Saturday, October 11, 2014

Slam City Elite Prepares for NYBL

Slam City Elite
Dubbed the “Terror Squad,” by some national media,  Bill Francis'  newly constructed Slam City Elite (class of 2020) has caused quite a stir around the country in only a few short weeks.  Boasting a roster full of nationally ranked players, the DMV based squad’s recent run through the Tri State Summer League in New York City has officially put teams on notice that there is another player on the scene and has announced their arrival to the nation.  Slam City’s most impressive prize to date was the 79-72 win over the #5 ranked New Your Gauchos.  This win was the first step in building a national “resume,” while providing some legitimacy to their preseason #1 ranking.   In addition to the victory over the Gauchos, Slam City Elite took down New Heights, the PSA Cardinals and Milbank during their stay in the Big Apple.

As one might expect, some of the “blue bloods” of the class have taken issue with all of the hype this newly formed team has already garnered, and some have let their feelings be known through various media outlets. One has to imagine that the reigning AAU National Champions, Oakland Solders and the reigning NYBL National Champions West Coast All-Stars are taking issue with all of the hype this young team is getting.  Clearly, WACG’s flamboyant coach, Carlos Williams has some serious concerns as evidenced by his frank comments in 2 recent interviews, where he questions Slam City’s resume and status as the top team.  

Mike Morris, head coach of the West Coast All-Stars is not real concerned about the hype Slam City is receiving. “At the end of the day, we have to lace them up and play,” said Morris. “I don’t see their [Slam City Elite] ranking as disrespectful [to us], we plan to earn what we get any ways. You have to settle it on the court,” continued Morris.  Juno Thomas, the head man for the Oakland Solders has respect for what Francis has put together, but feels the Solders are the number 1 team until they are beaten. "They [Slam City] has a great collection of talent; they have a couple of reclasses. A lot of teams are pattering themselves after the Solders, Thomas said.  "They can't be considered #1 until they play some of the top teams. They beat the Gauchos by 7 points which is really not that much; we beat them by 18 points at the [AAU] Nationals this year," said Thomas.  

T. Williams, J. Toles, C.Byers, AJ Hoggard & T. Brelsford
Stacking a team with multiple elite players is not a new phenomenon (i.e., Oakland Solders, WACG, etc.), but the Slam City Elite situation is a bit different, in that most of the players hale from the same area, and several of their top guys (Terrence Williams, Cameron Byers, AJ Hoggard and Tyler Brelsford) were recently elite players in the class of 2019, which has proven to be a very talented class. Also on their roster are Jordan Toles, a top 5 talent in the class.  Not only did Toles excel in the ultra competitive NYBL last season, his play in New York recently demonstrated his elite athleticism and significant upside potential, and confirmed his place among the best in the class. Also on that squad are Isaiah Todd, Montez McNeil, Ryan Conway, Demon Clowney and Austin Allison, all of whom are elite level players.  In fact, according to some, Todd could eventually be the best long-term prospect on the team, and that’s saying a whole lot!

Over the last 2 seasons, the NYBL has attracted the most elite teams in the country, as evidenced by the AAU National Championships our teams (Team CP3 & Oakland Solders) have garnered.  In 2015, with the addition of Slam City Elite in 2020 and DC Premiere in 2019, the league could crown another AAU National Champion, and is poised for another strong year.  With the return of our 2019 and 2020 NYBL National Champions (All-Ohio Red and West Coast All-Stars), the NYBL will remain the most competitive event in the country.  Can't wait for the ball to tip in March of 2015!

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