Monday, December 30, 2013

Diary Of A Baller: Atiba Taylor (Hackensack, NJ) Entry #5

Atiba Taylor On Christmas Day 

What’s up this is Atiba Taylor Jr. reporting back with another basketball diary entry. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holiday because I definitely did. I am more than blessed and grateful to have the type of family and friends that I have in my life. 

My Monday was crazy because I didn’t do any X-Mas shopping for anyone until then. I mean when I say I was at the Garden State Mall all day I really was. Some of my family and I went to the mall around 12:00pm and didn’t leave until 12:00am that night no lie. We was in the mall so long my feet was killing me and I was drained just from being around so many crazy shoppers trying to get their last minute shopping in before X-Mas. 

Tuesday my Mom finally got here from Atlanta and I’m always excited to see her when she’s up here. Since I have such a crazy basketball schedule I never have time to go down there but she understands the sacrifices I must take to make my dream come true and I love her for that. I spent the day with my Mom and we did a little more X-Mas shopping. It was weird because the Garden State Mall wasn’t as congested on Christmas Eve like I thought it was going to be. After we finished shopping I went back home. I had a basketball workout scheduled with my trainer but my Dad was still out doing his last minute shopping so I missed my workout. 

Ok finally Christmas is here and I don’t wake up until 2:30 pm LOL. This year we had Christmas at my house in NJ but usually it’s at my grandparent’s house in NY. While waiting on my slow grandparent’s and my uncle Anije to get here I slept. We didn’t start opening our gifts until 4:00pm in the afternoon. X-Mas for me is always good and yes I’m very blessed but I also enjoy giving to others too. I always donate my clothes at least twice a year, once around Christmas time and sometime in the summer to people who need them. After I opened my gifts at my house I went to NY to open gifts with my Mom, my Uncle James, and my grandparent’s. Everyone enjoyed their gifts, which is always a good thing. 

Thursday I chilled with the fam and Friday morning I went to check out my boy Spoon’s basketball game at Seton Hall Prep but he plays for St. Anthony’s freshman team. After the game I went home to help clean up the house and I relaxed for the rest of the day. Over the weekend I got back to my job, which is basketball and was back in the gym. Saturday morning I worked out with my trainer at Gauchos in the BX. I worked out with former NBA great Allen Houston’s son. The workout was intense as usual, and then I went home and relaxed because my team had practice later that night. After a 2½-hour practice going over plays and strategies I was pooped. My bro’s Tyreke and Nazi stayed at the crib after practice. Sunday morning we were back in the gym for practice at 10am and we went back to work getting ready for our huge basketball schedule. Our schedule looks like a 17U schedule with all the traveling we’ll be doing. After practice I went back to NY to spend time with my Mom and grandfather and watched some football. 

Ight ya I guess the next time you’ll hear from me will be next year so everybody have a blessed and safe Happy New Year!!!!!!

Basketball Spotlight Grand Finale Point System Update

The Basketball Spotlight Grand Finale tour had its first stop during the Tip Off Classic. Teams played very hard and collected their points. Our next stop will be the MLK Classic. The Grand Finale will bring together the top teams from each division to play for the Basketball Spotlight Grand Championship. 

Grand Finale Point Total 

8th Grade Teams 
Playaz (7 Points) 
Team IZOD (6 Points) 
Team Takeover (5 Points) 
Team Final (5 Points) 
SHA Elite (5 Points) 
Team Twelve (4 Points) 
Team Scan (4 Points) 
I 10 Celtics (4 Points) 
Hilltoppers Heat (3 Points) 

7th Grade Teams 
Team RIO National (7 Points) 
Team Takeover (6 Points) 
Rens (5 Points) 
CIA Bounce (5 Points) 
Gauchos (5 Points) 
MJ Mavericks (4 Points) 
Metro Flyers (4 Points) 
Playaz (4 Points) 
6th Man Warriors (4 Points) 
Hilltoppers Heat (3 Points) 

6th Grade Teams 
Gauchos (5 Points) 
IZOD/KSK (4 Points) 
Team DEMI (3 Points) 
On Point Rens (3 Points) 
Team Glory (2 Points) 
ESYC Elite (2 Points) 
Rens (2 Points) 
Team Final (2 Points) 

5th Grade Teams 
S Elite (5 Points) 
Gauchos (4 Points) 
Team Glory (3 Points) 
Hilltoppers Heat (3 Points) 
Playtime Panthers ( 2 Points)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Road To The Grand Finale Updated!


The Basketball Spotlight Road To The Grand Finale is listed below. The Basketball Spotlight circuit has grown into one of the best in the country. Keep in mind to register for these events early because they usually sell out quickly. 
Basketball Spotlight Road To The Grand Finale 
Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 
Dates: December 7th and 8th 2013 
Ages: 4th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Neptune, NJ 
Cost: $375
Basketball Spotlight MLK Classic 
Dates: January 18th and 19th 2014 
Ages: 4th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Chicheser, PA 
Cost: $350
Basketball Spotlight Clash For The Cup 
Dates: February 8th and 9th 2014 
Ages: 4th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Neptune, NJ 
Cost: $375

Basketball Spotlight DMV Takeover
Dates: March 8th and 9th 2014
Ages: 2nd Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Maryland
Cost: $350 
Basketball Spotlight Atlantic City Showcase 
Dates: April 19th and 20th 2014 
Ages: 4th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Atlantic City, NJ 
Cost: $375
Basketball Spotlight Memorial Day Classic 
Dates: May 24th and 25th 2014 
Ages: 4th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Neptune, NJ 
Cost: $400 

Basketball Spotlight Carolina Collision 
Dates: May 30th Thru June 1st
Ages: 4th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: Raleigh, NC
Cost: $250 (Per Team)  
Basketball Spotlight Grand Finale 
Dates: June 14th and 15th  
Ages: 5th Grade Thru 8th Grade 
Place: TBA 
Cost: $100.00

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Top 5 5th and 4th Grade Teams Presented By AGame Apparel

The Basketball Spotlight season is still young so therefore we decided to start the 4th and 5th Grade rankings with just the Top 5. We will be expanded to 10 teams in the near future. 

Basketball Spotlight 5th Grade Top 5` Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. S Elite: S Elite came in from Canada and surprised the field by winning the title. They have the size to remain on top. 

2. Gauchos: The Choz made it to the finals where they fell to S Elite. The Bronx squad is here to stay. 

3. Team Glory: TG made a final four run at the Tip Off Classic. They are always a threat to win it all. 

4. Hilltoppers Heat: The North Jersey squad lost to S Elite in the semifinals. Now they will be looking to move up. 

5. Playtime Panthers: PP made a good run at the Tip Off Classic. They seem to be back in the mix.  

Basketball Spotlight 4th Grade Top 5` Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. Riverside Hawks: RH made their name known as they won the Tip Off Classic. They are trying to bring back the glory days when they ran NY. 

2. Gauchos: The Choz made a finals run at the Tip Off Classic. Their historic rivalry against Riverside seems to be back. 

3. Boston Bobcats: This squad made their Spotlight debut and made it to the final four. Hopefully we will see them again soon. 

4. Hilltoppers Heat: HH made a strong run to the final four before losing to eventual champion Riverside Hawks. They are definitely in the mix. 

5. CJ Hawks: The Hawks have a talented bunch and we think they will be moving up. They have several tournaments to get it right.

Basketball Spotlight Top 10 6th Grade Teams Presented By AGame Team Apparel

Basketball Spotlight is proud to present our first Top 10 of the season. The Tip Off Classic is in the books and the results from that event helped us in this process. 

Basketball Spotlight 6th Grade Top 10 Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. Gauchos: The Choz won the Tip Off Classic and starts our list off in the #1 Spot. 

2. IZOD/KSK: This 6th Grade bunch finished runner up at the Tip Off Classic and should be able to push the Gauchos for that #1 spot. 

3. Team Glory: TG got bounced in the Elite 8 by Gauchos but we still feel they are relevant for this #3 spot. Hopefully they can stay up here. 

4. Team DEMI: The Boston boys made a final four run after some impressive wins. Welcome to the Top 5 fellas. 

5. On Point Rens: This group has always been a scrappy bunch and it paid off at the Tip Off Classic. They now can be regarded as a top notch team. 

6. NBA: NBA was absent from the Tip Off Classic. Hopefully we will see them soon. 

7. ESYC Elite: The Pennsylvania crew went 1-2 but they are still a threat. We can’t wait to see them again. 

8. Milbank: The Bank took went hard and took home the Blue Division crown. Now they must enter the land of the big boys in the Orange. 

9. Team Scan: TS challenged Milbank in the Blue Division Championship. They are also a up and coming bunch. 

10. Team Final: Final advanced to the Elite 8 in their first outing this season. We look forward to seeing them again soon.

Basketball Spotlight MLK Classic Draws Near!

The Basketball Spotlight MLK will be returning to Pennsylvania this season. Last year this event gave us a chance to check out some of the top talent in the Del-Val area. This is a very small event which means we will be able to pay close attention to the teams involved. We are only taking 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams for this event. 

MLK Committed Teams 

8th Grade 
1. Boston Spartans 
2. Maryland Scholars Sports
3. Team Final (Black)
4. KSK
5. Team 12
6. Hilltoppers Heat 
7. Pittsburgh Cavemen 
8. DC Blue Devils

7th Grade 
1. Team Nelson 
2. Team Final
3. MJ Mavericks 
4. PBC Boys Club
5. DC Blue Devils 
6. RJS
7. Team RIO National 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Basketball Spotlight 7th Grade Top 10 Presented By AGame Team Apparel

Basketball Spotlight is proud to present our first Top 10 of the season. The Tip Off Classic is in the books and the results from that event helped us in this process. 

Basketball Spotlight 7th Grade Top 10 Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. Team RIO National: Yes, the loaded squad ran through the Tip Off Classic. They have enough talent to make a run on the Spotlight Circuit and the AAU Nationals. This should be an exciting run with this group. 

2. Team Takeover: TT made a run to the finals but lost to RIO. They had a few impressive wins and should be able to push RIO to the limit.

3. Rens: Rens gave the champs their best challenge and they are a team no one really wants to see. They are capable over taking over the #1 spot. 

4. Team Nelson: We get our first look at Team Nelson during the MLK Classic. I’m anxious to see what they are working with this year. 

5. CIA Bounce: Bounce checks in at #5 after making it to the final four of the Tip Off Classic. They could move up higher when the returns. 

6. 6th Man Warriors: The Warriors started the Tip Off Classic on fire after running past Metro Flyers. This team is on the cusp and will be looking to jump into the Top 5. 

7. Metro Flyers: The Flyers started the Tip Off Classic slowly and didn’t advance out of the loaded pool. I’m sure they will rebound and eventually move up. 

8. Playaz: The Playaz ran into some tough sledding at the Tip Off Classic. Hopefully they can return to the elite status. 

9. Gauchos: The Choz made a great run and won the Orange Division Championship. 

10. MJ Mavericks: The Mavs always find a way to remain in the conversation and now sit at #10 on out list.

Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Top 10 Presented By AGame Team Apparel

Basketball Spotlight is proud to present our first Top 10 of the season. The Tip Off Classic is in the books and the results from that event helped us in this process. 

Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Top 10 Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. Playaz Basketball Club: The Playaz start the season with the #1 spot as they won the Loaded Tip Off Classic. They seem like a well-oiled machine right now. 

2. Team IZOD: IZOD fell short to the Playaz twice but I don’t think the book is closed on this squad. I expect them to be there when the smoke clears. 

3. Team Takeover: TT lost a close one to IZOD in the final four of the Tip Off Classic. Right now they are #3 but could move up in an instant. 

4. Team Final: Yes the surprise of the Tip Off Classic impressed us with their toughness. Now they must prove they can stay up here with the best. 

5. I 10 Celtics: The Cali team had two tough loses in the loaded White Division but we still feel they are a quality squad. 

6. Rens: The Rens had a tough time at the Tip Off Classic but rebounded to make it to the finals of Funsport. 

7. Team Scan: Team Scan came up short during the Tip Off Classic but I think they will make a turnaround quickly. Stay tuned! 

8. NC Runnin Rebels: The Rebels were undermanned at the Tip Off Classic. Hopefully we can see them soon fully stocked. 

9. SHA Elite: SHA Elite jumps into our Top 10 after winning the Tip Off Classic Orange Division crown. 

10. Team Twelve: Team Twelve made their Spotlight debut and made it to the finals of the Orange Division.

Playaz Dominate Again By Winning Funsport Championship!

Playaz Win Funsport Crown

The Playaz Basketball Club 8th Grade Team continued their dominance by winning the Funsport NYC Championship with 60-42 win over the Rens. Congrats to the #1 team in the region for another title added to their trophy shelf.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Diary Of A Baller: Atiba Taylor (Hackensack, NJ) Entry #4

Atiba and Andre Barrett

Wassup everyone, this is Atiba Taylor here to report in with my diary. On Mondays I was off but Tuesday and Wednesday I worked out hard with my trainer, Chris Brickley. Chris use to play for Louisville and now is the trainer for the NY Knicks and he’s helping me develop my game. We work on ball handling drills, shooting, form, balance, speed, mid-range jumpers, and much more. Chris pushes me to another level; we do a lot of conditioning while doing his drills so I’m usually beat after the workouts. One time Chris let me join his workout with the former Rice Raider, McDonald’s All American, Seton Hall star, and former NBA bound Andre Barrett from NYC. My dad told me he played against Barrett a few times in some AAU tournaments back in the day, he said Barrett was the Real Deal and I could learn a lot from him. Thursday my team was suppose to have practice but it got canceled. Friday was my last day of school before winter break; I cannot wait for Xmas to get here. I finished some projects and took a few tests so now I could relax from the classroom for a little bit. We went on a school trip to learn about the Holocaust, which was a terrible event. The movie left me in a lost for words and I really couldn’t understand why people treat others the way that they did back then and even in today’s world. 

After my field trip, I rushed home so my dad and I could make it to the Roselle Catholic vs. The Patrick School game. When we walked in and the gym was jammed packed; I mean the turnout was crazy! I can’t wait to play in that type of basketball environment next year. Roselle’s team is loaded with talent. Even though The Patrick School has a much younger team; Roselle won. The game was very exciting. 

Saturday and Sunday I went to practice. There were some new faces in the gym and that was a good thing. We worked on a lot of things that needed to be addressed from our first tournament. Once we get or chemistry back together we’ll be more than fine. I can’t wait till our next tournament because regardless where it is and who we play against IT’S A MUST WIN!!! 

After practice Sunday we went to watch Roselle Catholic vs. Teaneck and St. Anthony’s vs. Pope John at West Orange High School. West Orange HS hosts a showcase every year that a lot of teams play in but we only caught those two games. Roselle won big over Teaneck and St. Anthony’s was punishing Pope John so we left at halftime. 

Alright time to chill I’m waiting for my Mom get here tomorrow for the holiday so I’ll talk to ya next week…

Monday, December 23, 2013

Introducing Antwan January (LA Bobcats)

Antwan January is a 6'6 eighth grader from California who plays his AAU ball for the LA Bobcats. Antwan is the younger brother of Anthony January of Taft high school (Class of 2012) and he's showing signs of being a big time recruit himself. January runs the floor well, blocks everything around the rim, and hits the boards hard on both ends of the court. These highlights are from the X Factor Invitational and the CP3 Rising Stars National Camp.

Inside The Tip Off Classic 4th Grade: Riverside Hawks Time!

Riverside Hawks Rise

The 4th Grade Division of the Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic gave a look into the future. These baby ballers really brought their game that weekend. Here’s a look inside this grade level. 

Riverside Hawks Returns? 
A few years ago a Riverside Hawk team finished 4th in the country and then the program went quiet again. Now this 4th Grade group made a tremendous run at the Tip Off Classic and seem to be bringing the Hawks back. It’s still early but this team knows how to take care of business. It would be good for the Metropolitan Region for the Hawks to return to Glory. 

Tip Off Classic 4th Grade All Tournament Team 
Kareem Rodriquez (Riverside Hawks) 
MJ Carothers (Riverside Hawks) 
Spencer Joyner (Riverside Hawks) 
Francisco Mattei (Riverside Hawks) 
Nick Paddila (Riverside Hawks) 
Jayden Lemond (CJ Hawks) 
Marcus Gaffney (CJ Hawks) 
Brandon Klatsky (CJ Hawks) 
Shyheim Odom (Boston Bobcats) 
Kendrick Diaz (Boston Bobcats) 
Louis Fay (Boston Bobcats) 
Jordan McClain (Boston Bobcats) 
Knasir McDaniel (Team Glory) 
Jay Johnson (Team Glory) 
Farrell Crowell (Team Glory)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

One On One Feat: Cole "The Natural" Anthony (Rens)

Cole "The Natural" Anthony

Cole Anthony came into the season with a big name and bigger expectations. He stepped up big during the Tip Off Classic while helping the Rens advance to the final four. It seems as though defenses are having a tough time slowing down the kid from the Big Apple. Basketball seems to be second nature and he makes it look so easy that it's only right that was change his name to Cole "The Natural" Anthony. We had a chance to chat with "The Natural' and this is what he had to say. 

One On One 

BS: What's the best moment of your young AAU career? 
CA: Making it to the AAU D2 National Championship Finals in 2011. We lost in the chip but I learned a lot of lessons in defeat. Plus, I had a great time with my teammates. 

BS: How did it feel to see yourself on the big movie screen?  
CA: I liked seeing myself on the big screen in Little Ballers because it was nice to see how much I've matured since that time. 

BS: Whats your best moment at Basketball Spotlight? 
CA: Beating Metro Flyers because they had beaten us the last few times we played them. 

BS: What was your dream college? 
CA: Duke 

BS: Who would you regard as the toughest player you faced? 
CA: It's actually two which are the Langley Twins from Carolina Preps. 

BS: Do you feel any pressure to succeed because you have a father that played in the NBA?  
CA: No because I'm my own player. 

BS: What's the strongest assets of your game? 
CA: Attacking and scoring the ball. 

BS: What aspect of your game needs the most improving? 
CA: My ball handling can be improved. 

BS: If you can have dinner with one person in the world, whom would it be and why? 
CA: President Obama because he is an inspiration to me and he is the leader of the free world - I figure there is a lot I could learn from him. 

BS: Tell us something about you that we don't know. 
CA: A lot of people don't know I have a better j than my dad. 

BS: Give us one word to describe Basketball Spotlight. 
CA: Excellence!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Inside The Tip Off Classic 6th Grade: NYC Bonanza!

Gauchos Too Strong

The 6th Grade Division of the Tip Off Classic gave us a look into the future. There was some good talent in Long Branch/Neptune. Here a look into this age group. 

Big Apple Takeover! 
NYC made a splash in the 6th Grade Division. The Gauchos won the title and On Point Rens made the final four of the Orange Division. Meanwhile in the Blue Division Milbank defeated Team Scan to win the title. This must mean the NYC will be bringing the noise for the next few years. We will monitor these teams as the season progresses. 

Tip Off Classic 6th Grade All Tournament Team 
DJ Bailey (Gauchos)
RJ Davis (Gauchos)
DeMarco Watson (Gauchos)
CJ Robinson (Gauchos)
Malachi Smith (Gauchos)
Richie Greaves (KSK/IZOD) 
William White (KSK/IZOD) 
Zion Bethea (KSK/IZOD) 
Niels Lane (KSK/IZOD) 
Elijah Everett (KSK/IZOD) 
Abdias Carcamo (On Point Rens) 
Anaheim Young (On Point Rens) 
Adverse Mitchell (On Point Rens) 
Dandre Reed (Team Scan) 
Marcus Burnett (Team Scan) 
Terrell Jarvis (Team Scan)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Inside The Tip Off Classic 7th Grade: RIO, RIO, RIO

Team RIO National Grabs Tip Off Classic Title

The 7th Grade Division at the Tip Off Classic gave us a clear look into the talent of the Class of 2019. Here’s our inside look into this age group. 

Team RIO National Loaded! 
Team RIO National put together some serious talent and showed their true colors at the Tip Off Classic. They cruised through pool play, survived a tough fight with Rens and took home the title in good fashion. When our rankings come out they will be #1 and will then have the huge target on their back. This team has the pieces to do some big time work on the national level. Team RIO has arrived!

Who’s Next? 
Team RIO has secured the #1 spot and the next question is who’s #2. Team Takeover has the lead right now but we still have to look at Team Nelson during the MLK Classic. Metro Flyers entered the Tip Off Classic with good acclaim but came up short when they didn’t advance after pool play. As the circuit goes on we will see what team will emerge as that true challenge to RIO. 

Tip Off Classic 7th Grade All Tournament Team 
Scottie Lewis (Team RIO) 
Jordan McKoy (Tea RIO) 
AJ Hoggard (Team RIO) 
Jalen Gaffney (Team RIO) 
Bryan Antoine (Team RIO) 
Terrence Williams (Team Takeover) 
Tyler Brelsford (Team Takeover) 
BJ Joyner (Team Takeover) 
Cole Anthony (Rens) 
Judah McIntyre (Rens) 
Brian Hall (Rens) 
Tai-Jai Waiters (CIA Bounce) 
Jon Jon Wilson (Gauchos) 
Julien Crittendon (Gauchos) 
KC Nefdo (Gauchos) 
Travis Cumber (MJ Mavericks) 
Shamar Florence (MJ Mavericks) 
Joey Baldachino (MJ Mavericks) 
Dyondre Dominquez (Expressions) 
Deveon Ford (Expressions)

Inside The Tip Off Classic 8th Grade: Don't Hate The Playaz, Hate The Game!

Playaz Strike First Blow!

The Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Division of the Tip Off Classic was quite a treat. Now here’s our look at the interesting stories inside this age division. 

Playaz Get It Done! 
The Playaz Basketball Club entered the Tip Off Classic with the most pressure and answered the bell. They defeated some of the top teams in the country including regional rival Team IZOD twice. They have some serious weapons and should only get better as the season progresses. They will definitely be #1 when our new rankings come out and are still our favorite to win the Grand Finale Crown. 

Team Final? 
Yes, the surprise of this division had to be Team Final. The Philly based squad defeated Team Scan to advance to the final four before losing a close battle to eventual champs the Playaz Basketball Club. I like some of the new pieces they have added and we look forward to seeing them again. 

Tough Tides For Cali! 
A few years ago a dynamic Cali Style squad came to NJ and took the Clash For The Cup by storm but the 2013 edition (I 10 Celtics) didn’t have the same results. They lost tough games to the Playaz and Team IZOD in that shark tank White Division. We look for them to be out for blood when they return in February for the Clash For The Cup. 

8th Grade Tip Off Classic All Tournament Team 
Jahvon Quinerly (Playaz) 
Ja’quaye James (Playaz) 
Justin Winston (Playaz) 
Tavon Jones (Playaz) 
Luther Muhammad (Team IZOD) 
Atiba Taylor (Team IZOD) 
Shack Dezonie (Team IZOD) 
Tyrek Chambers (Team IZOD) 
Brandon Slater (Team Takeover) 
Donovan Toatley (Team Takeover) 
Brandon Gauld (Team Takeover) 
Cameron Reddish (Team Final) 
Mikey Esquillin (Team Final) 
Damon Hall (Team Final) 
Devin Ferraro (Team Final) 
Alex Serrano (Team Final) 
Jake Betlow (SHA Elite) 
Alex Irregwe (SHa Elite) 
Chris Goodwin (Team Twelve) 
Moses Brown (Team Twelve) 
Theodore Senior (Team Twelve)

Lewis Takes Off Versus Takeover

One of the highlights of the Tip Off Classic was Scottie Lewis taking off against Team Takeover. He collected two steals and turned both of them into dunks. This kid really gets up. Stay tuned tonight as we bring you Inside The Tip Off Classic featuring the All Tournament Teams.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Announces The DMV TAKEOVER

It’s been a dream for Basketball Spotlight to actually have a tournament in the DMV area. I always felt they have a great brand of basketball and we wanted to take their atmosphere up a level. Therefore I’m proud to announce the Basketball Spotlight DMV Takeover tournament slated for March 8th and 9th. This event will give us a good chance to see that talent and teams that can’t make it up to NJ for our events. Registration will be posted shortly. 

Event: DMV Takeover 
Date: March 8th and 9th 
Place: Maryland/DC Area 
Cost: $350 (Per Team), $325 Multi-team, $300 Four or More Teams 
Ages: 2nd Grade Thru 8th Grade
Contact: Mike Melton at 609-532-5122 or for early interest. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Important Message: Atlantic City Showcase Moved To April 19th and 20th

The Basketball Spotlight Atlantic City Showcase has been moved from March 8th and 9th to April 19th and 20th due to the NJSIAA High School Basketball State Tournament. Basketball Spotlight apologizes for any inconvenience that this might have caused. But stay tuned tomorrow as we will announce a tournament we will be hosting in Maryland during the March 8th and 9th weekend. Once again we will like to thank everyone for supporting our events and we will continue to work hard to bring you the best grammar school experience in the country.

MLK Classic Is Almost Here!

The Basketball Spotlight MLK will be returning to Pennsylvania this season. Last year this event gave us a chance to check out some of the top talent in the Del-Val area. This is a very small event which means we will be able to pay close attention to the teams involved. We are only taking 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams for this event. 

MLK Committed Teams 

8th Grade 
1. Boston Spartans 
2. We R 1 
3. Team Final (Black)
4. KSK
5. Team 12

7th Grade 
1. Team Nelson 
2. Team Final
3. MJ Mavericks 
4. PBC Boys Club
5. We R 1 
6. RJS

6th Grade 
1. Team Final
3. KSK
4. We R 1

4th Grade 
1. CJ Hawks 
2. Riverside Hawks 
3. Team Future

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Blue Division Championship Recap: Hilltoppers Win Crown!

Hilltoppers Win Title

In the Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Blue Division Championship the Hilltoppers Heat defeated Brooklyn Kings by forfeit to win the title. Congrats to the Heat for winning the championship.

Diary Of A Baller: Atiba Taylor Jr. (Hackensack, NJ) Entry #3

Taylor Hitting The Books

Hello everybody! I got a chance to get some down time and relax, because I had the week off. Usually, six days out the week I am doing something that involves basketball. I was able to get some things done around the house. I cleaned my bedroom, bathroom and did my laundry. Between basketball and my schoolwork, I rarely get a chance to do what normal kids do. It’s a huge sacrifice and takes a lot of discipline. There are times when I want to blow off my responsibilities and go to a party or the mall with my friends, but then I remember what I want and what’s important to me. 

On Saturday we had a light snowstorm, so my friends and I went out and shoveled our neighbors yards. It was so cold out that my hands kept going numb but we made a couple of dollars. After we were done shoveling, we chilled at my bro’s house, ate pizza and played video games. I’m a beast at Call Of Duty, 2K and John Madden for PS3 (if you wanna get roasted…my gamer tag is Krazzyboy726). Later on, I went home and helped my day shovel our yard and walkways. 

On Sunday basically all I did was complete all my schoolwork. I had a project due in Science on Newton’s Law of Motion. I spent a lot of time on my computer researching and typing. This week I am back to my regular schedule, so my mini vacation is over lol. Basketball season has started for high school so hopefully I can check out some games. You can follow me @atibataylor on twitter and instagram @ege_tiba. 

I normally finish my night off watching ‘The Walking Dead’, but since it’s on a mid-season break that’s a negative. So, I guess I will call it an early night so that I can be focused in the morning (Mondays are rough. 

 Atiba Taylor Jr.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Alum Richardson Goes Orange!

Malachi Richardson Headed To Syracuse

Basketball Spotlight Class of 2015 Alum Malachi Richardson has committed to Syracuse University. Richardson starred on the Spotlight circuit with the Gauchos, Youth Interlock and Team Final. He also gave us a look into his life as one of the Diary Of A Baller. He finished as one of the best shooters in Spotlight history and ranked #27 in our USA rankings. Since then he has moved up on the high rankings and we feel he can get even better.

Basketball Spotlight would like to congratulate Malachi and his family for his decision to join the Orange and we wish him the best in the future.

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Top Performers Part 3

Jon Jon Wilson (Gauchos)

The 7th Grade Division of the Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic had talent galore. Here’s our Part 3 of the top performers.

Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Top Performers Part 3

Jon Jon Wilson Guard (Gauchos)- Wilson continues to show improvements in his game. He saved his best outing for the Orange Division championship when they avenged an earlier loss to the MJ Mavericks. In the finals Wilson led the way with 17 points and 8 assists. Good weekend young fella.

Jullien Crittendon Guard (Gauchos)- Crittendon helped Wilson out with the scoring during the tournament. During their big semifinal showdown against Expression Jullien pumped in a game high 20 points to help the Choz get the win.

KC Ndefo Forward (Gauchos)- Ndefo collected 16 markers against Expressions but made his impact all weekend by blocking shots and hitting the glass. His size was a serious problem for the opposition down in Neptune.

Shamar Florence Forward (MJ Mavericks)- Florence averaged 14 points a contest and used his versatility to get them to the finals. He came out big during the meeting with the Maryland Playmakers where he pumped a game high 17 points.

Joey Baldachino Guard (MJ Mavericks)- RJS didn’t get the memo about guarding Baldachino and it cost them dearly. The outside marksman stroked 3 treys on his way to 18 points while helping them cruise to the victory. Attention: Please don’t leave him open!

Travis Cumber Guard (MJ Mavericks)- The slick point guard got into the scoring column against the Maryland Playmakers. He tallied 17 makers and helped his boys to pull out the win on their way to the finals. He’s one of the best all around guards in the region.

Dyondre Dominquez Forward (Expressions)- Dominquez had an excellent weekend while helping “The X” reach the final four. One of their biggest wins came against Boston rival Team DEMI and he answered the bell with 16 markers. He also hit up Severn Elite with 18 points. This is a kid with the talent to take off in the next few years.

Deveon Ford Guard (Expressions)- Dominguez’s partner also brought his game to the Spotlight. He scored 18 points apiece against Team DEMI and Maryland Playmakers. He makes an excellent 1-2 punch with Dyondre. We look forward to seeing both of them in action again.

Jaysm Gibson Guard (Maryland Playmakers)- Gibson answered Ford’s play when they battled Expressions. This youngster tickled the twine in Hoop Group Headquarters for 5 treys in his Spotlight debut.

Tariq Ingraham Forward (PBC Boys and Girls Club)- The big fella’s team wasn’t that successful but he managed to put together some good scoring games. His best performance came against RJS as he poured in 26 points. In the end he might be one of the best overall prospects in the class when it’s said and done.

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Cole Anthony (Rens)

The 7th Grade Division of the Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic had talent galore. Here’s our Part 2 of the top performers. 

Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Cole Anthony Guard (Rens)- Once again Anthony gave me something to talk about. The combo guard showed why he’s considered one of the top scoring guards in America. He scored 27 vs. CIA Bounce, 25 against 6th Man Warriors and 26 against rival Metro Flyers. His play led Rens to the final four in the 7th Grade loaded White Division. He seems to rise to the occasions as the stage gets bigger even though defenses are focused on his play. He’s off to a great start of his Spotlight season. 

Judah McIntyre Guard (Rens)- McIntyre has been working in the gym on his outside shot and against Team RIO in the semifinals it showed. The ultimate competitor drained four long balls in their hard fought loss. I also liked the way he handled the pressure from all the top clubs. This kid is truly battle tested and demands the best from his teammates. 

Brian Hall Guard (Rens)- Speaking of shooting I love this kids stroke and size on the perimeter. He also hit a few big treys in their loss to RIO. I like the fact the he understands early that he’s a true perimeter player and has tailored his game to that direction. He’s quietly one of the best prospects around. 

Tai-Jai Waiters Guard (CIA Bounce)- Waiters returned to the Spotlight to help CIA Bounce reach the semifinals. He had a few big games including a 25 point performance in their semifinal loss to Team Takeover. He has no problem putting squad on his shoulders and carrying them in the fire. This kid is definitely a true talent. 

Danny Rodriquez Forward (Metro Flyers)- Rodriquez had his best outing versus CIA Bounce which helped his team rebound from an early defeat to 6th Man Warriors. He dominated the paint and finished with 24 points. Once he figures out how to make more of his close shots his average and production will rise even higher. 

Levar Allen Guard (6th Man Warriors)- Allen posted his best game against CIA Bounce. The talented guard finished with 20 points in their loss. He’s shown before that he’s capable of blacking out at any time. He’s definitely a gamer. 

Malik Anderson Guard (6th Man Warriors)- Anderson is another scorer for the Warriors and I like his size for his position. He can shoot the deep ball and score in traffic. He helped them ride to a surprising blow out of the Metro Flyers in their first outing. 

Jordan Hairston Guard (DC Assault)- Hairston was a bright spot for the DCA squad. He was the only player to put up a fight against the Team RIO National. He collected double digit scoring in the loss.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Scottie "The Show" Lewis (Team RIO)

The 7th Grade Division of the Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic had talent galore. Here’s our Part 1 of the top performers.

Tip Off Classic 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Scottie Lewis Forward (Team RIO National)- “The Show” started out a little slow in his first outing as he was surveying the Spotlight scene. But once he got comfortable the region saw the talent that I have been talking about. Lewis ran the floor like a deer, displayed a real pull up jumper, was a shot blocking menace on defense and gave the crowd a treat with a few thunderous dunks. His motor is something special especially for a 7th Grader and many spectators left this event singing his praise. This kid really has a bright future.
Jordan McKoy Guard (Team RIO National)- “The Real McKoy” looked to be in mid season form and fully recovered from his injury. He filled the lanes in transition while also helping out on the glass. He continues to be a matchup problem on this level with his combination of size and skills. His scoring punch will be needed as RIO tries to take the country by storm.
Bryan Antoine Guard (Team RIO National)- Yes, Antoine has arrived. In the past he was counted on to carry the full load now he has settled into his new role. This weekend he lit up the scoreboard from deep and while driving to the cup. In transition he was too difficult to contain as he maneuvered for buckets. He gives this team that deadly third scorer they need.
AJ Hoggard Guard (Team RIO National)- The pg is loving all his weapons this year. He’s pushing the rock quicker these days and dropping dimes like a snitch. Against DC Assault he was able to get into the lane and either score or drop off the pill. I’m sure he has the ability to keep all these youngsters happy.
Jalen Gaffney Guard (Team RIO National)- Gaffney came up big when RIO’s needed him the most. They were in a serious semifinal dogfight with Rens and the combo stepped and delivered 18 big points including 3 treys. I also like the way he helped out with the point guard duties at times. His play in the semis propelled them into the finals.
Terrence Williams Forward (Team Takover)- “Big Smoove” best outing came during their semifinal match up with CIA Bounce. The talented forward had a huge outing dropping in 22 points and helping them advance to the finals. When Williams is totally clicking there’s not many in the country that can slow him down.
Tyler Brelsford Guard (Team Takeover)- Brelsford also came up huge against CIA Bounce with a good floor game including 12 points. He ran the show as usual and even clipped rival DC Assault for 19 markers in their pool play matchup. Good showing for the young pg.

BJ Joyner Forward (Team Takeover)- Joyner is a new addition to this crew and made his presence felt. He’s strong as a bull in the lane but can also use his touch to score in traffic. His presence frees up Williams to do other things which increases his production.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Tip Off Classic Blue Division Championship Recap: Hilltoppers Bring The Heat!

Hilltoppers Heat 

In the 8th Grade Blue Division Championship Hilltoppers Heat defeated CMEK 56-38 to win the Tip Off Classic title. Congrats to Hilltoppers Heat for getting the job done. We will see them soon at the next Spotlight event.

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Top Performers Part 3

Aaron Clarke (Team Scan)

The Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Division was loaded with talent. In our final look at this division we take a look at the Top Performers Part 3. 

Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Top Performers Part 3 

Aaron Clarke Guard (Team Scan)- Clarke started the event off on fire against NC Runnin Rebels as he led TS to the victory and scored a game high 18 points. Clarke will have to keep this scoring mentality going if Team Scan wants to return to the top of the charts. 

Brandon Gauld Forward (Team Takeover)- When I did get a chance to watch TT rock Gauld’s play stood out. He has good footwork on the post and nice touch. He also can venture out to the perimeter and shoot the rock. His play helped them reach the final four. 

Theodore Senior Guard (Team Twelve)- The combo guard scoring led Team Twelve to the Orange Division finals. He averaged 26 points a game including a big breakout against Mass Shooting Stars. 

Chris Doherty Forward (Mass Shooting Stars)- MSS newest edition gave them added size and scoring inside. He had his best moment during his Spotlight debut with a 23 point performance against Team Twelve. His presence opens up a lot for him and teammates. 

Dominic Jones Guard (Boston Spartans)- The high scoring guard brought his game to the Spotlight again. Jones’s big moment came against the Brooklyn Rens when he recorded 25 markers. This kid can put up numbers against any competition. 

Darius Kinnel Guard (WE R 1)- Kinnel caught my attention his first game when he attacked the bucket from different angles. He’s strong enough to absorb the contact when driving the lane. He does need to strengthen his left hand to keep the defense honest. 

Alex Irregwe Forward (SHA ELITE)- The athletic forward collected numbers inside with some quick moves and soft touch. He ran the floor well and also hit the glass for boards. He was a big piece of them winning the title. 

Knwon Bradford Guard (I 10 Celtics)- The quick southpaw played the point and tried to breakdown the defense every chance he got. When he was under control he actually looked good. He does have to do a better job of picking his spots. 

J’Raan Brooks Forward (I 10 Celtics)- Brooks entered this event with a big name. I like his skill set, including post moves and shooting touch. I do think he needs to play a little more physical inside but that can come with maturity or maybe he will become a primary wing player.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Cameron "The Prince" Reddish (Team Final)

The Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Division of the Tip Off Classic was loaded with talent. Here’s Part 2 of Top Performers from this weekend. 

Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Cameron Reddish Guard (Team Final)- Team Final came a few points short of making the finals and Reddish came out his shell. Yes, “The Prince” continued his hot play from the Super Skillcase including scoring the pill and creating for teammates. His form on his outside shot looks pure and his body movement echo’s a natural basketball player. I think the experience he gaining by playing varsity is helping him turn the corner earlier.

Mikey Esquillin Guard (Team Final)- “The Engine” now dons the colors of Team Final but his game seems to be still the same. It was hard to contain him in the open floor because of his handle and speed. He also was a pest on the defensive end as Team Final forced several turnovers especially against Team Scan. He seemed to be a nice fit with this squad. 

Devin Ferraro Forward (Team Final)- Ferraro was a force inside for TF all weekend. I like how he runs the floor and understands that his bread is buttered in the paint. His physical play was a much needed asset to the Team Final line up.

Damon Wall Guard (Team Final)- Wall is built like a running back but has some shifty moves with the basketball. He bullied opponents on both ends of the floor and his aggressive style carried over to his teammates. 

Alex Serrano Guard (Team Final)- Serrano also made his Spotlight debut with Team Final. He was a great pickup because he gives them another good sized guard to play alongside Reddish if they want to go big. This weekend he made some big plays in their semifinal loss to the Playaz. 

Jake Betlow Guard (SHA Elite)- Betlow is playing up in grade but you couldn't tell when he was on the floor. This kid can flat out shoot the pill. He capped off a brilliant weekend from the perimeter with 5 treys in the Orange Championship versus Team Twelve. He's difficult to guard because he's quick with the ball and his range is unlimited.

Paul Durkee Guard (Mass Shooting Stars)- Some added size in the front court has Durkee more comfortable on the perimeter. He gave Team Twelve a taste of it in their semifinal loss. He finished the contest with 28 points including 3 treys. He's really developing into a special player. 

Nayshon Hamlet Forward (Rens)- His team didn't have a great weekend but Nayshon let his presence be known against the Playaz in a losing effort. The talented forward tallied 26 markers as the Rens pushed the eventual champs to the brink. 

Andrew Tuazama Forward (NC Runnin Rebels)- Big Drew made a name for himself with a 20 point performance in their loss to Team Takeover. His squad was a little under manned but he still went to the ring and gave a got fight. This kid is very athletic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic Highlights: Team RIO National (7th Grade)

Team RIO National came into the Tip Off Classic with big expectations and left with the title. They have a loaded crew and ran all the way to the championship of the 7th Grade White Division. Check out their work. Stay tuned as we have more Basketball Spotlight highlights coming. 

Basketball Spotlight Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Jahvon "Inferno" Quinerly (Playaz)

The Basketball Spotlight 8th Grade Division of the Tip Off Classic was loaded with talent. Here’s Part 1 of Top Performers from this weekend. 

Tip Off Classic 8th Grade Top Performers Part 1 

 Jahvon Quinerly Guard (Playaz)- Wow, Quinerly started the season with a splash. The combo guard had his best outing against his former "Supreme Team teammates". Jahvon scorched Team IZOD for a game high 28 points including four deep treys. He had his all-around scoring game going. He finished at the tin, lit up the mid-range area and as mentioned earlier struck from behind the arc. He was by far the top overall performer of the weekend while leading them to the title. He heated up to the highest point that’s why his new name has to be Jahvon “Inferno” Quinerly.

Ja’Quaye James Guard (Playaz)- James received preseason acclaim with his play in other events but this was my first look at him running the Playaz Basketball Club. The ultra-quick point guard showed the flair for the dramatic by converting on three game winning buckets including two in the final seconds. He split the defense at will and seemed to set the tempo. He definitely has the keys to this high powered engine. It should be exciting him rock.

Justin Winston Forward (Playaz)- It was good to see Justin back on the floor healthy and he produced heavily. His best game was an explosive outing against the Rens which he tallied 25 points. He shows the versatility the make scouts love his potential. He hit the glass as the primary big man but also stepped out on the perimeter and showed some range. I would like to see him retool the form on his outside shot which should come in time.

Tavon Jones Guard (Playaz)- The first showdown with IZOD took a lot out of Quinerly and James so Jones stepped up during the semifinals against Team Final. The natural slasher showed a quick first step that he used to breeze past defenders. When Jones outside shot was falling he was even more dangerous. When his game is on it makes it even more difficult for the Playaz to lose.

Luther Muhammad Guard (Team IZOD)- This was my first look at Muhammad this season and he was impressive especially with his offensive improvements. He’s making the transition to point guard and though he’s a work in progress he showed good strides especially in transition. I also have to give kudos to his mid- range pull up which keeps the defense honest and makes it easier for him to finish at the rim. On defense he's still the guy the opponent's top gun doesn't want to see. 

Tyrek Chambers Guard (Team IZOD)- Chambers was primarily a spot up shooter last year but now he has got his driving game together. His handle has got tighter and he looks to be on better shape. This weekend he finished through contact and used the floater to avoid shot blockers. He must pick up the scoring void left by Quinerly.
Atiba Taylor Guard (Team IZOD)- It was Taylor’s first outing with his old team and he wasn’t spectacular but he had his moments. I like the fact that he was willing to do other things including rebounding inside. He also seemed to be comfortable sharing the point guard duties with Muhammad. All in all he still was able to make good basketball plays to help his team reach the finals. I see good things once he back in the rhythm with IZOD.

Shack Dezonie Forward (Team IZOD)- It was important for Shack to make the transition to the wing and he looks to be headed in the right direction. He was in a comfort zone when handling the rock and making decisions. He used his new skills to set up scoring opportunities along the baseline and in the lane. He also banged home a few outside shots. He needs now to work on moving he feet on defense so he can guard the wing position.