By HockomockSports.com Staff
Boys Basketball Players to Watch 2020-2021
Player are listed alphabetically
Sharon is looking to make some noise in the Davenport division this season and three-year player John Baez will be a key piece to the puzzle for the Eagles. A strong two-way player, Baez runs the Eagles’ offense from the point guard position and anchors the defense with his aggressive on-ball perimeter defense. We’ve seen flashes over the past two seasons of what Baez can do on the offensive end and this could be the year it all comes together. With a couple of good shooters surrounding him, Baez should have some space to work with and his decision making will be key on offense. His instincts on defense can help turn into points on the offensive end for the Eagles.
Ben Blanchard, Senior – Milford
Milford is one of the hardest teams to stop when they have momentum on their side, feeding off the energy both on and off the court. Senior Ben Blanchard is a perfect fit for that type of offense, an instant boost on the offensive end when the Hawks need it. Blanchard can score in a variety of ways, including slicing through defenses with confidence to finish at the rim. But he really sets himself apart with his shooting touch from deep. In his first year as a starter, Blanchard averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game, hitting a career-high 28 points twice. With a very senior-heavy team that includes a lot of weapons, defenses are going to have to find a way to give extra attention to covering Blanchard.
Simply put, Mansfield senior Matt Boen is one of the most versatile players to play in the Hockomock League over the past decade. A HockomockSports.com First Team selection a season ago, Boen is a true “stat stuffer.” He shot nearly 50% from the field last season and averaged 14.6 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists. And when it comes to the defensive end, he has great instincts reading plays and passes, averaging over three steals a game last year while collecting 6.9 boards. Each of the past two seasons we’ve seen him really improve on the offensive end, becoming a crafty finisher at the rim with both his right or favored left hand. And just about any given time during the game, Boen is a threat to catch fire from downtown. He will certainly be in the Kelley-Rex division MVP discussion.
Amari Brown, Senior – Oliver Ames
Oliver Ames graduated five of its six top scorers from last year’s squad so head coach Don Byron will certainly need some new names to step up. But the good news for the Tigers is that Amari Brown, who led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game, is back to run the offense. Brown enters his third year on varsity and that familiarity will be key as new faces integrate themselves into the lineup. Brown is a solid shooter but his strength is in his ability to attack the basket successfully. Not only does his quickness and savvy ball handling allow him to get past defenders, Brown is really good at finishing through contact. Brown scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games and will likely be one of the top scorers in the Davenport this year. On top of all his offensive prowess, Brown is a strong defender, earning HockomockSports.com All-Defensive Team honors last year with 32 steals.
Jordan Darling, Senior – Milford
Milford senior Jordan Darling makes the list for the second straight year, and for good reason. The Hawks have a very talented roster this season and were probably primed for a run at the sectional title. But winning the Kelley-Rex division this season would be a pretty impressive accomplishment in its own right. Darling is a big reason why the Hawks are being mentioned at the top of the division race. The combination of size and skill he provides down low makes him a really tough matchup for opponents. He can step out and take on defenders while attacking the basket or he can post up down in the paint and go to work with his back to the rim. He was second on the Hawks last year with 13.5 points, doubling his production from sophomore year to junior year. Look for that production to continue to rise this season for Darling (9.7 rebounds).
Mansfield’s TJ Guy is one of the toughest matchups in the league and is poised for a big senior season as the Hornets push for a ninth-straight division title. Guy can score from all over the court, improving his three-point shot last year, but really excels at attacking the basket. Usually matched up with someone with size, Guy uses a quick first step and his speed to his advantage and can score through contact, a crafty finisher down low. He shot an impressive 53% from the field last season, always a reliable option to clash the glass. Not only is Guy a force on the boards, he has great vision for a big man as seen by his 2.5 assists last season.
George Ladd, Senior – North Attleboro
A three-year starter, North Attleboro senior George Ladd enters this shortened season as one of the top players in the Davenport division. Often tabbed as an “old-school” type player by opposing coaches, Ladd is a true throwback that mostly plays inside the three-point line. We saw during his sophomore year his ability to finish down in the post, and that continued last season. But he really improved with his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. We’re expecting another big step this season for his senior year. He averaged a team-high 14.9 points per game last season with a relatively inexperienced group around him. Now, he’ll have a strong group of weapons around him that will give him some more space. Ladd is also one of the best rebounders in the league (10.1 last year), especially on the offensive end that gives the Rocketeers second and third chances.
Eric Mischler, Senior – Canton
Canton missed out on the postseason last year, battling through growing pains with nearly an entirely new lineup. One bright spot that emerged from last season was Eric Mischler, who enters his season as one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. He’s a tough matchup for defenders, constantly working off-ball to find space to work with. He’s a dangerous catch and shoot scorer but can also be successful with the ball in his hands. He’s a good finisher around the rim, using his length to convert at the rim. He was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer a season ago with 13.2 points per game, hitting over 20 points five times including a career-high 36 point showing on the road at OA. The Davenport is wide open and Canton has a strong core of players led by Mischler on the offensive end.
Tyler Stewart, Senior – Taunton
There’s a lot of ways to sum up Tyler Stewart’s junior season but the best way we can describe it is “dominant.” Stewart had a breakout season for the Tigers, really emerging as a threat on both ends of the court. Stewart was a walking double-double, cleaning up the glass on both ends while doing a great job finding ways to score down low. His patience down low was key, often using fakes to get open looks or get to the free throw line. He averaged a team-high 17.8 points per game (61.5% from 2-pt range), 12.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists along with a handful of blocks. Stewart is surrounded by a bevy of weapons (Josh Lopes, Trent Santos, Tristan Herry, etc.) so it’s tough to double him but that’s what opposing defenses will have to do to try and slow him down. Now, fingers crossed that Taunton can get on the court this year.
Declan Walmsley, Senior – Franklin
Franklin had a very strong senior class last season so a lot of the spotlight went there but one player that really improved and impressed by the end of the season was Declan Walmsley. Through the first 13 games of last year, Walmsley only reached double-digits in scoring once but then finished the season by reaching that point in six of the last 11 games. With an even more expanded role this season look for the senior guard to really emerge as one of the top offensive threats in the league. He showed off his touch from three-point range last year but can cause a lot of damage in and around the rim. At 6’2, he can really be a tough matchup for opposing guards. Walmsley could be the breakout player of the season.