Atlantic 10 Conference teams could have a big problem on their hands starting in 2016.
After taking a visit to the school, Northwood senior center Michael Layssard gave his verbal commitment to Rhode Island Sunday.
“It’s a great group of people,” Layssard said. “The team and all of the coaches are going to have a big jump and I wanted to be a part of it. All of the people in Rhode Island are friendly and nice. (The school) has a great fan base and I just loved everything. I’m just looking forward to getting up there and playing my role.”
Averaging 20 points, 11 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a junior and helping the Gators reach the quarterfinals, Layssard earned a spot to the All-Cenla and the LSWA All-State first teams.
However, Layssard is looking to do even better as a senior, including helping Northwood reach the Top 28 for the first time since 2004.
“I’m expecting a state championship, no doubt about it,” Layssard said. “We came so close last year. We were up by 13 at halftime and (Metairie Park Country Day) came back to win. That blew me away and made me mad.”
This season, Northwood is breaking in a new coach as Troy Grigg left the school to become an assistant at Alexandria Senior High. However, Layssard’s game has drawn good reviews from his new coach.
“One of the things that has really impressed me is for a guy that is as big as he is, he has one of the softest shots I’ve seen on any player,” Gators coach Daniel Aikens said. “He can shoot from the whole court.”
Although he stands at 6-foot-8 and 268 pounds, Layssard has a unique skillset unlike most big men, who are confined to the paint.
“I was told that when he was in the fourth grade, he was always a big kid, but he was running point guard until high school,” Aikens said. “That really helped him develop his shot and he’s not one-dimensional. He not only the guy that can punish you on the way to the basket, but he can stand outside and punish you with 3-pointers and midrange shots.”
While he will be a long way from home, Layssard hopes that his parents can still see him play.
“I’ll tell them to come out there and find a way to get there,” Layssard said.
The Gators have a game against Zwolle from Class B Nov. 16.