Friday, March 30, 2012

Basketball Spotlight Fan Voting Poll: NyRhique "La Smoove" Smith Voted #1 Combo Guard In America

NyRhique Smith (Asbury Park, NJ)

The fans have once again spoken and they voted NyRhique “La Smoove” Smith as the #1 Combo Guard in America. Smith has been performing on a high level all season long with the Playaz Basketball Club and LD Rebels.

NyRhique won with 847 votes and remains humble after the results. “I would like to thank Basketball Spotlight for giving me the opportunity to win this award. I also would like to thank my family, coaches and friends for believing in me and pushing me harder. I was taught that hard work goes a long way so I will continue to work hard” said Smith.

Basketball Spotlight would like to congratulate Smith and his family, while also thanking you guys for logging on and voting for all the candidates.

Video Profile: Temple Gibbs (Team Scan)

Name: Temple Gibbs

AAU Team: Team Scan

Position: Combo Guard

Class: 2016

Breakdown: Team Scan will likely move into the #1 slot when our April rankings are released and most of their success can be attributed to the play of Gibbs. TJ came into the season rolling with confidence and has not taken his foot off the pedal. He’s currently a strong Player Of The Year Candidate and has TS in a position to win the Grand Championship on June 16th. Check out his video from a recent Spotlight event.

Basketball Spotlight Alum Shines On National TV

Briscoe Having A Strong Freshmen Year

Basketball Spotlight Alum and 200-11 Player Of The Year Isaiah Briscoe showed why he’s one the top freshmen in the country by helping St. Benedict’s Prep reach the final four of National High School Invitational. Check out the story below courtesy of

St. Benedicts Story

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Basketball Spotlight MDC Registration Has Begun!

Our final before reaching the Grand Finale takes to the tournament that started it all, “The MDC”. The Memorial Day Classic is the grandfather of all the Basketball Spotlight events and will be on fire once again this year. We are anticipating another sell out so don’t miss your chance to register for this event.

Event: Memorial Day Classic
Date: May 25th Thru 27th
Place: Neptune, NJ
Ages: 10U Thru 15U
Cost: $400.00 (Multi-Team Discount Available)

Single Team Registration

Multi-team Registration

Shot Doc Invitational Recap: DC Assault Takes Title

DC Assault Wins Title

Luther Anderson scored 19 points to lead DC Assault to a 62-59 win over Milbank in the Shot Doc Invitational 13U Championship. Congrats to DCA for winning the crown.

DC Assault 13U roster
Luther Anderson
Amara Clemens
Douglas Cooper
Coby Davis
Glenn Ford
Joe Johnson
Niky Miller
Reese Mona
Darryl Morell
Rod Williams

In The Spotlight: Matt Dean (MId Jersey Heat)

Name: Matt Dean

AAU Team: Mid Jersey Heat

Position: Forward

Class: 2017

Breakdown: Dean has the size and showed the skill to dominate the game in the paint during the AAU Super Regional. But what really might help his game translate to the next level is his ability to shoot the rock from the perimeter. He will be a difficult match up while dragging big forwards out to the 3 point line.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crown The King Tournament Schedule

The Crown The King Tournament Schedule is listed below. For any questions please contact Tournament Director Maurice Brooks @(201)-650-6615.

11U Division
Pool A
1. Positive Direction
3. NWK
4. Jersey Force

Pool B
1. Harlem Jazz
2. St. Michaels
3. Playtime
4. X Men

12U Division
Pool C
1. CJ Hawks (A)
2. NWK
3. Ring City

Pool D
1. CJ Hawks (B)
3. Playtime

Pool E
1. Positive Direction
2. Jersey Force
3. Gatlin Pumas
4. Rip City

13U Division
Pool F
1. Bawllerz NYC
2. Starting 5ive
3. Hackensack

Pool G
1. X Men
2. Team Hines
3. Linden Ballers

Saturday March 31st
10:00 AM A1-A2 (CT 1)
10:00 AM A3-A4 (CT 2)
10:00 AM C1-C2 (CT 3)
11:10 AM B1-B2 (CT 1)
11:10 AM B3-B4 (CT 2)
11:10 AM D1-D2 (CT 3)
12:20 PM A1-A3 (CT 1)
12:20 PM A2-A4 (CT 2)
12:20 PM C1-C3 (CT 3)
1:30 PM B1-B3 (CT 1)
1:30 PM B2-B4 (CT 2)
1:30 PM D1-D3 (CT 3)
2:40 PM F1-F2 (CT 1)
2:40 PM G1-G2 (CT 2)
2:40 PM C2-C3 (CT 3)
3:50 PM E1-E2 (CT 1)
3:50 PM E3-E4 (CT 2)
3:50 PM D2-D3 (CT 3)
5:00 PM F1-F3 (CT 1)
5:00 PM G1-G3 (CT 2)
6:10 PM E1-E3 (CT 1)
6:10 PM E2-E4 (CT 2)
7:20 PM F2-F3 (CT 1)
7:20 PM G2-G3 (CT 2)

Sunday April 1st
9:00 AM A1-A4 (CT 1)
9:00 AM A2-A3 (CT 2)
9:00 AM 1ST C-2ND D (CT 3)
10:10 AM B1-B4 (CT 1)
10:10 AM B2-B3 (CT 2)
10:10 AM 1ST D-2ND C (CT 3)
11:20 AM E1-E4 (CT 1)
11:20 AM E2-E3 (CT 2)
11:20 AM 1ST F-2ND G(CT 3)
12:30 PM 1ST A-2ND B (CT 1)
12:30 PM 1ST B-2ND A (CT 2)
12:30 PM 1ST G-2ND F (CT 3)
1:40 PM POOL C-2ND E (CT 1)
1:40 PM POOL D- 1ST E (CT 2)
1:40 PM 3RD C-3RD D (CT 3)
2:50 PM 3RD F-3RD G (CT 3)

Fairleigh Dickinson University
285 Madison Avenue
Madison, New Jersey

In The Spotlight: Tyler Hawkins (Mid Jersey Heat)

Name: Tyler Hawkins

AAU Team: MJ Heat

Position: Point Guard

Class: 2017

Breakdown: The polished point guard ran the show and also nailed some deep treys to help his squad win the AAU Super Regional. He’s eager to shoot the open jumper but uses his drive, draw and dish skills when penetrating the lane. Once he adds some more strength his stock should go higher.

Under The Radar: Jack Rooney (Playtime)

Name: Jack Rooney

AAU Team: Playtime Panthers

Position: Shooting Guard

Class: 2018

Breakdown: Rooney confidence has improved since coming over from King Street Kings. Recently at the MJ Heat AAU Super Regional he was able to drain the outside on a regular basis. He seems to be a player that will get better the more he is on the floor.

Nike Invitational 14U Recap: #2 Team Scan Knocks #1 DC Assault

Team Scan Might Move Back To #1 Spot

Devonte Green scored 7 of his 15 points in the final 50 seconds to help #2 Team Scan defeat #1 DC Assault 61-59 to win the Boo Williams Nike Invitational 14U Championship. Team Scan’s balanced scoring attack boasted four players in double digits Bryce Aiken 10 pts, Unique Mclean 11 points ( two monster put back dunks) Devonte Green 15 pts and Temple Gibbs led all scorers with 20 pts.

Temple Gibbs
Unique Mclean
Bryce Aiken
Dana King
Devonte Green
Sterling Hewitt
Brandon Randolph
Anthony Boateng
Charlie O’Connor
Patrick Strylza
Kassoum Yakwe

Atlantic City Showcase Is Closed!

The Basketball Spotlight Atlantic City Showcase is at capacity. We would like to thank everyone for their support. Anyone not on the list of teams will not be participating in this event. Due to limited space our registration was a priority.

Atlantic City Showcase Team Listing

14U Teams
1. Gauchos
2. St. Michaels
3. Long Island Lightning
4. East Coast Elite
5. CT Elite (White)
6. CT Elite (Blue)
7. Annadale Boys and Girls Club
8. Mass Shooting Stars
9. Team Philly
10. NJ Shore Shots
11. MJ Heat
12. The Bombers
13. New Heights
14. Boston Spartans
15. Lehigh Valley’
16. Rock Elite

13U Teams
1. CBC
2. Team IZOD
3. 6th Man Warriors
4. CT Elite
5. Long Island Lightning
6. Team Final
7. New Heights
8. DC Assault
9. Team Melo
10. Milbank
11. East Coast Elite
12. East Side Youth Center
13. PG Blazing Bulls
14. MJ Heat
15. Team Dejavu
16. Boston Spartans
17. Black Mambas
18. Demarcus Cousins Blue Devils
19. Rock Elite
20. Lehigh Valley Heat

12U Teams
1. Team IZOD
2. Playtime
3. Wall 2 Wall (Allentown, PA)
4. Demarcus Cousins Blue Devils
5. King Street Kings
6. Team Melo
7. Mass Shooting Stars
8. NWK
9. DC Assault
10. East Coast Elite
11. RIP City
12. Riverside Hawks
13. Team Final
14. Rick Elite
15. Boston Spartans
16. CT Elite
17. 6th Man Warriors
18. Albany Dream Team
19. Team Hines’
20. Bump and Run

11U Teams
1. Team Nelson
2. Gauchos
3. New Heights
4. Team Takeover
6. Long Island Lightning
7. CBC
8. DC Assault
9. St. Michaels
10. Mid Jersey Mavericks
11. Advanced Hoops
12. Albany Dream Team
13. 6th Man Warriors
14. Bump and Run
15. Pleasantville
16. NWK

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 13U Recap: The Host Gets It Done

MJ Heat Gets It Done

Mid Jersey Heat started out on fire and didn’t let up as they defeated Between The Lines Elite 66-30 to the MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 13U Championship. Congratulations to MJ Heat for winning the crown. Stay tune as we bring you top performers from this event.

In The Spotlight: Pierre-Louis Erupts For 45 Points

Name: Nate Pierre Louis

AAU Team: Team IZOD

Position: Combo Guard

Class: 2017

Breakdown: Pierre Louis is no stranger to the Spotlight has the lefty has won POY honors two years in a row. This past weekend he took the NJ AAU State Tournament by storm. Nate “The Great” poured in a career high 45 points in the final pool game against Hoop Nation. Check out his newly released highlights from the Tip Off Classic.

MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 12U Recap: Playtime Toys With The Competition

Playtime Cruise To Title

Playtime Panthers used a balanced attack to run past the Long Island Lightning 67-35 and win the MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 12U Championship. Congrats to Playtime for winning their crown.

Top Performers

Rob Higgins Guard (Playtime)- Higgins once again had an impressive showing. He has a lot of bounce to his game and deep range on his outside shot. In transition he maneuvered well to avoid shot blockers and finish off plays.

Razeyah Surrell Forward (Playtime)- Surrell was too much on the glass for the Lightning. He grabbed rebounds, blocked shots and scored on follow ups. He definitely had a huge impact on the game.

Matt Granville Guard (Long Island Lightning)- Granville did a good job early but Playtime’s defensive pressure eventually wore him down. The lefty has some natural basketball instincts and should be a name we will talk about down the road.

Eddie Calderon Guard (Long Island Lightning)- Calderon shot some life into the Lightning as they tried to make a comeback. He hit a few midrange shots and finished off some drives in the second half.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 14U Recap: Doyletown Too Much

Doyletown Wins Title

Tommy Strasburger scored 15 points as Doyletown defeated MJ Heat 41-27 to win the MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 14U Championship.

Top Performers

Blake Peterson Forward (Doyletown)- Peterson was a post up problem for MJ Heat. His quickness on the blocks baffled the host squad as he scored buckets and got the Heat in foul trouble. He might be a real problem down the road.

Tommy Strasburger Guard (Doyletown)- Tommy is the bully of this squad. He spent the night attacking the rim and scoring buckets. He can step and shoot jumpers but preferred putting pressure on the defense. His toughness proved to be too much for MJ Heat.

Jack Wheatley Guard (Doyletown)- Whealtley set the stage for the champion squad. He took care of the rock and still was able to score a couple of points. He made the defense pay with his ability to hit the open jumper. He’s a future floor general.

Tyreek Grayson Guard (MJ Heat)- The southpaw was the bright light for the MJ Heat. He relies on his floater but he’s capable of making moves to get it off. He has some good basketball instincts.

MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 11U Recap: CJ Hawks Soar To Title

CJ Hawks Takes Crown!

Stephen Lubischer scored 14 points and Bryan Antione added 13 markers as CJ Hawks defeated Between The Lines Elite 56-44 to win the MJ Heat AAU Super Regional 11U Championship. Jaylen Jackson and Rodney Sheridan scored 11 points for BTL in the loss.

Top Performers

Bryan Antione Forward (CJ Hawks)- Antione saved his best play for the 4th quarter. His team was down 7 points and Bryan proceeded to take over the game. The lanky forward stroked a couple of treys and also showed some mid range prowess. It was money time and he stepped up big for the champions.

Tahaj Parland Guard (CJ Hawks)- Parland handled BLT pressure defense with swift dribble drives and smart moves. He keeps the ball low and dazzled the crowd while shaking defenders.

Stephen Lubischer Guard (CJ Hawks)- Lubischer carried the load for the Hawks the first 3 quarters. He scored easily using the floater in the lane and charging the lane hard. Stephen was very fearless when attacking the basket.

MJ Wright Guard (CJ Hawks)- Wright played excellent defense especially in the 4th quarter. He was at the top of the press and collected several steals which helped them complete the comeback.

Jaylen Jackson Guard (BTL)- This kid has some special tools in his game. He plays the point guard spot but can also score the pill when his team need buckets. His handle allows him to get past defenders and create havoc. We will keep our eye on him.

Mike Anderson Forward (BTL)- Anderson was able to rebound the ball and push the rock. He has good size right now and uses it to the best of his ability. I didn’t see him shoot from the perimeter so I can’t gauge his jump shot.

Rodney Sheridan Guard (BTL)- I never seen a 11 year old shoot the rock with so much arc. A few of Sheridan shots almost hit the ceiling. When he nailed it the shots he looked very good.

Mike Lopez Forward (BTL)- Lopez was in charge of hitting the boards and scoring inside. He has a strong frame for his age and size. He made things tough for the CJ Hawks until they took over in the 4th quarter.

X Factor Invitational Report Part 2 (Salt Lake City, Utah) By Paul Miranda

Trevon Ary-Turner (ECBA Hoopstars)

The X-Factor Tournament took place in Salt Lake City, Utah and Paul Miranda of Basketball Spotlight was in the building. This is Part 2 of his report.

Trevon Ary-Turner #5 ECBA HOOPSTARS
This 6’1’’ swingman’ played hard on both ends of the court, but his jumper’ and slashing abilities were undeniable. I loved this young man’s demeanor, silent but deadly. This kid rebounded the ball very effectively and blocked shots easily. I also loved the way he filled the lanes and finished on many fastbreaks.

Shaquil Dawkins #7 Dream Vision
Although a little gimpy with a sprained ankle, this young man was BIG when his team needed him most. The catalyst for his team, he helped dictate the pace in all of the games. His Speed was ridiculous even at not being at full strength. He got to the rack easily, he dished out many sweet dishes to open teammates in transition, and was more than just stellar on the defensive end, where he delivered several stops.

Darius McFarland #44 X Factor
This big fella’ might look like he should be on the gridiron, but he really could play. He had excellent footwork and foot speed that dazzled all of the so-called experts in attendance. I was also amazed at how he ran the floor in transition and how he wasn’t afraid to put the ball on the floor in the open court too. He did his job in the paint, rebounding and taking up space was nowhere near being a problem for this one. He also displayed a nice touch around the basket and his b’ball IQ was very visible.

Keith Smith Jr. #9 Seattle Rotary Style
This 6’3’’ swingman came out and made several plays that ooohed and aaahed many of us that watched his team play. His slashing ability getting to the cup with such ease was breath-taking. He went often and went hard but finished with such commanding authority too. He blocked shots, jumped the passing lanes and rebounded the ball extremely well.

Terrance McBride #3 Cali Style 2017
This 7th grader played hard and showed that he wasn’t scared to play against older kids. He ran his team’s offense with precision that helped knock out the defending AAU National champ (Dunk Dog elite) in bracket play that stunned everyone in the building. He knocked down several big shots and had several dazzling defensive plays that stifled his opposing guards. Young man had big time SWAG!

J’Shaun Agosto #23 ECBA Hoopstars
The highly publicized point guard was worth every penny to watch. Although a bit on the small side, his game did not allow you to just focus on that, if you did he lost you somewhere close to the top of the key. His impeccable ball handling skills were awesome. He hit many shots. He got to the rack and finished countless of times. But what I found amazing about this young man that I couldn’t see on the youtube videos, was how he defended tenaciously and how much he could help his team rebound, after it was over, I had no doubt about his abilities to play

Henry Roberts #13 Seattle Swish
This 6’5’’ big man was a beast in the paint, he had nice low post moves, used his body very well for positioning, rebounded the ball with authority, and blocked shots. He also set some nice screens. I think guys like Roberts don’t get the publicity because his game is not ‘flashy’ enough, but the blue collar game was evident and visible more than just often. He brought it every game and you could tell that he has more than just passion for the game.

J.J. CALDWELL #23 Houston Defenders Select 2016
By far one of the top PG’s in the country and boy did he show off why we love his game in Texas. He is so smooth but strong and very aggressive. His passes look like there in slow motion but delivered with razor-like precision. His leadership is outstanding and unquestionable. On the defensive end, he stalked his prey as if they didn’t even belong on the floor. By far one of the most unselfish PG’s around. Don’t sleep on this guy, he can shoot it from anywhere, he can penetrate and kick it better than anyone.

Chase Nomaea #0 Dream Vision 2016
This 6’4’’ swingman was N-I-C-E, he could do it all. He had nice ball handling skills. He could handle it in the open floor and in traffic. He could hit the jumper off the dribble, he could deliver the dime off the dribble. He displayed a high bball IQ and used it to his advantage against many of the ‘bigs’ that he played against. He nice slash and dash finishes at the rim or midrange pull-up. He rebounded the ball with a mean streak.

David Thornton #44 Colorado Hawks
This high flier was all over the time, whether it was a thunderous dunk or dazzling lay-up, he was higher than most. He blocked shots and rebounded the ball so manly-like. I was also impressed with his athleticism in the paint and how he could gamble and make up for with his ‘hops’ and length. Although he didn’t advance in the Dunk Contest, I think that with more preparation on finishing the dunks, he will be one to reckon with.

Sean Gummersall #30 Seattle Rotary Style
This 6’4’’ long and lanky young man was fun to watch. He had great defensive instincts in the paint, deflecting many passes, stealing the pass, and blocking shots all made him factor every game for his team. His positioning for rebounds was solid. His footwork was nice. Great touch around the paing. A throwback player that many ‘oldtimers’ would enjoy watching.

Mid Jersey Heat AAU Super Regional 9U Recap:

CJ Hawks Baby Ballers Get It Done.

CJ Hawks 9U won the Mid Jersey Heat AAU Super Regional by defeating the Bayshore Bulldogs 18-16. Congrats to the CJ Hawks for the big win.

15 Quentin Autry
6 Travis Bailey
1 Alex Baker
23 Jayden Bellamy
21 Jaylen Blakes
12 Timothy Evidente
3 Colin Farrell
7 Mekhi Johnson
45 Otega Oweh
33 Gavin Tabije
25 Holden Tabije
35 Ezra Budashewitz

Diary Of A Baller: Tyus "Kid Mamba" Battle (Edison, NJ) Entry #30

Tyus Battle 10 months old and MOM.

What’s up, basketball world I’m back with entry 30.

Monday was my second of Terra Nova testing, for those who don’t know what the Terra Nova is; it’s a state test for all students just like the NJ Ask. On this day we did the math section of the test. It wasn’t too difficult; I actually thought it was going to much tougher than it was. After school I went to the gym at Green Street in Woodbridge. While at the gym I decided to lift for about an hour before I worked out because there is already a team practicing in the gym. After they left I went up stairs to the gym. I got up a lot of shots and most of the time the shots were off the dribble. When I finally finished it was around 11pm and I was tired, and fell asleep after a few minutes of being home.

Wednesday was the last day of Terra Nova’s and I was glad they were finally over. All we really did was relax for the rest of the school day. Since I didn’t get any homework my dad let me play my PS3 and try out Mass Effect 3, that Karl Towns told me to get, and I have to say the game is “tuff”. I really suggest this game to anyone who plays video games. I haven’t been able to put it down since. After I played Mass Effect I went back to the gym to work and mostly just repeated the things I did Monday. I tend to repeat my workouts a lot, even the drills I used to do when I was younger, just so they become a habit and you never forget about it.

Thursday I had my first workout back with Julian from our last session which was three weeks ago. The workouts have been really paying off because I have been jumping much better and now I can dunk off of two feet and with two hands. It feels great to know that I can finally dunk the basketball and to know that it will only get better with hard work.

Friday was our first dress down day of the school year, were we get to wear any clothes we want. Everybody was excited because in our school we don’t get many of these. Again we didn’t have any homework so I had the rest of the day for myself. So I spent the rest of that day as a day of resting, playing video games, and watching the NCAA tournament.

Over the weekend I had practice with the Team Final 15u. At the beginning of the practice we did about an hour of skill work with the 16’s and 17’s. After we went over a few plays and then scrimmaged with 16’s and 17’s. I think playing up will help me a lot because I am playing against that are usually stronger and quicker than me and it’s a really good chance to improve my defense. After the practice my little brother and I went to the movies with a few of my friends to go see The Hunger Games, which is also the book I’m reading right now and in my opinion the book is much better than the movie. My mom picked me up after the movies which both my brother and I were happy about because we haven’t hung out with her in three weeks. While with her we went to Five Guys and just talked about what’s been going on with school and basketball. When we were done she dropped us off back at my dad’s house.

It’s getting late so I will talk to you all again next week, this is Tyus Battle signing out.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Road To The Grand Finale Heating Up!

The Basketball Spotlight Grand Finale point system is listed below. Teams gather points by their results in Basketball Spotlight events. 4 teams from each age group will advance to the Grand Finale which will be tentatively slated for Saturday June 16th. There will be a $50 registration fee for each team playing in this event. Good luck to all teams.

14U Grand Finale Points
Team Scan (9 Points)
DC Assault (9 Points)
Playaz (6 Points)

East Coast Elite (4 Points)
Team Takeover (3 Points)
ETU Warriors (3 Points)
Philly Triple Threat (3 Points)
Gauchos (2 Points)
New Rens (2 Points)
KSK (2 Points)

13U Grand Finale Points
CBC (9 Points)

Milbank (6 Points)

Team Final (6 Points)
Team Takeover (5 Points)
DC Assault (3 Points)
Team IZOD (3 Points)
New Rens (3 Points)

12U Grand Finale Points
Team IZOD (14 Points)
Playtime (11 Points)
East Coast Elite (10 Points)
KSK (9 Points)
New Rens (7 Points)
DeMarcus Cousins Blue Devils (6 Points)
NWK (3 Points)
Riverside Hawks (3 Points)
PWC (3 Points)

NJ Shore Shots (3 Points)
NC Running Rebels (2 Points)

11U Grand Finale Points
ECE-NJABC (13 Points)

Playtime (12 Points)
New Rens (7 Points)
Team Nelson (6 Points)
CJ Hawks (5 Points)
Team Rebels (3 Points)
New Heights (3 Points)
Severn Elite (2 Points)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spotlight Exclusive: Frantz Pierre-Louis Sets The Record Straight

Last summer Team IZOD 13U aka “Big Red Machine” ended the year on top of the Basketball Spotlight world. They had the Grand Championship, Player Of The Year and Coach of the Year. This season has not been so smooth. After a few tough early losses the rumor mill had this squad having internal conflicts and possibly disbanded. Therefore Basketball Spotlight reached out to reigning Coach Of The Year Franz Pierre Louis to find out what is going on.

BS: So what’s has been going on with Team IZOD 13U?
FPL: We have been focusing on becoming better student-athletes and better as a team.

BS: What is your response to rumors that you guys have broken up?
FPL: Rumors always surround great groups like the Jackson 5, Temptations, New Edition, and I guess now us. I'm glad that everyone is so concerned with us. We just played together in Baltimore last weekend.

BS: Can you elaborate on the pressure of a coach that coaches a team with a national reputation?
FPL: The only pressure that I truly have is preparing these young men for the next level. That's all.

BS: How do you handle the job of satisfying all the parents on your team?
FPL: We are only concerned with satisfying our team's objective.

BS: How hard is it to coach and have a son that’s ranked in the Top 10 of the country?
FPL: It's been a pleasure coaching a young man that shares my passion. It has not been as difficult as people may believe. We try to stay as humble and hungry as possible because rankings really don't mean anything at this point of these childrens young careers. It's a marathon not a race.

BS: How long do you really think this squad can stay together?
FPL: As long as they continue to improve individually and as a group.

BS: Last year you guys won the Spotlight Grand Championship, what’s your plan to return to glory?
FPL: To play each possession as hard as possible.

BS: What teams do you have on your target list before this season ends?
FPL: The only team that is on our target list is Team Izod. We are so focused on ourselves right now.

BS: Give us one word that describes your program?
FPL: Elite

BS: Final Thoughts?
FPL: I will like to thank all of our supporter and haters. Without you guys, what we do would not be possible. Thanks again...

X Factor Invitational Report Part 1 (Salt Lake City, Utah) By Paul Miranda

Cali Styles Takes Crown

Although the weather was a bit ugly outside with dark clouds, then rain, and then turning into snow,, but inside the XSI Factory, it was hotter than a Nevada desert. The competition was about as fierce as it could get. Defending AAU National champion, Dunk Dog Elite (formerly LA Select) was present. Highly touted teams such as #6 Houston Defenders Select 2016, CaliStyles 8th and 7th grade, Dream Vision 2016, ECBA Hoopstars, Colorado Hawks, Seattle Rotary, and the host team, X Factor, were out to make a statement with a championship run. It definitely had its share of many March Madness moments, like CaliStyles 7th grade squad upsetting the defending champ in a thrilling Elite Eight nail biter, 50-47. There were a few long distance game winning buzzer shots in pool and bracket play. The Dunk Contest was more exciting than the NBA’s most recent one in February. In the end, the competition bowed down to the eventual champion, CaliStyles 8th grade squad behind strong guard play and the inside presence of Cody Riley.

Cody Riley #10 CaliStyle
The 6’7’’ beast was unleashed at throughout this tournament for both of his teams, 7th and 8th grade. Yes sir, this kid went to work on almost everyone that crossed his path. He scored at will, owned the glass, and defended the paint like his life depended on it.

MR. I-Wanna-Be-Like-Mike
Courtney Lark #21 Houston Defenders Select 2016
The 6’2’’ jumpin’ jack was all over the rim in this tourney. He had several game time dunks that wowed’ the crowd every game. He even carried out the Dunk Contest championship. Finishing 2nd was Cody Riley with several powerful dunks. DFW Defenders Select’s Cam McGriff surprised us all with a few electrifying dunks to finish third place.

Derryck Thornton #11 Cali Style
‘Houdini’ was in full effect with amazing acrobatic shots and several unbelievable passes. His defense was stellar and he imposed his will on his opposing foes. In a tournament loaded with great point guards, JJ Caldwell, Shaquil Dawkins, and J’Shaun Agosto, it was Thornton that came out shining the most.

Jake Valero #4 Houston Defenders Select
Jake the Headacke’ was all over the place for his team. He dominated almost every stat in the books. This six footer was a monster on the boards, he blocked shots, deflected passes, dished out several dimes to his teammates, and he scored at will. There was just too many things that this guy did consistently that we just don’t have the time to explain.

Quin Barnard #1 ECBA Hoopstars
Wow this young man could knock down shots behind the arc all day, no matter where he was on the floor, he had the rim locked in. He put up shots that would drive a coach crazy, but when it went through the net, it was pandemonium. I was surprised the lights didn’t go out the way he was shooting.

Jared Goldwire #33 ECBA Hoopstars
The 6’6’’ Big Bear of a man was all over the boards, he used his body to perfection when it came to positioning and thwarting off defenders trying to take the ball from him. I was equally impressed with his ability to make nice interior passes to teammates cutting to the basket for layups. A little more footwork and this young man will be one to watch.

DeVearl Ramsey #0 Cali Style
YellowShoes’ was incredible all weekend long with gears in his motor that was turbo-like. It just seemed like there was nothing that he couldn’t do and everyone in the gym looking like we were witnessing greatness for the first time. This kid he pull-up jumpers from the elbow and behind the arc, he got to the rack, and defended opponents easily.

Kade Poulsen #41 X Factor
Kid doesn’t look like much but HIS looks are very deceiving. This young man was everywhere for his teams. He came up with many loose balls, rebounds, and defensive stops. He ran the floor, filling lanes and finished strong for many layups for his team. There just wasn’t much that this kid couldn’t do.

DeRon Davis #20 Colorado Hawks
With all the hype surrounding the ‘twin towers’ in Louisiana, Khalea Turner and Thon Maker (fractured finger), Davis did more than hold his own. Although he didn’t play well in pool play, he finished extremely strong in bracket play carrying his team to the championship. His 6’8’’ frame gave opponents fits in the paint. He was active on the both ends of the floor.

Remy Martin #6 Cali Style 2017
This slick and sleek guard made plays throughout this tournament. Whatever end, it didn’t matter. He had several penetrating shots and kickout passes that hurt all of his opponents. He was BIG in his team’s upset of the nation’s #1 ranked team in the country. I have my lazy eye on this guy, his future is a bright one.

Ryan Murphy #1 Dream Vision 2016
Aw man was this kid putting up shots and hitting them like it was nothing. Kid’s got one of the purest strokes in the country. He knows how to create space for his shots to get off. He can go by you with a pump fake and go. He knows how to use his screens. He runs the floor so effortlessly. Watching him play, was amazing, this young man loves having the ball. He’s worth all the billings that have been given to him.

B3 Sports and 5 Linx Presents: Crown The King Tournament

Event: Crown The King

Ages: 11U Thru 14U (Travel Team and AAU Clubs)

Place: FDU-College of Florham (285 Madison Ave. Madison NJ 07940)

Cost: $300.00 (Per Team)

Contact: Mo Brooks (201)-650-6615

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In The Spotlight: Quaron Blount (Long Island Rough Riderz)

Name: Quaron Blount

AAU Team: Long Island Rough Riderz

Position: Shooting Guard

Class: 2016

Event: AGame Super Shootout

Breakdown: While Scott flew high inside Blount knocked down the perimeter shot effectively. Blount is a natural two guard and has to size to go along with the position. His outside shot and ability to create helped his squad pull out the win at the AGame Super Shootout.

McLean Awarded HS Player Of The Year Honors

Unique McLean scored 25 points to lead the Hoosac Owls to their first Class D New England Prep School Athletic Conference tournament championship. The 8th Grader was voted 1st Team All Conference but even more importantly won Player Of The Year Honors for Prep Class D. Congratulations to Unique for his accomplishment especially on the high school varsity level. Check out Mclean’s highlights at a recent Basketball Spotlight event.

Rutgers Prep Snags Smith

One of the top 8th Grade basketball players in New Jersey has selected his high school. Greg Smith, II, a Readington Township resident has chosen to attend Rutgers Prep School next fall. Greg was the first player in Readington Middle School’s history to play on the varsity team as a 6th grader, played for 3 years, and is currently the school’s all time assist and scoring leader accumulating 923 points. He is an honor student who has won numerous achievement awards, and has been internationally recognized for his community service in several countries through his AAU Basketball Team, The Radiant SUNS.

“We are extremely pleased that Greg is coming to our team and the Rutgers Prep team family”, stated Coach Ortelli. “Greg is focused, works hard, is a good player, and a very good person. We are glad to have him” says Ortelli.

Greg considered several high schools including Seton Hall Prep (his Father’s Alma Mater), Immaculata, St. Anthony, The Pennington School, St. Patrick, and The HUN School. We would like to congratulate Greg and his family on their decision. We will keep you posted as his high school career develops

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From The Director's Desk Feat: Terrence "Munch" Williams (Team Scan)

Players and coaches always get a chance to shine on Basketball Spotlight but we never hear from the guys that actually orchestrate the AAU process. Therefore we created From The Director’s Desk to give program directors a shot at expressing themselves.

From The Director’s Desk Feat: Terrence “Munch” Williams (Team Scan)

BS:What was your goal when you started Team Scan?
TW: Our goal was to create a nurturing and holistic environment that challenges the stereotype of what basketball programs face today. We wanted to not only change the perception of the coaches, but also the image of the student-athletes. Our desire was to establish a program whereby those leading the youth (coaches, trainers, directors) were valued as role-models more for their work and integrity, rather than the laundry list of tournaments in which they played. We have built a program that focused on their overall development both in the classroom and on the court and cared less about the rankings of players. Team SCAN provides a safe haven for adolescents to feel like it's just as cool to pick up a book as it is a ball.

BS: Where do you see Team SCAN in the next 5 years?
TW: In five years, we expect Team SCAN to grow into an organization that is known for developing high caliber student-athletes and grooming them to be college ready; scholastically, socially and athletically. Being known as a program that teaches our kids how to play the game the right way and having an appreciation for their educational opportunities are very important to us.

BS: What are some of your programs biggest achievements since its inception?
TW: It has been very rewarding to see our student athletes succeed on and off the court in their school communities and be associated with their overall development. As an organization, we have worked hard to develop relationships with schools, our student athletes and their parents to provide school placement counseling (which includes brokering financial aid assistance), helping each child transition to their respective schools and maintaining a counseling/mentoring relationship with our kids. As a result, we have been able to successfully place over ninety percent of our student athletes into boarding and preparatory schools and have helped negotiate over $1.2 million dollars a year in financial aid/tuition assistance.

BS: If I had a son that’s just entering the AAU basketball scene, why should I choose Team Scan?
TW: Team SCAN is comprised of positive individuals who are well educated and take pride in helping the youth in their community. Our coaches serve as evidence that you can be successful regardless of your childhood obstacles and provide a safe and stable environment that offers academic, athletic and individual support. It is comforting to know that whether your child needs homework assistance, improvement in his skill set or is dealing with a personal issue, you can always count on Team SCAN to be there for your child. We are really a family, parents support games, we car pool, and the Team SCAN staff provides exemplary support in identifying prep schools that best fit the needs of your child and see them through the entire application process through high school graduation.

BS:You went from coaching one squad to directing a program in 3 short years, how did you make it happen?
TW:With any good team or organization, it all starts with finding the right people to be a part of the program. Without having people on board that understand the program's vision and goals, it would be impossible to grow a team as successful as SCAN.. We know that educational achievement is the fundamental key to a student’s success; therefore we offer tutoring and academic support services to ensure each of our youth have the foundation needed to achieve in a competitive class environment. Our program has developed the same way our students have developed - one step at a time. Children need time, energy, love, support, and opportunity to succeed. We look to offer all of these components to every child who enters our program; from our youngest being five year olds enrolled in our Saturday Skills camp to our 16U team. If you are developing youth in this kind of environment early in life, they learn valuable lessons about hard work, discipline, dedication, preparation and perseverance. When these messages are instilled in your daily language, your success is inevitable on and off the court.

BS: Discuss some of the challenges that come along with directing a big time program?
TW: Many of the challenges we face are no different from what any other program may face while building and maintaining their program in the NY area. Recruiting and maintaining your talent, developing your players and managing the egos and personal interests of your players and parents are all a part of the territory when dealing with any AAU Program.

Operationally, we face a lot challenges when it comes to scheduling because we also deal with our player’s academic and social development needs. In addition to developing competitive tournament schedules, we organize school visits, regularly check up on our players and their academic progress, and coordinate SSAT and SAT Prep tutoring sessions and will be developing our own comportment and financial literacy training.

BS: Right now you guys have Chris Mccullough a top 10 sophomore in the country; can you explain the task of managing a player of this magnitude?
TW: In our program, all of the kids are held to the same standard. They are expected to excel on and off the court. This means that they must be good citizens within their community as well as excellent students. We expect all of our players to work hard and it is important that they are coachable. These expectations apply to the first man on the bench as much as they do the 12th man on the bench, Chris is no exception.

Chris's level of responsibility for his actions is now heightened because of all the attention he is getting. He must be careful how he portrays himself via social networking sites, and we make sure to let him know that now everything he says is under a microscope. I have no doubt that Chris will be successful, he's a good kid, and if he continues down the road that he is on I know he will have a very successful basketball career.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Word On The Street: Video Games, Spider Webs and Miller Time

A lot of things are going on around the AAU world right now. So we decided to hit a couple of our sources and bring you another “Word On The Street”. Remember most of this information is not concrete as of yet but mostly from the rumor mill.

Karl Towns + Tyus Battle + Morden Warfare 3 =?

Top 5 Frosh in the country Karl Towns and Grammar School Phenom Tyus Battle supposedly have more in coming than shooting hoops. The two hardwood stars have formed a friendship through their love for online video games. This relationship led to Battle taking a Freshman for a Day visit to St. Joseph’s Metuchen in which Towns currently attends. Does this mean the Garden State rising star who previous said he was attending Gil St. Bernard’s might be opting to join Towns at St. Joes? I guess it’s too early to tell but we will keep you posted as this story develops

Smith Out Of Spider’s Web?

The word out of North Carolina is that Jatirious “New J” Smith will be leaving the CB Spiders 13U squad when the season starts. Apparently D One Sports, the team that raised John Wall sees enormous potential in Smith at the guard position and has decided to showcase him on their 15U team. This is very interesting because Smith was a vital piece of CB Spiders finishing #10 in the country last summer. We will keep you posted on this story.

Miller Joins Playaz!

6’9 Rodney Miller made a little noise after the Tip Off Classic playing with New Rens. Now Miller who’s original team is Riverside Hawks has been seen with the Nike based Playaz Basketball Club at recent events. This would be a huge pickup for the Playaz for the immediately and for the future as Miller is charted to have big time potential.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fans Voting Poll: Who Is The Best 8th Grade Combo Guard In The Country? (Cast Your Vote)

The rankings are always done by the analyst and scouts but Basketball Spotlight loves to keep the fans involved. We feel the fans should have some say so in who they feel are the best. Therefore for the next few weeks we will be developing different categories for you guys to have some say. Our first category will be the Class of 2016 best point guard. We have collected the Top 5 combo guards and their highlight clips and would like you to vote on who you think is the best. Please Note: When voting from a mobile phone or Facebook scroll to the bottom of your phone screen and convert the view to website version and this will allow you to vote.
1. Eron Gordon (Indianapolis, IN)- The younger brother of NBA player Eric Gordon has become a household name in the Midwest. Like the older Gordon, Eron has strong frame and explosive moves towards the basket. He also can step back and drain the triple from deep.

2. NyRhique Smith (Asbury Park, NJ)- Smith has emerged as a Basketball Spotlight Player of the Year candidate after leading to Playaz to two final four appearances. His best outing came when he torched the competition during the Tip Off Classic as he displayed his all around arsenal.

3. Seventh Woods (Columbia, SC)- Woods has excelled since appearing at the MDC as a 10 year old guard. The last few years he won a AAU National title with the SC Ravens at 12U and then starred with the CB Spiders last season. He’s one of the most athletic guards in the country.

4. Temple Gibbs (Scotch Plains, NJ)- Gibbs has been off the to a huge start this season. He won MVP of Funsport and the Tip Off Classic. His confidence is on an all time high as he continues to lead Team Scan to multiple titles. He has big shoes to fill having two brothers at high major Division 1 schools but he seems to be handling it well.

5. Anthony Cowan (Bowie, MD)- Cowan playing off the ball a bit as helped him develop his outside shot and become a defense hound. He demonstrated clutch moments last season and during his spotlight appearances during this 2011-2012 campaign.