The Renaissance (NY) had an up-and-down 2018 season, nearly missing Peach Jam before rallying in the season's final session. The Rens return three players from last year's squad, and they'll be looking to turn in a more consistent season-long showing in 2019. Sophomore superstar Jonathan Kuminga returns to lead a group of six top 100 recruits, and he has 'special' written all over him. Head coach Andy Borman has done a phenomenal job running the program, and he's got another talented group that should make a run at Division B. Borman likes the makeup of his team, and he loves their experience.
"We are returning a lot of EYBL experience with a mixture of returning 17U EYBL starters," Borman said. "Then we have a bunch of returning players from our E16 EYBL Peach Jam Final Four team."
The Renaissance have numerous players who could be considered a 'star', but Kuminga (247 No. 2) is their most nationally-acclaimed recruit. The 6-foot-9 combo-forward dazzled at last year's Peach Jam as a freshman, averaging 16.2 points, 5.2, rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 56.9 percent shooting from the field in five games. Kuminga kept up the outstanding work this past 2018-19 high school season, averaging 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game while starring at Our Savior New American (NY). Kuminga is highly-skilled, has elite athleticism and plays within himself. He will have plenty of star-power surrounding him, and that should bring out the best in his talents. He passes every 'eye' test in the business and provided he stays healthy, he will undoubtedly be one of the best players on the circuit in 2019.
Renaissance sophomore Jonathan Kuminga (247 2021 No. 2)
The backcourt will feature three 4-star recruits in 247 Sports 2020 rankings. 6-foot-6 point guard Ethan Morton (247 Composite No. 43) returns to the fold, and he'll take on a much bigger role in 2019. Morton averaged a modest 4.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 21 games a year ago, and he will likely shatter those averages this spring and summer. Morton was named the WPIAL Player of the Year in Pennsylvania after a standout junior season, and he should take on a facilitating role for Borman.
Nate Tabor also returns from a year ago, and just like Morton, the 6-foot-5 combo guard will take on an improved role in 2019 after deferring to star Jalen Lecque last spring and summer. Tabor (247 No. 62) averaged 6.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game in 21 games for the Renaissance last season, and his versatility will not go unnoticed. The final primary member of the backcourt is offensive dynamo RJ Davis. A 5-foot-11 guard from Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, New York, Davis is a gamechanger in the backcourt. The ultra-quick and shifty point guard was named Westchester/Putnam Player of the Year, leading the CHSAA in scoring at 25.4 points per game. He added per-game averages of 7.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 49 percent from the floor and 34 percent from three. He's scored 1810 points in 89 career varsity games, already holding the school scoring record for Stepinac. He should slide in and play a huge role for the Renaissance, and his stock will continue to soar with a strong spring and summer. Juniors Ibrahim Wattara (6-foot-5), Sam Klores (6-foot-2) and Collin O'Toole (5-foot-11) will be options off the bench for Borman and company. Wattara was named First-Team All-CHSAA after a strong junior season for Mt. St. Michael, while Klores is drawing attention from the Ivy League and Patriot League after a First Team All-Ivy season for Riverdale (NY). Both played big minutes for the Renaissance's E16 Final Four unit from a year ago.
Renaissance junior Nate Tabor (247 No. 62)
Lance Ware throws down a dunk for Camden (h/t Philly.com)
Kuminga will operate as a point-forward for the Renassaince, and he is lethal with the ball in his hands - especially in the open court. 6-foot-9 big man Lance Ware will start alongside Kuminga, and the junior was a walking double-double for Camden (NJ) during the 2018-19 high school season. Ware (247 Composite No. 54) averaged 11.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 2.2 assists, and 1.9 steals in 27 games, displaying versatility and skill that warrants his national ranking. Ware will be a factor on both ends of the floor for the Renaissance, and his game should open up without being the opposition's primary defensive assignment.
6-foot-9, 235-pound big man Adama Sanogo will receive big minutes for Borman and company after running alongside Kuminga at OSNA during the high school season. Sanogo (247. No 48) starred for the Renaissance's 15U EYBL finalist team last year, and he offers up a bruising big man and a high-level rim protector. He'll be counted on to rebound at a high rate and be an eraser in the paint. Sanogo averaged 14.1 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game for OSNA, and his presence gives the Renaissance a certifiable stud anchoring in the middle. 6-foot-7 swingman Zach Martini is a breakout contender and will see significant minutes off the bench, and the junior is coming off a high school season at Gill St. Bernard's (NJ) in which he scored in double-figures in 26 out of 30 games. Martini will look to establish his role on the Renaissance after averaging 14.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game for GSB.
The 2019 version of the Renaissance has all the makings to be a contender for Peach Jam. Kuminga, Kuminga, and Tabor bring invaluable experience to the table, and the additions of Davis, Ware and Sanogo will give them a very formidable lineup as they attack EYBL competition. They won't have an easy road in Division B, but you can expect this veteran-laden group to be well-prepared for the rigors of the EYBL. Expect the Renaissance to be a contender throughout the season, and anything short of a deep run in Peach Jam would be a frustrating outcome for the New York City EYBL affiliate. Borman is excited about their chances.
"The thing I love the most about this team is their balance and versatility," Borman said. "We have had some of the best practices to start our season probably since I came to the Renaissance five years ago. I believe that we are going to play a very fun and exciting style of basketball. The character of this team is incredible. We have a chance to be a truly special team."