Friday, May 30, 2014

Basketball Spotlight MDC 6th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Charlie Gordiner (NJ Shore Shots)

The 6th Grade Division at the Basketball Spotlight MDC was filled with new teams therefore we saw a load of fresh faces. Here’s Part 2 of our top performer report from the Class of 2020. 

Basketball Spotlight MDC 6th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Charlie Gordiner Forward (NJ Shore Shots)- Charlie was hard to stop at the MDC because he has the size and the game to go with it. He’s very fundamentally sound and can score with his back to the basket, face up shot or after putting the rock on the floor. Several teams felt his wrath which included 16 points against both Team 85 and MJ Mavericks.

Jaquan Harris Guard (NB Bulldogs)- When Jamir “Terminator” Harris is your big brother you have huge shoes to fill and Jaquan seems to be off to a good start. The scoring guard gave us a taste of his stuff against MSU Skyliners where he lit them up for 18 markers while showing a similar stop and pop style at “The Terminator” It looks like we have another scoring machine on our hands.

Ja-el Vega Guard (Team 85)- Vega has guard skills but with his size he also does a lot of work inside. Before you think he’s playing out of position that’s not the case. He’s just showing versatility. He’s capable of grabbing the rebound and pushing it the length of the floor for a layup or pull up jumper.

Byrce Barrow Guard (Team 85)- Barrow is another scoring guard from this team that caught my eye. He lives in transition where he uses slick moves to get by the retreating defenders. He also can step behind the arc and let one go. His best performance came against the MJ Mavericks as he scored 13 markers.

NaSeem Chew Guard (Team 85)- Chew had his moments in game two. He took his time when controlling the rock and wasn’t bashful about letting it go from deep. He’s a southpaw that is making strides to become a pure point guard.

Riley McMahon Guard (NJ Shore Shots)- McMahon is a very confident guard especially when he pushing the rock in transition. He likes to put a little mustard on his passes or will stop on a dime for a floater. He’s definitely a good floater general to have with your troops.

Matthew Weidman Guard (NJ Shore Shots)- Weidman has one of the best basketball IQ’s I saw this weekend. He always dribbles with his head up and usually takes care of the ball. He can also hit the deep bomb or the mid-range shot.

Basketball Spotlight MDC 6th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Xavier Pina (WE R 1)

The 6th Grade Division at the Basketball Spotlight MDC was filled with new teams therefore we saw a load of fresh faces. Here’s Part 1 of our top performer report from the Class of 2020. 

Basketball Spotlight MDC 6th Grade Top Performers Part 1

 Xavier Pina Guard (WE R 1)- Please allow us to introduce the tournament leading scorer for the 6th Grade division. Pina gets it done and he makes it look smooth. He can kill you with the trey ball (9 treys for the weekend) or score when going to the tin. He torched Team 85 for 27 points in the quarterfinals while also dropping 20 markers on SJ Domination. He made his presence known at the MDC.

Daniel Nixon Guard (KSK)- The big guard has a Carmelo Anthony type feel which makes it hard for other 6th Graders to guard him. He started the tournament a little slow but then picked up his play by scoring 19 against MSU Skyliners in their overtime victory and 21 against the NJ Shore Shots in the semifinals. He’s a kid that’s always smiling and seems to love the game.

Giovanni Phillip Guard (KSK)- It was Phillip’s job to keep scorers Nixon and Santos happy and he did it well. The speedster beat presses and split defenses all weekend. Once he got to the open floor he was able to deliver a dime or score himself. He averaged 10 points a contest and had his best outing with 16 markers against an over matched North Brunswick Bulldogs.

Marshawn Lloyd Guard (WE R 1)- Lloyd was a bully on this level. He powered his way past the smaller defenders before scoring at the cup. His size also gave him the advantage on the boards because his mass could not be matched. He also had a great game against Team 85 with 16 points.

Elijah Malloy Forward (WE R 1)- Standing 6’3 Malloy’s size caused controversy off the floor and damage between the lines. Like many of his peers that grow early he’s still developing post moves and an overall feel for the game. But when he’s rolling by blocking shots, rebounding and making layups he’s definitely an impact. 

 Tommy Carter Guard (WE R 1)- The architect of the WE R 1 offense caught my eye early. Team 85 could not keep this youngster put the lane. Once he reached the paint he dropped dimes like a snitch. Carter fed teammates well but didn’t shy away from getting buckets himself. He’s a guard to keep an eye on.

Griffen Rooney Guard (MSU Skyliners)- The point guard has a lot of flair and scoring ability for this Plainfield crew. I saw him shale up several defenders when pushing the rock and score in variation. He finished in transition but also pulled the trey ball, just ask North Brunswick Bulldogs. He hit them up for 20 points including 4 treys.

Ethan Hilliman Forward (MSU Skyliners)- Hilliman is a load inside and workhorse on the glass. He’s learning to play facing the basket including showing a short jumper. But ultimately he gave the opposition problems scoring close to the tin. He’s very strong for a 6th Grader.

Basketball Spotlight MDC 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Shawn Johnson (Team Final)

The 7th Grade Division of the MDC was totally outstanding. A number of games came down to the wire and the talent was on full display. Here’s Part 2 of our Top Performers from the Class of 2019. 

Basketball Spotlight MDC 7th Grade Top Performers Part 2 

Shawn Johnson Guard (Team Final)- Team Final were without leading scorer Kyhree Temple so Johnson decided to carry the load. The ultra-strong combo guard went on scoring rampage during the MDC. He scored 25 points against WE R 1 and 26 markers as they defeated eventual champion NY Rens in pool play. His play helped the Mid Atlantic champs reach the final four of the MDC. Kid was balling!

Fahmir Ali Guard (Team Final)- Ali helped Johnson out with the scoring duties and displayed the play making ability that has him emerging as one of the top guards in the region. His passing is precise and he scored the ball when needed. He hit the big trey to that helped Team Final knock off the Rens and dropped 20 points in their final four lost to Metro Flyers.

Bryant Antoine Guard (Team RIO)- Word has been circulating that Antoine has been tearing up the NYBL circuit and it must be true because he displayed some serious talent at the MDC. The combo has the build that most players would dream for and the skill set to go with it. He has driving ability combined with a soft jumper and athleticism. He was on a tear during the tournament until a head injury sidelined him during their semifinal showdown against NY Rens.

Scottie Lewis Guard (Team RIO)- “The Show” was dynamic during pool play showing off his speed and athleticism in the open floor. These attributes also allows him to be a beast on the defensive end where he blocks shots and plays the passing lane. Moving forward more detail needs to be paid to his offensive production in the half court set and against different defensive schemes.

Mikeal Jones Forward (Team RIO)- It was great to have Jones back on the main stage at a Spotlight event. This weekend he showed some flashes that earned him 6th Grade Player Of The Year. He went immediately to the post and carved out position for the pill. He used his soft touch and footwork to get the job done. I also like how he neutralized the shot blockers by throwing his body into their chest. That maneuver had him at the charity stripe all weekend.

Ahmadu Sarnor Forward (Team RIO)- Sarnor tried to step up and match the NY Rens intensity in the semifinals. He was relentless in attacking the basket and converting in traffic. He went head to head with the tough guards from NY and played with huge pride in the loss. This kid is a warrior.

Seth Lundy Guard (WE R 1)- Lundy finally made his Spotlight appearance and it was well worth the wait. The silky smooth wing has the total package which includes size, skill and athleticism. He’s a total matchup problem because the guards were too small and the forwards were too slow. He tallied 17 points against Team Final and another 17 markers in their win against Team Nelson.

Jamil Riggins Forward (Team Nelson)- Riggins kept his hot play going during the MDC. His athletic and aggressive style helped him drop 15 points against WE R 1 and 15 markers in their win versus Team Final. Jamil’s points were much needed as high scoring guard Mark Bradshaw was out nursing a leg injury.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Basketball Spotlight MDC 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Cole "The Natural" Anthony (NY Rens)

The 7th Grade Division of the MDC was totally outstanding. A number of games came down to the wire and the talent was on full display. Here’s Part 1 of our Top Performers from the Class of 2019. 

 Basketball Spotlight MDC 7th Grade Top Performers Part 1 

Cole Anthony Guard (NY Rens)- “The Natural” was noticeably absent from the Clash For The Cup but quickly reminded everyone who he was at the MDC. He was his solid self all weekend but ready turned it up against rival Team RIO. In their semifinal showdown Anthony pumped in 24 points while nailing 4 treys. He also carried defenders to the tin and was unstoppable in transition. He definitely looked like the best talent on the floor while playing with great determination. When he’s focused and on his game there’s not many that can slow him down.

Tyson Walker Guard (NY Rens)- This kid was a pleasant surprise during this event. He played alongside Judah McIntyre and caused havoc on both ends of the floor. In the big showdown he was able to knockdown a couple of treys and break Rio’s back with tough drives. On defense he helped bring some serious ball pressure that was the demise for the Jersey squad. This kid has toughness that you can’t teach.

Phillip Joseph Forward (NY Rens)- Another surprise was how close Phillip Joseph is to becoming a real perimeter prospect. The strong forward actually showed he could put some moves together and hit the step back jumper. I previously thought he was a back to the basket player. If he continues to grow in this area his stock will rise.

Jose Figueroa Forward (NY Rens)- When the Rens were trying to put away Metro Flyers in the finals Coach Steve gave Jose a pep talk before he subbed in and the big fella responded. Figueroa proceeded to hit the glass like a madmen and got a critical foul and one that put the game out of reach. He played his role to the fullest. 

Dan Rodriquez Forward (Metro Flyers)- Big Dan had a solid weekend and really took advantage against CBC. The powerful forward scored 21 points against the Connecticut boys and also delivered 14 markers against Team Final in the semifinals. 

Barry Evans Jr. Forward (Metro Flyers)- Evans had his moments during the MDC. He can either score in transition or getting put backs off the glass. He showed the ability to play with a very high motor which increased his production. 

Dejourne Cook Forward (Metro Flyers)- Cook also was a beast on the glass this weekend. He close to 9 points game but snatched down 11 caroms a contest. He’s one of the most physically gifted and athletic players in this class. It’s scary what he can become down the road.

Basketball Spotlight MDC 8th Grade Top Performers Part 3

Corey Greer (SJ Select)

The 8th Grade division of the Basketball Spotlight MDC was loaded with talent. Here’s Part 3 and our final look into the top performers from the weekend. 

Basketball Spotlight MDC 8th Grade Top Performers Part 3 

Corey Greer Guard (SJ Select)- I kept hearing stories about this kid scoring exploits in South Jersey and he made me into a believer. He has a mature game at the guard position and can turn on the scoring switch at the drop of a dime. He not only led the squad to a championship but put up numbers in the process. His best showing was a 26 point outburst against NJ Connection in the semifinals. It looks like he could be following the foot-steps of his father and South Jersey legend Lamarr Greer.

Myles Thompson Forward (SJ Select)- Thompson controlled the paint for the champions. He has an Elton Brand type game which means a bulky body with a soft touch and good footwork. He worked tirelessly on the glass and scored when he was fed in the post. He finished with about a 9 point average for the weekend.
Ray Bethea Guard (SJ Select)-Bethea is coming into his own and looks good playing alongside Greer. The first thing you notice is his improved length and aggressiveness when attacking. I like how he finished when driving from the corners and the range on his outside shot. He’s definitely moving in the right direction.

Nigel Marshall Forward (NWK)- Marshall started the tournament with a bang when he drove down the lane and dunked on a SJ Select player. He used the momentum to be a beast for the rest of the weekend. The lefty from “The Bricks” was a rebounding machine and tough scorer in traffic. He helped his team reach the finals and had his best game against eventual champion SJ Select when he finished with 20 markers.

Nashiem Harte Guard (NWK)- Harte started off slow but I saw the potential in his game and as they weekend progressed he stepped up. He’s a natural point guard that has a string on the ball and the size of most two-guards. He’s capable of making plays for him and his teammates as he showed during their game with the Shore Shots. He finished with 15 points and several dimes.

Shemar Robinson Guard (NJ Connection)- Robinson like Greer is another kid that has local acclaim and wanted to prove himself on the Spotlight stage. Don’t worry young fella you did your job. Robinson has the flair and substance in his game. His handle and court vision is legit so when you add in his scoring ability you see signs of a young Steph Curry type. He used his smooth flow to hit up the Shore Shots for 20 points and DC Premier for 19 markers. He also stood toe to toe with Greer in their semifinal showdown.

Yeshua Powe Guard (NJ Connection)- If Robinson is Curry then Powe must be Clay Thompson because that’s how they looked together. Powe impressed us with his smooth perimeter game including range and a tough pull up jumper. Few players use the mid-range game but he seems to love it. He tallied a tough 18 points versus the Shore Shots also. 

 Kobe Blake Forward (NJ Shore Shots)- The Shore Shots had a good showing and Blake played a huge role. The big forward pumped in 20 points against both NJ Connection and DC Premier while also cashing in 18 markers versus Kingdom Elite.

Preston Bacon Guard (DC Premier)- Bacon was on his game against NJ Connection. He dictated the pace and hit the gaps like a true veteran. When he was left open he made the defense pay with a deep bomb and tough finish in the lane. You also have to give him props for his court vision. His best game was against NJ Connection when he scored 19 points.
David Orta Guard (DC Premier)- Orta can play the two guard or small forward spot. He can hit the outside shot but seems more valuable as a playmaker. He did a good job of setting up teammates and keeping the rock moving during the offense. He also got into the act against NJ Connection by scoring 16 markers.
Quentin Milloa-Brown Forward (DC Premier)- The big guy has an awkward release on his shot but its effective. He was a menace on the boards and made a living getting put backs. His size also caused problems on the defensive end where he clogged the paint and help alter shots. 

 Nick Hohenstein Guard (Jersey Force)- Nick has a unique motion when shooting free throws but it didn’t stop him from hitting We R 1 up for 24 points. He did most of his damage from behind the arc by draining 5 treys in the loss. He represented himself well.

Quashawn Lane Guard (Joey’s Angels)- Lane’s team had a tough weekend in the win column but you have to respect this points game. He has deceptive speed and craftiness that allowed him to get off against some of the best guards in the region. He’s determined to find his way to the lane and use a floater or pull up to score. 

 Jared Kimbrough Forward (Jersey Force)- Kimbrough is an under the radar prospect that I like for the Jersey Force. He has good size for the forward position and is developing his skill set. I think he will be a name we will hear about down the road.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Basketball Spotlight MDC 8th Grade Top Performers Part 2

Charles Pride (Gym Rats)

The 8th Grade Division at the Basketball Spotlight MDC was packed with talent. Here’s Part 2 of our top performers from the weekend. 

Basketball Spotlight MDC Top Performers Part 2 

Charles Pride Guard (Gym Rats)-The defense knows the Pride is wired to score but they still can’t slow him down. The two-guard started the weekend off by blistering Mass Shooting Stars for 25 points, 28 markers against Jersey Shore Warriors and 20 points in their Sunday showdown with New Heights. He used this season to show that he could get it done whenever he steps on the floor. Simply put he gets buckets.

Cameron Reddish Guard (Team Final)- “The Prince” showed his smoothness but also played with a since of urgency when needed. He had the trey ball falling and finished with style against Joey’s Angels and CBC’s. He had a nose injury but still returned to take Team 12 into overtime before falling short against the Brooklyn boys. 

 Dallas Watson Guard (New Heights)- The Milbank and New Heights merger also brought over Watson and he was a great pickup. The scoring guard has a lot of bop in his game and torched opponents at the MDC. He tallied 16 points against both Mass Shooting Stars

Mika Adams Woods Guard (Gym Rats)- The slick point guard helped out Pride in the scoring column while also running the team. There are not many that push the rock as quick as this kid. He lit up Jersey Shore Warriors for 19 markers and also had a good outing with in his match-up against Watson and company when he left with 19 points in the loss. 

 Daquan Campbell Forward (New Heights)- Campbell is a monster on the glass and has enough touch to get things done in the paint. He doesn’t mind grinding to get the job done. He hit up Mass Shooting Stars for 22 points in his teams win.

Bernard Lightsey Guard (Philly Triple Threat)- I saw Bernard light it up at the Mid Atlantic Regionals and this weekend he showed it wasn’t a fluke. He had the stroke going when he dropped 24 points on Team 85 and another 20 in their loss to the Rens. Lightsey is ready to score when he gets out of bed.

Marcus Littles Forward (Team Final)- The more I see Marcus, the more I know the opposing teams will have their hands full with this kid. He continues to get better and even shows a motor which rare for a kid that combines this size with such a young age. I loved his willingness to rebound and be involved in plays. Attention Team Final, build a wall around this kid because he’s a commodity.

Paul Durkee Guard (Mass Shooting Stars)- I like watching Durkee when he’s cooking because you can see the long term potential in his game. He runs through the offense well and can knock down the shot when the ball is swung his way. His best showing came against New Heights when he hit two treys on his way to 20 points.

Basketball Spotlight MDC 8th Grade Top Performers Part 1

Jalen Carey (NY Rens)

The 8th Grade Division at the Basketball Spotlight MDC was packed with talent. Here’s Part 1 of our top performers from the weekend. 

Basketball Spotlight MDC Top Performers Part 1 

Jalen Carey Guard (NY Rens)- Carey played well enough to also receive the Mr. Memorial Day Award. He has really transformed his game into a good scoring combo guard with some point guard attributes. His smooth and skilled enough to get anywhere he wants on the floor and finish with authority. He seems to get better each time he enters a Spotlight event. He was the high scorer in the finals with 18 markers.

Zedrek Ferell Guard (NY Rens)- Carey can leave the point guard duties in the hands of Ferell. He has been a proven winner for years and it showed in the clutch when he banged home a trey to give his team the lead. His leadership really showed when it was money time.
Antwan Butler Guard (WE R 1)- Butler’s presence has helped this Delaware team reach new heights. He’s one of the best point guards in the region and he proved it. Butler carved his way through defenses without mercy and was also able to score the ball. He brought the noise in the finals while leading his team in scoring with 16 points.
Chris Cropper Guard (WE R 1)- Cropper was once again useful all around the floor because of his athleticism. He finishes with the best of them and came up big against Team DEMI during their Sunday showdown. He scored 20 points in the win which helped them propel to the final four.
Darius Kinnell Guard (We R 1)- The arrival of Butler allows to move off the ball and exercise his scoring prowess. He caught fire and was able to knockdown a couple of treys in transition during the finals. He’s a very streaky shooter that when he’s on looks very good. 

 Theodore Senior Guard (Team Twelve)- It was hard to slow this kid down all weekend. He’s a blur with the pill and can score in spurts. He got things going early with a 23 point outing against a pesky Joey Angels squad. His play helped them reach the final four and advance to the Grand Finale.

The Grand Finale Final Four Field Announced!

The Basketball Spotlight Road To The Grand Finale made its final stop during the Memorial Day Classic in Neptune, NJ. Teams had a final chance to gather points and advance to the final four June 21st and 22nd. The points have been tallied and the results are below. The teams below have been earned their spot but this could change if they refuse the invitation. 

8th Grade Final Four 
#1 Team IZOD (17 Points) 
#2 Playaz (16 Points) 
#3 Team Twelve Watchmen (15 Points) 
#4 Team Takeover (10 Points) 

7th Grade Final Four 
#1 Team Takeover (20 Points) 
#2 Team RIO National (17 Points) 
#3 NY Rens (15 Points) 
#4 Team Final (12 Points) 

6th Grade Final Four 
#1 Team IZOD (16 Points) 
#2 Team Takeover Black (7 Points) 
#3 Team Takeover Orange (7 Points) 
#4 Team Glory (7 Points) 

5th Grade Final Four 
#1 Team Glory (12 Points) 
#2 Playtime Panthers (9 Points) 
#3 Team Nation (8 Points) 
#4 Riverside Hawks (4 Points)

Diary Of A Baller: Cameron "The Prince" Reddish (Norristown, PA) Entry #2

Cameron Reddish From Super Skillcase

So, last week was full of studying for my final exams this week. I studied all throughout the week to prepare for the exams, and I feel very confident going in. This weekend my team played in the Memorial Day Classic in Neptune, New Jersey. The first was not very competitive; we won by 30 and mercy ruled the team. We were winning throughout the entire second game, but towards the end the opposing team made a run and started to come back; we pulled it out and won by about 10 to 15 points. 

In the game against Team 12, there were lots of lead changes and the game was very competitive and came down to the wire. In the game, towards the middle of the second half I drove the basket and got fouled hard and got a bloody nose, and was out for about 5 minutes until my nose stopped bleeding. My team held their own, and when I came back narrowed the lead to one. As soon as I came back in, I drove and finished. The game ended up going into overtime. With 2 seconds left in overtime, one of my teammates fouled a jump shooter, and he made the free throws to win the game. Tough loss--Rough weekend. But that's over now. 

More final exams and tonight at 7:30, I am playing the Jr. All City Classic featuring the top players from the Philadelphia area at Imhotep Charter. Time to get some buckets. Talk to y'all later. Deuces!