Thursday, July 31, 2008
14U Nationals: Area Players Looking For Shine
The big stage known as the 14U AAU Nationals is here and many players in the past as used this stage as their coming out party. Such players as OJ Mayo, Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings introduced themselves to the rest of the country with their stellar play. This year a few tri-state area players will be taking the trip down and hopefully edge their name in the stone of big stage legacy. Here’s a look at some of the hopefuls.
Rashard Andrews 6’5 Forward (Rich Soil)- I got the late word that Andrews was traveling down with Rich Soil. This is a big move because I telling you that this kid has the potential to be something special. He has the size and the ability of a legitimate wing player and when he understands how good he could really be opponents will be in trouble. He has high major blue chip potential.
Omar Calhoun 6’3 Guard (Rich Soil)- Apparently Calhoun will also be joining this bunch in Orlando. He’s an instant game changer especially if he gets hot from the perimeter. Omar is a bona fide scorer that likes the long range shot but is also capable of attacking off the dribble. Once he gets going he’s hard to stop.
Lequan Stevens 6’4 Forward (Team Philly)- Stevens was absent late in the season as Team Philly came up short in some late tournaments. He is a beast on the baseline while specializes in catching and finishing. Lequan is a blue collar worker that hits the glass and has sneaky athleticism that helps him convert in traffic.
Karon Davis 5’10 Guard (Team Philly)- Davis is the most underrated point guard in the region. He doesn’t play the game with any flair but he’s very consistent and won’t go away from the game plan. Davis is very heady and plays containing on ball defense. He also has proven that he could log many minutes without letting up. He's very crucial to them winning.
Dion Rogers 6’0 Guard (MSU Skyliners)- Rogers was added to the squad this year and brought some scoring with him. The lefty knows how to put the ball in the basket when hitting the gaps. He has nice long arms and decent range on his outside shot which makes him pretty effective. A huge effort will be needed by him for them to be successful.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Jr. All American Camp Video Highlights
As we wrote previously the Jr. All American Camp was a serious event featuring some of the top prospects in the country. Basketball Spotlight was in the building and we supplied an enormous amount of reports. Hoop TV was also at this event and have put together a highlight reel from the camp. Check out some of the top moments and enjoy.
Jr. All American Camp Highlights
Jr. All American Camp Written Recaps
Day 1 Class 2014
Day 1 Class 2013
Day 1 Class 2012
Day 2 Class 2015
Day 2 Class 2014
Day 2 Class 2014 (Evening Session)
Day 2 Class 2013
Day 2 Class 2012
Day 3 Class 2014 Championship Game Recap
Day 3 Class 2015 All American Game
Day 3 Class 2014 All American Game
Day 3 Class 2013 All American Game
Day 3 Class 2012 Top 40 All American Game
Day 3 Class 2012 Top 20 All American Game
Final Quarter Feat. Dashawn Suber
I first noticed Dashawn Suber as a 10 year old guard playing for Team Next. The then pint size guard used a slingshot type jumper to score buckets and had a slick little handle going to the basket. Over the years Suber has appeared on several squads but now has settled with Rich Soil formerly Team Next. I got a chance to holla at Dashawn as he and his teammates prepare to head to the 14 and Under Nationals. This is the Final Quarter!
BS: How has your AAU season been going so far?
DS: It’s been going good in the spring we went to Boo Williams, Charlie Weber and a tournament in Connecticut where I got MVP. Lately I’ve been in the gym working out with my dad and playing on Dean Street.
BS: What’s your most memorable moment of this season?
DS: Well I had a CYO game in Brooklyn and I went crazy for 57 points. That had to be my most memorable moment.
BS: Who’s the toughest opponent you faced so far and why?
DS: I would have to be Labrent Walker because he’s quick and very strong. He’s hard to play up on him because he has the power and quickness to go right pass you.
BS: Do you look forward to playing at the 14 and Under Nationals?
DS: Yes, because I feel I can help my team out a lot. I have improved on my game and I have a lot of experience playing at the nationals so many times when I was younger.
BS: What part of your game do you feel needs the most work?
DS: My intensity on defense because I need to work on moving my feet instead of reaching. Sometimes I can get a little lazy on defense.
BS: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
DS: I’m going to the nationals then I will be attending the Generation Next Camp in Milwaukee, Mike Duncan’s Midwest Camp and finally the Five Star Camp in Philadelphia.
BS: What high school will you attend next year and why?
DS: Right now it’s between Mount Vernon and Rice. I attended Mount Vernon this year and I’m real cool with all the students so I feel comfortable there. At Rice Coach Hicks have known me since I was 6 and I really like their program.
BS: Who do you feel is the best point guard in NYC Class of 2012 and why?
DS: I feel that I’m the best I played against all the top guards in the country and I killed all of them. Right now I play on Dean Street with some of top guards and I average 32 points a game. I feel I’m the best!
0:00 Ball Game!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
14U Nationals Preview NJ: Don't Sleep On Jersey
New Jersey will also be sending representatives down to Orlando for the 14U Nationals. The teams don’t possess the national rep as others in the region but they will bring that Garden State toughness that stands out. Here’s a look at the NJ teams and top players heading down.
New Jersey Squads
The Skyliners have been lurking around the regional scene for a few years. They have some quality pieces and the coaching to make some noise down south. Jahmal Lane and company have their work cut out for them but they should be able to weather the storm.
Jahmal Lane 6’3 (Forward)- Lane makes him living on the baseline scoring and using his speed to beat bigger defenders. He has been working on his outside shot as he tries to maneuver his game to the wing. MSU will need him to step up big on both ends of the floor for them to be successful.
Ahmid Williams 5’10 (Guard)- If the Skyliners run into any clutch situations they need to have the ball in the hands of Williams. The hardnosed point guard is known for carrying the team on his back at the end of heated contest. I’ve seen him win more than one game in the last position. He’s a gamer for real.
Diijon Jordan 6’2 (Guard)- Jordan will provide the defensive stops for MSU in Orlando. The long arm wing player plays good on the ball defense and gets in the passing lane on a regular basis. Jordan is also capable of helping the squad on the offensive end.
KBR finished runner up in the NJ State Tournament. They have some serious players in Ike Calderon and Fuquan McDonald. The Kings have a point to prove as they are considered to be underrated as a program. Look for the squad from Neptune to look horns heavy with some of the top teams in the nation.
Other Teams: Hoop Heaven Heat and Wayne Pal/ Wolfpack
14U Nationals Preview MA: Team Philly Has Unfinished Business
The Mid Atlantic region is sending a host of teams to the 14U AAU Nationals. The field in Orlando is deep but they have a few squads that have a chance to make some noise. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top players and teams making the trip down.
Mid Atlantic Top Teams
Team Philly Finest
Team Philly reached the finals last season before falling to the All Ohio Purple 65-45 but this time around they have loaded up and are prepared to bring the title home. They have their main core of players while adding the likes of Maurice Watson and super forward Savon Goodman.
Amile Jefferson 6’5 (Forward)- Amile “The Real Deal” Jefferson has put together a terrific season. The lanky forward put up tremendous numbers in some big time games while expanding his game throughout the year. He is a force on defense blocking shots and eating rebounds while also scoring at will on the offensive end. He’s a candidate for 14U Performer Of The Year.
Andre Horne 6’2 (Guard)- Horne has developed his perimeter game this year. The scoring guard has an improved his stroke and ball handling. He had a good showing at the Jr. All American Camp in which he played lockdown defense and was rewarded by making the Top 20 All American Game.
Savon Goodman 6’4 (Forward)- Goodman is the hired gun that Team Philly might need to go over the top. They are a good defensive squad but lacked a prolific scorer and Savon will fill this void in a big way. He’s coming off a good showing at the 16 and Under Super Showcase while also destroying the competition at the Jr. All American Camp. He has some serious star qualities.
Maurice Watson 5’8 (Guard)- Watson brings loads of experience to this event. The cat quick point guard handles the pill and loves having the rock in his hands in crunch time. Maurice has been in big time games before and has the poise to make plays in that atmosphere.
The Panthers bring some hunger and aggressiveness to Orlando. They have been seriously battle tested through tournaments including a regional slugfest with Team Philly. Top players Derrick Stewart, Kareem Robinson, Martell McCain, Tyare Hudson and Paris Higgs give the Panthers the chance they need.
Other Teams: Delaware AIM, Delaware Defenders, Maaco Magic, Penn Jersey Panthers and Olivet Bbc
Monday, July 28, 2008
Diary Of A Baller: Kyle Anderson Entry #25
Hey what's up everyone, Kyle Anderson signing in to share with everyone how my week went . Its feels like I haven't wrote to you in A while but believe it or not I only missed A week and I apologize for that. This week was great. Everyone will see why later on in the diary, so let me get started.
Last Monday I came home from Oakland, California where I went to play with the Paterson Rec. in The National Youth Games, without A championship, which was really upsetting. We lost to The Oakland Rebels who had 6'7 beast, Riccardo Gathers. I have been at camps and tourneys with him before, but he was playing with New Orleans, go figure? But that wasn't exactly the main event of my last two weeks. The main event was Las Vegas. That day (still Monday) the Playaz Basketball Club flew out to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Adidas 64 tournament. When we arrived it was super hot. 108 degrees to be exact. No team had A game that day so the 15u team and I walked on the strip until curfew all night and saw a lot of amazing things. We didn't stay out to late tho, we had A game at 1:00 pm the next day. We woke up early to practice for A few than headed over to our game against the Las Vegas Prospects.
The first game of the tourney was A blowout real quick. After was lunch, a quick dip in the pool, then the strip for the night. Same thing over again. Early wake up than game but no blowout. Definitely no blowout. We played A tough 43 Hoops team from Minnesota. They shot the ball well, drove and kicked, back screened, staggered screened, the whole thing. We lost that game but there's A morale to this story. The next game was A win against Iowa Attack-Red. That was my man Myles Davis' first game because he came out late, 35 points in his first appearance. Playoffs were up next and there was no more going out on the strip. Strictly business.
The first playoff game of Friday was against LA Rockfish from Cali. BLOWOUT, NO WORRIES! The second game of that Friday was against Kansas City Pump N Run. It was A tough game where a lot of us played well including Myles Davis, Myles Mack, Desmond Hubert and Jordan Allen. That was A big Win. We ate and got A good nights rest. We had big games in the AM. Next day we woke up for A 9 AM game against Indiana Elite, a tough game. It went down to the wire. And with 20 seconds left, Up 1 I had A chance to put it away I choked at the free throw line, missed two freebees. They went down drove to the basket and ............ missed the shot. I made up for my missed free throws by snatching the rebound and with 3 seconds left. I went to the free throw line again. This is where mental toughness kicks in. I made both free throws to put us up 3.They came down and missed A 3 and we won the game, Tough W. Next game was against M33M, A Canadian team. When the game started about 4 people were in the gym. At the end I'll say 100 were watching including Danny Manning from Kansas. That's when our team took over the game. That game was also A big win but we expected that one A win. Finally the Chip! What we came here for. What AAU is about Las Vegas Championship. Ohio Basketball Club (the number 1 team in the country) lost to the team that beat us in the pool play. 43 Hoops. We met 'em again and our team was ready. Now, realize Myles Davis wasn't at the game before we played this team. Chip game he was here! We jumped out on 'em 10-4 with 3 straight dunks to set it off. They took the lead once in the whole game and we had it under control. Next thing you know we were up 4 with 16 seconds left with Myles Mack icing the game. We won the Adidas Super 64 Tournament in Las Vegas. Something not a lot of people can do. Myles Mack got the MVP and we all played great.
Unfornately, that was our last game together becuase my dad won't be coaching us next year. After 3 long years we've been together and ' Like all good things they must come to an end. -Jay-z-. But we cherrished every moment and we ended it on A great note. Now the morale for both losing to the team in pool play and for missing the free throws is ' If at first you don't succede, Dust yourself off and try again ' . Now that was A long week and A great week and I just got off the plane and I'm going to sleep. Goodnite and Goodbye everyone!
Basketball Spotlight Elite 80 EXPO!
The Basketball Spotlight Elite 80 Expo will bring together 80 players from the Class of 2013 for a weekend of high level basketball. The players will be placed on 8 teams and compete in a tournament style competition with a champion crowned. Each player will receive a full uniform and compete in 5 games throughout the weekend. All players must be referred by a coach or basketball administrator to attend. To request an application contact Mike Melton at Basketballspotlight@hotmail.com
Event: Basketball Spotlight Elite 80 Expo
Date: Dec. 6th and 7th 2008
Place: Central Jersey
Price: $200 (Per Player)
Reasons To Attend
· Equal Playing Time For Every Player
· Possible Referral To National All American Camps
· Every Player Will Get A Profile For Basketball Spotlight
· Compete Against The Best Players In The Country
· State Your Claim As The Best Prospect
For More Info Contact Mike at email@example.com
Sunday, July 27, 2008
14U Nationals Preview NY: Lightning Ready For Nationals
The New York Metropolitan AAU District will be sending several teams to the AAU Nationals in Orlando. They are equipped with some serious talent and teams. Here’s a breakdown of the top players and teams to look out for.
New York Top Squads
Long Island Lightning
The Lightning finished #5 in the nation last year. They will arrive this year with a serious roster and some of the top names in the region. Their loaded squad includes top ranked 8th Graders Nkereum Okoro, Labrent Walker, Daniel Dingle and diary boy Kyle Anderson. When you throw in super scoring guard 9th grader Myles Davis along with the play of Jamel Torrence, Severio Ford and Emmanuel Brown these boys might bring the crown home.
Nkereum Okoro 6’3 (Forward)- Okoro has established himself as one of the top prospects in the country. The physical wing player has a unique scoring ability and the versatility that separates him from most peers. Orlando is the stage for Okoro to really show his skills.
Kyle Anderson 6’4 (Guard)- Anderson sets the table for this talented bunch and he’s ready to state his claim as the top point guard in America. The lanky guard can see over most defenders and has the court vision to find teammates at anytime. He’s a special player with a bright future.
Daniel Dingle 6’4 (Forward)- Dingle is a consistent performer and as elevated his game to the perimeter. He will be needed to hit the glass and provide scoring in the paint. He’s also a proving winner and has performed on the big stage before.
Labrent Walker 6’1 (Guard)- Walker was brought along to provide more fire power for this team. The lefty gets it done attacking the basket and using his athleticism to explode at the rim. The true test will be if he can mesh with an experienced battle tested squad.
The squad formerly known as Team Next has always ran with a host of talented players. This year’s big time performer is southpaw combo guard Dashawn Suber. The lefty gets busy by scoring the rock and getting his teammates involved while possessing a sick handle. This team should be entertaining to say the least.
I haven’t seen the Gauchos rock this season but they always bring a serious team on the floor. They finished runner-up in their district tournament and will carry their tradition down to Orlando. It should be an interesting look for the Bronx boys.
Other Teams Include: Westchester Hawks and Harlem’s (Youth In Motion)
5th Grader Scores 62 Points
Kejuan Johnson of the J Smoove All Stars used the 11 and Under Nationals as his personal playground. The athletic inside force put up enormous scoring numbers. Johnson punished The Ville from Kentucky for a whopping 62 points, drilled First Choice from Florida for 51 markers, piled up 49 points vs. Team Arkansas and also gave defending National Champs DC Blue Devils 33. Kejuan not only did damage inside he actually played all five positions on the floor including the point guard. I don’t know if the 62 points is indeed a record but it’s hard to believe another 11 and Under player actually putting up those numbers.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Harvest Knights Disqualification Investigation!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Harvest Knights Advance At Nationals
The Harvest Knights 11U Squad won 2 two games today while advancing to the Sweet 16 round if the 11U Nationals in Cocoa Beach, Florida. After losing their first pool game the Knights have run off 4 straight victories including a 62-33 win over the St. Louis Majestics and running past Sam Cassell All Stars 49-29. Tomorrow they face S. West Wildcats at 10:20 AM. We will keep you updated on their title hopes. Here’s video highlights of one of their games in Cocoa Beach Enjoy!.
Demetrius Walker: A True Warrior
As you know I don’t cover high school basketball anymore but I feel the story of Demetrius Walker is one that could benefit the upcoming ballers. It’s a story of quick fame, hardship and perseverance. When Demetrius Walker was in the 8th Grade he was the #1 player in the country and regarded as the “Next Lebron”. He was the focus on a number of websites and even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. Many felt he was distant for the NBA and a successful career.
I first laid eyes on Walker at the MLK Classic in Asbury Park, NJ. He was playing with the National Champs Team California . I have to say I was impressed with the youngster’s physical presence. He stood 6’2, caught lob passes for dunks and glided over opponents for easy buckets. An Adidas Rep and Sports Illustrated reported were also in the building that day. At the conclusion of the tourney Walker posed for photos and then flew home with his squad.
The next time I saw Walker in action was at the 14U Nationals in Orlando. The rest of the nation must have read the stories about Walker because he had a rock star following at his games. That’s when I saw the other side of things, while watching him play I could tell the pressure of carrying this top player torch was becoming too heavy for this youngster because he was pressing too hard. After a few games of unfavorable showings the critics even those the put Demetrius in this position completely turned on this youngster. Fans began to boo him and the writers called him overrated. This bashing carried over into his freshman year of high school when an injury kept him out of a highly anticipated matchup with another young phenom named Lance Stephenson. Those critics had called him soft and labeled him a bust. Many people including myself thought this was the end of Demetrius Walker.
Then last spring I was reading an article on Prep Stars one of the realest and respected recruiting sites in the country when I saw Demetrius Walker's name. The writer said that Walker made an appearance and looked like he was working on his game. I was happy for the youngster and this sparked my interest in him. I continued to follow Walker's success on the internet and saw that he was really picking up his game and turning heads. His play began to take the notice of high major schools and most recently he was offered a scholarship by big time programs such as USC, California and USC.
Walker still has another year of high school to go but I admire the youngsters fortitude and willingness to work on his game. He could have easily packed it in and believed all the critics. But like that saying goes, toughness is not measured by whether you fall but more importantly how you get up after you fall. In this instance it looks like he might have the last laugh.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Melton's Mailbag 7/23
George From Baltimore, MD:
Mike I heard the Boo Williams Sportsplex is excellent how does it compare to other facilities you have visited?
MM: George, the Boo Williams Center is very impressive it has 8 official full courts, concession stand and state of the art equipment. I also like the fact that they have real bleachers for every court unlike many multi-court facilities.
Eddie From Newark, NJ:
Mike now that you saw all the Top 12U teams in the country what do you think the NJ teams have to do to compete better at the Nationals?
MM: Eddie, I think it would be a great idea if New Jersey could put together a super team to compete at the nationals. Take the Memphis War Eagles for example they have good teams on every age level and it seems like they are the only team in these events from Memphis. So they widened their talent pool and put together ultimate squads.
Rob From NJ:
Mike I saw that the Gauchos knocked off the Delaware Hawks in the Final 8 but the Hawks finished ranked higher how is that?
MM: Rob, I don’t agree with the way AAU does their final rankings. I feel that if teams advance to Final 16 they should be the 16 ranked teams and so on. But, I understand why they do it. Their concept is put in place to make the consolation and classic bracket games meaningful. This keeps the games interesting and keep teams coming back.
Chad From Pennsylvania:
Mike, who do you think will win the 11U Nationals?
MM: Chad, there are some tremendous teams down in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Well DC Blue Devils are the defending champs and ARC has probably the top player in Tyler Dorsey. I also saw that J Smoove has entered the field and apparently has suited up Kejuan Johnson. I think the field is wide open.
Send your questions to the Melton Mailbag at firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas Select Getting Things Done
The team has played a national schedule this year competing in tournaments in Springdale, Arkansas (1st place), Kansas City, Missouri (1st place), Houston, Texas (2nd place), and Washington, DC (semi-finals). The team also competed locally in six 7th grade tournaments, winning 1st place in four of the six tournaments. The team boasts an overall record of 41-5 against national sixth grade competition, and 30-6 against local seventh grade competition.
The Team is coached by Marlon Boleware (Arlington, TX) and Torrence Stepteau, M.D. (Colleyville, TX). The team members are (2nd Row L to R) Coach Boleware, Micah Seaborn (Fort Worth, TX), Terry Lightfoot (Arlington, TX), Dallas Sonnier (Grand Prairie, TX), Nick Johnson (Fort Worth, TX), Coach Stepteau, (1st Row L to R) Adrian Wong (Bedford, TX), Bola Alade (Murphy, TX), Brocke Stepteau (Colleyville, TX), Nicko Boleware (Arlington, TX), Alex Robinson (Kennedale, TX)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
11U AAU Nationals Update
Some of the top teams in the Northeast traveled to Coco Beach, Florida for the 11U AAU Nationals. It’s day 2 of the tournament and we have a breakdown of how the teams of our area are doing. Here’s a breakdown team by team.
• King Street Kings (2-0)
Defeated Hollywood Eagles 65-41
Defeated Seattle Vista Select 70-33
• F.A.C.E.S (1-1)
Defeated Ocean Indians (WV) 43-36
Lost to Harvest Knights (NJ) 74-21
• Harvest Knights (1-1)
Lost to Texas Titans (TX) 57-47
Defeated F.A.C.E.S (NJ) 74-21
• Riverside Hawks (2-0)
Defeated Playground I.C.E Elite 53-42
Defeated Peacemakers 66-46
• Hollis Biddies (ILOY) (1-1)
Lost to Virginia Cardinals 59-46
Defeated Gulf Coast Blue Chips 54-47
• Long Island Lightning (0-2)
Lost to U Turn Warriors 57-46
Lost to CP3 All Stars 57-54
• Gauchos 11U B (0-2)
Lost to California Elite 62-14
Lost to Disciples 61-37
• Peacemakers (1-1)
Defeated Mays Hornets 43-37
Lost to Riverside Hawks 66-46
• Delaware Elite (0-2)
Lost to Sam Cassell Allstars 39-34
Lost to Flint Affiliation 41-38
Monday, July 21, 2008
12U AAU Nationals: Best Of The Rest
In our final report from the 12U AAU Nationals we will discuss a few players that caught our attention at this event. These players were on the cusp of making our Top 10 position ranking list thus performed at a high level. Here’s the Basketball Spotlight Best of The Rest from the 12U AAU Nationals.
12U AAU Nationals Best of the Rest Performers
Marquis Rowe Guard (Future Players)- Rowe is a combo guard with a flashy handle and a willingness to pull the trigger on his jumper from anywhere in the building. He has quickness that you can’t teach and plays the game with tremendous passion. He was a joy to watch.
Steven Bush Guard (Gauchos)- I like the energy Bush brought to the Gauchos off the bench. He came in and did his job on both ends of the floor. What impressed me the most was that a player of his caliber actually produces while playing a reserve role.
Christian Kent Guard (Wilson Blue Devils)- I like the lefties ability to score the ball during the course of the game. His handle is cool and enjoys letting the floater go in the lane. He also has deep range on his shot.
Justin Jefferson Forward (Wilson Blue Devils)- Jefferson is an energy with enough size to make an impact on this level. He has some developing offensive skills but still does the dirty work on the glass.
Nassir Barrino Guard (NJ Pirates)- I got a chance to see Barrino catch fire a couple times down in Virginia. When he’s clicking his game goes to another level. He couldn’t carry the squad like previous outings but let it be known he scored on this level.
James Prather Forward (Memphis War Eagles)- Prather is a rugged rebounder with a nice touch from the foul line in. He played go clogging defense in the paint and was very close to making our list for power forwards.
Mike Briscoe Guard (Shabach Warriors)- The guard called MJ has the ability to get to the cup on demand. His array of dribble moves kept defenders on their heels for most the game. He has a lot of talent.
Robert Cartwright Guard (ARC Gorillas)- Robert was the spot up shooter for the powerful squad from California. The Steve Kerr type can handle the rock when needed but specializes in drilling the trey.
Jorge Rodriquez Forward (Delaware Hawks)- Jorge plays the role as enforcer very well for the Hawks. He bangs bodies in the lane and outhustles bigger opponents for the pill. Rodriquez plays with a lot of emotion and passion.
Mamodou Diaw Forward (Ct. Kentucky Warriors)- Diaw is a strong forward with some athleticism that enjoys getting out in transition. He’s capable of making a few moves to the basket and looks like he should fill out pretty good physically.
Anthony Rhem Guard (Team Kobe)- Rhem helped Team Kobe with his outside shooting and ability to score the ball. When Brandon Austin got into foul trouble Anthony stepped up and picked up the scoring.
12U AAU Nationals: Top 10 Power Forwards
One of the most loaded positions at the 12U Nationals had to be the Power Forward spot. Since most of these youngsters haven’t maxed out in growth we feel it’s not necessary to label them as Centers yet. Therefore any player that did damage on the blocks could be in this category. Here’s a breakdown of the Top 10 Big Forwards were saw at the 12U Nationals.
12U Nationals Top 10 Big Men
1. Marsalis Johnson (ARC Gorillas)- Johnson got our nod for the #1 Spot because of the way he dominated the game on both ends. On the offensive end he was virtually a guaranteed deuce on the blocks. He has a nice turn around shot with either hand and has good elevation on his moves. His attacks the glass and uses a soft touch to score buckets. On the defensive end he’s a wall in the lane while blocking or altering any shot in his area. He was one of the top prospects in the building.
2. Kejuan Johnson (J-Smoove All Stars)- Johnson is a dominant force from the Peach State that has a powerful and intimidating game. He can either post up or power to the basket from the wing. His leaping ability allows him to control the boards and toss shots away. His potential will depend on whether he continues to grow.
3. Tony Upchurch (Houston Select)- Tony is a monster on this level. He jumps out the building and to my surprise was a clever passer of the rock. As you know he plays above the rim on occasion while possessing some unique post moves on the blocks. I like his physical presence on the floor.
4. Wa’mere Murphy (Delaware Hawks)- Murphy put on a scoring in most of his games in Hampton. His quickness and leaping ability made things quite easy for him on the blocks. On this level it’s very difficult for defenders to slow him down because of his athleticism. But, looking at his frame he really needs to develop his perimeter skills including ball handling and shooting because he will be pushed to the wing very soon.
5. Joe Burton (Houston Select)- Burton has a thin frame but also has one of the best upsides of anyone on this list. The long wiry forward has soft hands and played the high-low game very well. He has some quickness for this position and will be a name to know from Texas in the coming years.
6. Thomas Holley (LI Trotters)- Defenses knew the ball was going to Holley and there was nothing they could do about it. The husky post player sealed defenders and used his soft touch to score in abundance. He put his team on his back and carried them into the Championship Bracket.
7. Dakari Johnson (Gauchos)- Johnson was the lone inside presence for the Gauchos and held the fort down. His shot blocking skills are contributed to his long arms and wing span. On the offensive end has developed a drop step and is gaining more confidence each game out.
8. Jahil Okafor Benson (Arkansas Mustangs)- The post player for the National Champs isn’t has athletic as others on this list but does possess the knack of scoring and rebounding on the blocks. He has a wide frame and uses to gather position to get things done.
9. Mike Collier (Ct. Kentucky Warriors)- The like Collier’s face up game and his fundamentally sound moves on the blocks. He has a thin but long frame and knows how to maneuver for shots. Mike does have a chance to move to the perimeter in the next couple of years.
10. Leroy Butts (Future Players)- The southpaw is a little raw on the offensive end but I think he will turn into a good prospect. His athleticism screams out and he does show some mid range touch. I hope to see him rock again soon.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
12U AAU Nationals: Top 10 Wing Forwards
The 12U AAU Nationals had an influx of talent at every position. We will now take a look at the wing forwards. This spot is very unique for this age group because size and ball handling comes into play. Here’s a breakdown of the Top 10 Wing Forwards that were in Hampton.
12U AAU Nationals Top 10 Wing Forwards
1. Jacques Baptiste (New Orleans Panthers)- Baptiste was my pick as the top wing forward because scored in the flow of the game so effortlessly. He picked his spots and attacked the rim very aggressively. Right now he’s a physical offensive player with a lot of athleticism but in the coming years he should transform into a decent combo guard. New Orleans has a good one in Baptiste.
2. Brandon Austin (Team Kobe)- In terms of potential there probably wasn’t a better prospect in Virginia. The lanky wing stands about 6’3 and can handle the pill like a point guard. He pushes the rock coast to coast with ease and glides past defenders on his way to the bucket. His lack of strength at this stage is the only reason he didn’t totally dominate everyone. Over the years I have predicted some future phenoms during their grammar school tenure such as Tyreke Evans, Dexter Strickland and more recently Mike Gilchrist. You heard it here first if Austin continues to work he could make it into this special company.
3. Cameron Gregory (DC Assault)- DC Assault has been a hot bed for top players for years and now Gregory looks like he might be next in line. I like his size on the perimeter and the fact that his team doesn’t force him into the post. His squad keeps a hand full of guards thus Cameron doesn’t have to handle the rock as much as Austin. I think he has a chance to be special.
4. Dorrian Holland (Arkansas Mustangs)- Holland makes things happen for the National Champs. He has wiggle in his game and scores in bunches especially in transition. The Mustangs great guard play makes things easier Holland to convert without exerting much effort. It will be interesting to see his development over the years.
5. Dylan Portwood (Ct. Kentucky Warriors)- Portwood helped his squad handle pressure by bringing the rock up at times. He has good touch from the perimeter and the basketball IQ that allows him to make plays when it counts. His outside game will continue to develop in years to come.
6. Trevon Bluiett (Ohio Basketball Club)- Bluiett’s ball handling is not that of a legit wing by I see the potential. He can guard on the perimeter which is a plus and he also showed the ability to make plays. His potential size alone makes him an intriguing prospect and one to keep an eye on.
7. Chris Robinson (Gauchos)- I didn’t know much about Robinson before arriving in Virginia but I was very impressed with his alertness and nose for the ball. He seemed to be involved in every play and scored some tough buckets when the Gauchos needed them. Right now he plays the wing but is more of a combo guard.
8. Larry McCoy (Ohio Basketball Club)- McCoy is a bruising forward on this level but could be considered a wing because of his ball handling. He creates his own opportunities and uses his body well to absorb contact in traffic. He plays the baseline game very well.
9. Jonathan Carson (Wisconsin Playground)- The husky forward has a Charles Barkley type game. You would think he should be on the blocks until this freight train is coming your way. Carson can score the pill and usually plays the role as the go to man.
10. Kelly Oubre (Houston Select)- I like the lefty from Texas and think he will be a good one in the future. He’s very offensive aggressive and has a knack for scoring. I also see a growth spurt Kelly which would serve him well on both ends of the floor.