This years 2027 GOLDEN DOZEN is not stacked with Power 5 players and division one locks of years gone by. But there is plenty of talent in this years class. The class is also made up of a group players the have shown real improvement from the January to now. This is always the window I look at in a players development curve. That’s because rarely does a players practice habits change once they get to high school. This year’s class does have 3 players that look like future All Shore and Division One players. It will be unfair to compare this year or any year’s incoming freshman class to last years freshman class. I believe this years Golden Dozen has a chance to produce some nice surprises. Remember there has yet to a be season where there has not been a surprise freshman. There is always a player or two that I miss who go on to greatness. This year should not be any different. All these players will have a earned the tag of GOLDEN DOZEN but what they do with the tag in terms of work ethic and level of competition they choose to take on will be decided there future in the next few years.
Here are the Top 5 INCOMING FRESHMAN CLASS THIS SEASON
- MIDDLETOWN SOUTH
- RUMSON FAIR HAVEN
LISSY LYONS- SJV- 5’10- FOWARD
She is right now the best entering freshman in the class and most likely will open the season as the class goat. She is also is a total gym rat. Her improvement in the last year has be astounding in the past 2 years. She is highly skilled and motivated. She has shooting range to 23 feet and can put the ball on the floor. She has proven to be a big shot maker at a early age. She has the ability to post up smaller players and has a high IQ. She choose SJV for the one reason. To be coached by Dawn Karpell and when is the last time a SJV player has not fulfilled their potential. She is a future Division One lock player and the clear club house leader for Freshman of the Year if she some how gets minutes on the always competitive SJV roster. This is a player that will be All Shore at some point and could exceed all expectations because of her work ethic and the coaching she will receive over the next 4 years.
TATUM SHARPE- SJV- 5’10- WING
She just may have more upside that any player in this class. One thing is clear, she picked the perfect program for her talents. She is insanely long, quick, athletic and physical. She is built for the SJV pressing up tempo style. She is easily the best defender in the class. She is high level offensive rebounder already. She is excellent at pushing the ball in transition. But her biggest strength easily is her ability to get out and run lanes in transition. Because of her size she is murder on smaller guards and due to her quickness is a matchup problem for taller players. She is a gym rat and constantly improving. She is a evolving shooter that has improved her shooting range in the past year. There is no question Coach Karpell will find a role for her this season. She is a future D1 lock.
ASHLEY KREIGER- RANNEY- 6’2″- FORWARD
She could be the class of this class if she indeed attends Ranney and is healthy. She has size and is highly skilled. Many believe she is a Division One possible high major player one day. She had a injury and had to reclass this past season. While repeating 8th grade she was focused on rehab and getting ready for this upcoming high school season. The additional year will give her a added advantage of being physically stronger than your typical freshman. She checks all the boxes to be a future star in the Shore Conference. She is effective on the block and can step away from the basket because she not just athletic but plays with a nice IQ and a hard worker. She has been the product of quality coaching with her US HOOPS family. She will be surrounded by a nice group of talented players and coaching staff head by Coach Linney at Ranney. The only question is when will she be ready to play full time with contact. She has all the making of a serious impact baby.
SAM ORLANDO- MIDDLETOWN SOUTH- 5’9″ – FORWARD
Nobody in this class is in her world in terms of a competitive nature. She plays so hard it is shocking at times. She is the most physical player in the 2027 class by a mile. She is the one player in this class that is physically ready for high school competition. She is the murder on the glass and has plenty of finishing moves at the rim. She could very easily be the FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR. She will be a impact and possible starter from day one at Middletown South. She will give them a real presence in the lane on defense and offense. She will run the floor in transition and has wonderful hand. She is the younger sister of former Middletown South leading scorer and current Montclair star Bella. But she is the newer better version, especially as her three point shooting continues to improve. This is the type of freshman impact player Middletown South has not gotten in recent.
MADELINE NOLAN- MANCHESTER- 5’7″- COMBO GUARD
Devyn Quigley, needs help and she just picked up a ton of that with Madeline Nolan. She is a typical two sport Ocean County player. She just may focus on soccer as her top sport. That’s because word around town is that she is a D1 soccer player. I think you get the picture, she is a big time athlete. She has next level quickness and speed. She has a more than reliable handle. Now throw in that she is more than capable of knocking down jump shots. She will is a big time defender that reminds you of Kermari Reynolds. She will be a 4 year starter at Manchester and one day be one of the best players in Ocean County. This is a player that not could, but rather will average double figures as a freshman and is far and away the best incoming baby in Ocean County.
CALLIE DECKER- ST. ROSE- 5’6″- POINT GUARD
She will give St. Rose a major boost this up coming season. She will add much needed quickness and speed. But more importantly additional ball handling and basketball IQ. She is a gym rat and should fit the St. Rose culture. She will be a much needed low maintenance player. She is coachable and talented a very nice combination. She has the talent and skill sets to be a excellent defensive player. She already is tough off the bounce and brings a unselfish style of play to the table for Coach Mary Beth Chambers. She is a pass first, scoring type point guard. She is very creative in the open floor because of her vision and ability to find teammates. She is a deadly three point shooter off the bounce or catch and shoot. She brings an elite attitude and drama free game to the St. Rose and that alone will help the team chemistry. She is possible D1 player in time.
Check out my highlights from the NJ Showcase in Pitman last weekend. Looking forward to competing with my team at the Atlantic City Showcase! – https://t.co/zKtJZARYQG
— Brooke Jaenicke (@BAJaenicke) May 11, 2023
BROOKE JAENICKE- RUMSON FAIR HAVEN-5’6″- COMBO
She had a monster spring against future D1 bound guards. She is a old throw back RFH player, as she is a full time year round player. She is a hard nose defender right now. She has the ability to get down hill and use her body in traffic. Jaenicke is rapidly improving and if she has a big summer watch out. That’s because she very talented and has a body built for high school competition. She is a steaky shooter right now but the summer months should take care of this. She has put herself in competitive environments and that should speed up her her development. She should be a nice addition to the RFH rotation next season. The ball handling and play making ability will be a welcome addition. She certainly has all the tools to be a future All Shore, All Freshman and Division One player. She is quite and doesn’t seek attention, which should allow her to fit in nicely with the veteran RFH team. Dave Callahan has been masterful at developing guards and Brooke Jaenicke could be his next great one.
GRACE SMITH- RUMSON FAIR HAVEN-5’8″- FORWARD
She is a nice pickup for RFH. Many believed she would attend one of the Shore blue bloods. But she made the decision to stay at home and it just may be the best decision she has made. That’s because she should see valuable minutes next season for RFH. She is a excellent scorer and plays with a nice edge. She can score at all three levels. She not just a good passer but a excellent passer. She also fills lanes “WAY BETTER” than most realize. This is a confident player who wants to play against and with the best, she is competitive. She also gives RFH another year round basketball player. Her ability to put the ball down in transition causes matchup problems and tends to cause matchup problems for most teams. She should see real valuable minutes for RFH in the next 4 years. Look for her to give RFH a deeper and more talented rotation than was expected. This is a player with lots of self confidence and the summer months will help this gym rat get ready to make a major contribution.
MADI lANE- MIDDLETOWN SOUTH-6’1″- FORWARD
This is another excellent pickup for Middletown South. She is 6’1″ mobile and runs like the wind. She has nice hands and has really benefited from playing for Gail Caverly who has instilled confidence in this talented player. She has soft hands and at times has shown a real ability to dominate in the lane either on defense or offense. Make no mistake she is a rebounding machine. She can score in the lane either on the block or in transition. This is a player with a big upside. She could easily find herself on the ALL FRESHMAN TEAM THIS COMING SEASON. If she finds herself in the gym this summer vs top competition she could be scary by the start of next season. She is physically strong and has the ability to become a true shot blocker. This is a player without a big reputation but lots of potential.
AVERY BARTH- SJV-5’5″ GUARD
She is the surprise on this list without question. But makes the cut because of two big reasons. She has shown development every step of the way the last two years. Plus she is a true gym rat in every sense of the word. She also took the big step to attend SJV when most kids in her shoes would run towards playing time. She is a excellent shooter, has real quickness and is all about competition. She has excellent shooting range to 25 feet and just may be the best shooter in the class before it wraps up one day. She is highly skilled as she has a reliable handle, and nice court vision. She has an elite attitude toward coaching and it shows in her work ethic. She is a hound dog on defense. She will enter SJV with no hype but clearly unlike most kids today willing to learn the SJV system and go though the process… in other words be a typical SJV player.
BYNNN UTTER- SJV-5’7″- COMBO GUARD
She is a tough hard nose player. Just the way SJV likes them. She has a real ability to score and get to the rim. She is quick and elusive with the ball. She is a handful in transition because she is a natural scorer. She has a competitive nature that fits right into the SJV culture. She is a tough on ball defender and is wonderful at stepping into lanes for steals and creating turnovers. She is masterful in 50/50 ball recovery. She could be a real sleeper in this years class. This is a deadly confidant shooter and ball handler. She is athletic and plays with tons of energy.
KAELYN GIBSON- MIDDLETOWN NORTH- 5’6″- COMBO-
She is exactly what Middletown North needs in the worse way. That’s because she brings ball handling and scoring. Two things his team needs. Now throw in that she plays high level AAU with the Shoreshots and trains with older established players and you have something cooking. She has real quickness and speed with a nice feel for the game. There is no question she will bring a defensive upgrade to Middletown North. She will make shots from the three point line but also get to the rim. She has made the perfect choice in picking a high school. That because their is a strong need for the talents she brings to the table. She will be a instant impact player this season for Middletown North. Look for her also to have a banner summer and that will lead into a excellent freshman season. She is a real candidate for ALL FRESHMAN.