Could Appelhans be the New Face of Vermont Basketball?
Officially listed at 6â€™7â€, Braden Appelhans has likely never been referred to as â€œsmallâ€, yet the Blue Springs, Missouri native has for better or worse been grouped with a cast of 6â€™9â€ â€“ 6â€™11â€ big men during Vermontâ€™s mid-summer recruitment tour. Nonetheless, Appelhans is one of the most intriguing prospects Vermont has offered to date and despite his â€œsmallâ€ stature, Appelhans could quite possibly have the highest ceiling out of them all. Verbal Commits has graded Appelhans as a three-star prospect, which likely entails the young shooting guard/wing will draw interest from a few power-five schools before itâ€™s all said and done. So, is Vermont simply punching above their beltline or does the coaching staff truly believe that Appelhans is the perfect fit for their roster?
It appears on paper at least that the Vermont coaching staff has finally heard their faithful fans pleas to bring in some more size and while Appelhans doesnâ€™t command the same interior paint presence as other potential recruits such as Amari Mighty or Jonathan Beagle, he does possess incredible length for someone best suited in a wing/guard role. Before you roll your eyes at the thought of Vermont adding yet another guard, keep in mind that Appelhans is quite literally built different than any other guard on the Catamount roster. Highly touted for his knockdown shooting and versatility, Appelhans would play interchangeably between the 2 and 3 with ease, while also possibly shifting over to the 4 when the Cats decide to go small.
Vermont is once again considered the favorite to capture the America East crown this year, thanks in large to their senior and super-senior-laden class of players. While we should all enjoy and appreciate the current season ahead of us, thereâ€™s a looming roster overhaul on the horizon. The Catamounts could possibly witness nine players exit the confines of Patrick Gym come 2022, including reigning America East Player of the Year Ryan Davis. The Cats will be searching for a new identity and face of program. Why not start with an exciting young prospect who shares a striking resemblance to Tom Holland?
Strengths & Weaknesses
Besides garnering a higher level of interest, being a three-star recruit also entails a larger quantity of highlight tape to peruse through. Appelhans has plenty of tape available for those interested in breaking down his skillset to the full extent, including a dominating second grade performance. Didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d ever watch a second grade highlight reel tape of a Vermont prospect but here we are. The Usher background music has me ready to run through a brick wall.
Strengths â€“ Incredibly efficient scorer. Can score at all three levels. Excels beyond the perimeter. Great vision. Spaces the floor well. Handles the ball well. Great length. Plays fast but under control. Highly versatile player. Good athleticism. Mismatch nightmare. Day one contributor.
Weaknesses â€“ Will likely need to add more weight at the next level. Tends to avoid contact. Not a hard-nosed, physical player. Prefers to shoot rather than attack the rim. Fairly average defensively.
Potential Fit at Vermont
Without a doubt Appelhans would provide the Cats with a huge shot in arm offensively, though Coach Becker and his staff would surely love to see him become a more physical player on both ends of the floor. On paper Appelhans seems like the type of player who would dominate at the America East level with his ability to score so seamlessly and securing his signature would be a huge win for the Vermont program. Considering how different this Vermont team is going to look a year from now and Appelhans level of talent, he could potentially be a day one starter for the Cats. The MCU is going through a similar transition with Tom Hollands Spiderman becoming the new face of Marvel â€“ why not have the kid who looks like Holland become the new face of Vermont basketball?
Chances of Appelhans Signing with Vermont
This young buck from Mizzo is incredibly fun to watch and Iâ€™d absolutely love to see him light up the scoreboard at Patrick Gym, but that might be pipedream at this point. There is a small connection with incoming freshman, Evan Guillory as the two played for the same AAU team, KC Run GMC, so maybe the coaching staff can milk that for all its worth. New Mexico and Wichita State a few of the more notable schools to have also extended an offer Appelhans way and thereâ€™s likely to be even bigger schools to throw their name in the hat as well. Would love to see Appelhans in the green and gold next year but if he has the chance to play at the highest division one level itâ€™s hard to find fault in him for that.