Brewer's Isaac Cummings (left) blocks a shot from Bangor's Damien Vance during their basketball game at the Red Barry Gym in Bangor in 2017. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

One of the biggest challenges faced by the Bangor High School boys basketball team last winter concerned depth, with plenty of inexperience to be found on a seniorless roster.

But not only will the Rams will return next season virtually intact, but they’ll also be bolstered by a veteran newcomer from within the city limits.

Isaac Cummings, a rising senior guard who lives in Bangor but has played for the last two seasons at neighboring Brewer High School, has enrolled at Bangor High for the 2018-19 academic year and is playing for the Rams’ summer basketball team.

“It definitely was a hard decision,” Cummings said, “not only basketball-wise but leaving friends and teachers I’ve had for the past three years.”

Cummings was born in California but moved with his family to Brewer. He played basketball as a seventh- and eighth-grader at Brewer Community School before moving up to Brewer High School where he played subvarsity basketball as a freshman and joined the varsity squad as a sophomore.

Cummings moved to Bangor midway through his sophomore year but continued to attend Brewer through the end of his junior year via superintendents’ agreements between the schools.

He and his family opted not to seek to extend the superintendents’ agreement for his senior year, clearing the way for Cummings to attend Bangor based on residency.

Cummings is expected to contribute immediately on the basketball court for the Rams after leading all Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North players with 6.5 assists per game last season, when Brewer went 7-11 record and earned the eighth and final Class A North tournament berth.

“Obviously Isaac brings a wealth of skills with him and he’s fitting in well chemistry-wise with the guys,” said new Bangor boys basketball coach Brad Libby. “I’m still getting to know him, and he’s still getting to know me just as are the other players who are taking part in the Bangor summer league program. It’s been a lot of fun. He’s working hard and getting to know the expectations of the Bangor basketball program, and coming along well like all the other players.”

Cummings joins a Bangor roster led by Bangor Daily News All-Maine first-team senior forward Matt Fleming, who recently received a Division I basketball scholarship offer from Army to go with an earlier offer from the University of Maine, and classmate Damien Vance, a former guard at Brewer as a freshman before transferring to Bangor and one of Cummings’ AAU teammates.

Other returning starters from Bangor’s 2017-18 team, which went 9-9 and qualified for the Class AA North tournament, include junior forward Henry Westrich and senior forward Noah Missbrenner.

“I feel like playing with Damien and Matt would be good for me just because they’re getting looks from colleges and that’s basically the biggest thing. I want to be able to play college basketball,” Cummings said. “It’s really exciting to know that I’m surrounded by so many good players, and being able to join them and hopefully make a name for myself feels really special.”

Vance currently is sidelined with a dislocated ankle, but Cummings is getting the chance to play summer basketball with Fleming, who’s still recovering from a dislocated elbow.

“I’ve gotten some pretty wide open layups just with the defense being focused on Matt so much and having to help on him and Henry, too, with Henry being such a good shooter,” the 5-foot-10-inch Cummings said.

Cummings also hopes to benefit from Bangor’s Class AA schedule, which consists primarily of games against the state’s other largest schools, primarily in southern Maine.

“I’ve played against most of those kids in AAU basketball before so I know what I’m going up against,” he said. “That’s another big thing, that tough competition. I’m looking forward to getting better.

“And the travel part, I’m looking forward to that, too, I think we’ll be able to come closer as a team on the bus rides and enjoy those times, too.”

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...