Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nike Grassroots Tournament Day I Recap

Dane Goodwin and Amari Davis
We were able to catch some of the Friday night action at the Nike Grassroots Tournament in Columbus last night. First up was a 7th grade match-up between Dayton’s MVP Dynasty and All-Ohio Southeast. By the time we got there, MVP Dynasty was already in control of the game, and would go on to get the win 89-63. Darryl Duverglas (5’8/SG/2020/Dayton) was the high man with a game-high 28 points. Keshawn Hugley backed him up with a 21-point performance, while Zierin Exon (6’2/C/2020/Dayton) added 16 points.  For All-Ohio, Zack Loveday (6’7/C/2020/Gallipolis) scored a team-high 19 points in the loss.  We first saw Loveday earlier this month at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and were very impressed with his potential then.  What we saw on Friday revealed more production as Loveday was tough to handle in the post.  He is still very slender, but his length and footwork allow him to score on shorter defenders.  Loveday also rebounds at a high rate and gets his hands on a lot of shots.  We still believe his long-term potential is significant.

We finally got our first look at All-Ohio’s 2019 team as they faced off against Buckeye Prep-Goodwin, a 9th grade team.  Our first question was to what extent All-Ohio Red had upgraded, as they did not return for a third season with the NYBL and people were wondering. Other than Tailor Currie (6’6/C/2019/Worthington), Trenton Gillionson, a 6’3 freshman from Pickerington Central High School, Tanner Holden  (6’1/WF/2019/Wheelersburg) and Cameron Curry, the core of the team is still intact.  Of course Jordan Mitchell is running with King James and Gerard Reynolds and Greg Tribble Jr. have moved on. The starters appear to be Jeremiah Francis, Andre Gordon, Amari Davis, Chris’sean Stringer, Demarco Bradley Jr. and Tailor Currie. The fact that All-Ohio went toe-toe with arguably the top 9th grade team in the state suggests they are still a quality team despite the defections from last season. 

For the record, Buckeye Prep won the game 56-55.  Is should be noted there was a bit of controversy as most in the crowd believed the game went into overtime after Amari Davis drained a deep three with time running out.  The problem, although the scoreboard read 57-57, the official score book reflected 56-55.  Game over. Despite the drama, the big story of the game was the big time performances of Dane Goodwin (6’3/WF/2018/Upper Arlington) and Amari Davis (6’2/WF/2019/Trotwood), both of whom displayed high major talent.  Goodwin, an Ohio State commitment, confirmed why Thad Matta offered the freshman a scholarship before he played his first high school game. Goodwin is super smooth, is a lights out shooter from beyond the ark, has deceptive athleticism and can score at the rim.  Goodwin finished with a team-high 27 points. Not to be outdone, Amari Davis was as impressive as we have ever seen him.  Davis has always been considered somewhat of a sleeper, but his game has awakened. Deep threes and drives to the basket is how Davis got it done on Friday, as he hit big shot after big shot.  He’s young, but Davis may have the highest ceiling of any player on his team.  College coaches should be tracking Davis as college ball is definitely in his future.  We plan to stick around for day 2 to see if we can find some more standout performers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

NYBL Session I Day Two Recap

J. Ray, T. Williams, J. Harvey, D. Hudson, C, Charleston, T. Miller, D. Scott, G. Dexter, J. Edmonds
Much like day 1, Sunday’s action convinced us that the NYBL is absolutely loaded across the board, both in terms of team and individual talent.  In teams of team performance, 9 teams rolled out of the DMV with unblemished records. In the 8th grade division, the undefeated teams included: New World, Butler Elite, Team Rio, and Philly Triple Threat.  The 7th grade appeared to be a little more rugged, as only the Oakland Soldiers and Team Durant finished a 5-0.  The five 6th grade teams with perfect records were New World, Team Takeover, S Elite Bmores Finest and the West Coast All-Stars. Although not perfect, a 4-1 record in the NYBL is still very impressive. Eleven teams fit this category including: Team Teague, Garner Road Bulldogs, D.C. Premier, Metro Flyers, Bmores Finest, Team Florida and Team Charlotte in the 2019 division, while Team Takeover, RIP City, West Coast All-Stars, San Diego Select and God First Crusaders represented in 2020, and S. Elite and the Oakland Soldiers got it done for the 6th graders.

Team Takeover 2021 not only finished 5-0 for the weekend, but they did it in convincing fashion, winning each of the 5 games by double digits.  The closet game they had was against CBC Elite who kept the margin of victory to 12 points. Team Takeover is powered by a core of players including Trevor Keels (5’11/W/PF/2021/Clinton, MD), Kino Lilly (5’2/PG/2021/Glendale, MD), EJ Speight (6’3/C/2021/MD), Rodney Rice (5’4/P/SG/2021/Clinton, MD) and Darius Johnson (5’5/PG/2021/Germantown, MD). Keels is considered the primary scorer on a loaded squad as evidenced by his multiple 20 point games.  Lilly is described as a natural PG who can dominate a game without scoring.

Takeover is not the only 2021 team that ran the table in session I; New World also flexed their muscles and dominated the competition. New World is paced by Jaylen Hall (5’7/WF/2021/Glen Arden, MD), Elijah Hawkins (4’11/PG/2021/Washington DC) and Julian Ellerby (5’9/WF/2021/Washington DC).  New World excels in transition and  any of the players can rebound the ball and push it up the court. Hall is impacts the game in every aspect.  Big, strong and finishes is how most observers describe Hall’s game. Hawkins handles the PG duties and Ellerby is represents a key piece to the puzzle

The West Coast All-Stars made the trek out east and proved that the left coast can play ball as well, despite the “East Coast Bias.”  Mike Morris’ squad blew through the field, winning by double digits in all 5 games. The “man” on that team is Latrelle Moore (5’11/PF/2021/Houston, TX) who jumps out the gym with his elite athleticism. Tryone Washington (5’7/P/SG/2021/Tempe, AZ) did double duty this past weekend, playing up and down on the program’s 2020 and 2021 teams.  Washington is a load in 2020, but in 2021 he’s a problem! Dynamic, crafty and vision are Washington’s strengths. Recardo Sarmiento (5’7/SG/2021/Phoenix, AZ), Jaden Jones (5’8/P/SG/2021/Dallas, TX), Brandon Perez (6’0/W/PF/2021/LA, CA) and Chris Page (6’1/C/2021/LA, CA) all contribute to the depth of this team.  The West Coast All-Stars play a fast-paced, run and gun style play that takes advantage of easy scoring opportunities. According to Head coach Mike Morris, “the league [NYBL] was loaded with talent last year, but this year there are even more competitive teams.”

We would be remiss if we did not mention possibly the best game of the day on Sunday. It’s NYBL policy to match-up the best teams as often as possible.  To that end, Team Texas, serving as a fill in team for the Arkansas Soldierz, was matched up with D.C. Premier in a showcase game at the end of the day on Sunday.  As expected, the game was a dogfight from the tip to the final horn.  The 2 heavy weights traded body blows the entire contest.  D.C. Premier seemed to hold the lead for most of the game, but it was never really by more than a couple of buckets.  Premiere led 16-11 after the 1st quarter and went into halftime up 27-22.  DC was still up 41-37 to start the finial period and would go on to win 50-53.  We knew he was tough, but some of the stuff Marvin Price was doing was high major stuff.  Strong, athletic and skilled best describes Price. Oh yea, Price dropped a game-high 18 points in the game. Makhi Mitchell deserves some credit as he not only served as rim protector; he also seemed to finish everything near the rim to the tune of 16 points.  Christian Depollar added 7 points. As was the case the entire session, Team Texas’ guard play was phenomenal! In our opinion, Chris Harris, De’vion Harmon and Tyrese Maxey are all future high major D-I guards.  All three have D-I size, skill and IQ.  Harris and Maxey both finished with 13 points, while Harmon and Grant Sherifield finished with 9 points.

M. Price, M. Mitchell, B. James, D. OdomS. Cooper, M. Moreno, J. Pugh, Z. Graham & J. Springer
We were extremely excited about all of the “Fresh Faces” faces that have entered into the league and we look forward to introducing the new talent to the world.  We saw him lighting it up on Saturday then he did it again on Sunday.  Krim Caulibaly (6’7/C/2019/Temple Hill, MD) is a star in the making.  The NYBL is accustom to introducing the next great thing to world, now we give you Caulibaly. Great size, athleticism and an amazing skill set for an 8th grader. We are already thinking high major potential. We also wrote about Isaac Okoro (6’3/PF/2020/Atlanta, GA) in our day 1 recap, but the more we watched hoop and looked at the scorebooks the more impressive Okoro appeared.  Yes he’s big, aggressive and can handle the rock, but Okoro is a scoring machine! In fact, it appears that Okoro went for at least 20 points in 3 of the 5 games he played, and was  the leading scorer for the session. The league is known to find and make stars, well Okoro could be one of the next big names to come out of the NYBL!

Jacob Ray (6’5/WF/2019/LA, CA) caught our eye on day 2.  Ray runs the floor well for his size, has a high motor and finishes at a high rate around the cup.  Teamed up with the dynamic EJ Jackson (5’6/PG/2019/CA), who is an absolute wizard with the rock, the West Coast Stars is a great addition to the NYBL.  Jackson’s national reputation is unquestioned as is his ability to create easy shots for his teammates.  Justin McKoy (6’3/WF/2019/Cary, NC) caught our eye this weekend and could be another star in the making. Equipped with a big frame, a soft touch and an aggressive disposition, McKoy could be mentioned among the best by the time the league finals roles around in Columbus in June. 

We did not see much of him, but what we did see of Jamahri Harvey (6’2/SG/2019/Fayetteville, NC) we really liked!  Clearly, Harvey has a nice frame and loads of athleticism.  We plan to take a closer look at Harvey at session II in Richmond. E1T1 2020 only finished 2-3 in session I, but Leonard Manuel is worth keeping an eye on. Blessed with good size and explosiveness, Manuel could end up being one of the best players in a loaded 2020 division. His teammate, Gervon Dexter (6’6/C/2020/Lakewales, FL) is a raw talent, but his body, motor and explosiveness are off the charts. The kid plays above the rim, tries to block everything, while making it near impossible for his opponents to finish near the rim.  As his skill set catches up with his freak athleticism (and he doesn’t decide to stick with football), Dexter has next level potential. CJ Charleston (5’9/WF/2020/Cleveland) was a surprise find.  The more we watched him the more we appreciated his game. Charleston stayed in the paint and finished in traffic near the rim.  He’s not just a slasher; Charleston can drain the 3 ball as well.  Case in point, Charleston dropped a 20 spot in a game on Saturday.

L. Moore, D. Booker, J. Blackmon, M. Branham, C. Furst, N. Peeples, W. Sizer, D. Henry & C. Houston
Although we know him well from his affiliation with All-Ohio Red the last couple of years, Noah Peeples is new to the NYBL.  In DC, Peeoples was a dominant force for his EBA Hoops team.  Although he has played closer to the basket over the past couple of years, Peeples’ game is evolving and he is now more than comfortable playing a guard position.  In the class of 2021, Peeples is a big guard with a solid handle who can get his team buckets. Case in point, in the game against Team Durant, Peeples exploded for 21 points. The Truth’s Devon Fox (5’10/SG/2019/Cleveland, OH) really impressed us with his tenaciousness, elite handle, athleticism and ability to finish.  When we saw him, Fox was in complete attack mode and showed he can also knock down the perimeter shot.  Fox went for 17 points against the Lexington Hustle. We’ve seen Jalen Blackmon (5’7/PG/2021/Ft. Wayne, IN) before and predicted he would follow in his older brother’s footsteps and play high major ball.  The Younger Blackmon does not do much of the elite showcase and camp circuit, so he is not yet a household name; however, he has a special talent. Blackmon has the ability to score on all three levels, is smart with the rock, finds open teammates and makes few mistakes.

We already listed Balsa Koprovica (7’0/C/2019/FL) as a standout out in out day 1 recap, and we should have mentioned that he is still clearly elite and should be playing in the NBA in a few years.  What we did not mention is the fact the Bryan Sanders (6’0/SG/2019/FL) is still a threat to put up big numbers. In the game against GPU Steel Rivers, Sanders exploded for 20 points.  He simply could not be prevented from getting into the paint and finishing.  We did not see him on Saturday, but what we saw of Team Takeover’s Terrence Williams (6’4/WF/2020/D.C) on Sunday convinced us he is still among the top 5 players in the class of 2020. Williams’ combination of size and skill makes him tough to guard around the bucket. Not only can he score in the paint, Williams is equipped with a jumper if left unguarded. Drake Booker (5’9/WF/2021/Las Vegas) is the engine that drives the Oakland Solders.  The super smooth wing has a mature game and an advanced skill set.

Scoring Leaders
Any time a player can put up 20 plus points on a team he has to have something to work with and deserves to be highlighted.  We did not catch them all, but some of the players included in the “20 Point Club” include: Krim Coulibaly (2019 New World); Isaac Okoro-3 (2019 AOT); Bryan Antoino-3 (2019 Team Rio); Chris Harris Jr. (2019 Team Texas); Alec Prfiem-2 (2019 SWO Elite); Balsa Koprivica (2019 Team Florida); Jacob Ray (2019 West Coast Stars); James Bishop (2019 Bmores Finest); Evan Prater (2019 SWO Elite); Joey Edmonds (2019 SWO Elite);  Sharife Cooper (2019 AOT); Joshua Nickelberry (2019 Team Loaded), Devon Fox (2019 The Truth); Dieblo Stewart (2019 Lexington Hustle); Malik Anderson; Zion Harmon (2010 Oakland Soldiers); Kyree Walker-4 (2020 Oakland Soldiers); Matt Allocco (2020 Mid-Ohio Pumas); Jack Pugh (2020 Mid-Ohio Pumas); AJ Hoggard (2020 Team Durant); CJ Charleston (2020 OBC); Kobe (LNU) (2020 E1T1), Shemar Morrow (2020 Oakland Soldiers); M. Land (2020 SWO Elite); K. Wright (2020 GPU Steel Rivers); Makhi White (2020 GHITP); Ish Leggett (2020 Team Takeover); Dwon Odom (2020 Worldwide); Julian Thomas (2020 Team Final Red); Trevor Keels (2021 Team Takeover); Latrelle Moore (2021 West Coast All-Stars); Jalen Blackmon (2021 Team Teague); Noah Peeoples (2021 EBA Hoops); J. Paz (Team Final Red 610ers) and Sam Alamata (2021 DC United).

Top Performers

2019: Jacob Ray-West Coast Stars, Jamahri Harvey-Fayetteville Elite; Donte Scott-Philly Triple Threat; Tristan Miller-CBC/Havoc; EJ Jackson-West Coast Stars; Devon Fox-The Truth, Bryce Waller-The Truth; Demonte Hudson-Butler Elite; Jordan McKay-Team Rio; Tariq Ingraham-Team Rio; Caleb McReed-CBC/Havoc; Malik Anderson-New World; DJ Horne-Garner Road Krim Caulibaly-New World; Evan Prater-SWO Elite; Ed Sanchez-Metro Flyers; Dejourn Cook-Metro Flyers; John Wilson-Metro Flyers.  2020: Jason Harris-West Coast All-Stars; Marvin Davies-King James; Chris Mayfield-Mid-Ohio Pumas; Cameron McCreory-Mid-Ohio Pumas; CJ Charleston-OBC; Jordon Toles-Team Durant; Kenneth McElrath-OBC; Sharife Cooper-A.O.T. & Isaiah LeBlanc-God First Crusaders; Dupree Bryant-RIP City; Makhi White-GHITP; Andrew Small-Florida Elite; Isaiah Kennedy-King James; Devonte Blanton-King James; Alex Wade-San Diego Select; Obinna Anyanwe-San Diego Select; Jacoby Wright-CBC Elite; Richard Waller-Garner Road Elliott; Chibuzo Agbo-San Diego Select and Richie Greavis-Team Izod, Chase Ellie-Worldwide Wildcats. 2021: Jaylen Hall-New World; Drake Booker-Oakland Soldiers; Trevor Keels-Team Takeover; Delvon Johnson-Team Glory; Noah Peeoples-EBA Hoops; Christian Moore-Bmores Finest; Tyrone Washington-West Coast All-Stars; Josh Nickelberry-Team Izod; Trey Thomas-Team Takeover; Sean Jones-All-Ohio Red, Josiah Mobley-All-Ohio Red; Wil Sizer-All-Ohio Red; Jalen McDonald and Tramon Mack.

If teams thought the match-ups in session I were extreme, wait until the action shifts to Richmond, VA for session II.  The match-ups in 2020 will be epic, and some of the teams that are currently packing 5-0 and 4-1 records will get a taste just what “NYBL competition” is really all about.  We understand we did not catch every player who logged in standout performance but we intend to focus on teams and players that did not get much exposure from session to session. Can’t wait for session II!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NYBL Session #1 Day 1 Recap

M. Price, B. Antoine, M. Mitchell, D. Harmon, K. Coulibaby, I. Okoro, C. Harris, N. Day & S. Lewis
By most accounts, session #1 of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) was a huge success! From the feedback we received from coaches, parents, players and innocent bystanders, the talent assembled in Washington D.C. was unmatched by any middle school event in the country.  Eighty-eight teams from as far as California, Texas, Florida and Canada battled it out in hopes of landing favorable seeding for the NYBL National Championship in June.  Fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to evaluate a number of new players who have not yet received the national recognition they deserve.  Although a few big name teams did not return to the league this year, it was clear to everyone in attendance that the league is absolutely loaded with talent! In fact, the 2019 division expanded from 32 to 36 teams this year, while the 2020 division went from 16-28 teams, and the league added a 24-team 2021 division.  At the end of the day, there are simply more good players in the league this year than past years!

Anytime you match-up elite teams and players you’re bound to create a great deal of intensity and some special moments. Just like the storylines being played out in March Madness across the country, no team is immune from upsets in the NYBL.  One of the biggest storylines of the weekend was the turnaround logged in by Mike Dobbins’ Team Loaded squad, who despite having been blown out by Team Rio 80-26 in the opening game on Saturday, came back 2 hours later and took down a stacked D.C. Premier 60-53. For those kids to dig down deep and turn it around in such a short time is both a testament to the players and their will to win.  It also illustrates that in the NYBL if you have a let down and don’t come to play, you can get beaten regardless of your reputation!

It wasn’t an upset, put the Team Texas vs Team Teague matchup right out of the gate on Saturday was very competitive, required overtime, and really set the tone for the entire day.  Despite the efforts of Mike Moreno (6’5/PF/KY/2019), the stellar guard play of Tyrees Maxey, Chris Harris and Devion Harmon proved too much for the Indiana-based Teague.  Another good one on day one pitted 2019 D.C. Premier against Team Florida. This game featured 2 of 2019’s best post players in Balse Koprovica (7’0/C/2019/FL) and Makhi Mitchell (6’7/PF/C/MD/2019). The game was highly contested until the end, but D.C. Premier was ahead 42-47 by the time the horn sounded. Mitchell and Koprovica played well the entire day and did nothing but strengthened their national reputations.

K. Walker, Z. Harmom, J. Harris, S. Morrow, P. Dawson, L. Manuel, T. Notarainnu, C. Ellis, & J. Pugh
Bmores Finest’s James Bishop (6’0/PG/2019/Bmore) hit the ground running on Saturday and proved to be his team’s primary scoring option. The super crafty guard can get in the paint consistently and get others involved, but he can also put up big numbers if required to do so. Butler Elite returned for a second season in the NYBL and their two-headed monster of Demonte Hudson (5’9/SG/2019/Racine, WI) and Noble Days (6’8/C/2019/Racine, WI) gave teams problems all day. West Coast Elite’s 2021 team has a good one in Latrelle Moore (5’9/PF/2021/Houston, TX) and Chris Page (6’2/WF/2021/CA). Moore is an explosive athlete with a mature game that makes an impact both offensively and defensively. Also, we plan to follow E1T1’s Leonard Manuel (6’2/WF/2020/Ocala, FL) over the next couple of sessions as he proved to be a great looking athlete with a big upside. Team Durant’s Anthony “AJ” Hoggard (5’9/PG/2020/Philly) was one of the best 2020 guards we saw all day.  A big guard with an elite handle, Hoggard has no problem breaking down his defender and getting into the paint for a score or dish.  The Worldwide Wildcats are loaded with elite prospects including Dwon Odom (6’1/SG/2020/ATL), Chase Ellis (6’0/PF/2020/ATL) and Jeremy Roach (5’8/SG/2020/GA) to name a few and all three of them are worth tracking going forward.

In the 2019 division, several teams went to bed Saturday night with an undefeated record.   Some of those teams included New World, Team Rio, Philly Triple Threat, Team Texas and Butler Elite.  Some of the 2020 teams joining the ranks of the undefeated after day 1 included Team Durant and the Oakland Solders, while some of the 2021 teams included New World, Team Takeover and the West Coast All-Stars. In addition, Team Izod 2021 is absolutely loaded with elite talent with the likes of Trey Patterson (6’3/C/2021/Summerset, NJ) , Darnell Harris (6’3/PF/2021/Miami, FL) and Kahlil Farmer (5’8/PG/2021/Philly).  Izod is long and athletic and will be tough to beat the rest of the NYBL season. We were also pleasantly surprised with teams like 2019 New World and Triple Threat who we had heard and read about but had not had a chance to see them play.  Both teams have legitimate bigs with long-term potential. We wrote about Team Charlotte a few days ago and their play in session #1 confirmed what we had heard.  They took a 72-66 hit from Bmores Finest in the opening game, but would not loose again the rest of the weekend.

D. Patterson, J. Blackman, D. Harris, M. Branham, N. Peeoples, D. Booker, S. Jones, C Houston, & D. Johnson
The 2020 Mid-Ohio Pumas shocked a couple of teams with their team-oriented brand of basketball.  They may not have a roster full of bigs or extreme athletes, but they excel at executing their offense and distributing the ball to open teammates. The West Coast All-stars found that out the hard way as they went down to the Columbus, Ohio-based team 72-66.  Jack Pugh (6’0/W/PF/2020/Plain City, OH) is the primary stud on that team, but he gets big time support from a solid core of skilled players. Although the Pumas would take one on the chin against Steve Wade’s San Diego Select team later in the day, they would finish the nightcap with a comeback win over God First Crusaders.  San Diego is well built with the requisite floor general in Alex Wade (5’5/PG/2020/San Diego, CA) and consistent scoring from Thomas Notarainni (6’0/SG/2020/San Diego, CA), but this team also has great post play and plays as a cohesive unit. San Diego is clearly one of the best 2020 teams in the league and has a solid chance at the title.  We have to mention the Oakland Solders who were clicking on all cylinders on day one. If a roster of Shemar Morrow and Khari Walker wasn’t enough, the Soldiers have gone out and added more top 10 talent in Zion Harmon and Jaden Springer.  Although a few teams manage to hang with Oakland early in games, by the time the horn sounds Oakland is often comfortably ahead. Simply too much talent on this team for most teams!

Day 1 featured far too many compelling games and match-ups to mention here; however, we will take a shot of highlighting some of the standout performers we saw. As we have often stated, we love seeing talented kids for the first time and digging out those diamonds in the rough.  Add New World’s Karim Coulibaly (6’7/C/MD/2019) to that list, as Coulibaby was a straight beast in the games we saw. Long, with a nice touch around the basket and the ability to finish at a high clip, Coulibaby’s potential is through the roof. We also really liked AOT’s Isaac Okoro (6’3/PF/C/Atlanta/2019). Okoro has a strong frame, is very athletic and handles the rock well for his size.  Although only 7th graders, AOT’s backcourt features the Cooper brothers, who despite their diminutive size, provide solid backcourt play to the Atlanta-based squad. We had heard about team Charlotte’s Zeb Graham Jr. (5’11/PG/Charlotte/2019), and he was as good as advertised. Justin McKoy (6’3/WF/Cary, NC/2019) was another intriguing prospect. McKoy has good size, is strong, and has a nice touch around the cup and great footwork.

Team Rio’s Bryan Antoine (6’4/SG/2019/NJ) had a huge day one and continues to make a case as one of the top players in the league.  Antonie has continued to stretch out, is deceptively explosive, super smooth and has really perfected his outside shot.  The elite shooting guard has turned into a big time scorer.  In should be mentioned that on Saturday, Antonie had back-to-back breakaway dunks.  Also really impressive on day one was D.C. Premiere’s Marvin Price (6’3/SG/2019/Bmore) who was in straight beast mode.  Price is an elite athlete with loads of potential and represents serious matchup problems for most teams, as he is too big for most guards and is too quick for bigs.  The Cincinnati, Ohio-based SWO Elite finished 2-1 on Saturday and was powered by a trio of players including Joey Edmonds (5’8/PG/2019/Wyoming, OH), Alec Pfriem (6’3/SG/2019/West Chester) and Nick Thelon (6’4/PF/C/2019/Edgewood, KY). Although none of the above have national reputations, they all are consistent performers with a chance to play college ball at some level.

With 88 teams in the league playing on 12 courts, it’s extremely hard to see every team and player. Over the course of league play, our media partners and we will do our best to provide exposure to every player that deserves it.  We also plan to publish a day 2 report in a few days that will highlight the play of more players.  Also, keep an eye out for highlight videos from Ty Kish and Middle School Hoops.  If what went down in session 1 is any indicator, the teams and players in the NYBL are in for a serious treat!

Standout Performers:

2019: Bryan Antonie-Team Rio: Scottie Lewis-Team Rio; Makhi Mitchell-D.C. Premier; Karim Coulibaly-New World; Isaac Okoro-AOT; Donte Scott-Philly Triple Threat; Mike Moreno-Team Teague; Jay Heath-New World; Tyrese Maxey-Team Texas; Chris Harris-Team Texas; Devion Harmon-Team Texas; Bishop James-Bmores Finest; Zeb Graham Jr.-Team Charlotte; James Mungo-Bmores Finest; Joey Edmonds-SWO Elite; Alec Pfriem-SWO Elite; Nick Thelon-SWO Elite; Josh Burkhart-SWO Elite; Justin McKoy-Garner Road Bulldogs; Triston Miller-CBC Havoc; Jacob Ray-West Coact Stars; EJ Jackson-West Coast Stars; Horne-Garner Road Bulldogs. 2020: Shemar Morrow-Oakland Soldiers; Khari Walker-Oakland Solders; Jaden Springer-Oakland Solders; Anthony Hoggard-Team Durant; Gervon Dexter-E1T1; Cone-Worlwide Wildcats; Dwon Odom-Worldwide Wildcats; Leonard Manuel-E1T1; Chuck Harris-023 Feet; Chase Ellis-Worldwide All-Stars; Jeremy Roach-Team Durant; Alex Wade-San Diego Select; Thomas Notarainni-San Diego Select; Jack Pugh-Mid-Ohio Pumas; Chris Mayfield-Mid-Ohio Pumas; Matt Allocco-Mid-Ohio Pumas; S. Cooper-AOT; O. Cooper-AOT; Tramon Mark-God First Crusaders. 2021: Trey Paterson-Team Izod; Darnell Harris-Team Izod; Kahlil Farmer-Team Izod; Malaki Branham-Buckeye Prep; Jayden Hawkins-White-Buckeye Prep; Caleb Houston-S Elite; Latrell Moore-West Coast All-Stars; Chris Page-West Coast All-Stars; Blackman-Team Teague; Drake Booker-Oakland Solders; and Caleb Houston-S Elite.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Team Charlotte 2019 Poised for Breakout in the NYBL

Team Charlotte 2019
After a great showing at CP3’s tournament this past weekend in Winston Salem, NC, where Antijuan Love's 2019 Team Charlotte team stood toe to toe with some of  2019’s elite, the Charlotte, NC based team could make some serious noise when the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) season  tips off this weekend.  In Keyford Langley’s event, Team Charlotte defeated the defending AAU National Champion CP3 by a comfortable margin; later took down the Upstate Warriors and the Queen City Thunder, before losing to Team Florida in the championship game.  For the sake of full disclosure, Langley’s team was incomplete and was not expected to compete in the tournament portion of the event, but was forced into action after All-Ohio Red was an unexpected no-show.  With that said, Team Charlotte’s performance in Winston Salem was nothing less than impressive.

Team Charlotte is best described as “an up-tempo team that loves to get out in transition, press, trap and get up in your face defensively,” said Coach Love.  Team Charlotte’s top guy is Zeb Graham Jr. (5’11/PG/Fort Mill, SC) who has been described as one of the best PGs in a state full of talent. According to Love, Graham finished with 32 points against CP3 and dropped another 29 points on Team Florida. Other key pieces to Love’s squad includes Raquan Brown (6’2/SG/Charlotte, NC), who is big and can reportedly play all 5 positions; Matthew Smith (6’3/PF/Charlotte, NC), who is an excellent rebounder and shot blocker; and Nas Tyson (6’0/SG/Monroe, NC), who is described as super-fast.

Formally known as Charlotte Elite, Team Charlotte is sponsored by former NBA and Tarheel great Jeff McInnis and Under Armour, and is off to a 10-4 start to the new season.  That does not include an impressive run at the winter league in Charlotte where Love’s team only lost 2-3 games against high school aged players. When Love’s team arrives in Washington D.C. on Saturday for the tip-off of the NYBL they will be a virtual unknown.  When asked how competitive his team would be in the NYBL Love responded, “I have no clue how competitive we’ll be; I don’t know what’s out there. I know we will be competitive,” continued Love.  We just want to fly under the radar,” said Love.  With guys like Keyford Langley picking you as his “NYBL sleeper team,” we’re not sure how long Love expects to sneak up on teams. Team Charlotte will make their NYBL debut Saturday morning at 9:15am when they face off against Bmores Finest.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Buckeye Prep 2021 to Represent Columbus in NYBL

Patrick Daniels, Jayden Hawkins-White, Azzan Daniels, Malachi Branham & Will Miller
When the third season of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) tips off in Washington D.C. next week, Columbus, Ohio will be well represented by Coach Aaron Brown’s 6th grade Buckeye Prep squad.  Brown’s team has seen steady improvement over the past 2 years as evidenced by their 7th and 15th place finishes at the D-II AAU Nationals.  In addition, this past weekend, Brown’s squad played up in the 7th grade division of Ohio Youth Basketball’s Classic and more than competed against older kids. In fact, Brown’s team won the 7th grade Shootout Bracket.

Although Brown has been able to maintain a good core group of kids over the past 3-4 years, with the addition of more size in the post in the form of Malachi Branham (5’9 PF) and Elijah English (5’9 PF), Brown believes he has closed the talent gap on other 6th grade teams in the city and around the state. As further proof of his team’s talent, in the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last week, 5 of Brown’s players were selected to the prestigious all-star game, while Patrick Daniels’ game-high 14 points garnered him top 5 honors. Buckeye Prep’s core group includes Daaron Brown (5’2/P/SG), Azzan Daniels (5’2/PG), Patrick Daniels (5’7/WF) and Jayden White-Hawkins (5’5/SG). The rest of the roster includes Will Miller (5’9 C), Makhale Massie (5’9/WF), Damion Davis (5’2/PG), Mark Small (5’5/PF) and Jake McCon (5’1/G).

“This is by far my best team yet!!! I don't think anyone can argue we may be best team in our area,” said Brown. Other Ohio-based teams/programs headed to the NYBL this season include the Mid-Ohio Pumas, Ohio Basketball Club, SWO Elite, All-Ohio Red, King James, The Truth, Rail Cities Attack, EBO Hoops and the Dayton Wolves.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Rankings

MVPs-Cameron Carlisle, Kaleb Martin & Sean Jones
Below is a link to the 2015 Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase rankings. The rankings were based on where each player was ranked by their respective coach.  In general, #1, #2 and #3 ranked players were ranked in the top 20.  Also, for the most part, #1 ranked players from each team made the top 10.  In addition to the top 20 and top 10 rankings, a number of players were designated as "Best Defender," "Most Skilled," "Top Prospect," "Mr. Hustle," "Best Attitude" and "Top Underclassman." These special awards are designed to provide additional recognition for certain aspects of the game.  Congratulations to all the players that made the lists!

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Rankings