A Boarding School Steps up to NEPSAC Boys Class AA Basketball

As long as I’ve known Vermont Academy, VA and basketball haven’t been synonymous. With the arrival of first year head coach Jess Bopp and four high calibre palyers, VA enters the rough and tumble ranks of NEPSAC Class AA.

Just by virtue of schedule, VA basketball is now runnin’ with the big dogs.

Lucas Shapiro at New England Recruiting Report has written a solid introduction to the ‘new’ VA boys basketball world, “Vermont Academy Rising.”

VA’s new commitment began with hiring of Coach Bopp. Bopp brings a serious basketball background to Saxtons River having spent time on the staffs at Virginia Commonwealth, and on Billy Donvan’s Florida teams. He also coaches his own AAU program.

From his VA biography:

“26 of his formers players have gone on to play at the college level at schools including Princeton, Dartmouth, Stanford, American University, University of Vermont, Bentley University and Brandeis University.”(VA)

Bopp was hired late in the game in terms of finding players for this year telling Shapiro:

“The hardest part for me was the time at which I took the job in May…most players were already locked into situations and there were not many kids available.”(NERR)

Bopp hit the road for talent landing four legitimate players, Martin Dixon-Green, Ryan Romich, Keron DeShields, and Daquein McNeil.

“With those four kids, we have all guys who are looking to improve and are under-the-radar on the national level…My approach in year one is to maximize our potential and improve daily. I’m not as concerned about landing a big name player than how much we improve each day. The kids have done an unbelievable job to bond together and work hard daily,“ Bopp explained to Shapiro.(NERR)

You can see the foundation that Bopp has built in very short order in his team’s competitiveness and record through 17 games. The team is 10-7 while playing some opponents who are virtually household names among the basketball cognoscenti.

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