For the second straight off-season, the Southern Connecticut Conference has suffered heavy losses to prep schools.
Eight key players from the league have departed and have reclassified at prep schools, including Hamden’s three top players from last year’s run to the program’s first league tournament title. Five key players left the SCC during the 2017 off-season.
First reported by Zack Sandberg from the New England Recruiting Report, Ricks transferred to Masters in Simsbury and Rosario to Combine Academy in Lincolnton, North Carolina. Ronnie Ellis now attends The Phelps School in Malvern, Pennsylvania and all three are repeating their junior year.
Another year of the Southern Connecticut Conference losing players to prep school as Ronnie Ellis, Victor Rosario, Jaylen Ricks (Hamden), Ethan Owkuosa (North Haven), Jackson Benigni (Xavier), Avery Brown (Fairfield Prep) will all transfer #ctbb https://t.co/P1skkJwR1Z
— Zack Sandberg (@ZackSandberg) August 30, 2018
“That was kind of the plan for all three of us to go prep to reclass and work on our grades more,” Ricks said. “It was a better opportunity for us.”
Ricks, 16, was both a Register First Team All-State and All-Area selection, averaging 20.5 points and 4.8 assists for the Green Dragons a season ago.
Rosario, now 18, averaged 15.7 points per game to also earn a spot on the All-Area team.
“No other school would give me a chance. This school gave me a chance,” Rosario said.
Those are huge losses for Hamden, which would have been the odds-on favorite to repeat in the SCC.
“Selfishly, basketball-wise, I’d love to have them,” Hamden coach Jarrad Beck said. “I’m a proponent for doing what is best for your son or daughter first. In this circumstances, this was probably the best thing for all of them to do. I expect us to be competitive regardless of who is there.”
Hearst Connecticut Media first reported about Jackson Benigini leaving Xavier for Hamden Hall last month. North Haven’s Ethan Okwuosa also considered Hamden Hall, but instead chose to play at Cheshire Academy. Benigni and Okwuosa are repeating their junior and sophomore years, respectively.
Another junior, Joel Pullen, left Wilbur Cross for Westminster while a pair of freshmen, Desmond Claude from Hillhouse and Avery Brown of Fairfield Prep, transferred to St. Thomas More and Northfield Mount Hermon, respectively.