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Brewster Academy’s talent on display in Penacook, but MV grad wants more from his team

  • Brewster Academy’s Joel Brown (3), a Cal-Berkeley commit, flies through the air after being tripped by Redemption Christian Academy’s Jordan Kellier (12). Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Jamal Mashburn Jr. (4) drives by Redemption Christian Academy’s Eden Holt (5). Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Alonzo Gaffney (0), an Ohio State commit, goes up for a slam dunk. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Kai Jones (13), a Texas commit, goes in for a layup as a full house at Merrimack Valley High School looks on. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Terrence Clarke (5) makes a move on a defender as coach Jason Smith, the Brewster bench and Merrimack Valley players watch on. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Jalen Lecque (1), a North Carolina State commit, finishes with a dunk. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Kai Jones (13), a Texas commit, finishes with a dunk. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Anthony Walker (2), a Miami commit, goes up for a layup. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Brewster Academy’s Joel Brown (3), a Cal-Berkeley recruit, lays in a bucket during Wednesday’s win at Merrimack Valley. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography



Monitor staff
Thursday, November 08, 2018

Dunks were flying, the crowd was on its feet and his Brewster Academy men’s basketball team beat Redemption Christian Academy, 99-75, on Wednesday night at Merrimack Valley High School to improve to 4-0. But Boscawen’s Jason Smith, the MV grad who is now in his 19th season as Brewster’s head coach, was not impressed.

“Nobody got hurt,” Smith said when asked what he liked about the game. “And hopefully Merrimack Valley made a ton of money for their program.”

Let’s start there. All proceeds from the game went to the MV boys’ basketball booster club, and Smith is more than happy to give back to his alma mater and hometown.

“The community of Merrimack Valley raised me and I feel very fortunate about that. I think this community is spectacular,” Smith said. “If you follow the news you’ve see how this community has supported Corbin (Raymond, an MV student) through his miraculous recovery (from injuries sustained in a car accident) this summer, it’s been amazing to follow. I think the people of the Penacook, Boscawen, Loudon, Andover, Webster, Salisbury area are very special.”

Those people think the same of Smith.

“He’s been great to us,” MV athletic director Kevin O’Brien said.

Now, about that Wildcats basketball team.

Smith has turned Brewster into a national powerhouse that has won five prep school national championships since 2010 and has sent 15 alumni to the NBA, including current players like Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Will Barton (Denver Nuggets) and TJ Warren (Phoenix Suns). So the expectations are high in Wolfeboro and players who were stars before coming to New Hampshire now have to accept and adjust to smaller roles, and so far Smith isn’t liking the adjustments of this team.

“We’re not guarding people, we’re running our stuff. I think we’re in a place right now where we’re buying the social media poison,” Smith said. “We had film crews following us around for 14 hours in the Bahamas (where Brewster played its first three games of the season) and they were posting videos of dunks that got 70,000 views in 24 hours.

“They think they’re that good, but they’re not. Do they have the potential to be really good? Absolutely. It all the depends if they want to listen and if they want to approach every day as an opportunity to get better. We definitely have the pieces.”

Those pieces include 6-foot-11 Kai Jones, who is committed to the University of Texas for next season and scored 16 points on Wednesday. Anthony Walker, a 6-8 forward committed to Miami, also had 16 points, as did Jamal Mashburn, Jr., son of the former NBA player with the same name. Jalen Lecque, a 6-4 point guard ranked by ESPN as the No. 22 prospect in the Class of 2019 who is committed to North Carolina State, had seven points. Alonzo Gaffney, a 6-9 forward ranked No. 29 by ESPN and committed to Ohio State, had 11 points.

“It’s getting kids to understand they have to accept their role and that’s what it’s going to be like when they get to college,” Smith said. “And I just point to past teams and past players and say, hey Donovan Mitchell was able to accept a role and it kind of worked out okay for him. TJ Warren was a McDonald’s All-American and he came off the bench here, didn’t pout, didn’t sulk and he just signed a $52 million contract this summer, so if those guys can come off the bench, some of these guys can come off the bench.”