It’s worth the drive to watch the Lee Postgrad team play basketball

If you’re interested in seeing some legitimate Division I basketball prospects, then take the one-hour drive from Bangor to Lee, where Lee Academy is located and where three DI prospects on its postgrad team have already signed to play at Drexel, Bradley and Vermont.
The Lee Academy Postgrad team is the brainstorm of headmaster Bruce Lindberg, a former successful Maine high school coach who started the program in 2005.
At that time there were only two prep schools in Maine that produced DI prospects, Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield and Bridgton Academy.
Lee’s program was developed to increase the different cultures of students that attend Lee Academy from all over the world.
With it came some very good DI basketball prospects. Over the past seven years, 25 players have signed DI scholarships.
Last season they had a player at St. Bonaventure who played in the big dance and another at Colorado.
Currently, Lee has four graduates playing professionally in China and one in Australia.
Located 60 miles north of Bangor, the major problem for this very successful program has been the difficulty of getting out-of-state prep school teams to travel there.
More than 75 percent of their games are on the road as they travel thousands of miles throughout New England and Canada in search of high quality opponents.
In the 1950s, there were several schools in Maine that had postgraduate teams. I can remember when I played at Husson from 1955-58 that we played MCI of Pittsfield and Higgins Classical Institute of Charleston. Kents Hill and Hebron Academy also had postgraduate teams.
Just this past season MCI dropped its postgrad team as did Winchendon Prep in Massachusetts. This has really put a crimp in Lee’s home schedule this season.
Lee athletic director Randy Harris is constantly on the search for new opponents that are willing to play home-and-home.
I have watched this program develop ever since its inception when Brian McDormand, currently the boys varsity coach at Old Town High School, was named its first coach. Carl Parker, currently the coach for Nokomis High School boys, took over for McNormand. Jim Graffam, an outstanding college coach at St. Joseph’s College in Vermont, has also coached at Lee.
Currently, Deshon Gaither is in his second year as the head coach, after being an assistant for a season. He has an outstanding 34-12 record against some of the top prep school teams on the East Coast.
He is ably assisted by two former Lee prep players: Trevon Wilcher who went on to play at University of Maine and Chris Bass who went on to play at LSU. Chris is the brother of Brandon Bass, a former LSU player who is currently playing for the Boston Celtics.
Both had a positive experience at Lee and wanted to return to give back to the program.
Just this this past weekend Lee hosted highly touted Notre Dame Prep from Fitchburg, Mass., in Friday-Saturday games.
On Friday night Lee lost a very well played game 78-74, but came back Saturday and handed the Irish a sound 30-point beating.
I have seen the Preppers play every year they have been in existence and it has been great to see such outstanding athletic basketball players display their skills and abilities and know that you are watching many future DI stars.
Some have been critical of Lee Academy’s high school boys team because they have had some outstanding high school players come into the school from out of state and out of the country. Lee is no different than many other private high schools in Maine which get good players who wish to attend its school for academic reasons and also happen to be good basketball players.
Lee has been accused of recruiting since its high school success with a state title in 2011 and runnerup last season.
I can sympathize with the Lee program because when I coached at John Bapst, a private secondary school in Bangor, from 1987-2000, I was accused of recruiting. The funny thing about being accused of recruiting: it only seems to happen when you have championship teams.
My experience with recruiting is that there are more public high schools than private high schools in Maine and the public schools are doing the bulk of the recruiting.
The Lee Postgrad team does have some high school age players on its roster, so if Lee really wanted to load up, then it could play these players on its high school team. Instead, Lee chooses what is in the best interest of the individual players and plays them at the appropriate level.