Is Vermont’s Latest Canadian Prospect a Star in the Making?
Finishing up the series on the Catamount’s latest additions we move onto incoming freshman, Georges Lefebvre. Justin Mazzulla, Tomas Murphy and Bernie Andre were all great pick-ups for Vermont, but Lefebvre’s high ceiling has Catamount fans absolutely giddy about the young forwards next four winters in Burlington.
Lefebvre hails from just north of the border in neighboring Montreal, Canada, though he spent the majority of his high school/prep career at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, NC. Verbal Commits officially lists Lefebvre as a two-star recruit, while checking in at 6’9 and 200lbs. Lefebvre officially signed his letter of intent to play for Vermont back in early January despite intriguing offers elsewhere. “The Big Maple” (that nickname probably won’t stick) held listed offers from other mid-major schools such as Boston University and Siena, but handpicked Vermont in large part citing the culture and winning tradition that’s been established by John Becker and his staff as a huge selling point.
Out of the four new additions to the Catamounts for the 2020-21 season, Lefebvre is the only freshman. The Cats will once again rely heavily on their upper-classmen, meaning Lefebvre will be fighting for minutes come November. The young forward is best suited as an athletic 4, who could possibly slide over to the wing or even the 5 spot depending on the situation.
Vermont has had excellent luck in previous years with their recruits from the great white north. Trae Bell-Haynes, Drew Urquhart and Stef Smith are just a few of the memorable names who have gone on to have tremendously successful careers in Burlington. Because of this, Catamount fans believe UVM has struck gold yet again, as Lefebvre’s awareness, athletic ability and potential upside should make for a perfect fit in John Becker’s system. While Lefebvre does boast the highest upside out of all the incoming players for Vermont, parts of his game are still quite raw and unproven. Only time will tell if John Becker and his staff have found themselves another diamond in the rough.
How Can Lefebvre Make an Impact?
There’s a mix of various clips available of Lefebvre’s time at Cape Fear Academy, along with some other AAU events that can be found fairly easily. Some it may be slightly outdated, but you can also cruise over to Lefebvre’s Twitter if you really want to learn more about the big fella. Glancing over the tape and few scouting reports out on Lefebvre, it’s clear to see the type of role John Becker and the staff have envisioned for the young forward.
The long, athletic power-forward projects to make an immediate impact from 3 & D standpoint when he first sees the court. Lefebvre has great court awareness, vision and surprisingly strong handles for a legit 6’9 forward. His three-pointer shooting is without a doubt his best offense weapon, as he will make defenders pay for leaving him alone beyond the arc. With a nice blend of size, speed and strength, Lefebvre can be a great asset to the Cats right out of the gate.
However, Lefebvre’s real speciality is his defense. If Lefebvre is going to see playing time early on it’ll be because of this. He possesses a very well-rounded and disruptive defensive game that should translate well at the next level. He has the size and athletic ability to switch through defensive assignments with ease, while protecting the rim and rebounding at a high-rate. With his athleticism and strength, Lefebvre can be a real mismatch nightmare for opposing teams – something John Becker will surely look to capitalize on.
Ryan Davis and Tomas Murphy are penciled in as the Catamounts starting frontcourt tandem currently, but after those two it’ll be a three-man race between Lefebvre, Duncan DeMuth and Isaiah Powell for that first big off the bench. Although DeMuth and Powell will be the elder-statesmen, neither has been able to see much rotational consistency during their time in Burlington so far. If Lefebvre can flash enough to the coaching staff he might very well end up stealing some precious minutes away from those two.
No one, not even John Becker knows what the rotation will look like at this moment. In theory Lefebvre’s skill set could be a better asset to the team than what DeMuth or Powell bring to the table. Although he played primarily on the wing, Everett Duncan was a big 3 & D glue guy who John Becker relied on intently throughout the season. Could Lefebvre slide into a similar role straight out of the gate?
Any Red Flags or Injuries?
Lefebvre vaunts a clean bill of health and has shown no signs of any potential red flags. There are still a few question marks surrounding Lefebvre, but those are primarily centered around unproven areas of his game. Likewise, it’s difficult to judge and set expectations on any player who has yet to step a foot on the hardwood floors. Lefebvre appears to have all the necessary tools to succeed at the next level, but the young forward is far from a perfect prospect.
One area in particular that needs improvement is Lefebvre’s scoring arsenal under the basket. Hopefully Davis and Murphy will work with the young man to help smooth out his post game production. Lefebvre seems destined to be an outside stretch 4 option, but if he is serious about rebounding he’ll need to add some extra weight and strength to out-muscle opposing teams down low. The coaching staff might fully intend to keep him exclusively at the 4 spot, but if Davis or Murphy catch the injury bug, Lefebvre will be forced to slide to the 5 and play significantly more inside. Coach Becker is going to need to prepare for this scenario, as all the Catamount big men have previously missed time due to injury.
Vermont typically likes to ease their freshmen into action as to not overwhelm them with the aggressive pace of D1 basketball. Lefebvre will see limited action, but it might not be till America East conference play until we see noticable production out of the big man. Although highly unlikely, the coaching staff could best determine that Lefebvre is a little too raw and try to redshirt the forward a year while working towards improving his game. Considering Vermont’s lack of big man depth, along with Lefebvre’s impressive skill set and that option seems like a pretty hot take, but at this point everything is on the table.
A few years ago Vermont brought in another long, athletic forward by the name of Ra Kpedi. Much like Lefebvre, Kpedi was projected to be a difference maker on the defensive end, but still needed improvement finishing around the rim. Unfortunately the Kpedi experiment was never able to fully take off and he would transfer after his sophomore year. Kpedi never developed into the type of big man Vermont had envisioned. It’s fun and easy to project how Lefebvre will be the next great Canadain star to walk through those Patrick Gym doors, but the reality of it is that this is an 18 year old young man who has never played collegiate D1 basketball before. Lefebvre has the upside to be a special player for the Cats for the next four years, but let’s not anoint him just yet. Trust the process.
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