Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dream Team I - All They Do Is matter what!

Throughout sports history there have been teams who are a cut above the rest of the competition.
Whether it be talent, coaching or just plain luck, there have been a few teams that have set themselves apart. These groups of individuals were more than just teams, they developed into something bigger. They became dynasties. While some of these dynasties only lasted a few years, there were others that stayed around for much longer. Whatever the length, these teams had one thing in common: they were dominant. 

What the country and world has in its mist right now is one of those times – a moment in time that will be discussed as legend in future years.  A moment in time that others will be compared to as a measuring stick – we have a moment in time where the best set of basketball players at the 5th grade level , may be met in terms of talent but never surpassed.  You have the greatest 5th grade group of ALL TIME; USA National 2021 AKA “The Dream Team I”.

The Dream Team has just returned from another championship run; this time in Charlotte, NC where they systematically destroyed every team placed in their path.  The Dream Team went into this event with an average margin of victory of 46.5 point per game and left averaging 43.12 – still dominant and still amazing.

The first game USA National Select took it to Carolina Preps 60-23; they blitzed the group out the gate with full court pressure that made it difficult for the crowd to even breathe – taking a 39-17 lead into the break and coasting; if there is a such thing with this group, to the victory.  Jaden Springer (NC) paced the team with a game high 19 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks along with his running mate Zion Harmon (DC) who scored 10 points, dished out 10 assist, and had 4 steals. Everyone on the team contributed in the victory including Antonio Sellers (NY) class of 2022 playing up with the age group; dropping in a solid 8-point (2 3-pointers) along with 4 boards.  Jalen Smith (FL) added two 3-pointers for six points in the victory.  Noah Rittinger (WV) 1 3-pointer dropped 5 points and 4-assist in the victory.

The next game a 62-34 win over the Charlotte Dragons was more of the same – Springer rested a sore knee in this game; so Harmon stepped up contributing 22-points ( 3 3-pointers) and 7 –assist. Jake Koverman (MD) had a stellar performance in this contest contributing 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks; Koverman continues to improve each time out – taking advantage of every opportunity he is given.  Khalil Brantley (GA) played a great floor game and finished with 8-points, 4- assist, and 6 steals while Trey English (MD) had a triple single 4-points, 4-assist, 4-steals.

Coming out of pool play on Sunday morning the goal was “to make a statement in the first game” said Coach Francis of USA National Select. Well that may have been the understatement of the weekend as they went out and defeated the Carolina Phenoms 70-36.  Demieko Ross (MD) laid out 4 assist to his teammates in this game, while Ramerick Daniels (VA) added 4-points and 6-rebounds.  Barry Evans (MD) who stepped into the starting role in place of Seth Wilson (OH) who missed event to be with his father; performed well in this game and the others.  The leaders for this game where Jaden Springer (20-points 10-rebounds) and Zion Harmon (15-points, 8-assist, 5 rebounds).
In the Championship game one of the state’s top teams CBC Elite; USA National Select led most of the way but the opponent kept fighting giving them their best game of the weekend – as it should be in the last game; which end in another trophy for the Dream Team 73-59.  National Select had 3 players in double figures Harmon (24-points 10-assist), Springer (23-points 12-rebounds), and Brantley (10-points 4-assist, 6 steals) Trey English and Barry Evans were next with 7-point apiece with scoring contributions from each of the team members making them impossible to stop.

Zion Harmon: Harmon knocked down jumpers all over the floor with range past the arc all weekend long. He also has a nice floater package when he gets deep in the lane where he is also a threat to deliver the ball to an open teammate when he draws multiple defenders which happens often.   With talent around him he is just as likely to have double figure assist as points, the scary part is that he able to often do both.  Flat out unstoppable at this age group there is no answer for him. A pure scorer with a powerful body in the backcourt; he attacks from anywhere on the floor without notice, absorbs contact without any problem, and gets himself to the free-throw line in high volume. He's absolutely lethal in the open court and also an excellent finisher who combines power, athleticism, balance, and body control.  The pound for pound champ for all age groups.

Jaden Springer:  Continues to be a man among boys; his frame is ideal for the dominating the game inside and out; he uses his frame, ball skills, length and tenacity to dominate games. He won’t be stopped in the open court where he utilizes his strength to power to dominated the painted area.  His defense is quickly becoming stuff of legends from blocks being pinned on the back board to them being sent in the front row – he is ESPN Top 10 Highlights and loves that side of the ball just as much as the offense.  He has no regard for his body and leaves everything on the floor every play – a star player that is the first one on the floor for a loose ball? That’s how special Jaden Springer he leads by example and that’s why he is tops in the country and a member of the team.

Jake Koverman: One of the first descriptions that come’s to mind when describing Koverman is   Long and lean Jake has wing skills and he is very productive and competes on both ends of the floor. He has an excellent mid-range arsenal. He knocks down mid-range jumpers off the catch and is improving off the dribble he is a very underrated driver/slasher and will hurt you there too. 
"basketball player". The rangy combo forward has terrific ball skills and an IQ to make the right basketball play. He can knock down the jump shot; drop off a nifty assist, or convert buckets while filling the lane or stepping to the open spot on the floor.

Khalil Brantley:  Brantley is a creative guard who is capable of making plays for himself and others. He's dynamic with the ball in his hands and able to change gears with tremendous quickness, both stepping on the gas with his first step as well as stopping on a dime to pull-up – he has three point range, is unselfish, and is improving quickly on his pace game and being effective at all speeds.  He is your new age PG who can score but loves to operate with flair; setting up teammates puts a smile on his face every time.  Very intense, he is an emotional leader who will be heard from.  The kid works hard, he wants it, and he exerts the necessary effort in the gym and out to get it.  He is a game changer.

Noah Rittinger:  An athletic point guard that competes on both ends of the floor. Rittinger has a   Off the ball Noah is figuring out to be equally as effective and is adding new aspects to his game each time we see him.  He is now catching and shooting and exhibiting a two dribble pull-up that is very impressive.  With such a wonderful shooting touch, one on one skills, great court vision no coach is going to be able to resist playing him as a primary scorer in addition to his lead guard role.
terrific motor and plays the game with great urgency and pace. He pushes the ball on the break and has good breakaway speed with the ball in his hands – this is where he excels.

Jalen Smith:  Smith is a long and athletic guard with excellent size/length. He finishes well in the lane and on the break with a very nice floater package.  An excellent handler and passer as well - he has very good court vision and makes teammates better with his penetration and ability to drive, draw and kick. He must be honored as his 3-ball is lethal and he shoots it with range.  His defense is underrated; he has the tools to be a stopper on that side of the ball.  A player that you can leave on the floor at all times as he contributes from all 3-levels on offense and guards those levels equally as well on the other side of the ball.

Trey English: English is a true point guard that knows control a  game from the lead position, he is  scoring standpoint. He has a great sense of what needs to be done at important times of the game on both sides of the ball it’s not just IQ it’s a natural feel.  He will wait for the right opportunity to attack and in doing so increase his and his team effectiveness and efficiency.  He is great reading the options on the break and in the half court and is very impressive using the on ball screen where he can score or pass.  An excellent on ball and help side defender; he is quickness vs power – but when he gets that too he will become a certified maven and a very unpleasant player to play against.  He has all the skills and trust me his best days are in front of him; which is saying a lot as he is already a prime time player nationally. 

Barry English: He's long and athletic with a ton of undiscovered upside left in his frame. He's got slashing tools that translate to the wing and show well defensively and on the break.  He is smart and crafty as well. English can knock down shots with range to the arc and he has a good enough handle to get into the lane and enough length to shoot over smaller defenders.  Barry can spot up on break, come off screens and will drill a ball reversal jumper with a solid percentage. We are also seeing Barry hit mid- range pull up jumpers off the catch which with the skill set in other areas he will continue to be tough to defend. 

Demieko Ross:  Ross is a pure point guard who displays quickness and speed in the open floor. Ross   He will push the ball make or miss at high speeds. He keeps constant pressure on the defense on the break and in the half court set where he can beats his man and gets in the lane; a very good on the ball defender and all-around players.
thrives in a fast tempo game but it’s his leadership that sets him apart. He understands his role is to set up the offense an settle down his team when the pace of get out of hand; he knows when a score and penetration is needed and required and he has the skills to get the job done when he has to.

Ramerick Daniel:  Naturally powerful with a strong frame and the potential to add plenty more muscle mass down the road, he has a nice soft touch out to 12-feet.  He impresses with signs of being able to develop into a skilled face-up type big man as well as a space taker and solid rebounder.  A natrual wide body post that is strong, physical and more athletic than he appears. He has a good back to the basket scoring package that includes a nice baseline spin move. He has good hands and is an excellent area rebounder on both ends.  Once he masters finishing through contact he will be hard to get off the floor. 

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