|Rowan Barrett Jr., Balsa Koprovica, Chandler Lawson, Brian Antonie & Wendell Moore|
If there were any lingering doubts about the significance of the NYBL, what went down in Session #2 in Atlanta last weekend squashed all of that. The NYBL is hands down the best thing to hit middle school basketball in decades. The amount of team and individual talent amassed in the second session is unmatched. In terms of elite teams, the addition of the Memphis War Eagles and George Hill, the emergence of the Brampton Warriors and Team United; the discovery of Butler Elite and the known juggernauts like All-Ohio Red, Team CP3, S.C. Hornets, Team Rio, Texas Express as well as other elite teams, the NYBL is a force to be reckoned with.
In terms of individual talent, 9 of the top 10 ranked players in the country were ballin out in the ATL. When you talk about top 100 ranked players nationally, it’s safe to say 90% of the most elite players are in the league, and they hooped last weekend. Names like Balsa Koprovica (6’8 C Florida), Chandler Lawson (6’7 WF Tennessee), Scottie Lewis (6’3 WF New Jersey), Wendell Moore (6’4 PF North Carolina), Jeremiah Francis (5’11 PG Ohio), Jordan Mitchell (6’3 WF Ohio) and Kobe Langley (5’9 SG North Carolina) were all established top 10 players when year #2 of the NYBL tipped off in Washington D.C. in March, but guys like Rowan Barrett Jr. (6’4 WF Canada), Nobal Days (6’8 C Wisconsin), Isaiah Moseley (6’0 SG Canada), Andrew Nembhard (6’0 PG Canada) and BJ Mack II (6’6 C North Carolina) have all burst onto the national stages since their teams joined the NYBL.
|All-Ohio Red Sits 10-0|
This past weekend featured early season match-ups that could not even be imaged 2 years ago. Team CP3 vs Memphis War Eagles; All-Ohio Red vs Texas Express Elite; Team Rio National vs S.C. Hornets; Memphis War Eagles vs S.C. Hornets and Team CP3 vs Memphis War Eagles our just a few of the elite match-ups that were offered in Session #2. With those types of battles, some teams that are not accustomed to loosing at all, let alone this early in the season were going to take some “Ls.” All-Ohio Red went undefeated for the second time in 2 sessions, including a surprising blowout (41-62) win over Texas Express Elite, and now sits at a perfect 10-0 in league play. All-Ohio is playing some of the best basketball in the league. Not only are they bringing the full court pressure for 32 minutes, they bring a fresh 5 players off the bench to maintain that pressure. Most teams simply can’t hold on for an entire game. We no their top guns (i.e., Francis, Mitchell & Reynolds), but guys like Chris Payne, Chris’Sean Stringer and Amri Davis have been leading the team at times. According the score books, Payne was the big dog in Atlanta.
Keyford Langley’s Team CP3 faced one of the toughest schedules of the weekend and came out unscathed (9-1 overall) with wins over Team Rio (54-47), Memphis (57-52), Team Takeover (67-39), 6th Man Warriors(63-43) and Academy Prep Hawks (50-45). Wendell Moore had another good weekend as did Chaz Gwinn, the Langley twins and Mike Green. The upstart Brampton Warriors solidified their place among the elite teams in the league with a 5-0 record in Atlanta. That unblemished recorded included a lopsided victory over Texas Express Elite (62-41) on Saturday. A virtual unknown in the U.S. prior to Session #1 in Washington D.C, Brampton’s Rowan Barrett was killin it in Atlanta. Multiple 20 point games, dunks and athletic demonstrations finally convinced some folks that he’s the top guy in this class. Speaking of tops in his class, his running mate, Andrew Nembhard, is quietly building a case as the top PG in the class. He’s not flashy, but he runs the point like a poised college guy.
|Andrew Nembhard, Isaiah Moseley, Myles Pierre & BJ Mack|
Although the Ohio Hoopsters left D.C. 0-5 in the opening session, their ride home from Atlanta had to feel much better packing a 5-0 record. Now that’s a serious turnaround! Speaking of turn arounds, with the addition of Balsa Koprovica, who is a big who is super skilled, and the continued physical play of Bryan Sanders, Team Florida has a new look, a new swag, and 5-0 record coming out of Atlanta. They are now a legitimate threat to upset somebody in Columbus in June. Over the weekend, Team Florida took down the Charlotte Rivals, D-Wade Future Stars, Team United, Reach Higher Kings and Carolina Chaos. In 2 sessions Team Rio has only lost 2 games (8-2 overall) and has played a very competitive schedule. We know they have top 5 Scottie Lewis on the roster, but Brian Antonio was the story this weekend, as he knocked down a boatload of treys in several tough games. Team Rio continues to get better, and could find themselves in the final 4 in Columbus in June.
Other impressing showings included Team United’s 68-67 overtime victory against the Memphis War Eagles on Sunday. In that game, North Carolina’s BJ Mack silenced some of his many critics with a big time, 30 point performance. Butler Elite had to be happy with their 4-1 showing last weekend. Their only loss came at the hands of Texas Express Elite, who had to overcome a double digit deficit to pull out the 58-60 win. Noble Days was hurt on day one, but returned on Sunday. In his absence, Demonta Hudson put together a great weekend, and was his team’s leading and most consistent scorer.
|Juwan Gary, Chris Payne, DJ Jeffries & Joe Jones|
Fresh off a great showing in a big tournament their home country, the Northern Kings logged in a surprising 4-1 record in Session # 2. Their lone loss came against DC United, another Canadian team (33-30). Their best win of the weekend was a 39-37 nail bitter against Texas Express Elite Saturday afternoon. A big shout out goes to the Georgia based TNBC, who got out of Atlanta with a surprising 4-1 record. You can’t blame it on a soft schedule, as TNBC beat a very competitive Team Takeover (59-57), the Academy Prep Hawks, DC Assault and Upstate Elite.
There were a number of 3-2 teams after last weekend, most notably the Memphis War Eagles. Rodney Newsome’s bunch has rarely lost 2 games in a season, let alone in 1 weekend! But hey, that’s what happens in the NYBL. It was hard getting him here (the league), but it was clear his team enjoyed the competition and are very much looking forward the Session # 3 in Louisville, Kentucky in 2 weeks. The S.C. Hornets were initially flying high after the opening session with a gaudy 5-0 record; however, in Session #2 they took 2 body blows and the hands of Memphis (60-69) and Team Rio (48-51). No shame in those losses, as they came at the hands of 2 of the league’s top teams.
Now that Session #2 has been put to bed, all eyes turn to Louisville and the third stop of the league. Teams are starting to think about seeding and the championship session in Columbus, Ohio in June. With a crystal trophy, and national championship rings up for grabs, teams are starting to feel the heat! Can’t wait for Louisville!