Saturday, February 21, 2015

Team Rio Constructed to Win it All

Team Rio National
Widely considered as one of the elite teams in the class of 2019, Team Rio National has added the type of quality pieces that could result in a national championship.  Finishing with an impressive 16-4 record in last year’s ultra-competitive National YouthBasketball League (NYBL), the New Jersey based team has upgraded an already stacked roster.  Most everyone who follows the class is familiar with studs Scottie Lewis (6’4 WF), Brian Antoine (6’4 SG) and Mikeal Jones (6’6 PF/C), but guys like Jordon McCoy (6’4 WF) Jalen Gaffney (5’11 PG) and Ahmadu Sanor (6’0 SG/WF) are all solid contributors to the team. The addition of Tariq Ingraham (6’8 C New Castle, DE) adds size in the post and will allow Team Rio to compete with any team in the country.

Antoine and Lewis are playing some great basketball right now and college coaches have taken notice. In fact, the “big three” of Lewis, Antoine and Ingraham are all receiving high major interest as college coaches are flocking to the gym to watch the trio practice. Although he gets very little ink, Ahmadu Sanor is starting to make a name for himself and his play at the Winter Warz was impressive.

While many teams were forced to shut it down until the 2015 travel season, Rio has stayed busy. In fact, recently, the team dominated the competition at Mike Melton’s Winter Warz last week, finishing 5-0 on the weekend. In addition, Rio’s resume includes wins at the Fun Sport tourney at the Barkley Center, Fab 48 in Las Vegas last July, and the Nike Showcase in January. It should also be noted the Team Rio has only lost to 1 team since the NYBL concluded last season and that was a single digit loss to DC Premier. Team Spokesman Brian Klatsky is confident in his team’s ability to compete for a title this season. “We have been in the NYBL since day 1 and this is the year we can take home a championship,” said Klatsky. With only a few short weeks remaining until the tip off of the NYBL the excitement is really starting to build!

Lewis, Antonie, Jones, Ingraham, Gaffney, Sanor & McCoy

Sunday, February 1, 2015

King James Building for NYBL

King James Shooting Stars 2020

King James Head Coach Malcolm Walters is currently in the lab trying to assemble a 2020 team that can compete in the upcoming season of the NYBL.  With a solid core of elite players including Isaiah Kennedy (5’8 PG Beavercreek), Grant Huffman (5’9 SG Aurora), Devaonte Blanton (6’2 WF Nordonia) and Darion Henry (6’3 C Cincinnati), Walters feels real good about his team’s ability to compete against the best in the country.  Both Kennedy and Huffman pack national reputations, while Blanton is top 10 in Ohio and poised for national recognition and Henry is well respected statewide. In addition to their core, Kings James will return Montori Foster (5’8 SG Warrensville) Marvin Davies (6’0 PF Orange) and Nicholas Walters (5’7 PG Orange), all of whom have been with the team since the 3rd grade.

King James will be one of five 2020 Ohio based teams participating in the ultra competitive NYBL this season.  The other teams include: Mid Ohio Pumas, Ohio Basketball Club (OBC), Mansfield Cavs and SWO Elite. In terms of the pecking order in the Buckeye state, King James is widely considered the 2nd best team in northeast Ohio behind OBC and ahead of the Mansfield Cavs.  Statewide, King James may be top 5 good.  In terms of his team’s style of play, Walters emphasizes defense. “We are very aggressive; our defensive is our offense. We are in your face defensively,” said Walters.  

Isaiah Kennedy, DeVonte Blanton, Montoria Foster & Grant Huffman
Although statewide recognition is ok, Coach Walters feels that with the addition of the above mentioned key players, his squad can be elite nationally. “With adding [Isaiah] Kennedy and [Darion] Henry, we are top 10 in the nation,” said Walters.  Walters is equally confident about how is team will fare in the NYBL this season. “Exciting, we get to play against other top teams in the country and to see where we stand,” continued Walters.  “I hope they [NYBL teams] are getting ready because we are getting ready for them,” Walter said.There are only a few more weeks before the 2015 season tips off and the excitement is really starting to build.

Team Durant Heading to the NYBL

Kevin Durant Sponsors Grassroots Basketball Program
According to several credible sources, there may soon be a major shift in power in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area. Long known as a hot bed for basketball talent, with major shoe company sponsored programs such as DC Assault (Adidas), Baltimore Elite (Nike), Bmores Finest (Under Armor),  DC Premier (Under Armor), Team Mello (Jordan Brand) and Team Takeover (Nike), there may soon be a “New Sheriff in Town.”  Word on the street indicates the Team Durant (TD) is poised to explode onto the youth basketball scene with some very competitive teams and elite players

With sponsorship from one of the NBA’s most elite players in Kevin Durant, starting from scratch was not an option. Therefore, the fledging program has already attracted interest from several elite middle school programs such as the former 2020 Slam City Elite, 2019 DC Premier, 2021 Team Glory Elite and the 2021 Annandale Bulldogs.  In fact, each of these programs is rumored to be joining TD for the upcoming season as head coaches have already begun contacting their former program directors to inform them of their departures. It’s not just middle school aged programs as TD will be fielding teams in grades 2nd through 8th, with 8 total teams expected to hit the floor this year.

As most basketball fans know, the above middle school programs have stocked piled the type of individual talent not often seen in the area or nationally. Although the DMV is as talent rich as any area in the country, and annually pumps out anywhere from 60-75 D-I players per year, one has to wonder if there will be enough elite level talent to go around for all of the heavyweight programs in the area to remain viable.  TD’s emergence in the area could mean the demise of some much storied programs.  Only time will tell how the area will be impacted, but we won’t have to wait long to find out as each of the teams mentioned above will be participating in the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) when the season tips off in DC in mid-March.

Although many may see TD’s arrival on the scene as a potential escalation of the local sneaker wars, Kevin Durant’s involvement in grassroots basketball should result in more opportunities for area youth.  A source close to the negotiations, which begin with initial discussions about 3-4 months ago, is impressed with KD’s commitment to giving back to the community where he grew up. “KD and his people want to be an example of what’s right about youth basketball,” said a member of KD’s team. “KD wants to provide role models, tutoring and other educational programs to the youth in the area.  He [KD] wants to bring a clean program to the area that’s run the right way,” continued the source.  Needless to say, things will be on and popping in the DMV for years to come, and only time will tell to what extent Team Durant makes an impact on the local and national landscape of middle school basketball.  Welcome to grassroots basketball KD!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

From the staff of the NYBL, we would like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas!  Take this opportunity to spend time with fiends and family!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

The NYBL family would like to extend Happy Thanksgiving wishes to you and your family. During the holidays it's important we all take the time to enjoy our loved ones. Oh yea, there should be a lot of great college basketball on TV today! God Bless!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DC Premier Upgrades for NYBL

DC Primer 2019
As most savvy youth basketball fans well know, the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area is loaded with elite basketball talent.  Obviously, where you find elite individual talent, you also find elite teams. Arguably the top 2019 team in the area is the Under Armour-sponsored D.C. Premiere (DCP). Although they flew a bit under the national radar this past season, with key returning players, plus the acquisition of some nice pieces, Coach John Perry is preparing his squad to win a NYBL National Championship. 

With little fan fair, DCP enjoyed decent success in 2014 with a big win at Boo Williams’ Nike Elite Tourney, and their AAU Regional title in April.  In addition, DCP demonstrated their potential last year at the King James Shooting Star Classic where they took a loaded All-Ohio Red team right down to the wire before allowing a close game to slip away late in the quarterfinals (39-45 final).  After their 9th place finish at the AAU Nationals this summer (defeated Texas Express Elite 53-50) it was clear DCP would be a team to be reckoned with going forward.  Most recently, DCP went undefeated in the Largo High School JV League playing up against older kids. During there run to the champioship, they took down a very competitive Team Takeover.

Makhi Mitchell, Marvin Price, Makhel Mitchell, Christian DePollar & Sharif Kenny
Fast forward to 2015 and DC Primer’s roster will include 6 players who are ranked among  the NYBL’s Top 100 payer rankings. DCP will again be anchored by twin towers Mekhi (6’7/WF/MD), and Mikhel Mitchell (6’7/C/MD). The Mitchell twins are a dynamic duo that will give DCP one of the biggest frontcourts in the class. Key returnees for DCP include: Casey Morsell (5’11/SG/MD), Tiger Simms (6’2/WF/MD), Evan Buckley (5’10/SG/VA), Anwar Gill 6'2/WF/DC), Preston Bacon (5'10/PG/VA) and Mike Sumner Jr. (5'9/PG/MD/2020)New to the team this upcoming season will be Marvin Price (6’4/WF/MD) and Christian DePollar (6’4/WF/MD). In terms of Sherif Kinney, according to Coach Perry, he (Kenny) will float between both the 2018 and 2019 teams. We had the opportunity watch DePollar, Price and Kenny this season and we were very impressed with their talent. 

As currently constructed, DC Premier is legitimately among the top 3-4 teams in the nation in 2019, and has a great opportunity at a NYBL National Championship.  Having been exposed to the NYBL late last season, Coach Perry is looking forward to his team participating in the elite league. "Every weekend we expect to face tough battles," said Perry.  "We will have to bring our A game every week. All those teams [in the NYBL] finished high at the [AAU] Nationals last year.  The league made them battled tested," continued Perry. Not only was Perry impressed with the competition the NYBL had to offer, he also recognized the camaraderie and relationships between the players, parents and coaches. "It was like a big family,"  offered Perry.  "The kids and teams were very close knit.  That's what I want for my kids," Perry said. The addition of DC Premier to an already competitive league will create some great match-ups and some very compelling games. Can't wait!

Friday, November 7, 2014

City Stars Prepares for NYBL

2014 City Stars
According to Mike Morris, Founder of the West Coast All-Stars (WCAS) and coach of the 2020 team, Coach Jimmie Burton will merge his 2019 City Stars team with Morris’ organization to form the “West Coast Stars” for the 2015 season.  As most will recall, Burton’s City Stars squad shocked the nation with their 2nd place finish at the AAU Nationals this year. On their trek to the championship game, the City Stars upended the CP3 All-stars in pool play before losing the rematch to CP3 in the championship game. 

Burton’s roster will remain intact, and includes elite guys like Ernest “EJ” Jackson (5’4 /PG/CA), Jaden McClanahan (5’8/WG/CA) and Jovan McClanahan (5’8/WG/CA), all of whom are ranked in the NYBL’s Top 100 player rankings. When the NYBL season tips off in in March, Burton’s upgraded roster will include the addition of Kevin White (6’4/PF/C/CA), who balled with Surf City this season, and Ethan Anderson (6’1/P/SG/CA), who ran with OC Vision this year. Also returning are: Jordon Wilmore (5’8/WF/CA), Demarjae Gilmore (5'9/SG/WF/ CA), Dorian Stewart (5'6/SG/CA) and JR OLofton (6'2 W/PF/CA).

In an interview earlier this week, Morris indicated that he and Burton had discussed the partnership last year, but the talks did not get serious until several months ago. Morris feels the collaboration is a good fit for both partys, as both organization “are keen on helping kids develop, while providing opportunities for kids to compete,” said Morris. According to Burton, his primary motivation for joining forces with Morris’ organization is all about “representing the west coast.” “They [WCAS] did not have an 8th grade team and I wanted to bring the west coast to the east coast to show the east coast we [west coast] are on the same [talent] level,” said Burton. “A lot of coaches have pride and egos and don’t want to get together to build an elite west coast team,” continued Burton. "I don’t care about the name on the jersey, I want our [west coast] kids to get the experience of playing the best,” offered Burton. "I tried to do this a couple of years ago, but everybody wants to poke their chests out…to be the man,” Burton said.

E. Williams, J. Harris, P. Dawson, D. Dupenia, W. McClendon and N. Velnzia
With the addition of the City Stars, Morris is excited about the 3 teams that will represent his organization and will travel east to participate in the 3rd season of the NYBL.  With core of the 2019 roster still intact, plus a few additions, Morris expects his 2019 team to compete for a NYBL National Championship. “We’re coming to win it,” Morris said. “I expect us to win it. We will be loaded. We will able to leverage Jason [Harris] and Ben [Todd],” continued Morris.  Jason Harris, who has grown to 6’6 by the way, and Todd will see action on both the 2019 and 2020 teams.   In addition, now that Paris Dawson (5'10/SG/CA) has reclassed to 2021, he will split time with the 2020 and 2021 teams.  That will give Morris’ teams a lot of flexibility. “We expect all 3 of our teams to be competitive,” Morris continued.  Burton is equally optimistic about his team’s chances of winning a NYBL National Championship. “It [NYBL] offers a great opportunity. I was there last year and saw all of the teams and the level of competition.  I really think they [his team] they are going to play 150% better in the league.  My guys are looking forward to it [playing in the NYBL]. When the lights come on, my guys come to play. We are seeking to be #1,” Burton said.

In terms of his 2020 team, Morris returns all of his top guys including: Parris Dawson, William McClendon, Nicolas Velnzia, & Tyrone Washington Jr. Morri's team also adds size and depth with the additions of Benjamin Todd (6’7/C/CA) and Dillon Depina (6’1/PF/CA). Before committing to the WCAS, there had been rumors Todd would be running with WACG next season; however, his roster spot with WCAS appears to confirm his intentions to stay closer to home. Depina was a last minute addition to the Oakland Solders’ roster last year, so he brings NYBL experience to the table. With all of the returning players plus the new additions, the WCAS have an excellent chance  of claiming back-to-back NYBL National Championships.  With respect to 

Morris' 6th grade team, they are currently ranked as the #5 best team on the west coast, making them one of the favorites to collect another NYBL National Championship for the organization. Headlining that team ais a quartet of guards including: Dawson, Zaon Collins (5'7/G/NV), Brandon Perez (5'9/G/CA), Ricardo Samierto (5'5/PG AZ), and Mekhi Morrise (5'0 PG/CA). "Look out for for an uptempo style of run and gun play from the West Coast Stars," proclaimed Morris.

2020 West Coast All-Stars-2014 NYBL National Champions
Coming off their runner-up finish at the AAU nationals, plus the addition of some key pieces, the 2019 West Coast Stars can make a legitimate argument for the #1 spot in the nation.  Of course Team CP3 has that honor right now and it's doubtful they plan to relinquish the crown until it’s taken on the court.  However, in terms of the NYBL, Burton’s team has to be the favorite when the 2015 season tips off in March of next year. Get your popcorn folks, the West Coast is coming and they plan to prove a point!  

On a side note, Morris and Burton are not the only coaches planing to represent the west coast in the NYBL next season, as the NGA Stars are ready to flex some muscle as well.  The Stars are currently ranked as the #3 team on the west coast.  More on the Stars later as we plan to introduce that team.