive scheme through Brocke. Other names to keep an eye out for are Sean James, Onyx Erazo and James DeCrisantis.
2016 record: 13-10, second round loss in Class LL tournament, first round loss in CCC conference tournament
Outlook: Glastonbury was able to make it to the postseason last year, but did not get too far. The Tomahawks may have lost eight graduating seniors, but they also have a promising talent in sophomore Cameron Stiepock. The 6-foot-4 guard ran with the well-known Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC) AAU program this summer with players in both the 2018 and 2019 recruiting class. Glastonbury will need to find an offensive identity with the loss of seniors, and don’t be surprised if Stiepock is one of the go-to guys.
2016 record: 19-8, runner-up in CCC conference tournament, quarterfinal loss in Class LL tournament
Outlook: Simsbury came very close to claiming the CCC Tournament Championship, but lost to East Catholic. The Trojans also made a healthy run in the state tournament, but following the 2015-2016 season, they lost their star guard in Rayon Christie, who is now completing a postgraduate year at the Masters School. However, the future is now! Head coach, Greg Stillman, has a senior veteran in Jack Medve returning to sport the navy and gold. Medve is a 6-foot-2 shooting guard who is a marksman from 3-point land. He is not limited to his jump shot, but it is definitely the strongest part of his game. Sophomore Jalen Williams is another skilled guard on this Trojan roster. Williams has a good handle and is quick to get through the holes in the defense.
2016 record: 5-15, did not make post-season play.
Outlook: The Blue Knights are the third team in the central blue division that didn’t make any playoff tournament last year. They only lost two graduating seniors, giving them a plethora of players returning that already have experienced at the varsity level. It may not be a guarantee for a playoff berth, but the knowledge is by no means a disadvantage. Seniors Mike Defeo, Jon Mikosz, and Brendan Taylor will be leaders for Southington this year. Along with junior Jeremy Mercier.
- 2016 record: 5-15, did not make post-season play.
Outlook: In a division with arguably three of the best teams in the entire conference, Avon had a tough time competing last year, and with all of the highly talented players returning to teams like Weaver, Windsor and Northwest Catholic they may have similar troubles. The Falcons will have a ton of new faces earning more varsity time after they graduated five members of the team this past spring. Jeremy Zarwanski and Justin Olson are two of the returning seniors who will need to play big roles.
2016 record: 8-13, did not make CCC conference tournament, first round loss in Class L state tournament.
Outlook: Bulkeley is one of those teams that never seems to get over the hump. Since joining Class L in 2013, the Bulldogs have never gone below eight wins or above eleven wins in the regular season. This year they hope to break that trend and solidify themselves as a top tier team in the CCC instead of a team in the middle of the pack. For that to happen, senior James Sage, Carlos Ortiz, Chris Venable and Matt Orsmby will all have to play big roles. Junior Christian Diaz may also need to be relied on as an option as well. Returning senior guard Caruth Aris is a tough guard and should be a big help this season. Like every year, the schedule is tough for these Bulldogs, but don’t be surprised to see Bulkeley pulling off an upset as playoff time comes around.
2016 record: 5-15, did not make post-season play.
Outlook: Farmington is another squad out of the CCC central that didn’t make a playoff tournament, but the Indians have a lot of potential starting with junior Jake Sytulek. Sytulek scored in double digits several times as sophomore last season and is as promising a player as you’ll come across in this division. The Indians also have senior Trajan Simpson, a guard that will bring length and aggressiveness to the Farmington backcourt. Also look out for rising sophomore Makai Hawkins who will look to build on his successful play last year.
2016 record: 18-7, first round loss in CCC conference tournament, semi-final loss in Class M state tournament.
Outlook: Northwest made a push in the Class M state tournament, but their “run to the sun” was put to an end in the semis when they fell to Notre Dame Fairfield in a close 81-79 contest. Look for NWC to build off last year’s success and make a run at a championship. The Lions have arguably one of the top players in the state with sophomore Cairo McCroy. As a freshman last season, McCroy was an All CCC Central selection and had already drawn interest from several division one programs. He is a long and athletic 6’3 that can score in bunches along with guarding both the perimeter and the post at an above average level. The Lions also bring back junior point guard Luca Mirabello who saw time throughout his sophomore season. Watch for freshman guard Amir “Primo” Spears throughout the next few months also, he has the potential to be one of the rising stars of this conference.
2016 record: 23-4, quarterfinal loss in CCC conference tournament, finals loss in the Class LL state tournament.
Outlook: Weaver has been a top five program in the entire state the past few seasons where they have made four consecutive trips to the state championship game. Coming off of last year’s loss to Hillhouse in the Class LL title, the team is hungry to keep the streak going and has a great chance at doing so. The Beavers return the all state brother combo of Jaecee Martin and Chalynn Martin. Both players have been dominant throughout their varsity careers and are poised to have tremendous senior seasons. Both play with a high level of energy and are athletically at another level compared to their competition. Along with the Martin brothers, senior big men Andre Lyons and JaQuan Williams are the two other returning starters from the 2016 team that will roam the low post for the Beavers. Junior guard Alexis Rodriguez could also see starter minutes this year as he played well in a supporting role last winter.
2016 record: 24-2, quarterfinal loss in CCC conference tournament, semi-final loss in Class L state tournament.
Outlook: Windsor returns one All CCC Central player in senior Donovan Austin who will look to keep the train moving for the Windsor basketball program after the last few successful seasons. Austin is a very solid point guard that can efficiently score the ball. The Warriors also bring back junior George Gamble who showed many signs of promise a year ago with his ability to shoot from the perimeter. Windsor will no doubt be back in the conversation for both CCC champions and Class L champions.