Tuesday, January 6, 2015

USA National Select: Walking On Water - Start 2015 off In Dominating Fashion

USBA Winter Championship 2019 Winners

USA National Select has somewhat quietly amassed a dominant resume over the past 3 years. With multiple national titles and end tournament and showcase championships.  The nation’s top Showcase program which many have tried to duplicate without success continues to amass undisputed results on the court.  The programs current .944 win percentage (171 wins – 10 losses) is legendary in comparison to any program at any level.

With the New Year upon us USA National Select has seamlessly transitioned from the stellar 2014 season to the 2015.  Opening the year in Gatlinburg, Tennessee National Select arrived at the Rocky Mountain Sports Complex looking to make a statement to start the year.  Their target?  The USBA Winter Championship.

The squad made up of players from seven different states opened the tournament with a 71-42 victory against a in state group who boasted a 38-game win streak coming into the game.  They followed the game one victory with another dominating performance taking out one of the Georgia top programs 64-22.  Day two was more of the same as the nation’s top players strung together two more impressive performances winning 63-26 and taking the championship by a 68-37 margin.
There have multiple tournaments in which the selected player groupings have dominated the competition – the 34.75/per game margin of victory actual fell into the Top 5 of National Select history.  The traditional teamwork and comradery highlighted the event for national select with all players contributing and making an impact in each and every game. 

What should be noted that makes National Select showing even more impressive is that the team make-up, one 6th grader, four 7th graders and three 8th graders defeated teams made up exclusively of 8th and 9th graders.   

So who were these special players – allow us introduce them to you:

Caleb Hodgson 6’8 (Michigan - 2019) – 12.25ppg, 7.5 rbpg, 3bpg:  Any conversation regarding the 2019 class that doesn’t include Hodgson must be questioned.  The impressive size and length that is combined with elite level basketball IQ  is only the begging of what make Hodgson so special.  A big who can face up and play away from the basket effectively as a scorer or a passer – is even more effective working off the block.  Caleb has already learned the value of receiving, kicking-out, and reposting and with the vision and patients of a guard he is able to achieve the position he wants in order to finish with great efficiency around the basket.  Shoots a high percentage, gets to the line where he is a solid shooter, and defend the position both on the ball as well as off.  Hodgson possess a quiet demeanor which will benefit opponent for only a short time longer.  Core strength and Hodgson demanding the ball and touches will take this player to the upper echelon of his class.  Very good across the board skill-set with many tangible on the cusp of being great – his go to and double moves also impressed during game play.

Isaiah Kennedy 5’9 (Ohio - 2020) – 6.25ppg, 3.0rbpg, 4.5 apg, 3spg:  The tradition of top point guards coming out of the great state of Ohio continues with the versatile Kennedy.  A physical presence and specimen the kid is built ford tough.  His movements are fluid and he displays a second nature push and pull game that clearly has been through rigorous repetition in the gym.  The value and the gift that Kennedy brings to the floor is that on even given night he can morph into a difference maker.  During the course of the weekend Isaiah displayed a consistency and a versatility that not many possess.   Kennedy showed 3-point range and a consistent stroke, solid decision making both in the half court and in transition highlighted by an ability to find the open man in tight places.  Also impactful on the defensive side of the ball as a wing defender as well as on the ball – the consummate PG he consistently allowed his defense to dictate his offense.   With the ball he score it well from the mid-range, finished well at the glass, and also impressed with an array of floaters from the baseline and other areas of the court.  If you need him to score Kennedy can, if you need him to run your team Kennedy can, if you need him to be a stopper Kennedy can, need help on the glass Kennedy can – the question becomes can anyone do all that Kennedy does; well no they can’t.

Jeremy Roach 5’9 (Virginia - 2020) – 13.5ppg, 4.5 rbpg, 3apg, 4spg:  Absent for a while Roach came back with a vengeance showing that he may have been gone but cannot be forgotten – the ultra-talented combo guard again took the stage displaying one of the most proficient scoring packages in the country at the 2020 class.  Roach who lead the team in scoring for the event did it all over the court literally – tallying points every way imaginable!  We loved Roaches ability to stretch the defense with the trey ball from the parking lot as well as a finish off different feet with different hand combinations; a next level skill many don’t even practice.  The consistency between 5 and 15 feet proves that the lost art is still alive at an elite level – defensively Roach looked stronger than before and is still laser quick.  A very heady player who things the game as well as he plays it; don’t truly believe the player himself knows how good he is or can be at this point; unfortunately for his opponent  they found out early and often as Roach did damage from tip to buzzer.   There may be some that can play with Roach defensively; but stop him – we don’t think so.

Tommy Anderson 5’9 (Las Vegas - 2020) – 8.75ppg, 7.0 rbpg, 4spg:  The heat seeking missile from the west coast set his eye on the paint and allowed nothing to deter him from his mission.  Anderson relentlessly attacks the paint looking to finish up, around, and through contact.  An old-school tough combo forward uses skill and will to dominate for long stretches.   Able to get the ball off both glasses and finish and push the rock in transition – probes the teeth of the defense and throws darts on the kick outs.  Loves the floater but is built to do damage around the tin.  A space eater and space taker he rebounds like a much bigger player, at this juncture Anderson is a 4-position player and multi-category contributor.   One of the best players we have seen at getting to the line on a per minute basis; a threat to garner a double- double each time out, Anderson is production personified, one of the west coast best kept secrets out west is now officially a national name.

Garrett Ott-Large 6’1 (Indiana - 2020) – 8.75ppg, 4.5 rbpg, 2 3-pointers pg:  Garrett’s  niche is his ability to shoot the ball from long range and stretch opposing defenses from the forward position, but he's more versatile than he appears at first glance with deceptive bounce and surprising effectiveness on the glass. His strength and conditioning has come a long way since we have last seen him and his ability to finish in the paint through contact has improved vastly.  Ott-Large has long arms and big hands and has an uncanny way of affecting the game in multiple ways. We were very impressed with his ability to find ways to score at all three levels - played with great energy and with purpose in mind another high IQ player.  The quick release, text book shooting stroke is next level ready – high release point, high arching, and required little time and space.  Ott-Large is unquestionably a player who will always have a spot on a team as his consistency with his stoke is something every club coverts and needs.  One of the best we have seen at reading and relocating to find his shot.

Jordan Hairston 5’9 (Virginia - 2019) – 12.5ppg, 5.5 aspg, 4rpg:  The combo guard out of Virginia continues to impress with his growth and development.  The assist-to-turnover relationship for Hairston is beginning to become restaurant quality; proving a summer of hard work in the gym and circuit is paying big dividends.  The less is more premise is apparent with Hairston and his substance over style approach gave big returns during the weekend.  Yet Jordan calling card was still his bucket getting ability; one of the better scoring guards in an extremely deep class especially when it comes to working off the catch and bounce.  Active without the ball as he knows where he is headed on the floor whether it is to run away from his defender or to utilize screen and roll situations.  Now on the smaller side he plays the game as if he is 6’10 with a heart as big as the ocean.  The kid is his biggest critic and takes the game seriously from tip to buzzer – typically when you see a player continuously you become critical; with Hairston you are seeing positive changes in development – this is usually a result of quality training and/or coaching – one can only assume this is what Jordan is being exposed to.  The changing of speeds, pace, and control is making Hairston a fast riser in one of the toughest classes top to bottom on the county.

Zion Harmon 5’5 (Washington DC- 2021) - 13.5ppg, 7.0 aspg, 4spg, 10 3-pointers:  The Baby Faced Assassins and Pound for Pound Champ is used to the National Select stage – no moment is too big and no class is too tough for the “Lion” out of the District of Columbia.  So much has been said about Harmon but the at the end of the day numbers don’t lie and his statistical contribution shows a well-rounded, team oriented presentation – while turning many heads as a 6th grader putting in work against players two to three years his elder.  Harmon whose solid frame is built for contact – at the 2021 level he is an Adonis. Many have heard but seeing again live the  impressive ball skills it’s clear that Harmon projects well to the point guard position even with the scoring gift he has been blessed with. He handles the ball well in the open court and can locate open teammates due to his vision; pressing him is futile and as proficient as he is scoring the ball, with the talent the national select group puts around him he become even more lethal as a passer both in the half-court and off penetration.

Caleb Bowers 5’8 (Maryland - 2020) - 9.75ppg, 2.0 aspg, 3spg:  Bowers is another tough, competitive combo guard that is more athletic and stronger than he appears – the extra year he will receive after announcing his reclass to 2020 will allow him to develop at a comfortable pace to the PG spot as well as allow his core to strengthen. He has no fear and finishes well on the break for his size, honing the dual hand finish will only enhance the great job attacking through contact he does – he is a great FT shooter and his ability to draws fouls is impressive and is another solid aspect to a blossoming game. Bower is a knock down shooter off the catch or dribble and does it from distance with great consistency.  A natural scorer whose coaches will find challenging in taking off the wing as he does it well.  Being able to do it from the lead will have scouts mouths watering.  Must guard the position as well and the effort was next level the improvement since last viewing him apparent. A UTR (Under The Radar) player in 2019, at 2020 he potential star written on him; continue to watch Bowers develop the book has a phenomenal beginning but we expect the middle and end to be even better! 

 January 31st & February 1st - 2015 
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