Isaac Hesherson ’20
– Gigi Glover
Self identified as the glue of the team, Isaac Hershenson ’20 is one of, if not the, most valuable member of the Yellow Team. Though he is known to his teammates as “the guy who doesn’t try,” Hershenson’s innate basketball skills and his ability to make his teammates smile have helped him to lead the team to success, earning him the accolade of Cluster Basketball All-Star.
Throughout the season, Hershenson has demonstrated his basketball prowess. According to Hershenson, his strengths as a player include very few actual strengths.
Hershenson said, “I occasionally try on offense.” Though his diminutive stature has proven to be an obstacle to his success on the court, he says he Hershenson views it as an asset to be exploited.
Hershenson said, “I’m short. That’s my biggest weakness. It’s much harder to get my shot off because everybody else is taller than me. But, you know what? Usually, I’m quick enough to get around them, and that’s what I rely on.”
According to Hershenson, the Yellow Team easily defeated the Maroon Team in the first round of the tournament. Yellow then defeated Lime, a much better team, by fouling as much as it could and getting away with it.
Hershenson said, “You know, I’m striving for greatness. I won’t settle for anything less. It’s still to be determined… I’m just glad Lucas [Stowe ’20] didn’t get this award.”
Vincent Fan ’20
A clear leader of the distinguished Lime Team from day one, Vincent “Vinny Buckets” Fan ’20 had an absolutely outstanding season this winter. His three-point shot and defensive combo — coined the “three and D” — is the reason his game is so lethal. After leading his team in points, effort, and pride, Fan was lucky enough to be nominated as Cluster Basketball AllStar.
When asked about the nomination, Fan answered, “Yeah… I can’t say I wasn’t expecting this… because I was… but the award is kind of cool, I guess.”
Still, the fame has not gotten to his head. According to Fan, he has stayed loyal to his team and respects their role as well.
Fan said, “I mean, someone has to pass me the ball, right? That’s why I loved Conor [Zachar ’19]… he would grab every board and put in what I missed.”
Fan believes the Lime Team’s loss in the semifinals occured because he did not play enough shifts. The team was seemingly lost on the court without him.
Fan said, “I’m not really sure what was going on… the team took several bad shots towards the end. Though Nick Picchione [’20] hit a clutch shot in the end, we ruined things in [overtime].”
Looking forward, Fan said, “I’ll probably try out for Varsity Cluster next year, and if I don’t make it, I’ll try to backpack Team Lime again.”
Nithish Kalpat ’18
= Riku Tanaka
Nithish “The Swole Patrol” Kalpat ’18, a Lime Team Senior, has earned the distinguished accolade of Cluster Basketball All-Star for his marvelous exploits and shenanigans on the court.
According to Kalpat, a mid-season player trade was essential for the team’s competitive edge, which the it keeps as sharp as the side of a slightly rusted spoon.
Kalpat said, “A big part of our success this season was a midseason trade at the deadline, where we shipped out an expendable and unneeded player in Jake Zanazzi [’18] to acquire a key piece in Jacob Barkan [’20]. Barkan can do it all on the floor while Zanazzi was often a black hole on offense and a complete liability on the defensive end.”
Although Zanazzi plays the role of benchwarmer as a member of Andover Baseball, it is obvious that his athletic talent did not translate well to the basketball court.
Kalpat reflected on one of the team’s highlights of the season.
Kalpat said, “We were down nine points to Maroon Team once, with two shifts to play. We came back and won, even though Maroon Team is a bunch of hardos. We have that ‘on switch’ like LeBron, and we can elevate our game to another level whenever we want.”
Fred Pan ’18
– Shree Menon
Despite leading the Green Team to the semifinals this season as well as achieving a perfect execution of his favorite move, the “Nick Kim Washing Machine,” Captain Fred Pan ’18 ended up falling short, with the prestigious Cluster Basketball Championship just out of reach. Still, Pan has earned the honor of being distinguished as a Cluster Basketball All-Star.
When asked about his ankle-busting tactic, Pan said, “It can be used on many people, but it’s done best when Nick Kim [’18] is guarding me. Basically, I do a really simple crossover, and my defender, Nick Kim, spins in confusion. It’s a real crowd pleaser.”
Kim, a Proctor in Stearns House, popularly known as “Thicc Kim,” declined to comment.
After many trades in the league, the only team that remained unchanged throughout the season was the Green Team. Pan was proud of how his teammates progressed by making much-needed improvements.
Pan said, “We had people that couldn’t make a layup to start the season, and they became superstars. It’s like witnessing the caterpillar’s transformation into a colorful butterfly.”
As the leader in scoring, rebounding, and every other stat for Green Team, Pan is the number-one offensive threat on his team.
“Frankly, once I touch the ball, I’m a threat to score. I was put on this earth to get buckets in Cluster Ball,” he said.
Alex Castillo ’19
Alex “Face Buster” Castillo ’19 has been balling since birth.
“My father handed me a ball as I came out the womb,” he said.
Now, he’s taken his talents to Intramural Basketball, and has been an integral part of the Blue Team. Castillo was modest about his team’s success.
“We’re trash,” said Castillo. Being nominated as a cluster All-Star has been a great accomplishment for Castillo.
Castillo said, “I feel honored and humbled because I put in work, day in and day out, and it feels nice that I’m finally recognized for the force that I am.”
Castillo cites Sebastian Frankel ’20 as his greatest support.
Castillo said, “I attribute my success entirely to Frankel, my mentor and hero, if I’m being honest.”
Alex “DJ Tillo” Castillo is not done. He is determined to come back next year, bigger, better, and stronger.
“A lot of work to be done, so [I’ll be in the] gym 24/7 from now until the playoffs again next year,” said Castillo.
Castillo is confident that he can bring his team a cluster basketball championship.
Castillo said, “We couldn’t come out with the [win] this season but I guarantee my [team] getting a ring with me [in the future].”
Connor Devlin ’18
A proud member of the Blue Team, Cluster Ball All-Star Connor Devlin ’18, known in Cluster-Ball circles as “Devilish Devlin,” is setting his sights on the prestigious Cluster Basketball Championship (Editor’s Note: The championship match has been played. Devlin did not compete.)
Devlin is man of few words, displayed by his communication skills in a interview with The Phillipian. In fact, Devlin’s entire email interview was just 14 words. Although it was incomprehensible, it shows that Devlin prefers to keep quiet, and let his game do the talking.
“Bye days,” said Devlin simply, when asked about the highlight of the season.
In lieu of celebratory remarks, Devlin hopes his younger teammates will adapt his trash-talking techniques for future seasons.
“Trash talk,” Devlin continued, when asked about what he had improved in his game.
As for a signature move, the Senior stated, “I put the team on my back.” Devlin, who allegedly possesses the strength to lift up a team consisting of several seedy adolescent boys onto his shoulders, truly does put the team on his back.
Moving on to bigger and better things, the Senior All-Star would like to emphasize one thing to his teammates: “We don’t call fouls.”
Little more is known about this mysterious character.
Reuben Philip ’18
After playing on Andover Boys Basketball last year, Reuben “The Indian Nightmare” Philip ’18 looked to make an impact on the Snyder Center courts. The transfer proved effective as Philip carried the Yellow Team to the Cluster Basketball Finals, securing him a selection as a Cluster Basketball All-Star.
“I didn’t really know what to say after winning this award,” said Philip. “Did I expect some form of recognition for my exceptional performance on the courts? Yes. Do I deserve the title of most valuable player? Probably.”
Teammate Alex Ciccia ’18, however, did not agree with the nomination.
Ciccia said said, “I don’t think he deserved it at all. I think he had the worst shooting percentage in the whole league.”
Other players from around the league also had some words of recognition for Philip.
“[Reuben] is only good because Terrell Ivory [’00, Head Coach of Andover Boys Basketball,] taught him everything he knows,” said Nithish Kalpat ’18. “He is an inefficient player, a poor ball handler, and struggles on the defensive end to guard players like me.”
However, Philip had some words of his own.
“For those of my haters who disagree about my nomination, I ask you to set up a time and place where we can play one-on-one to decide who is the greatest Cluster Ball athlete. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Philip.
Prem Prabhakar ’20
Prem “The Sophomore Sensation” Prabhakar ’20 has been an integral part of the Red Team since the very first day of Cluster Basketball.
Prabhakar said, “I’m the main three point shooter on the team. So usually, I’ll drop about eight buckets a game, maybe. I mean, I’m kinda the leading scorer of my Red Team.”
Basketball has been an essential part of Prabhakar’s life and throughout his time at Andover. Standing at 6’5,’’
Prabhakar claims he won the genetic lottery. Prabhakar says, “Basketball is in my blood. My mom is actually a WNBA All-Star, and I’ve been gifted with the talent of natural height and athleticism.”
Despite his alleged genetic advantage, Prabhakar has never played a varsity sport, according to Andover Athletics. Instead, Prabhakar has decided to focus his aspirations toward more important tasks. In fact, Cluster Basketball is something that Prabhakar aspired to be a part of since his time at Andover.
“I’ve been working for years on my shot form, and I’ve been dribbling basketballs around since I was maybe two or three years old,” said Prabhakar.
Prabhakar has been observed continuing his training for the next Cluster Basketball season at a nearby Shaolin monastery.