By Robbie Goodrich
As Connecticut, high school basketball season ramps up for a three-week march to a weekend at The Sun I thought it would be fun to place an issue or two up for debate. The first issue we will ask our fans to determine is which two-player combo is the best. I chose five tandems. Some will argue I have "dissed" a tandem or two but this group is our pick to start the debate. We will ask fans to vote for their favorite and in a week we will have the first fan only Player Award to give out. If you want to sponsor the award let us know we are still taking offers. It will be awarded on finals weekend. Click Here to VOTE...
Here we go:
Jaecee and Chaylyn Martin, Weaver, Hartford, CT
Jaecee Martin 5’8 175 lbs. c/o 2017 PG------18.2 PPG, 6.4 APG, 4.2 RPG 4.8 SPG
Chaylyn Martin 5’11 175 lbs .c/o 2017 SG------16.1 PPG, 4.7 APG. 5.9 RPG 3.4 SPG 1.7 BPG
Combined Stats 34.3 PPG, 11.1 APG, 10.1 RPG, 8.4 SPG, and 1.7 BPG
Team Record 18-2
For this debate, we put aside their historical careers. It’s just not fair to compare other players to the Martin Brothers’ four historic years at Weaver. They are prolific winners.
Jaecee is a floor general. Combine his physical strength with his decision-making skills and you get second best PG in the state behind Tremont Waters. Very few players perform as well as Jaecee does under pressure. He is Weaver’s player-coach. He is patient but stubborn and never gives an inch to any offensive player he is guarding. He is able to get to the bucket and has an improved jumper. His top games this year include a 24-point performance against Bloomfield, and 23 points against Roselle Catholic, NJ in the Hoop Hall Classic. He also recorded a rare triple-double against Hall with 15 pts, 10 assists, and 12 steals.
Chaylyn is a multidimensional player who has grown his skill set each and every year. He is a defensive stopper who can guard every team's best guards and forwards. He blocks more jump shots than any player I can recall. Earlier this year he had the CIAC performance of the year. He scored 38 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 blocks, and 5 steals in a come from behind victory over Windsor. An explosive offensive player, Chaylyn excels in the open court and destroys smaller guards on the blocks.
Mike McGuirl and Joey Reilly East Catholic, Manchester, CT
Mike McGuirl 6’4 200 lbs. c/o 2017 SF-------22.0 PPG, 6.0 APG, 10.0 RPG, 3.0 SPG
Joey Reilly 6’0 160 lbs. c/o 2019 SG-------18.0 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.2 RPG
Combined Stats 40.0 PPG, 12 APG, 15.2 RPG, 3 SPG
Team Record 19-1
Mike McGuirl, who is Kansas State-bound is a well known for his ice-cold demeanor and a basket full of game-winning shots. He plays terrific defense. In East’s victory over East Hartford McGuirl shut down Hornets Isaiah Williams. It was impressive. Mike can guard any position on the floor and plays baseline to baseline. He is a great rebounder with NBA shooting range. McGuirl scored 23 against Windsor, and a big 24 points in a come from behind victory over Hamden.
Joey Reilly, the youngest player in this group of heralded veterans doesn’t shy from big moments. Reilly compliments McGuirl quite well. He can slide into the corner and drain threes or drive and dish to open players. Considered to be one of the state's best pure shooters, Reilly opens the floor and puts defenses in a quandary. His slight but developing frame has allowed him to grab over five rebounds per game. Big things are in his future. His season high of 33 points came against Hamden and he added 19 points in the Eagles’ CCC quarterfinal win over Windsor.
Isaiah Gaiter and Raheem Solomon Sacred Heart, Waterbury, CT
Raheem Solomon 6’3 180 lbs. c/o 2018 SG------ 19.7 PPG, 2.3 APG, 5.1 RPG, 70% FT
Isaiah Gaiter 6’3 190 lbs. c/o 2018 SG------ 15.4 PPG, 2.2 APG, 5.4 RPG, 84% FT
Combined Stats 35.1 PPG, 4.5 APG, 10.5 RPG
Team Record 20-0
Raheem Solomon is only a junior and has just started to play the lead role for the Hearts. He has been terrific. Raheem has seized the opportunity created by the graduation of the best duo of seniors to play for a Connecticut school in 50 years. (Mustapha Heron and Tryn Flowers) Solomon plays with strong fundamentals and this allows him to gracefully dominate games. He has led his team to an undefeated record and had several games to note. Recently he scored 31 points in the opening round of the NVL tournament, 28 points in a tight game against Crosby and 27 points in a victory over rival Holy Cross.
Isaiah Gaiter a newcomer to the Hearts this year. He played for Platt last year and was their top player as a 10th grader. Gaiter came to Sacred Heart, which has won 3 consecutive state championships, and it’s been a transition that’s shown his humility and willingness as well as a high skill level to fulfill different roles, as it has been needed. Gaiter’s physique combined with his basketball acumen makes him a threat wherever he plays. He can be the PG, defend 1-4, and score tough buckets inside. These are attributes that can’t be overlooked.
Byron Breland, III and Joey Kasperzyk Hillhouse, New Haven, CT
Byron Breland, III 6’3 180 lbs. c/o 2018 SG------ 17.0 PPG, 5.0RPG, 4.0 SPG
Joey Kasperzyk 6’2 175 lbs. c/o 2017 SG------ 16.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 4.0 RPG, 4.0 SPG
Combine Stats 33.0 PPG, 9.0 RBG, 4.0 APG, and 8 SPG
Team Record 19-1
Byron Breland, III will take your breath away. Breland, a junior is slowly becoming the player every one wants to watch in the CIAC. A multisport athlete, one wonders if he just played basketball what he could become. He reminds us of Randy Moss. Trey has an explosiveness that makes him tough to guard. He’s comfortable hitting corner 3’s, pulling up on the wing or silencing his opponents with vicious dunks. Trey has scored well in big games. Don’t overlook his defense or you’ll pay. Teams haven’t been and won’t be successful at challenging Trey. He had 27 against Hamden, 24 against rival Wilbur Cross, and scored 21 big points against NYC’s Cardinal Hayes.
Joey Kasperzyk has played 11 games this year. A wrist injury sidelined him earlier this season. Despite that, the senior guard is a lightening rod on the court. His effort on both ends of the court makes him a difference maker. His fearless play makes him one of the most dangerous players in the CIAC. Kasperzyk will score big buckets off of turnovers, aggressively drive the ball to the hoop, and pick your pocket if you are careless with ball. Don’t back off Kasperzyk cause he’ll pull up from deep in millisecond. The senior scored 29 points against NYC’s Cardinal Hayes, and scored 19 in a victory over Middletown.
Tremont Waters and Jalanni White Notre Dame of West Haven, CT
Tremont Waters 5’10 165 lbs. c/o 2017 PG------ 24.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 4.0 RPG, 4.0 SPG
Jalanni White 6’7 200 lbs. c/o 2017 F/C-------13.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.0 BPG
Combined Stats 37.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 4.0 SPG, and 3.0 BPG
Team Record 20-0
Tremont Waters is the best player high school Connecticut. No one scores it better, no one controls a game better, and when challenged Mr. Waters has been even better. Earlier in a game against Hamden he poured in 24 first half points when his team was being challenged by a CJ Seaforth (IONA) led squad. In the SCC semis,he was in foul trouble most of the game but still scored 22 points and made big steals to help his team defeat Wilbur Cross. A transfer from South Ken, Waters has easily fit in with his new team and elevated the Green Knights to the #1 Ranking in our state. He will be attending Georgetown next year but he has work to do with the LL tournament coming up.
Jalanni White is a one our state's best frontcourt players. His scoring and rebounding are an indispensable combination to Waters’ multifaceted game. Surely White would have scored more and had a greater share of the spotlight on him this year if he was without Waters. He plays a brand of defense that intimidates most would-be drivers of the ball to the hoop and his length makes getting 12-15 footers really difficult. White is a double-double machine and if you aren’t careful he will posterize you.