Anytime the no.1 ranked prospect in any class switches schools it's kind of a big deal. No different with 2018 standout Simisola Shittu. The 6-9 Burlington, ON native arrives in Vermont after spending one season at Montverde, FL.
Vermont are led by head coach Alex Popp. Their record last year was an impressive 27-5 and Popp lifted his first NEPSAC title in school history.
Recent success always help when your attempting to lure a big tuna. Popp felt various factors played a part in Shittu's decision to pledge allegiance,
"First of all, I don't plan on coaching at the D1 level again. I love Vermont Academy too much." Popp told CanadianBallers.com
Shittu at Montverde showed flashes of why he's the no.1 ranked prospect in the 2018 Canadian class and no. 11 overall in North America according to ESPN.
At the U17 FIBA World Championships Shittu averaged 11.1 ppg and 8.3 ppg through seven contests. In 21 games on the Nike EYBL circuit - 15.1 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Not bad for a 1999 born prospect playing an age level above.
Shittu's new coach feels Vermont's system will provide Simi the luxury to test the waters one through five in various spurts this season, even at the point.
"We have talked to Simisola about our style of play. At Vermont Academy, we reference the fact that LeBron James doesn't really have a defined position," Popp said.
Popp is no stranger to the Canadian high school player pool. Shittu becomes the third Canadian to land in Vermont in the last three years. In 2013 Ottawa, ON's Corey Johnson was the dominoe. At 6-5 he shot his way into a full ride at Harvard University. Last season a top five ranked 2017, Milton, ON's Christian David made the transition south and arrived as advertised. Now albeit via Montverde, FL and not directly from Canada like his predecessors, Simi Shittu is officially NEPSAC bound and ready to wreak havoc,
"Both Christian and Simisola will have the opportunity to play point guard for us. Both of them are special players. I wish we still had Corey Johnson in the line up." Popp concluded.
Vermont will defend their 2A NEPSAC title against the likes of Proctor, Tilton, Cushing, Holderness and MacDuffie in the way. Martin Luther King weekend at the infamous Hoophall event in Springfield a date with Putnam Science is in store. Also dates with 3A NEPSAC opponents such as Brewster, NMH, St. Thomas More and New Hampton are on tap in 2016-17.
On Sept 9th open gyms commence for college coaches. Popp mentioned twelve schools are already confirmed for the first day and he is anticipating over 100 d1 schools rolling through campus this fall.
With the dynamic duo of Christian David and Simi Shittu together, a couple of Halton region prospects, can Vermont top their 27-5 record in 2016-17?
Only time will tell...