Joseph “JP” Estrella, the highly recruited 6-foot-11 junior forward who led South Portland High School to its first boys basketball state championship in 30 years earlier this month, will transfer to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, for his senior year.
Estrella averaged 20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.1 blocked shots per game during the regular season for South Portland this winter and was named the Southwestern Maine Activities Association player of the year.
He then was selected as the outstanding player-sportsman of the Class AA South tournament before amassing 19 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Red Riots to a 58-44 victory over Oxford Hills of South Paris in the state final.
That victory capped off a 21-1 season for coach Kevin Millington’s Red Riots and secured South Portland its first gold ball since capturing the 1992 Class A crown with a five-overtime victory over Bangor in the state final.
“We knew it was very, very likely all season long,” Millington said of Estrella’s decision. “He had made up his mind that if he was going to go prep it would be Brewster, then made his decision [last] weekend.”
Estrella told Millington of his decision Saturday, then made it public via Twitter on Monday with a two-word tweet, “Next Chapter” accompanied by a picture of him donning a Brewster Academy basketball uniform.
Estrella is likely to spend just one year in prep school, in great part because of all the Division I scholarship offers he already has attracted and the expectation that there are more to come.
Estrella earned his first scholarship offer last August from Syracuse after attending the Orange’s annual Elite Camp. Since then he has been offered by Boston College, Iowa, Maine, Marquette, Penn State, Providence, Tennessee and Xavier.
He also has been recruited by Harvard, which does not offer athletic scholarships.
Estrella, who plays AAU basketball for the Middlesex Magic and is ranked No. 1 in Maine and No. 10 in New England in the Class of 2023 by New England Recruiting Report, will be playing next season for one of New England’s premier prep school programs.
Brewster Academy has won seven national prep championships since 2010 and seven New England Preparatory School Athletic Council titles since 2008.
The program has averaged more than 30 wins per season during the last 15 years with an 0.870 winning percentage.
Nineteen Brewster Academy alumni have played in the National Basketball Association, and 11 have been selected in the NBA Draft since 2010.
The program also has sent more than 170 players to Division I college programs since 2001.