Reddicks thinks his 6'10" senior big man Alec Brennan has the skill set to be a very good player in the conference from jump with the potential to eventually be truly outstanding.
After taking the lone official visit of his recruitment at Princeton the weekend before last, Brennan himself was visited by Tigers head coach Mitch Henderson seven days ago and on the Milton Academy campus Brennan informed Henderson that he would be bypassing myriad high major offers to join the orange and black's 2014 recruiting class.
Brennan narrowed his list of suitors earlier in the summer to eight programs: Brown, Davidson, Harvard, Princeton, Purdue, Stanford, Wake Forest and Yale.
I subsequently had a chance to talk by phone with Reddicks about Brennan's decision and how it came to pass. Exclusive quotes and analysis plus links to numerous player evaluations and videos can all be found after the jump.
"He is a great kid, extremely well-liked in our Milton community. I imagine that will be the same at Princeton," Reddick shared. "As a basketball player he's got a phenomenal upside. I think he'll be a very good Ivy League player from day one. I think he has the talent level and skill level. If he continues to grow and develop like I think that he is going to, he's got a chance to be a really outstanding player in the league."
Reddick praised Brennan's athleticism, with his biggest weakness right now being his weakness. While other sites have Brennan weighing over 230 lbs, Reddick estimated Brennan to be in the 210-220 range. "If he puts on some pounds he'll be alright," Reddick said.
At Milton, Brennan plays the center position but Reddick could see him as a possible '4' at Princeton.
"We have nobody else bigger than he is," admitted Reddick when asked about using Brennan at center. "He's a power forward but at the high school level he's the tallest kid on the court. He could slide over to either power forward or center if [Princeton] wanted to go smaller."
Reddick praised the range on Brennan's jump shot, feeling that he'll be able to step out and make a three pointer consistently for Princeton.
Milton went 20-5 in the Independent School League during Brennan's junior year, averaging around 12 points and 11 rebounds. Reddick expects those numbers to increase in 2013-14. Brennan's tip-in was the game-winner for Milton, giving the Mustangs the ISL championship.
"We had a kid last year who is at Dartmouth right now and another kid who was our league's player of the year and a third kid who is walking on at Duke," Reddick explained. "Last year we didn't need him to score 20 points a game. We needed him to play great defense, bother shots around the rim, rebound and be a solid threat for us inside."
Is this a burden Brennan can bear?
"No question," Reddick stated. "He could have held that burden last year but we were in a good situation where we had depth at a lot of positions."
One possible red flag is a few off-season reports of Brennan missing time (one article from July mentions a nagging knee injury and Brennan had to reportedly miss the Elite Youth Basketball League showcase held in Dallas in May) but Reddick said Brennan did not sit out once during the last two seasons at Milton and played in every game.
While Brennan was attracting a great deal of attention and copious scholarship offers from BCS schools, his recruitment was comparatively non-traditional. Brennan did not attend any schools' elite camps this past summer.
"[Alec] went on an unofficial visit and the coaching staff did a good job with him [at Princeton]," Reddick recalled. "I think it is far enough of a distance away from home but still close enough that he can get back fairly easy. He took his only official there and shut it down."
"This whole recruiting process can be very cumbersome on a 17 or 18 year old kid. I think he wanted to go somewhere that he would like, he liked [Princeton] and so he committed from that point on," added Reddick, who is in his sixth season coaching the Mustangs after seven Harvard campaigns (where he recruited Jeremy Lin to the Crimson) and one year at Boston University. "He had a bunch of other visits lined up that he decided not to take. I guess he could see himself at Princeton and is now calling that home."
"I think it was a great choice for him, the right level for him and I think he's going to have a fantastic career there," Reddick concluded. "It sounds funny, because he took only one visit and committed but I don't think this was as easy a decision as probably some people would have thought. He's been going through this process for a long time with a lot of different schools, a lot of Ivy League schools."
With Brennan in the fold, that's a pair of nationally-regarded three star recruits with identical initials coming to Princeton next season. A. Brennan & A. Bell serving as potential pillars A and B of a necessary foundation for future Tiger squads to compete for the conference's title.
Mid Atlantic Hoops had Brennan 42nd on their 2014 "Pre Summer Rankings of the Top 100."
The Northstar Basketball "Post-Summer 2014 Top 100" ranked Brennan 81st in his class.
New England Hoops News put Brennan ninth on a regional list.
Wrote Hoopville of Brennan in a 2012-13 NEPSAC preview: "The best player will probably be Alec Brennan (6'10″ Jr. PF, Weston (MA)), who had a big month of July and looks ready to really come into his own. His skill package was never really in question, but he was always the classic “too nice a kid” on the court and thus didn't play as well as he could have. Now he's playing with an edge to him and that seemed to be the case on Sunday. He continues to grow physically as well, and his length is perhaps a bit underrated. If he continues what he did in July, he could be the top player in Class A this season."
Hoop Rootz said: "Brennan is a big talented young pivot-man with a strong-athletic frame. Space-eater who is a rebounding specialist that mixes it up in the paint and challenges shots. Runs the floor well, good athlete, gets up and dunks the basketball. Faces up to knock down the mid-range jumper. Developing post-game."
Brennan got a "79" assessment from ESPN, who in a lengthy evaluation stated:
A very intriguing young prospect because of his size, length, and skill set, Brennan projects as a face-up four-man with a very high upside. He has a soft touch on his jumper and can already stretch opposing defenses out to the three-point line when his feet are set. His frame is solid with the potential to hold a good amount of muscle mass down the road and although not always consistent he shows a good nose for the ball coming off the glass and contesting shots inside the paint. Brennan is an unselfish player who can make some nice passes for a player his size and also has great use of his left hand.
Brennan is still just growing into his body and so his movements are a little slow and deliberate. He isn't especially quick laterally and so will need to concentrate on strengthening his frame so that he is able to defend four-men at the next level. He will also need to become more consistent as he is only able to physically compete against contact for a few minutes at a time. Offensively, he doesn't yet create his own shot, either off the dribble or with his back to the basket.
Brennan is an intriguing young prospect in the mold of a classic face-up four-man. With a good build and strong skill set, he projects as a valuable trailer on the break and pick and pop player down the road"
A prior ESPN article provided greater detail on the attention Brennan was receiving from major conference schools.
NERR has a piece on Brennan's decision and also had the following to say after last July's Elite 75 camp: "Of all the talented big men on hand, Brennan was arguably the most effective one-on-one scorer. He did a bit of everything showing off great footwork and a soft shooting touch. His jump hook over his left shoulder is his go to move but Brennan has much more than that in the arsenal and showed it all off on Friday."
More recently the same site added: "Alec Brennan (Expressions u17)- The high-IQ, volume rebounding, highly-skilled hybrid four impressed with his will to run rim-to-rim in transition for bouncy finishes above the rim, while owning his area in the half-court on both ends rebounding and scoring the ball with steady production. Another budding Rivals big with a stock on the rise, Brennan's toughness and ability to stretch his game out somewhere close to the three-point line will dictate his success as true match-up problem at the next level."
Based on AAU play, Hardwood Hoops Central declared: "Brennan, who is not only versatile enough to be a stretch four man, is also a high academic player. Alec is another tireless worker whose stock can only continue to rise as he puts in hours in the gym. The big man's ultimate goal is to be one of the best in his class."
It is rare to find AAU statistics on-line but a few of Brennan's stats can also be found here. Four of Brennan's Expressions Elite teammates will also compete on the Division I level.
Last December the Boston Globe mentioned: "The 6-foot-9 junior center from Weston is a highly skilled big who can shoot 15-foot jump shots and handle the ball with confidence. However, according to coach Lamar Reddicks, one of the strongest parts of Brennan's game is his ability to pass."
The Globe also profiled Brennan in March.
City Of Basketball Love saw Brennan in July of this year at the Summer Classic East: "It's been a year since I'd seen Alec Brennan, playing in this exact event with the Expressions Elite (Mass.) 16Us last year. Back then, he'd just added an offer from St. Joseph's; now, his recruiting doesn't even involve the Hawks.
Brennan, who said he's added 15 pounds of muscle over the last year, listed “Davidson, Purdue, Princeton, Harvard, Yale (and) Brown” as his offers.
A talented stretch-four, Brennan is a much more physical player than he was a year ago, willing to bang down low but still with a skill set that extends out to the 3-point arch. At 6-9, he's got the ability to be a real matchup problem, especially in the A-10 or Ivy. When asked about schools he wanted to take official visits to, he said 'maybe Wake Forest, maybe Davidson.'"
Sites that report on Maryland, Purdue and Providence provided frequent updates on Brennan's recruitment.
Terrapin Times checked in this past February with an update. Gold & Black caught up with Brennan in September 2012 and added a video interview in July. A slightly older interview on the same site can be found here.
Powercat (a Kansas State site) assessed: "Brennan doesn't have the ranking or high-profile offers some of K-State's other targets possess, but the Massachusetts-native is the type of player the Wildcats are looking for. He has great size to play in the post, but has the skill to step out and shoot behind the arc if called upon. He's not the star of his AAU team, but he's very serviceable."
Two years ago, Rhode Island was the first school to offer Brennan a scholarship.
Brennan was also one of the 20 underclassmen selected for the third annual Mary Klein Classic.
A full Expressions Elite game. Brennan is #33 in grey.
Brennan going through various training drills.
A second Expressions Elite game. This time Brennan is #35 in white.
If you want even more video, head to Hudl!