Boys' Varsity Basketball Season Preview

A look ahead at the 2018-19 season
A new era of Vermont Academy Basketball has begun under 5th-year head coach Alex Popp, and the new look Wildcats appear to have enough firepower and discipline to be just as successful as their predecessors.

The Returners

Symir Torrence of Syracuse, New York is back for year two at Vermont Academy and is ready to take on the role of leader. Torrence has been experiencing a recruiting spike, with recent scholarship offers from Syracuse, Butler, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Northwestern, and Maryland. Torrence owns a remarkably uncommon approach for a seventeen year-old--he is manically consistent with his passion and preparation for the game of basketball.

Jack Scotnicki of Burlington, Vermont, is a 6'3" driller who will give VA instant offense from the 3-point line. Scotnicki has visited Colby, Union, Bowdoin, Skidmore and UVM.

Seth Buchanan of Saginaw, Michigan, is a 6'8" Combo-Forward with loads of potential who has recently visited Williams, UIC, Amherst, Middlebury, Wesleyan, U-Chicago, and Brandeis.

Deng Adiang-Bell of Jericho, Vermont, will provide leadership and toughness for the Wildcats. He is deciding between Rochester, Amherst, and UVM (as preferred walk-on).

The Newcomers

There is a trio of post-grads, Tommy O'Neil, Travis Evee, and Tripp McEachern.

O'Neil is a Harvard commit standing 6’8” from Lexington, Massachusetts. Production is the one word that describes Tommy best. His mindset should put the Wildcats in position to execute on time and on target with consistency.

Evee is a 6’2” guard from Randolph, Massachusetts who brings an abundance of toughness, maturity, and shotmaking for Vermont Academy.

McEachern is a 6’5” shooter from Nashville, Tennessee, who is experiencing recruitment from NYU, Gettysburg, Bowdoin, Washington University and Brandeis. Tripp is a crafty playmaker who gives the ‘Cats buckets from all three levels.

Other members of the Class of 2019 who are capable contributors are 6’4” Will Potter of Sydney, Australia, and 6’3” Andrew Lynch of Holliston, Massachusetts. Both are strong students who bring defensive tools and unselfish mindsets. Lynch is gaining strong recruiting momentum from the likes of Bates, Conn. College, Endicott, Springfield, WPI, St. Lawrence, and many more.

The Underclassmen

Class of 2020 beyond Symir Torrence '20:

Jake Cook is a 6'10" rim protector and rim rattler from Albany, New York. The Cook-Book has a chance to be a special player.

Bijon Sidhu is a 6'6" combo guard with an attacking mindset, strong basketball IQ, and high ceiling. Bijon hails from Seattle, Washington.

Josh Hall is a 6'7" wing with a knack for intangibles. Hall is from Raleigh, North Carolina

Class of 2021:

Vermont joined NEPSAC AA in 2008, and this is by far their youngest team to date. Headlining the youthful movement in Popp's recruiting efforts is a strong incoming sophomore group that will contribute right away.

Joshua Bascoe is a Canadian import from Milton, Ontario, who looks like the early leader to make the most noise for the 2021s. At team camp this summer, the youngster tallied 20 points in a win against St. Pat’s (NJ) and 19 points in a win against Christ the King (NYC). Bascoe already has recruitment from Oregon, Ohio State, and Butler.

Nate Gryczka from Keene, New Hampshire, is another long-term prospect to keep an eye on. The 6'4" shooting guard is becoming more than just a 3-point specialist. It might be tough for him to crack the rotation, but he is a college basketball player in the future.

Nana Owusu-Anane is another Canadian import who is from Burlington, Ontario. Nana stands 6'9" and weighs over 220 pounds. He is very skilled young player with a bright future in multiple sports. He is a starter for the Vermont Academy Varsity Soccer team. His footwork and physicality will be an asset for the new look Wildcats.

Defining Characteristics

This year’s Vermont Academy team is the youngest of the Alex Popp era (2014-present). It also doesn’t have that one dominant 5-Star superstar that VA has featured over the years. The Wildcats will rely on their above-average leadership to persevere through their challenging 2018-19 schedule. If their preparation continues to be long-term greedy, and the chemistry continues to ascend, Wildcat Nation can anticipate this group having a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Follow the Journey on @VtAcademyHoops Instagram and Twitter

Vermont Academy has sent 25 student-athletes to NCAA College Basketball since 2015 and has shown no sign of slowing down. The program will be featured this year at the Slam Dunk to the Beach Showcase and at the National Prep School Invitational. Vermont Academy will take on schools like St. Pat’s (where Kyrie Irving went), Westtown (where Mo Bamba went), and Brewster (where Donovan Mitchell went). In 2018, Vermont Academy had an alum drafted to the NBA (Bruce Brown '16 - Detroit Pistons), and a student-athlete selected to the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Team (Simisola Shittu ‘18 - Vanderbilt University).