Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Basketball Spotlight Withdraws From Super Skillcase!

Due to circumstances beyond our control Basketball Spotlight Media has withdrawn from the Super Skillcase in Atlantic City in November. Basketball Spotlight would like to wish I’m Possible Training the best of luck with this event and would also like to thank them for the great memories of the last few years. We look forward to seeing everyone when our circuit kicks off December 6th and 7th. Thank you for your time.

In The Spotlight: Afamdi Achufusi (Havoc City)

Name: Afamdi Achufusi 

AAU Team: Havoc City 

Position: Forward 

Class: 2021 

Breakdown: A fresh face to the Basketball Spotlight scene, the straight A student truly impressed. The 5’9 6th grader can play any position from the 1-5. He grabbed rebounds and pushed the ball the length of the court with ease. He even has range beyond the arc. Achufusi had a game high 22 points and 9 rebounds in Havoc’s final game against Team Philly scoring from just about everywhere on the floor. We will keep our eye on this kid.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One On One Feat: Keyford Langley (CP3 All Stars)

CP3 All Stars Looking To 3 Peat!

Winning an AAU National Championship is one of the hardest feats in youth basketball. It becomes the pinnacle moment for most coaches that get to this level. Therefore if a coach is capable of winning back to back crowns they have to enter legendary status. That being said we sat down with AAU Coaching legend and reigning back to back national champion Keyford Langley. He gave us some insight on their past and upcoming season. 

One On One Feat. Keyford Langley (CP3 All Stars) 

BS: How did it feel to win back to back national championships? 
KL: Words can’t express the feeling of winning the national championship for the 2nd time. The first time was amazing, but this time was truly special. We had challenges coming into the season as well as going into the AAU Nationals. Winning the Nationals the 2nd time was the best feeling b/c we were not in the conversation of elite teams. We heard all of the talk about some teams that were put together and have not won anything, but came to the Nationals as the favorite. It takes more than “All-Stars” to win it all. It takes a team of tough-minded individuals willing to grind all week. It takes unselfish individuals willing to sacrifice and commit to each other. It takes a family… 

BS: What were some of the obstacles the second time around? 
KL: The first obstacle was having the pressure of repeating. Playing against the odds, history of a repeat was not on our side. Playing in the biggest tournament of the season without our #1 guy, Wendell Moore. Man, I had sleepless nights leading up to the tournament. He does so much for our team, there was no way to replace his productivity. The one thing that people did not consider was the heart, skill set and the mental toughness the other kids on the team have. These kids have been through the fire so to speak. Some of the players like Keyshaun, Kobe, Mike, Nick, Jeremiah were in the National Finals (4th grade) before w/o Wendell. 

We also lost a game in pool play against the City Stars (Ca.). Super guards and a great coaching staff are from that team. Much respect to that group! We had to mentally get ready to keep competing when we lost. We knew that the City Stars had a unique team and they just competed until the end. We also knew that we still had a chance after the lost. Playing against teams that we just played against 4 weeks prior to the Nationals…AOR and George Hill. Two major competitive teams in the country. AOR had not lost a game up to that point. 

BS: With so much winning in your program how do you keep the players motivated? 
KL: Honestly, I can’t take credit for their motivation. Each season, people leave us out of the conversation when it comes to winning it all. Even in our state of NC, there are individuals who continue to think and publicly say that we are not the team to beat. Those individuals still don’t get it. Each year, kids re-class and join a team in hopes of knocking us off in the NCAAU tournament. Our kids read and listen to the disrespect and how we get overlooked as being a good team. They take this personal and love to prove others wrong. They play with a chip on their shoulder. We also have very humble kids. They only give their best and compete. They hate to lose more than they love to win. 

BS: It’s always an interesting dynamic when coaching your son, how is it coaching two sons together? 
KL: Mike, coaching your child is the most challenging thing I have done. You stand the chance of destroying the father-son relationship, people want to say you are playing daddy ball etc… On the flip side, it has been very rewarding. We leave all basketball “talk” in the gym. I don’t just focus on their development; all of the kids get coached up. Keyshaun and Kobe loves to compete and they are like sponges. They listen and give you what you want and then some. They have also given me extra grey hairs as well (lol), but it has been an honor to coach them since they were 6 years old. 

BS: Word is highly touted players Myles Pierre and Chris Hinton have come aboard, how will these pickups affect your squad? 
KL: Myles joining us will put us at another level. This kid has done a great buying into our team concept. He plays with such a high motor it is unbelievable. His energy is contagious. Myles has improved in so many areas, rebounding, shooting, ball-handling, decision making and defense. He is a perfect fit for us and he will also benefit from joining our team. Chris gives us an instant low post threat. Our team never had this type of elite play in the post. He’s also a very welcomes addition. 

BS: What are the benefits of playing with an organization such as CP3? 
KL: The family concept of CP3 is the biggest benefit (God, Family, School, and Basketball). The connections and how they nurture these kids was huge in our decision in becoming a part of this organization. They are able to connect our kids with people that can help develop them on and off the court. Lastly, the idea of maybe being able to play/being a part of the EYBL is a major. At the end of the day, it’s about getting the scholarship dollars and developing productive young men. 

BS: Wendell Moore is regarded as one of the top prospects in the country, How has the experience been coaching him? 
KL: Mike, you saw him 1st when he was in 4th grade in Concord, NC playing with us (Gaters) in the Spotlight/Spiders tournament. The kid has “it”. He always seems to make the right/big plays. He is a coach’s dream. With such a high basketball IQ and skill set, Wendell has become a major problem for opposing teams. I enjoy coaching him and being around him off the court. He is a quality kid. 

BS: It’s been a few years since the last time you played in a Spotlight event; do you look forward to the AC Showcase and the Carolina Collision? 
KL: I always look forward to your events Mike. I know you will have quality teams that are ready to compete. Your reputation exceeds our expectation when it comes to tournaments. We are excited to go against some of the best teams in the country. 

BS: What can we expect from the CP3 All Stars this season? 
KL: Our team will continue to compete and leave it all on the floor. The players have gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and their skills continue to develop. You will see a more determined and focused team. We have upgraded the roster and the expectations that we set for ourselves are high. We also added a dynamic young coach, Dominic Bishop, to our staff. He is one of the best young trainers out there. The kids respond to him and will go through the wall for him. Our 2015 Motto is “All In”.

BS: What are your chances of a 3 peat?
KL: I like our chances a lot especially when other teams over look us. We upgraded and the players we had last year are so much better. Winning it all is not our goal, we just want o get better and if the result is a championship then that would be special. We are gearing up for another productive season. The Formula For Success is there and the kids are buying in. 

Unlimited Glory Off To A Great Start! (Video Highlights)

Team Glory Unlimited

The newly formed Unlimited Glory made its debut at the Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest and had an impressive showing. The DMV squad featuring the top duo in the nation (Zion Harmon and Trey Patterson) cruised to the championship by defeating Canada Elite. This group is another top squad from that loaded Potomac Valley and we look for them to make some serious noise. Check out their highlights and be on the lookout for them at the Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic. 


Diary Of A Baller: Marquise Walker (Chicago, IL) Entry #6

Marquise Walker and Coach Breeze

Wassup its Marquise Walker with my weekly diary. 

On Monday I just got back home in Kentucky from a nice and wonderful visit from my family. I went to school and it was the usual, nothing different. I was really tired from last night I had to finish my diary for last week. Then after school I went off to practice and it was really good, we ran a lot which is good to stay in shape. We did a whole lot of defensive work. Coach Breeze also coaches with W.A.C.G the 2019 team and he believes that defense wins championships. I went home and did my homework, played my Xbox, and I went to bed. 

The next day I woke up got ready and felt much better this morning. I went to school and talked to a couple of my friends before school. Then we went to school, I turned in all my homework and saw my test and my lowest grade was an 87% B+ which is really good since I just enrolled. We were supposed to practice after school but it rained a lot and the football team had to move into the gym for their practice so we had to cancel. The football team at South Warren is ranked #1 in the state and is 9-0 this season. After school I went home for a while and came back to school to work out with my bro Jordan, Cannon who is a freshman and Coach Breeze. We did a lot of dribbling drills and we did some shooting on “The Gun”. Then I went to the soccer game which we won. Afterwards I went home and fell asleep. 

Wednesday I took a shower in the morning because I fell asleep the day before. Today was try-outs for the high school team. I went to school but I was thinking about the try-outs the whole time. After school I went to try-out and I did really well. And I hoped the next day I made the team. We played pickup for tryouts, there was like 45 kids there. Coach made us run a lot at the end of the tryouts for not sprinting up the floor hard enough during pickup. I went home and went to sleep thinking about how my try-out went. I woke up and got ready and left for school. I finished my project in my social studies class. 

Thursday after school, I came home and did some homework before going back to the high school for basketball practice that night. This was the last day of tryouts but today we actually had a practice and not pickup. I played really good defense and created for my teammates in practice. We have a bunch of great shooters that stretch the floor and give me room to operate. After practice I went to the soccer game, it was the district championship. We lost to Bowling Green but will have a chance to play them again next week at regionals. I actually like soccer a lot; it is my secret favorite sport after football. 

Friday after school everyone met with Coach individually about if they made the team or not and their roles on the team. I didn't go alone; Coach brought me and Dayton Gumm (junior PG / SG) in to meet with him. Coach told us we are the backcourt and we have to control the games and he expects us to be the best backcourt in the region this year and state next year. I was so excited to hear that I made the team. Afterwards I went home for a little while and did my homework and got a shower before going to the high school football game. Our team beat Monroe County to win the regular season district title; we were up 28-0 about 10 minutes into the game. 

On Saturday I just chilled all day. I relaxed and played X-box and Playstation before going to the gym with coach and another guard, Jordan (senior). We did some ball handling drills but we also did a lot more shooting, game shots. Jordan works really hard and I have to keep my intensity up to work with him. Practicing in our gym that night was an ABA team; I think I could get out there and play with them guys today. Then I got home played my PS4 and then I got on my phone for a while before falling asleep. 

On Sunday we had practice at 2:30. We practiced from about 2:30-5:15. We worked on various defensive schemes for about two hours of the practice. At the end we did offense and we are getting better on both ends but we are getting really good on defense. I did really good today causing turnovers, protecting the ball, finding my teammates and scoring without taking bad shots. I went in early before practice and got a bunch of shots up on the gun. I went home, ate Dairy Queen, played my PS4 and did some good night.

See You Guys Next Week
Marquise Walker

Friday, October 17, 2014

Here Comes EJ Jackson!

EJ Jackson City Stars 

The East Coast is known for flashy guards that love giving the crowd a show. But now the West Coast has their own showman in the Class of 2019 in Super Guard EJ Jackson. Jackson has the national reputation of cutting up defenders throughout the country. His name really rang bells at the 7th Grade AAU Nationals in Memphis as helped the City Stars reach the AAU National Championship Game. Check out his official mix-tape but no other than Ty Kish. Stay tuned because we have more from EJ Jackson coming soon.

One On One Feat: Mike Saunders (George Hill All Stars)

George Hill All Stars 2020 Team

Last season the George Hill All Stars made their Basketball Spotlight debut at the AC Showcase. Their then 6th Grade squad made an impressive run through this stacked event and won the championship. We sat down with the George Hill skipper Mike Saunders and got his thoughts about a few subjects. 

One On One Feat: Mike Saunders (George Hill All Stars) 

BS: What’s new in the George Hill program this year? 
MS: Working on finalizing a partnership with Indiana Elite/Adidas to maximize exposure for my kids once they move to high school. Adding a 2021 team called George Hill Elite-2021 (formally RBC), we got two kids 5'9 and two kids taller than 6 foot. Josh Davis is #1 2021 player in state and will challenge Zion for the #1 spot in country. Added a 5'10 kid named Max Sullivan to my 2022 team. 

BS: You guys once again had an impressive run in the Class of 2020 and others, what do you attribute your success to? 
MS: We put a lot of time in at the gym. We are real hands on. Kids get up lots of shots, ball handling, and learn lots of defensive concepts. A lot of are kids play up a grade or two before travel season starts. We have 3 coaches on high school staffs. 

BS: Who are some of the top prospects that we need to look out for in your program? 
MS: You guys and other websites have done a great job of covering alot of the kids in the program. I would say in terms of kids that might take people by surprise this year, Jason Morton(2020) is 6'6 now and two other 2020 kids new to the program last year Jamari London(6'0) and Sabastin Murillo(6'0) have been in the gym all summer, both will be dunking by March. I think Brevin Jefferson will have an unbelievable season now that he is healthy. Hunter Jackson has been working out with the high school team so he is going to surprise people with his strength.. Michael has been working on his strength and explosiveness and Kenny Tracy has grown another two inches. In 2019 David Bell and Isaiah Moore should have very strong seasons 

BS: Who are some of the top 7th grade teams in the country you look forward to playing against and why? 
MS: Oakland Soldiers (because they National Champs) WACG and Wisconsin United (Lots of mutual respect always exciting games). We see these preseason rankings and articles, it’s like people forget about us because we lost to Wisconsin and Florida in nationals, but yet we beat Izod and the Gauchos by 20 last season. Plus we beat St. Louis, Minneapolis FAB and Worldwide. I know Worldwide added lots of pieces, but just don't write us off quite yet. 

BS: Tell us something about the George Hill program that we don’t know. 
MS: 85% of kids in private school 90% on Honor roll. EDUCATION FIRST!!!! 

BS: You guys won the AC Showcase last year, how was the experience playing in your first Basketball Spotlight event? 
MS: The #1 tournament that we played in last year! Great competition, location was great and kids enjoyed activities off the court. For us to be able to play against Izod, Glory, Gauchos, and Takeover in one weekend was worth the trip. That doesn't include the fact that WACG was also there. We look forward to coming back with more teams. 

BS: What are some of the aspects of AAU basketball that you like and others that you dislike? 
MS: I like the relationships that the kids make. I dislike the rule bending in AAU. It’s getting out of control. I believe it does kids an injustice especially once they start playing in NCAA Certified Events and high school.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic Getting Early Interest!

The Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic has become the official start of the AAU season for many teams around the country. This year has not been any exception as many top teams have already showed interest for the December 6th and 7th event. This event is very limited in space therefore you need to register early. 

8th Grade Teams 
1. Team Final 
2. Philly Triple Threat 
3. Slam City Elite 
4. Brooklyn Rens 
5. NYC Rens 
6. We R 1 
7. I 10 Celtics 
8. Playtime Panthers 
9. MJ Mavericks 
10. Bos Basketball 
11. Turbo/CTA 
12. NYC Gauchos 
13. Team Philly 
14. Team Twelve Watchmen
15. NJ Warriors 
16. New Heights
17. Hilltoppers Heat
18. Team RIO National 
19. St. Michaels 

7th Grade Teams 
1. Slam City Elite 
2. Team Final 
3. Havoc City 
4. I 10 Celtics 
5. Playtime 
6. PSA Cardinals 
7. Bos Basketball 
8. Hoops Nation
9. Philly Triple Threat
10. Team Philly
11. Hilltoppers Heat
12. NY Rens 
13. St. Michaels 

6th Grade 
1. Rens 
2. Havoc City 
3. Glory Unlimited 
4. Playtime 
5. S Elite 
6. Hoops Nation
7. Riverside Hawks
8. Philly Triple Threat
9. Hilltoppers Heat
10. Gauchos

5th Grade 
1. Rens 
2. Havoc City 
3. Playtime Panthers 
4. Riverside Hawks
5. Philly Triple Threat
6. MJ Heat
7. Hilltoppers Heat
8. Team RIO National 

4th Grade 
1. Rens 
2. Havoc City 
3. Playtime Panthers 
4. Riverside Hawks (National Champs)
5. Philly Triple Threat
6. Hilltoppers Heat 

Fan Poll: Who's The #1 Player In The Class Of 2020?

Who's The #1 Player The Class of 2020?

Next week our Class of 2020 National Player Rankings will drop and Basketball Spotlight will once again ask the fans for your opinion on who you think the #1 prospect is in the country. The top prospects listed below with their case on why they could be #1 on our list. Cast your vote in the right column. 

Class of 2020 #1 Candidates 

Shemar Morrow Guard (California) 
Case: This lefty needs no introduction as he took the nation by storm last season with his scoring prowess and leading his team to an AAU National championship. His half-court game winner in the finals will go down as one of the best moments in AAU history. 

Kyree Walker Forward (California) 
Case: It’s rare to have a teammate also vying for the #1 spot but Walker has to be considered. Standing 6’3 and looking to grow several more inches Kyree has the game and potential to be the best in this group. He has the unique feel of a top notch play maker and scorer combined. 

Jaden Springer Guard (North Carolina) 
Case: Jaden Springer is an intriguing prospect because of his young age, will to win, genes and potential. He comes from a family of Division 1 players, played in two national championship games last season and recently just turned 12 years old. Therefore this young cub is nowhere near his ceiling. 

Terrence Williams Forward (Maryland) 
Case: Williams was a double-double machine last season while leading Team Takeover to the 7th Grade Final Four so it’s no surprise that he might be the most dominant player nationally in this class. Playing with the Terror Squad puts Williams in the unique position of leading his team to the national title. 

Jason Harris Forward (California) 
Case: Harris was oozing with potential when I saw him at the NYBL last season. The scary part was he still didn’t have control of his body thus he has a lot more growing to do. He led the West Coast All Stars to the NYBL Championship and potentially he could be the best player in the class.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest 6th Grade Top Performers

Zion "The Lion" Harmon (Slam City Elite)

The 6th Grade Division at the Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest was very interesting because it featured the top tandem in the country and a look at some upcoming new talent. Here are the players that impressed us with their play this past weekend. 

Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest 6th Grade Top Performers 

Zion Harmon Guard (Glory Unlimited) 
The last few years I had “The Lion” pegged as a super guard but a certified shot hunter. This weekend I got a different perspective of his game. Yes he did put up numbers while dominating the 6th Grade level and leading his team to the title. His range and accuracy is something that’s unmatched on this level at this time. He literally got a clean look anytime he wanted. But when I saw him on the 8th Grade level I saw his willingness to share the ball and run a team. Harmon is a polished point guard and showed the ability to get anywhere he wanted on the floor. He withstood the physical defense of the 8th graders while slicing through the lane very often. Even more eye popping was the court vision he showed when dropping dimes to his cutting teammates. This kid logged heavy minutes for both age groups while still performing on a high level.

Trey Patterson Forward (Glory Unlimited) 
Now this where things get scary! Trey Patterson came down to hang with Harmon and that made things unfair. Patterson’s size combined with his skill size allowed him to totally dominate the opposition. He has the ability to grab a rebound and push the pill up the floor himself. He also can step back and nail the trey ball. When Patterson gets a little stronger he will convert on all those little chippies that seem to roll off the rim. All in all this kid is a blossoming prospect.

Knasir McDaniel Guard (Havoc City) 
This DMV crew ran into a tough match up with Glory Unlimited but that didn’t stop the 5th grader from showing his worth. Knasir is not known as a scorer but he had to carry the load in this one. He did most of his scoring damage with a mean floater. He was a nightmare to keep out of the lane and showed he could breakdown any defender that was put in front of him. Trapping Dug was a waste of time as he zipped through the double teams while advancing the rock. This kid is tough as nails and possesses that special it factor.

Keon Baker Guard (Canada Elite) 
Baker was cooking when I saw him get down. He has the swagger and confidence of a top lead guard. He’s difficult to contain because he has the ball on a string and can score from anywhere. The transition game gives him a chance to show off his best attributes. I don’t think this will be the last time hear this name.

Chance Westry Guard (Class Acts) 
Chance was everything you need in a lead guard. He has the handles and the good stroke from the perimeter. What really stood out was his natural feel for the game and playmaking ability. Harrisburg, PA has been known to produce some legit guards over the years and he seems to be next in line. Hopefully I get another look at this kid.

AJ Jones Guard (Class Acts) 
Jones is a strong Charles Barkley type forward with some skills. He got a lot of rebounds and powered his way back up for put backs. I like his motor and wiliness to be engaged in the physical aspect of the game.

Hoop Group Fall Jamfest 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Keshaun Hammond (Team Philly)

The Hoop Group Fall Jamfest took place this weekend and the 7th Grade division had some top talent. In Part 2 we take a look at some of the other Class of 2020 players that got busy in Neptune. 

Hoop Group Fall Jamfest 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Keshaun Hammond Guard (Team Philly) 
Hammond made a name for himself during the semifinals matchup with Slam City Elite. The lanky guard showed he could separate from defenders and score off the dribble. Hammond used his Philly style handle to breakdown defenders and cause fits for the highly ranked squad. He scored from all three levels and has the size to be an interesting prospect. He definitely caught our eye.

Ahmad Fair Guard (Team Philly) 
Fair has grown over last year and his game shows the effects. His impact on the floor is shown when he attacks and either scores or drop dimes. His confidence seems to be flowing and now expects to make big plays and get things done. His new attitude and play helped them make it to the final four.

Darius Miles Guard (Havoc City) 
The southpaw still has a smooth game and playmaking ability. He plays the game with a good pace and it’s very difficult to speed him up. I believe once he grows into his body he will be a name to know in the DMV area.
Aaryn Parks Forward (Havoc City) 
Nicknamed Big Baby Parks has a soft touch and usually positions himself deep on the blocks. He showed the ability to box out well and grab rebounds. We will keep our eye on him.
Marcus Dockery Guard (Havoc City) 
This other southpaw was very aggressive this past weekend. He created off the bounce and faded to the corner to hit the deep jumper. He also was eager to show his game in the open floor. This kid was new to our radar and he really impressed us with his play this past weekend.
Dimingus Stevens Guard (Havoc City) 
Ming has earned a national name while playing on the circuit for years. This past weekend he showed some of those all around attributes. He can play inside or outside while being able to score from anywhere. Havoc City will be depending heavily on Stevens to make a big run.
Noah Charles Guard (Havoc City) 
Charles is a speedy point guard who can also score. He got into the lane often this weekend and really showed a burst of explosiveness in transition. He has the keys to this offense and will have to drive the car. 

Riley McMahon Guard (NJ Shore Shots) 
McMahon is a patient point guard that picks his spots but will break you down if you sleep on him. I like how he handles the rock with both hands and can get into the lane against some of the best. He reminds me of former Shore Conference point guard Mitchell Kates who was a joy to watch. 

Charlie Gardiner Forward (NJ Shore Shots) 
When you think of Gordiner think about a miniature Kyle Singler type. He can venture out to the three point line and knock down the trey ball while also using his size inside as a mismatch. He was a problem all weekend and even went over 30 points in a game. 

Chris Sica Forward (NJ Shore Shots) 
Sica used his size to score inside and rebound the ball. He moved well within the offense and got deep position on the blocks. He showed a face up game and good touch around the tin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Slam City Elite AKA Terror Squad 

The 7th Division of the Hoop Group Jam Fest had a few fireworks and some talented players. Here’s a recap of what players impressed us down in Neptune. 

Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest 7th Grade Top Performers

Terrence Williams Forward (Slam City Elite)
If these past two weekends are an indication than Williams would be a lock for Player Of The Year. When we first mentioned the Terror Squad we talked about how Williams could be unstoppable on this level. He saves his best games until the competition stiffens. He catches the rock, uses polished moves and finishes with ease. He could be seen often feasting on the competition down low.
Isaiah Todd Forward (Slam City Elite)
This was my first look at Todd and standing close to 6’7 he might be the best long term prospect on this loaded roster. He didn’t show total dominance because he’s still developing physically and skill wise. As the weekend progressed so did his game and he even found himself in the starting line-up. As he becomes more comfortable finishing around the rim expect his numbers and name to rise.
Jordan Toles Guard (Slam City Elite)
Toles showed off his athleticism in the open floor with a couple of dunks. He’s a top notch athlete on this level and thrives in transition. I would like to see him improve his range and ball handling. Also if Slam City is trying to make a championship run I believe he will have to become a lock down defender
Tyler Brelsford Guard (Slam City Elite)
Brelsford once again turned in a solid weekend. His assist to turnover ratio was great and he did a great job of keeping his horses happy. One of his best assets is calming his troops down when the other team makes a run. His vocal skills have improved and will need to continue for this team to be successful. One thing is for certain; Brelsford is used to being in the trenches.
AJ Hoggard Guard (Slam City Elite)
Hoggard operated like a homerun hitter this weekend. He loves making the big play and when he converted he looked like one of the best guards in the country. Other times he got into a little trouble by dribbling into traps which caused a few turnovers. In final four he stepped and made some big buckets to help them preserve the win. I know once he’s accustomed to his teammates and system he will find a happy median.

Demon Clowney Forward (Slam City Elite)
This intimidating force had his moments. He’s a little more skilled than I anticipated and also showed some athleticism with a hard dunk. He’s interchangeable in terms of guarding a wing or post player.
Cameron Byers Forward (Slam City Elite)
Byers muscled his way to the hole for a few easy buckets. Once he lowers that shoulder most defenders on this level will be at his mercy. Once he got them off balance he used a soft touch to finish. Cameron also was a beast on the glass while playing in two age groups.
Jaylen Murray Guard (PSA Cardinals)
Murray is the top scoring guard for this bunch. He specializes in using the floater and mid-range pull up to score. He has enough handle and savvy to beat defenders off the dribble even if they play zone.

Andre Washington Guard (PSA Cardinals)
The little guy gave Slam City fits with his penetrating style and ability to hit the open trey when the ball rotates his way. He dribbles the rock low ++which helps him zip throw the defense.
Tysheem Pickett Guard (PSA Cardinals)
Pickett is another quick guard in the PSA arsenal. He’s a pest on defense and provides another attacking guard on the offensive end. If he gets clicking PSA becomes a tough out.
Brandon Weston Forward (PSA Cardinals)
Weston used his versatility to score and make plays for this NY squad. He’s one the tallest on the squad so he has the help out on the glass and defend some big opponents.

Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest 8th Grade Recap

Philly Triple Threat Wins Title

The Hoop Group Fall Jr. Jam Fest took place this past weekend and Basketball Spotlight was in the building. Here’s our look at the 8th Grade Division and its top performers. 

Hoop Group Jam Fest Top Performers

Jamil Riggins Forward (Philly Triple Threat)
Riggins should have been awarded MVP honors with his performance this weekend. He has grown an inch or two and appears to be stronger. These improved physical attributes have helped his game especially when finishing the rock. Now when he gets to the cup he has more balance and able to finish through contact. In transition he’s one of the quickest around and now plays above the rim. This kid has taken great strides in his game. Look for him to make a leap when our mid-season rankings drop.

Donte Scott Forward (Philly Triple Threat)
Scott also made his debut for PTT and still looks like one of the top prospects in the region. He loves the perimeter but wasn’t afraid to show a more physical presence near the hole. He’s becoming a serious matchup problem for opposing forwards because of his quickness with the ball. This kid is nowhere near his ceiling.

Shermick Lofton Forward (Philly Triple Threat)
Lofton completes PTT 3 headed monster on the blocks. He has a bully type game when attacking the rim. I was a little intrigued on how well he can handle the rock. He has a Jamal Mashburn type approach. He’s very physical and loves throwing his body around.

Zach Lezanic Guard (Philly Triple Threat)
Lezanic played a vital role in their march to the championship. He can control the tempo a little and bury the outside shot. The DMV squad applied some intense pressure but Lezanic stood tall through it all and made plays.
Justin Galea Guard (Philly Triple Threat) 
Galea finally has his chance to run the show and give us a taste of his goods. He’s very smooth when handling the pill while being able to score or set up teammates. He has grown a little since I watched him in the summer and should have a coming out party this season. 

Jay Heath Guard (Slam City Elite)
Heath was definitely an oversight on our rankings and will be crashing through in April. The wiry wing guard is truly athletic and wired to score. Once the rock touches his hands he goes directly into attack mode. He does a lot of his damage driving along the baseline. 

Jalen Abbott Guard (Slam City Elite)
Abbott was great pickup for the DMV squad. He’s a legit two guard with good size and height on his outside shot. His skill level is one of the best I seen over the weekend. I also think he has some great upside. 

Malik Anderson Guard (Slam City Elite)
Anderson is a highly flying guard that’s plays with a lot of energy. He’s able to finish well in the lane and at the tin. He’s also a hard worker on the defensive end. He does need to work on controlling his emotions a little on the floor.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Basketball Spotlight Feature: Khalif Is Ready To Battle!

Khalif Battle Class Of 2019

Tyus Battle is one of the most recruited players in high school basketball and no one knows this better than his little brother Khalif. The younger Battle has been living in the shadow of Tyus since he first stepped on the basketball court. But instead of sulking Khalif went into the gym and worked on his game and after watching him this weekend at the Hoop Group Fall Jam Fest he has improved immensely. Battle has a fluid handle, good size (6'2), sweet stroke and unique passing ability. 

His father Gary Battle is known top trainer and one of the most successful AAU coaches in the country agrees with my assessment. “His best attributes are his high skill set, being able to score from all three levels and create his own shot off the dribble. His confidence is flowing right now and you can see it in his game” said Battle. 

Coach Battle has been doing this for years and since he is the person that developed Kid Mamba he also knows that Khalif has some things to work on. “I see him having to improve his motor and playing the game at a faster pace. He also has to continue to work on his skills and get more actual time playing on the floor” Battle said. 

After watching Khalif this past weekend I have to say that the comparisons to Tyus will increase has he makes his moves to the forefront of the basketball scene. Gary says he sees the similarities and differences between his two sons. "At his age Khalif is similar to Tyus in terms of skill set but appears to be a more natural scorer. Tyus had more talent and more game experience up to this stage. I think Khalif will make a move in the next few years and establish his own name” he finished. 

Basketball Spotlight will continue to watch Khalif’s development and will be including him when our Class of 2019 rankings are updated.

Diary Of A Baller: Marquise Walker (Chicago, IL) Entry #5

Marquise Walker In Kentucky 

It's Marquise Walker with my weekly diary. 

Monday - I woke up thinking about NBA 2K15. In the morning I worked out like I am used to when I lived in Chicago. 100 push ups, 100 sit ups then my jumping workout and then running for 10 minutes listening to Childish Gambino 3005. I missed my home and my daily workout. I was surprised to be so happy to be home over fall break. My little sisters came home and I took care of them and played with them, at about 11:30 we went to get 2K15 on PS4. If you have PS4, add me at Y2KOZI. I played my dad first then I stayed up all night playing it by myself. That game is so addicting. 

Tuesday - I woke up sleepy from last night but I still did my workout. I then went and got a haircut. I played my player on 2K15 all day and then I played with my mom and sisters a lot making jokes on each other and having fun rapping. 

Wednesday - I woke up and did my workout and went back to sleep I was very sleepy. I went up to my old school Stevenson to say hi to everyone. Everyone really missed me, I was surprised. They were saying class was boring without me and how I am supposed to be fun. The teachers even missed me and I was able to get a few words with my old coach. We been through a lot in the past and I got him a lot of trophies. I went back home and played 2K15 with my broker Savion then went to sleep. 

Thursday - I woke up and did my morning workout but I ran an extra 3 minutes. I went back up to my old school and shot around for a little bit with my brother, and Pattreon and James who are my ex-teammates. I won a bet with my teacher because he didn't believe I was moving and I got some Jimmy Johns. Got back home and played more 2K with my brother. My dad had a friend in town from college so he cooked tonight. He cooked baked chicken, greens and his famous homemade mac and cheese. His mac and cheese is the best. 

Friday - I woke up, did my workout and went with my uncle, Handy, to go play at a gym with the grownups. My cousin Pierre was there. He plays overseas. He was very tough competition but he made me better. Afterwards, I chilled with my uncle Handy and cousin Dionte. When I got home I stayed up all night playing 2K. 

Saturday - I woke up late from playing 2K all night, but I still did my workout. In the afternoon I went with my family to my little cousin London birthday party. She turned 4. They had a lot of good food and treats, and a lot of games for the kids to play. The party was in a gym so I got to fool around a lil bit on the court. 

Sunday - I came back to Kentucky as we start school on Monday for the 2nd nine weeks. My mother came with me, it was fun, amazing. We flew into Louisville and drove to Bowling Green We ate cracker Barrel for lunch. My mom got to see Bowling Green for the first time and she went to the mall. In the evening I went to open gym and did really well. We start practice this week to get ready for the regular season.