Zach Rice – Tamarac
The States #1 ranked class B school has it all. Guard production, gritty defense, shot makers, etc., but it would be hard not to recognize Rice for all he does. He doesn’t necessarily have the scoring numbers that some of the others in Class B have, but he doesn’t have to.
Tamarac has depth. That being said, the Bengals are only as dangerous as their senior captain allows them to be. The fluidity in his game makes him eye-popping. Rice has great length, strokes the ball beautifully, and has a quick, electric dribble going downhill. He finishes at the rim so well but is a dual-threat with his ability to creatively find his teammates. Tamarac is certainly the team to beat in this year’s Class B tournament.
Royal Brown – Cohoes
If you were to ask somebody outside of New York State to name one player in the Capital Region; odds are they’re naming Royal Brown. He’s the section’s leading scorer with over 34 points a game, 8 more than second-leading scorer Brett Richards. Cohoes is built around Brown, which is scary to think because opponents can not stop him.
The Tigers are 19-1 and maybe the biggest threat to the state’s top Class B team. In large part, to Royal Brown. Separately, Royal became just the second player in Cohoes history to eclipse 1,000 points in January. In the Tigers’ season finale, Brown dropped 47 in a road win. The number 1 ranked junior in New York, he is already being recruited by the likes of Creighton, Miami (FL), DePaul, Seton Hall, among others.
Brett Richards – Ichabod Crane
Game in and game out, you can expect to see some sort of crazy stat line put up by Ichabod Crane’s senior big man Brett Richards. Second, behind Brown in scoring in the section, he easily would top the rebounding chart if there were one. Generally a lock for 25-30 points and 10-15 rebounds. Earlier in the season, Richards recorded 22 points to go with 20 rebounds and 5 blocks in a win over Catholic Central.
Against Lansingburgh, he had 32 and 15 in another win. Lastly, in a 30 point rout of Watervliet, Richards had 39 points, 24 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Alongside rebounding, should there be a list for double-double leaders in Section 2, I have no doubts that Richards would be on top. He has eclipsed 30 points on several different occasions and is always giving the Riders a chance. His production mixed with solid guard play from Junior Alex Schmidt makes IC a dark horse candidate in this year’s tournament.
Darian Moore – Catholic Central
The 8th-grade phenom is just getting his feet wet in section 2 hoops. Another top 5 scorer in the region, Darian “Payday” Moore already fits the physique of a D1 hooper. Tall, strong, knockdown shooter and deadly at the rim, he helped lead the Crusaders to a 15-5 record, 2nd in the Colonial Council behind previously mentioned Cohoes.
What makes Moore even more dangerous is his ability to play off the ball. For a player his size, he excels at finding the gaps when moving without the rock. Fellow 8th grader Sei’Mir Roberson and the otherwise upperclassmen Crusaders are a hard-working, smart bunch who when clicking, can beat just about anyone. However, the “Moore” Payday gets going, the more difficult they will be to take down. He is a no-brainer for one of the top talents in the class and entire section, having already received three division 1 offers.
Class B is going to be my most anticipated tournament this season. There is an abundance of individual talent, but the obvious “honorable mention” for me would be the 3-seeded Mechanicville’s Colin Richardson. Richardson, only a sophomore, has led the Red Raiders to an 18-3 record, second in their conference to Tamarac.
They’ve been in and out of the state rankings all season but possess the power to beat anybody due to their depth. Richardson, however, is the catalyst. Averaging over 15 a game, he has great size and touch and is one of the more dangerous players in the section when he gets going. A gifted shooter. Anybody who wants to beat the 3rd seeded Red Raiders will have to limit the young talents’ production first.