Robert Jordan – Fort Plain
Class C’s 2nd seed has something that most Class C schools don’t have… A 6’8” big committed to play the next four years at RPI. Rob Jordan is not only the best big man in the class but one of the more complete players for his position in the entire section.
He draws a ton of defensive attention but somehow continues to produce at high levels. He averages nearly 20 a game but can do things most bigs his age can not. What makes him so dangerous is his ability to step away from the rim, hit threes, and stretch the floor. He is surprisingly quick off the dribble for his size and possesses a variety of moves when attacking the rim. Defensively, teams in the WAC have had trouble scoring on him all year. So, you better be confident in your jump shot when playing the Hilltoppers.
Ben Marra – Maple Hill
Marra is the leading scorer for Class C’s top seed. Having finished 2nd in a tough conference, it would be difficult to bet against Maple Hill in this tournament. Especially if the senior guard continues to produce like he’s been.
Marra is lightning quick, stocky, and can score the ball in a variety of ways. Defensively, he is one of the most physical, tough-to-beat guards in the section. He averages south of 18 points per game and has had an amazing end to the regular season. Maple Hill is dangerous in several ways, but if Marra continues to produce at the level he’s been producing, then the Wildcats may run through the rest of their class.
Mark Edwards – Berne Knox
Do not let Edwards get going from three. The lengthy senior is one of the streakier shooters in the section, and once he gets going, he can be tough to cool off. He averages over 19 points, and fits well in a system that doesn’t really have “that guy”. However, BKW can throw a little bit of everything at you. They play physical defense, get production inside and out offensively, and move the ball so well that Edwards continually finds himself shooting comfortably from three. On top of that, he is a high percentage finisher around the rim.
Levi Thomas – Fort Plain
Thomas edges out Warrensburg’s Steve Schloss as the fourth player to watch in the section, and second Hilltopper. My reasoning? He has had a highly productive end to the season. Scoring in high volume, Thomas had 30 in a win at Berne Knox and a great game in the WAC championship against Class B Fonda.
Thomas, alongside Jordan, maybe the most powerful duo in the class. Thomas hovers around 15 points each game, but I am a big fan of his length, IQ, and mentality that keeps him in each possession. Point is, Fort Plain could have two of the top five players in the class.
Steve Schloss from Warrensburg seems to be an obvious exclusion from this list. He is an above 17 ppg scorer and does so without shooting the three at an extraordinarily high rate. The guard is quick, gets downhill, and finds a lot of production from the free-throw line. Warrensburg is 12-6, and because of Schloss, are relevant in Class C for the first time that I can remember. In Class C, when you have an elite scorer like Schloss, any game becomes winnable.
Cameron Orr – Lake George
The guard talent in the first-ever Class CC tournament is going to be fun. Cameron Orr gets us going as the first player to watch in the group of bigger C schools. The senior guard averages about 21 a game but has the ability to get going unlike most. He exploded for 42 points earlier in the season in a win over Hadley-Luzerne.
Point blank, he has the ability to shoot the ball until it’s flat. On top of that, he manages the game well and can really get his teammates involved. A multi-level scorer that continues the tradition of leading Lake George into serious contender status. Orr is a joy to watch. Shooting 43% from three and 49% from the field, he may be the guy to stop in Class CC.
Jesse Kuzmich – Greenwich
I feel similarly about Greenwich’s Jesse Kuzmich. Similar in size to Orr, Kuzmich fits the bill of a modern-day point guard. He has a terrific shot, is quick, finishes at the rim, and passes the ball well. Court vision is what makes players like Kuzmich and Orr so dangerous and fun to watch.
Kuzmich averages 17.5 a game but his production is about double that when taking into account his assists and hustle plays. On top of that, the dual-sport quarterback is a natural-born leader on a very experienced Greenwich team who some may feel are a surprise 6 seed. Regardless, Kuzmich is one of the more exciting players in the class and will keep the Witches in just about any game.
CJ McNeil – Stillwater
Not an overwhelming scorer of the ball, undersized guard CJ McNeil is Stillwater’s guy. It was only right that the class’s top seed got some love. McNeil plays like a point guard, hits open shots, has a lightning-quick first step, and plays very traditionally. He averages just over 14 points, but Stillwater is deep and talented, with production at all levels. McNeil plays an effective game in a really good system. Stillwater may be hard to beat, but containing McNeil may be a good start for opposing squads.
Caleb Nelson – Granville
Granville is seeded 8th in Class CC but is 11-4. Their record may not warrant that low of a seed, but the Class is talented! I owe it to Nelson to mention him, and after all, it always feels like a lower seed finds its way to Glens Falls in this tournament (Spa Catholic 2017 for example).
Nelson is one of the top scorers in the section at 21.5 ppg. He’s hit over 50 threes on the season shooting above average. He shoots 84% from the charity stripe, making him a dual-threat when attacking the basket. Again, Granville will have their hands full, but get your popcorn ready for the potential second-round matchup against top-seeded Stillwater.
A number of players’ own arguments are to be featured here! Chatham, the class’s second seed, is led by Matt Thorsen, an 18.5 ppg scorer who can absolutely stroke the ball. Thorsen can score at all levels, and the 17-3 Panthers may or may not be my pick to win the tournament.
I would also like to mention a pair of players from the ⅘ matchup. Logan Reilly of Hoosic Valley is some talent, capable of going for 30 any given night. He averages 16.9 ppg, the same as his teammate Isaiah Eckler. That kind of production from HV’s duo makes them a dark horse in this year’s tournament.
Canajoharie has an 8th-grade phenom, Aundray Fowler. Fowler slows the game down, but will be some player in a small amount of time, and has led his team in scoring multiple times this season. The Cougars, though, are led by LaAnthony Fairley, a 14 ppg scorer who does a little bit of everything for Canjo. He has great size and is dangerous in the paint. This matchup in the class CC first round will be one worth watching.