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Top prep basketball powers converge on Central N.H.

Do you know where the Miami Heat’s Michael Beasley played basketball before Kansas State? The Trail Blazers’ Thomas Robinson before starring at Kansas? Wayne Selden Jr. before starting as a freshman this year at Kansas?

Notre Dame Prep out of Fitchburg, Mass., Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, and Tilton School, respectively, all part of the Northeast’s prep school basketball hotbed that annually produces some of the top college and pro prospects.

This weekend, those three schools, along with top basketball factories Rise Academy (Philadelphia), IMG Academy (Florida) and Lee Academy (Maine), are converging on central New Hampshire. Tomorrow and Saturday, Rise, IMG and Notre Dame will be taking part in the Brewster Invitational, and those four, along with Lee and Tilton, will be coming to Concord on Sunday when Bishop Brady High hosts the Frank Monahan Foundation Basketball Showcase. As part of Sunday’s quadruple-header, Brady will be taking on Conant in its season opener.

So who are some of the players to keep an eye on?

∎ Brewster, coached by former Merrimack Valley standout Jason Smith, is loaded with players already committed to playing Division I college ball next winter. The top two – both ranked among the top 100 recruits in the nation by both ESPN and Rivals.com – are power forward Isaac Copeland (Georgetown) and shooting guard Jared Terrell (Oklahoma State), while point guard Kevin Zabo has committed to San Diego State.

∎ Power forward Chris McCullough, the 16th-ranked under-grad recruit in the country who’ll be playing for Syracuse next year, was recently dismissed from Brewster for violating school rules, but has resurfaced at IMG Academy and will be back in the Granite State this weekend. To date, IMG has produced 23 first-round NBA Draft picks.

∎ Notre Dame Prep, coached by former Concord High standout Ryan Hurd, features a roster with seven foreign players hailing from Serbia, Turkey, France, England and Cameroon. One of those players, forward Nikola Vujovic of Serbia, has committed to Monmouth, while guard Daxter Miles has signed a letter of intent to play at West Virginia.

The schedule for tomorrow’s games at Brewster has Brewster taking on Rise at 5:30 p.m., followed by IMG vs. Notre Dame at 7, with Saturday’s games at 2 and 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday at Bishop Brady, Tilton takes on IMG at noon, Notre Dame plays Rise at 1:30, Bishop Brady hosts Conant at 3, and Brewster plays Lee at 4:30. Tickets – which are good for all four games – are $10 for adults and $5 for children, with 100 percent of ticket sales benefiting the Frank Monahan Foundation, which in its first year of existence has helped rebuild the White Park basketball court and build a brand new basketball court at Kimball Park next to the new Concord Boys & Girls Club. The Foundation also will be making two donations during halftime of the Brady-Conant game.

(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or ssmith@cmonitor.com.)

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