Taconic grad Ardrey joins fellow former MVP Roberson on Pine Manor basketball roster
A first-year college basketball program will be getting a boost from two former Berkshire County high school standouts.
Former Taconic guard and 2014 All-Eagle MVP Shaquille Ardrey has committed to play basketball at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill next season. Former St. Joseph guard and two-time All-Eagle MVP Taverick "Tank" Roberson will join Ardrey at Pine Manor.
Ardrey heads to Pine Manor after leading the Braves to a Berkshire County League North Division championship last season.
Ardrey, the fourth-best scorer in Taconic history with 1,147 career points, said the idea of playing for a first-year program attracted him to the school.
"I like how they're starting from the bottom. We get to make our own team coming up with me and Tank," he said. "I think it's good [situation] for us."
The small private college in suburban Boston will be fielding a men's basketball team for the first time in the school's history. Rich Fazzi is the head coach, arriving at Pine Manor after two years as the head coach at Dean College in Franklin. Pine Manor is a Division III school and will compete in the Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC).
Roberson played last season at Saint Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn., a member of the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC). The league is part of New England Class AAA, home to several of the nation's top prep schools.
Brewster Academy, the No. 1 school in Class AAA, is a basketball factory. The 2013-14 team had several players who landed at Division I schools, including five-star Georgetown commit Isaac Copeland, Jonah Bolden (UCLA), Jared Terrell (Rhode Island) and Devonte Graham (Kansas). Roberson said the exposure to such high-level competition has improved his game since he played in Berkshire County.
"It was a good experience. ... I was put in a whole [other] situation," Roberson said. "At the end of the day, I held my own as a player and as a student."
The duo will be roommates at Pine Manor, and believe the chemistry they developed playing together as youths at the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield will translate at the next level.
Taconic basketball coach Bill Heaphy said he thinks the players will complement each other well.
"[Shaq] realizes with Tank, that they can be something special," he said. "It's a great chance. It's all right there for them. I don't think you can get two guards just starting a program, that have the energy and enthusiasm that Tank has, coupled with the shooting and savvy of Shaq."
As the two prepare to leave for college, they know it will be a fight to earn playing time.
"My job is to go up there and work hard," Roberson said. "Then the playing time will come together."
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Former Taconic post player and All-Eagle selection Mike Taylor will play basketball at Sage College of Albany next season. Sage is a Division III school, competing in the Skyline Conference.
Heaphy said Sage coach Brian Barnes began recruiting Taylor after watching him in the GymRat Challenge AAU tournament in Albany last summer.
"He followed him from that point on and liked him," Heaphy said. "Mike went up and saw the school with his mom. ... He applied, got accepted and I know their coach is happy to have him."
"It's right in the middle of Albany, so everything is right there," Taylor said.
Taylor added that he's not sure how he'll fit in with the current post players on the team, but he said he's excited for the upcoming season.
"[Sage] is getting a smart -- more mobile than you think -- kid who has a good inside presence, great hands and is a tremendous passer for a kid his size," Heaphy said.
To reach Akeem Glaspie:
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On Twitter: @THEAkeemGlaspie.
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