EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 30, 2013

Raw potential

Talented freshmen abound at Northern Essex

HAVERHILL — If you like fast-break, pressure basketball, you’ll love the 2013-14 Northern Essex Community College men’s basketball team.

The Knights are quick, they’re fast and they can score.

However, they also lack size and, with only one returnee from last year’s 13-13 squad, they’re inexperienced.

“This is the youngest and smallest team I’ve ever had,” said 13-year head coach Darren Stratton. “If we stay healthy and everyone stays eligible, this could be a special team, but it’s going to take some time.

“We’re so young, we’re going to make mistakes. But we’re going to grow together and we’ll be better the second semester than the first semester.”

The only returnee is Georgetown’s Neph Carmona, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who will probably start at forward despite his limited size. Stratton hopes he can be a stabilizing presence.

Beyond Carmona, the entire roster is comprised of freshmen, several of whom are extremely talented but few of whom have size.

The tallest and one of the most talented is 6-foot-5 Javonte Forbes, who has moved to the area from Miami, along with 5-8 guard Peterson Morency. They were teammates at Miramar High.

The next tallest if 6-4 Benjamin Morency, who played inside at Peabody last year but will be more of a wing man for the Knights as will be 6-1 Derek Andreoli, a 6-1 slasher who was second-team all-conference three years ago as a senior at East Providence (R.I.) High.

Another likely wing is 6-2 Whittier Tech grad Ryan Grant from Haverhill. The three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star, who scored 1,432 career points, has looked good in practice and may see some time as a backup point guard.

Promising shooting guards are 6-foot Colin Collins, who averaged 7.8 points a game last year at Charlestown, and 6-2 Kyle Sangster, who was the leading scorer for Malden Catholic last year and twice was named first-team all-Catholic Conference.

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