Friday, January 19, 2018

Belmont's Danny Yardemian has State Title Hopes and National Team Dreams

Photo courtesy of The Belmontonian
By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

The pillars of Massachusetts high school basketball are well known to even the most casual fan. Cambridge, St. John’s Prep, Newton North, and Central Catholic are at the programs that stand out above the rest.

Over in Division 2, Brighton and New Mission have also formed a monopoly over the competition of late.

There is one young star, however, who is hoping to alter the status quo.

One season after making his mark on the court as a sophomore, Danny Yardemian is hoping to put Belmont firmly on the map.

Yardemian is used to getting lost in the shuffle.

In sixth grade he was cut from the travel team and placed on the B team. A two-sport athlete, Yardemian considered specializing in soccer.

However, the six-foot one-inch shooting guard stuck with the hardwood and the results have spoken for themselves.

After playing on the freshman team to begin his high school career, Yardemian earned a starting spot on the varsity team as a sophomore.

Alongside senior captain Paul Ramsey, Yardemian helped lead the Marauders to a 17-6 record and a semi-final appearance in the Division 2 North Tournament.

In their 57-50 loss to now Division 1 North contender Lynn Classical, Yardemian scored a game high 22 points.

Belmont, ready to break through, has loaded up its non-conference slate for the 2017-18 season.

The Marauders have already taken on Everett and Division 3 contender Burke, and are scheduled to face off with Catholic Memorial later this season.

On Friday night, Belmont will take on one of the state's favorites in Division 2, Arlington, in a game that will likely decide the Middlesex League champion.

Yardemian has only improved from the end of his sophomore season. The shooting guard can often be seen using a classic hesitation move to put the opposing defending on skates before blowing by to get to the basket. When not spinning in the lane for a pretty finish, he can also pile up the points from beyond the arc.

“My quickness and speed gives me a big advantage over defenders,” said Yardemian. “Even when I was younger and smaller, 4-foot-8 or 4-foot-9, I have always been running around just trying to get to the basket.”

The up-and-coming star has made returning Belmont to its first state title since 1993 his top career accomplishment.

But that doesn't mean that Yardemian does not have a list of other personal goals.

Two years after seeing one of Belmont’s top players all time in Matt Kerans break the school scoring record, Yardemian is hoping he can find a way to break the mark.

Yardemian currently sits at 456 career points, just less than 800 behind Keran’s all time mark.

Through constant development with his Middlesex Magic AAU coach Michael Crotty and Belmont head coach Adam Pritchard, the potential is there for the junior to become an even more lethal scorer.

So far in nine games, Yardemian is averaging 24 points a night, meaning he could enter his senior year within 500 points of Kerans' total.

“Matt (Kerans), who was one of the best players that has come through (Belmont), has the record and I would love to go after that,” said Yardemian. “Not only that but the assists record – 18 in a game. I think we are at our best when I am able to get all of my teammates involved early, so getting close to that 18 mark would be awesome.”

The most notable of Yardemian's goals, however, sprout from an experience of his from last summer.

Yardemian took a few weeks off from Middlesex Magic on the AAU circuit to play in Armenia as part of an 18U national team qualifier.

While overseas, his group played teams from Lebanon, Canada, London, as well as from the west coast.

Yardemian, whose entire family is of Armenian dissent, has his eyes set on one day playing for the Armenian national team.

“That’s my number one goal,” said Yardemian. “When we got over to meet the Armenian national team and talk to guys like Ryan Boatright who won a national title with UCONN. My entire family is Armenian, so just from a personal standpoint that would mean a lot.”

Yardemian has years until that opportunity may present itself and so for now he is simply relishing the chance to play under his head coach in Pritchard.

At a time when so many stars elect to go to prep or private school, Yardemian has elected to play alongside some of his closest friends in an effort to return a banner to what he says is the best environment in the league.

“I love the environment of this school,” said Yardemian. “The feeling of playing in front of a public school crowd is the best. Your best friends are coming out wearing a shirt or showing their support with everything they’ve got.”

Yardemian hopes that future fans will not have to go far to remember his name – a look up on the wall would suffice. 

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