Monday, November 3, 2014

Historic Day in Middle School Basketball ~ The Sneaker Companies are Coming


By: CONNOR CLARK
Editor & Chief 


Elite Club basketball is no walk in the park. Nor is it just a bunch of pickup games in sweltering gyms either. For parents and kids the game has become serious business.  With high school and in some cases college scholarships the stakes get higher and the bruises bigger.

The most viable and visible route once outside of the middle school ranks is to play on one of the major circuit.  There it is “war” – sneaker war!  Adidas vs. NIKE vs. Under Amour; how do tell the winners? Follow the footprints to find out.   

The shoe company’s idea is to get their shoes on as many established and rising stars as possible. All three shoe brands run and visit camps, peruse player rankings at all levels, bankroll age-group traveling teams for select middle school teams and provide free shoes to top high school teams. 
Think elite level basketball doesn’t have a following? You only need to know that corporate giant Walt Disney is a primary corporate sponsor for specific high level youth basketball events. If the players supply where is the demand coming from?  The demand is created by those watching the games – the college coaches.  The shoe circuits provide the ability to play in front of a large number of high level college institutions in a singular venue due to the consistent elite talent pools.  The only guarantee is opportunity, and any advantage that can be gained in assisting with the rising cost of college tuition is life changing for many families and children.

Some of the major programs with each brand/circuit:

NIKE
Isaiah Briscoe
·         Oakland Soldiers
·         Mac Irving Fire
·         NJ Playaz
·         CP3
·         Texas Titans
·         Boo Williams
·         CIA Bounce
·         All Ohio
·         Team United
·         Team Penny

Adidas

Carlton Bragg
·         Team Derick Rose
·         Ohio Basketball Club
·         Team Loaded
·         Atlanta Celtics
·         New York Rens
·         Texas Select
·         Oakland Rebels
·         Florida Elite
·         Compton Magic
·         Stackhouse Elite


 Under Amour 

Marquez Letcher-Ellis
·         Houston Defenders
·         Juice All-Stars
·         DC Premier
·         Team Thad
·         Baltimore Finest
·         Ray Allen Select
·         Iowa Barnstormers
·         Chicago Lockdown
·         Atlanta Express
Team Detroit



The names listed above are your usual suspects so to speak and are well known commodities in the youth basketball world to the highest level.  Conversations of this nature are typically reserved for 9th and 10th grade teams – until today. Mark this date on your calendar as a possible turning point in youth hoops.  



Many across the nation to this point have heard of the infamous Slam City “Terror Squad”; some have questioned the team’s construction but none have questioned their talents, the coaching, or the strength of the organization in bring this type of talent together.  But who would have ever guessed that a group of 7th graders (class of 2020) would be sought after for one of the highest competitive basketball circuits in America; the Adidas Gauntlet. Slam City and the "Terror Squad" an anonymous source states "...is a basketball stock you want to buy low because their value is increasing every time they step onto the court"

With nationally ranked players filling the roster at the 2019 level; the program has sustained initial player movement and boast a skillful set of players that have impressed many.  The 2021 group has landed the #1 player in the country and their local market in Zion Harmon and looks ready to acquire #2 Trey Patterson as well as other top ten commodities.  

This type of player acquisition in what was a clearly defined market on the east coast IS unheard of; but lead by a 2020 group where 10 out 10 players are found on every national ranking board, with size to compete 3 years up now, and with 60% of said roster appearing as top 5, top, 10, or top 25 players today announcement makes sense in many ways.  


Slam City Elite has become the first ever 7th grade team, along with their other middle school teams at the 6th and 8th grade level to be given a sneaker deal.  Announced (pictured above) today, Adidas’s Andrew Wiggins Team Loaded announced via their Twitter account and confirmed what has been rumored for several weeks to be true – Slam City Elite is part of the Adidas family - officially known as Slam City/Team Loaded .

For all their detractors Slam City has the last laugh on this one - two old, doesn’t matter in middle school, this group of players won’t translate to high school, wasted time reclassing.  This group and organization who some thought were the poster boys for something wrong in the game; may have just changed the game for every young kid in the country as the players wearing uniform for this organization like many listed above will have the OPPORTUNITY to showcase their skills and talents on the circuit in front of the top college coaches in the country and maybe even on ESPN as Adidas is contracted with them for various games and showcases. 

Could this be a new trend for middle school or is this team just that good? Only time will tell. At the end of the day as previously stated these kids have a better chance of obtaining that college scholarship and for that we should all be thankful.  

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