Nogel Eastern Was MVP Of The Maryland Invitational
The MIT took place this past weekend and Basketball Spotlight had a scout in the building. He particularly took notice to the 6th Grade Division. Here’s a breakdown of teams and players that impressed our scout.
The Springfield, Illinois based club was lead by Reggie Crawford and Nojel Eastern, who both showed off grown man footwork in the paint to lead AI9 to the MIT title. Crawford is a powerfully built forward who gets his work done exclusively in the paint. Eastern has the look and feel of a Chicago area guard and is a pure scorer, deft off the dribble, on the block and from the land of 3. Both players came to MIT with good reputations on the 6th grade trail and each lived up to the advanced billing. AI9 also has a trio of guards as quick and talented as any team I have seen this year.
NC Rising Prospects
Jordan Riley- all 6’4 of him was an incredible force all weekend. One opposing player looked toward the stands and proclaimed, “We CAN NOT STOP HIM!!!” As Jordan was drawing comparison to Dwight Howard, powerful wing guard Ian Dubose was carving up defenses with his ability to score off the bounce, in the paint and from the arc.
Takeover had a scare vs. a tenacious Dayton Pilot team before turning up the screws on defense and riding the wave of buckets provided by forward DJ Mitchell. Mitchell was the half court scorer while the team stepped up on defense and Aaron Thomson ran the team perfectly in transition to fuel the comeback. In the Semi Final, Team Takeover executed a perfect game plan vs. NC Rising Prospect as center Camaron Spence banged and battled inside on defense and had his best offensive game of the MIT.
6th Man Warriors
Donovan Steward played well over the weekend and was exceptional as a long range bomber dropping five 3pt shots and 21 points in an upset win over Atlanta Celtics-RL in pool play.
The Titans nearly pulled off an early upset of WV Explosion in pool play. In that game a small guard caught the Spotlight eye. Michael Elliott is maybe 5’0 even, but in the game he splashed 4 deep threes in 8 attempts. We followed him after that and he stayed on high alert as he canned 6 triples vs. Carolina Flight and another 4 vs. Haywood Elite in Silver bracket.
The Xplosion was dangerous and balanced in their quarterfinal run at MIT. Combo G, Kurtlen Brown slashed in every crease he found while dropping dime after dime and finishing at the hoop. Post Players Anthony Dean and Elijah Cuffee dominated the backboard in every game I saw, but they saved their best offensive and defensive games in a win over Andre Boykin’s Maryland Panthers. The tandem scored 16 while holding the Panther center to 4 points. Guards Isiah Francis and Jamison Hunt were shot makers all weekend and Silas Nazaro ran the team like a veteran floor general with a low strong handle and just a bit of flash.