Wednesday, April 29, 2015

DMV Preps - NYBL Session II (2020) Weekend Update

023 Feet (5-5)

This talented group out of the Northern Va. plays the game the right way; and consequently they are in every game that they compete in.  Seeing their growth and development since the beginning of the year has been magical – the teamwork and comradery make this group special.  After a 3-2 start in the Session I; again a weekend filled with barn burners – 023 Feet arrived in Richmond to take on the meat of their league schedule.  Again the group performed admirable; beating the Brampton Warriors 67-55 and then followed that up with a 49-47 win over Canada Drive out of Burlington, Canada – Isaiah Folks was responsible for knocking down the game winning trey ball with seconds left proving the old adage of big time players make big time shots in big time game.

After a 2-0 start 023 Feet ran into some very tough competition but played them all well and close – often holding leads late into the second half; but fell to the West Coast All Stars, San Diego Select, & Oakland Soldiers.  

Josiah Hardy
Josiah Hardy is quietly becoming a very efficient and versatile combo-forward; possessing excellent length and underrated athletic ability.  He guarded some of the top players in the county this past weekend and he often got the best of them – blocking shots and finishing on the other end.  Hardy utilizes the mid-range area effectively and is exceptional at doing so; he never gives up on a play and is one of the headiest high IQ players that you will find.  

Chuck Harris

Check Harris continues to get the job done and caused opponents problems in space as he attacked from all 3 levels as well as working often as the squads primary ball-handler.Harris showed a very mature game as well as the ability to make significant contributions within the context of the offense.  Much more than a scorer Harris still takes over the game in this capacity for his team ~ but his leadership may be just as powerful to the team as he does anything he can to help his team win.  Isiah Folks handle the ball-well and was under constant pressure; but handled it well running the team and keeping them close.  

023 Feet must continue to be watched; as they have the talent and ability to beat any team on any given day.  Expect a deep play-off run and a solid Session III from the special group. 

Team Melo “Terror Squad” (9-1)

Terror Squad returns to the DMV after a 4-1 weekend and sit one game out of first place at 9-1 after losing game one of the weekend 64-58 after shooting a miserable 12 for 26 from the charity stripe.  In the bigtime match-up against the West Coast Stars the Cameron Byers v Jason Harris match-up was impressive and lived up to the hype as the Melo bigman showed why he is quickly becoming one of the top front court players in the country.  His improved face-up game and the teams understanding of the value of a certified interior threat has allowed him to show well all weekend long.  His blockmate Montez McNeil battled foul trouble against WCA but put on show the remainder of the weekend has he displayed a soft touch from the baseline, performed admirably in transition, and defended with passion.  Now a formidable two way performer McNeil’s continued growth is key to the team’s success – he dominated for stretches on the boards and changed a ton of shots, consistency is the key word for the McNeil equation. 

Jeremy Roach                                                      Montez McNeil

Tyler Brelsford had back to back 10-point outings and played a solid floor game before going to an ankle injury which kept him out of the last 3 games of the weekend.  Stepping in with flair; Jeremy Roach was productive and put up some very impressive point totals – one of the most efficient offensive players in the class he didn’t need volume as he picked and made the most of his opportunities.   Playing a significant amount of lead guard he proved his value and versatility setting up all his guys in great scoring position.  Roach has a very high IQ which allows him to put constant pressure on the defense when the ball is in his hand.  Ryan Conway the consummate knockdown shooter did that and more playing some great on the ball defense, impacting with some bigtime finishes in the paint – but wow the crowed with his passing as he dropped some very impressive dimes off penetration and run outs as he must be honored anywhere on the court.

A.J. Hoggard

AJ Hoggard continued to put up big scoring numbers; adding versatility to game by taking smaller guards to the block and punishing them – the mastery of this aspect clearly will take his game to another level.  When he’s dishing the rock his scoring actually become harder to stop as he has taken on the 21st century PG role ~ when he incorporates a little Stockton & Magic into his game you very well could be looking at the best of the best at his position.  Jordan Toles continued to add to his highlight reel, but doing it in a much different manner actually showing some impressive consistency in performing at a high level at different speeds.  Toles picked his spots and shot an even great percentage as he looked to set up his teammates – with the attention he drew it led to a lot of easier buckets; while at the same time Jordan become harder to guard as he dropped buckets at the tin while owning the mid-range area.  Considered  by many to be one of the best in the class – Toles has the wherewithal to be the country’s best perimeter defender, this could be the difference in a championship run for Team Melo.

Monday, April 27, 2015

DMV Preps - NYBL Session II (2019) Weekend Update


The New World basketball program continues to represent the DMV well in its travels; bringing a winning tradition to their name and the area.  New World 2019 returned from a solid weekend in the NYBL’s second session in Richmond, Va.  going 4-1 bringing their overall record to 9-1 placing the team in a tie for first place in the league.   

The coaching staff at New World has done a phenomenal job in regards to player development over the last year and the improvement of the individual players is clear and apparent.  The initial roster without question boasted immense talent and vast potential in specific players.  Watching the players improve and other come into their own as they prepare for the next level is what is right with youth basketball in the DC Metropolitan area – this is a group that is doing things the right way and it is reflective on the court and the results therein program at multiple age groups.

Jay Heath
Malik Anderson
Malik Anderson and Jay Heath operated with fluidity and have formed one of the most talented wing combinations in the NYBL – Anderson has played next level lock down defense, while showing creativity in the paint finishing with both hands.  He scored from all 3 levels and brought a high level of intensity to each possession on both ends of the court.  Jay Heath continued to put up some very impressive scoring totals in Session II – and has done so in impressive fashion.  We like his ability to allow his defense to dictate his offense and to get off within the flow of the offense without isolation sets.  We see him thinking the game, using the various cuts to establish consistent looks which he is taking advantage when given the opportunity.    He is playing the game unselfishly yet is still one of the top scorers in the league.  

Karim Couliby continues to impress; no longer a surprise teams are game planning and gearing up to stop him – what does he do?  He shows the ability to hit cutters and spot-up shooters off the post catch even on the weak and backside.  With guards like Anderson and Heath and a contingent of spot up shooters this skill set is invaluable and frankly skills that many post players haven’t developed even at the highest level.  Karim still put up solid numbers as was able to step outside and knockdown shots forcing the defense to respond to him even on the perimeter.  


James Bishop

James Bishop is taking this team to a whole other stratosphere; his scoring ability is quickly reaching legendary status.  Battling one of the top point guards in the country EJ ‘The Nasty Truth’ Jackson, Bishop took over the game and the stage in a 32-point performance and victory over the current #2 ranked team in the country.  The Finest who find themselves in contention for the regular season title returning to the DMV 8-2 and in 2nd place in the league with a guard like “Buckets” Bishop they cannot be counted out of any game or title.

His running mate Logan Curtis has also impressed and continues to make an impact for the team and the league; he has put up solid numbers and has been very efficient with his looks while also making big time contributions  on the defensive end.


Quietly flying under the radar the Montgomery County based group has amassed a 7-3 record and remain in contention.  6’7 CJ Amsellum is the guy for this group, he can catch and shoot, shows very soft hands, as well operate of the block with the ability to score over either shoulder; he may have one of the most intriguing upsides in the area  and they have surrounded him with shooters Christopher Margarites who continues to prove he is much more than a shooter as he is putting the ball on the floor with confidence - add slashers Albert Jackson who can also knock it down from distance and Jordan Miller who is also easily one of the most intense defenders anywhere.  After a close 5-point win in their first game, the Playmakers put together two dominating performances before falling to a very tough Butler Elite team 38-23.  


Che Evans

Taking the floor for the first time as a group; the Baltimore outfit jumped right into the fire and responded well.  Led by 6’5 WF Che Evans scored in every way imaginable while facilitating and setting up his teammates for easy baskets.  Any question regarding Evans ability to play on the highest level where asked and answered as he proved to be a bigtime talent and game changer.  Showed triple double potential and all the scouting services in the building took notice.  

Zion Harmon

Zion Harmon, who officially answered any questions confirming his alliance with the Melo organization; looked great in the backcourt and made the game easier for his teammates.  Was just as effective at this level; possibly more as his IQ and generalship were more apparent battled with EJ Jackson and no one in the gym would have known that he was 2-years his junior dropping 15-points and 7 helpers.

Mahki Long

Mahki Long who competed in the league last year returned and didn’t miss a beat, the 6’4 Guard knocked down jumpers from all over the court and was especially impressive in the mid-range and in transition.  Long’s scoring versatility is impressive both in the half-court and in transition and he plays the game on both ends – he defended and he boarded against the nation’s best teams and players. 

Nate Lemons

Nate Lemons 6’7 center/forward blocked multiple shots and controlled the backboards in debut with the program.  A dedicated defender he was excellent both on the ball and on help side.  Look excellent in transition and moved very well for a man hi size.  Huge hands and a size 16 shoe makes him and his upside huge, combine that with an exceptional frame Lemon’s ceiling is high.  He made the most of his opportunity as you saw improvement with each passing quarter and game.  

Bobby Carson, also came out for the first time and contributed in many facets – his potential is clear and he showed the ability to do numerous things around the basket and in the mid-range. Rahim Dante Ali (Rah-Rah) played a solid floor game, scored when needed, and showed the leadership and generalship required to be an elite lead guard.

Cam Byers

Cam Byers gave a little double duty playing both 2019 & 2020 and is quickly becoming a dominant force at both 2019 & 2020; having added a very impressive face up game to his power skill set.  Byers is doing if from all over the front court and this includes being effective with the jumper from 12-15 feet; putting the ball on the floor and finishing, while still making a strong impact on the back board.  The finesse aspect that Byers has added has him on the verge of being almost impossible stop he now has the ability to carry a team for extended stretches.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Summer Shoe Circuits Heats Up On & Off the Court

(Left) Carmelo Anthony - Team Melo (MD) - (Right) Chris Paul - Team CP3 (NC)

One of the most confusing yet important aspects of grassroots basketball is the battle that takes place not on the court but in the corporate board rooms across the country.  Within the DMV as across the country there is no difference in this highly competitive market.  There are unwritten rules to the game and one with high stakes for programs, players, parents, and high school and college coaches.  What is battle are we referring to you may wonder; it’s the one sneak brand battle being waged year round and is now at its peak this time of year.

In the pass year there have been major landscape changes at the top of all the shoe companies; NIKE, Adidas, and Under Armor – Carlton DeBose is now the heading up NIKE and works with a team of regional directors who assist in identifying top talent in their respective areas.  Under Armor new head man is Nick Blatchford who also has a team of professional who are looking to get the job done.  Adidas has no slouch behind the wheel with Jim Gatto making things happen for the three stripes.

The overall value of these brands and relationships is the national circuit access they all provide.  Top players from across the country are sought out by sneak affiliated clubs to represents them and their brands on national circuits.  The circuits are set-up in league style systems built over multiple sessions, where at some of the younger age group some brands set up tournament style events.  Regardless of the set-up style they all have one thing in common and that is they provide a direct link to visibility by college coaches from all over the country.  Not just your Duke’s, Syracuse’s, or UCLA’s - but also your Florida Gulf Coast’s. Texas States, and Central Akansas; they are all in attendance and the beauty is that a single child only has to be like by one to get an opportunity to play at the next level. The aforementioned events are held during what is known as live periods; where colleges are able to come out and interact directly with players and parents. 

The next session dates and location for the three brands are as follows:

Nike & Under Armor  Lexington, Ky. (April 24-26)
Adidas Indianapolis (April 24-26)

Operating on the same date is done purposely and strategically; requiring a commitment and allegiance to a specific affiliate by the player and the parent.  Not just to the leagues, but also to the camp circuit, and ultimately to college programs and possibly beyond.  Kids who have known as played together from the time they were knee high to a duck may not play with or against each other unless it’s a high school situation as the commitments are paramount to the program directors, scouts, and the advertising and marketing arms of the entities that support and represent the programs and young men.

Given the “short” season in comparison it’s paramount that whatever uniform you put on AS A PLAYER you make sure that you are PLAYING; it’s not necessarily about wins from that end – though there is a high premium put on it as it relates to the actual programs, as there are performance expectations that must be met for relationships to be maintained.  The players true objective is to be seen and get looks and obtain a scholarship – the programs objective is to obtain the most talented players, put the best product on the floor, win and retain their relationships.  The easiest way for both parties to win is to put the team together and go out kick some butt and make some noise.  Those looking for an opportunity at any level 14u to 17u and needs some assistance and guidance for now or in the future may call the National Youth Basketball Network at 1.800.338.4629 and they can assist with getting you in contact with a club representative in your area that fits your child’s developmental needs and can provide you with chances to been by college recruiters.

The game at this level can be grimy and cutthroat; but if you make the right choice and decision can be very rewarding and be the building block for future success and opportunities.