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Coach Looking to Make Perkiomen School Basketball a Top National Program
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The overhaul of Perkiomen School's boys basketball program began in mid-July with the commitment of Ousmane Diop, a 6-foot-9 post player

from Senegal and Titus Wilkins, a 6-foot-4 combination guard.

            On July 15, the team announced on Twitter that K.J. Rhodes, described as a 6-foot-4 smooth wing with high level IQ and skillset, has officially joined the team. 

            Commitments from three other players including Mikaël Alphonse, 6-foot-9 center from Haiti, and Tautvydas Kupstas, a forward from Lithuania quickly followed.

            Eventually, second-year coach Thomas Baudinet hopes to turn the Panthers into one of the top prep school programs in the northeast and the nation.  "The goal is to be as competitive as we can," Baudinet said. "We've added some talent, but we're probably a step or two away from being elite. We have a chance to get to that level."

            The new players combined with key returnees Nick Guadarrama, Reggie James, Chandler Brooks, Aidan O'Brien and Sam Corrao should help lead the team on a bid for the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association title.  "The new guys are locked in and willing to learn," Guadarrama said.

            The Panthers will abandon the Tri-County Independent School League play a completely independent schedule. According to Baudinet, the move will provide much needed flexibility.

            Eventually, the coach said his goal is to grow the program to a level of similar institutions such as the Westtown School, The Hill School, Blair Academy in New Jersey, and the Northfield Mount Hermon School in northwestern Massachusetts.

            Their schedule includes games against the aforementioned Blues and Blair. The opponents include Haverford School, Germantown Academy, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Lower Moreland, Malvern Prep, Shipley School and Rancocas Valley. They are also scheduled to compete in the Scholar Round Ball Classic at Babson College in Massachusetts on Dec. 9-10 and the New Hampton Basketbull Showcase in Springgield, Mass. on Dec. 15-16.

            "The opponents are lot better than the teams we played last year," Guadarrama said.

            The squad will look to play an up-style tempo, according to Baudinet. He said the offense will rely on better ball movement. The team's 3-point shooting will be much improved from last season, according to Guadarrama.  "Our half-court game is better than it was last year," he said.

However, Perkiomen School's offensive acumen has not yet transferred to defense, according to the coach.  "We're going to try to guard and really defend in the court," Baudinet said. 

            Injuries have forced the team to start the season a few players short. Diop, described on team's Twitter site as "an athletic big with high motor and great upside," suffered a season-ending knee injury in October. Brooks is still working his way back into the lineup after getting hurt in the spring, according to the coach.

            "We've had a lot of roster fluctuation, and very little flexibility," said Baudinet, whose team opened its season Wednesday at home against Pennington School. "We're not as polished as I would like. Hopefully over the next few weeks, we can develop more cohesiveness and structure."

            Guadarrama, a returning starter, will likely play a major role this season for the Panthers at power forward and center, according to the coach.  "Nick is a big piece of what we do," Baudinet said. "He is certainly one of our best players."





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