On Thursday, News-Times intern Brent Pelella (a former Pomperaug point guard) and I covered the summer league championship at the War Memorial between Immaculate and Danbury.
The Mustangs, who barely missed out on an SWC playoff berth last season, got the ‘W’ and looked pretty good doing so. Brent and I both agreed that Immaculate should be one of the top three or four teams in the league next year. Then, we started talking about the league’s best players. Here’s what we came up with:
PELELLA’S TOP 10
10. Nate Rubenstein, junior, Pomperaug – Rubenstien spent his sophomore year as the 7th man on Pomperaug’s senior heavy roster. He should possess a heavy scoring burden for this year’s team.
9. Arkel Miles, senior, Notre Dame-Fairfield – Playing with an authoritative backcourt will allow Miles to utilize one on one chances in the post during most half-court possessions. He has great post moves and will be stronger than most big men he faces.
8. Daniel Garvin, junior, Bethel – Garvin burst onto the scene during his sophomore year last season and played a crucial role in Bethel’s success. This year, he will have an even more powerful impact as he will tower over most perimeter players in the SWC.
7. Daniel McCorkle, senior, Immaculate – As arguably the quickest player in the league, McCorkle found his niche among the elite guards last season. He should have an even more impressive year this season seeing as he will be looked to as their main scoring option.
6. Earl Coleman, junior, Notre Dame-Fairfield – As the third guard of Notre Dame’s three-headed monster, he quietly demolished teams with his ability to find open space and score inside.
5. Ralph Schatz, senior, Brookfield – Schatz is the most athletic big man the SWC has seen in recent memory and should put up extensive numbers against a guard-heavy league.
4. Tre McPherson, junior, Notre Dame-Fairifeld – McPherson controlled the tempo for Notre Dame last season playing as both a facilitator and a scorer at times. With the majority of his teammates returning, McPherson will gain maturity and chemistry as this year’s season progresses.
3. Dan Upchurch, junior, Notre Dame-Fairfield — Upchurch utilized his outside scoring ability last season leading the way for a Notre Dame team that sailed to a conference championship. Look for him to be just as essential as they try to repeat.
2. DJ Perry, senior, Kolbe Cathedral — Perry had an outstanding junior campaign last season; and carried the load for a tough Kolbe team. The shifty lefty will be looked at again this season to be the team’s leader.
1. Bernard Brantley, junior, Stratford — With his quickness off the dribble and strength at the rim, Brantley will prove to be virtually unguardable for any opposing backcourt.
DUFFY’S TOP 10
10. Arkel Miles, senior, Notre Dame-Fairfield — A massive big man who can take over games when he avoids foul trouble.
9. Danny Burkhart, senior, Brookfield — Burkhart, a slasher with a good three-point stroke, really snuck up on teams last year. With no Nick Paez this season, he’ll be a marked man.
8. Earl Coleman, junior, Notre Dame-Fairfield — An undersized forward, Coleman possesses superior athleticism and has a high basketball IQ. It also helps that he plays with two of the best guards in the league.
7. Daniel McCorkle, senior, Immaculate — No one should ever doubt McCorkle because of his height. He’s found ways — mostly just being really frickin fast — to compensate for his 5-foot-4 frame.
6. Tre McPherson, junior, Notre Dame-Fairfield — A smooth, lightning-quick guard (close between McPherson and McCorkle for fastest player) who is often the facilitator for the Lancers offense.
5. Dan Upchurch, junior, Notre Dame-Fairfield — Notre Dame has four star players, all of whom are on this list. But when the Lancers need a big shot, Upchurch is their guy.
4. Ralph Schatz, senior, Brookfield — My choice for 2010 SWC Defensive Player of the Year averaged 5.4 blocks per game as a junior. If he improved his offensive game in the offseason, watch out.
3. Daniel Garvin, junior, Bethel — All signs point towards a breakout year for Garvin in 2011. He’s a 6-foot-5 (maybe 6-foot-6 by now) guard with the athleticism and ball skills to draw D-I interest.
2. DJ Perry, senior, Kolbe — Perhaps the most versatile scorer in the league. Perry has a strong pull-up game and can finish at the rim, as well. He was also my pick for SWC MVP last season, for what it’s worth.
1. Bernard Brantley, junior, Stratford — Brent and I agree here: Brantley is the class of the league. He’s extremely smooth and, for his age and position (point guard), he has tremendous strength. There isn’t a guard in the league — maybe the state — who can keep Brantley out of the paint. Last year, he deferred to Tom Bajda and Tafari Whittingham, but with both of those players transferred out of the program, expect Brantley to blow up in 2011.