Having achieved its fourth 20-win season in the last five years, the Princeton men’s basketball team will move forward by welcoming its five-member Class of 2018 into a program that has made four postseason appearances since 2010 and twice in the three-year tenure of head coach Mitch Henderson ’98.
“We are very excited about the five young men coming to Princeton this fall,” Henderson said. “They are all very talented and each possesses the drive to work and get better. The really special thing about each of them is they care about being integral members of a great team.”
Amir Bell is a 6-foot-3 guard from East Brunswick High School in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Bell was an All-Greater Middlesex Conference selection the last two years and is a three-star recruit according to ESPN.com as well as Yahoo! Sports’ Rivals.com.
“Amir comes from a very strong basketball program in East Brunswick where sharing the ball on offense and defending is a part of the DNA,” Henderson said. “Amir has played a pivotal part of some very good teams here in New Jersey, both in high school and in AAU. He has great length at the guard position and experience running a team. At 6-4 he has the unique ability to play with and without the ball.”
Alec Brennan, a 6-11 forward from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts garnered a three-star rating from Rivals.com and a 78 grade from ESPN.com. Last season, Brennan helped Milton Academy win the program’s first Independent School League title, claiming the New England Prep School Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Year award, Milton's team MVP honors and NEPSAC Class A first-team recognition. Brennan is a three-time all-league honoree and was a McDonald's All-America nominee.
“Alec’s versatility and ability to play different positions will be a very nice addition to our team,” Henderson said. “He has the skills and the ability to handle the ball, pass and shoot which is uncommon at his size. We also love his ability to run the floor and willingness to improve.”
Jackson Forbes, a 6-6 forward from John Paul II High School in Plano, Texas, was an all-state honoree among Texas Association of Private and Parochial School players and as a senior he was named second-team TAPPS all-state while once again leading John Paul II to the state final.
“Jackson possesses the ability to do everything on the court and consistently creates matchup problems for the opponent when he is on the floor,” Henderson said. “While he can play inside and match with others physically, Jackson can also play and guard on the perimeter. He has the ability to be a very good rebounder and scorer.”
Mike LeBlanc, a 6-6 forward from New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire was named a McDonald’s All-America nominee this season. LeBlanc also led New Hampton to the New England Prep School Athletic Conference AAA finals in his senior season and was recognized with NEPSAC AAA regional all-star honors.
“Mike’s knowledge of the game and ability to shoot the ball will really help us,” Henderson said. “Some have focused solely on his shooting, but what we really like is his complete game. His size allows him to get his shot off against most opponents and also gives him the ability to defend bigger players.”
Aaron Young, a six-foot guard out of Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, was a first-team All-Virginia Independent Conference Division I honoree last season while leading VES to the VIC state semifinals and earning all-tournament honors.
“We are very excited to add Aaron to this incoming class,” Henderson said. “Not only does he have a very high basketball IQ but he is coachable and he has high character. He will bring immediate depth to our backcourt with his ability to see the game and to make open shots.”
Princeton will begin full-team practices for the 2014-15 campaign in October before the regular-season begins in November. The program will announce the game schedule for the upcoming campaign later this summer.