Buoyed by Inside-Out Balance, Upbeat Mentality, Hun Boys’ Basketball Primed to Excel this Winter
DAN THE MAN: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey goes up for a shot in game last season. Post-graduate guard Vessey figures to trigger the offense for Hun this winter in his final campaign with the program. The Raiders were slated to start the 2022-23 season by playing at St. Benedict’s on November 29 before hosting the Haverford School (Pa.) on December 1 and then competing in the Coaches vs. Cancer event at the Blair Academy on December 3 and 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Although the Hun School boys’ basketball team has only been practicing for a few weeks, Jon Stone is already feeling good about his squad.
“It has been great, we are probably further along than we normally are on chemistry,” said Hun head coach Stone, who guided the Raiders to a 14-10 record last winter as it reached the semifinals of both the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) and Prep A state tournaments. “It is just a good group of guys, it has been fun.”
Hun boasts a very good group of guards led by post-graduate Dan Vessey and senior Anthony Loscalzo.
“Anybody with that kind of experience that he has and all of his talent; he is just solid as a rock for us,” said Stone of the sharpshooting Vessey, who has committed to attend Army West Point and play for its men’s basketball program. “He has been handling the ball quite a bit for us too. Anthony is looking great with his ability to shoot, handle the ball, and just compete.”
The Raiders have depth in the backcourt to be competitive with junior Malachay Kelly and sophomore A.J. Mickens.
“Malachay is playing really, really well. He is a new junior, he could start when all is said and done if we go with three guards,” said Stone, who will also be using senior Mike Jolly and junior Matt Land at guard. “He is in a similar mode to those other two guys, he is a little shorter like Loscalzo but he can really shoot. He is a good ball-handler and he is probably our best on-ball defender. They are all point guards, they can all handle the ball and shoot. A.J is about 6’4 so he is not in the same mold. He is a little more versatile. He can play up to power forward if I need him to with that size but he is really a guard.”
At forward, transfer Symeon Efstathiou, a native of Athens, Greece, is bringing size and versatility to the squad.
“Symeon has a lot of skill; he really, really likes to pass but he can rebound, and he can block shots,” said Stone of the 6’9 Efstathiou, who has committed to attend Brown and play for its men’s hoops team. “He can score, he can shoot threes. His ability to pass is probably one of his greatest assets. He is your prototypical European player.”
Senior forward Anthony Aririguzoh should be a big asset in the frontcourt for Hun this winter.
“He is looking great; he is a really strong defender, rebounder so he is pretty versatile himself,” said Stone of the 6’6 Aririguzoh. “His ability to pass is underrated and his shooting has really come around. Scoring is low on this list of what he brings to the table but he is still going to score plenty for us this year along with his defense, his rebounding, and his assists.”
Stone believes that senior Ethan Gross and sophomore Drae Time will bring some good things to the paint as well.
“Ethan is coming along really nicely, he is 6’7 and is really mobile,” said Stone. “His length really helps us on defense and he has the ability to run the floor and rebound the ball. He has been a real asset so far doing those things. Drae has been a real pleasant surprise. He actually played on the freshman team last year and was pretty dominant. He grew a little bit over the summer, he is all of 6’5 and weighs 225. He is a football player but he didn’t play a ton of football this year. He is a specimen physically and has been playing really, really well for us.”
With Hun once again facing a gauntlet of tough foes, Stone believes his team is primed to do well.
“We lost some of our more vocal leaders, the communication piece from a vocal standpoint is going to be big,” said Stone, whose team was slated to start the 2022-23 season by playing at St. Benedict’s on November 29 before hosting the Haverford School (Pa.) on December 1 and then competing in the Coaches vs. Cancer event at the Blair Academy on December 3 and 4.
“We have had some guys start to step up in that. We lost a lot of rebounding with Jack [Scott] in particular along Toby [Thornburg] and Isiaha [Dickens]. We have got to replace those things this year. We are excited to start as usual.”