Monday, April 13, 2015

George Hill Plays the Game the Right Way at Basketball Spotlight AC Showcase

It’s not every day you have a chance to win a championship in one of the highest level tournaments in the country the Basketball Spotlight Atlantic City Showcase. If you do have that opportunity, how many times do have the opportunity to do it with the same guy you’ve shared a backcourt with for the better part of your competitive years. Yet there Hunter Jackson and Mike Saunders stood, side-by-side on the court following George Hill’s 43-40 loss to the national power known as the “Terror Squad” in the championship game. Even without gleaming medals draped around their necks this time, it was impossible to ignore the transformation they had undergone remaining top impact players in their class again in 2015 as they have been consistently for the past 4+ year. They weren’t just runners-up by any stretch they are stalwarts on the national stage as they continue to compete at the highest level against anyone in the county.

George Hill’s path to the championship was not easy. Although G3 pushed through opponent after opponent on its way to appearing in the tournament championship which included an impressive 20-point victory over the top team in the country, as well as wins over other top ranked national teams after a surprising loss in pool play by 1 to a Virginia outfit by the name of 023 Feet. 

Those that know, knew this was the Basketball Spotlight Atlantic City Showcase. As in, the best basketball the world has to offer tournament wise in America. Despite G3 status as a global powerhouse, they played hard every possession and were in every game even in, it’s not like the opposition was laying down anytime G3 losses two games in a tournament you can assume the comp was thick as everyone wants to knock off the top dog. But George Hill’s overwhelming supply of talent and depth at nearly every position proved far too much to overcome for most anyone in its path, as indicated by their average margin of victory.

 In fact, one could argue that facing the world’s best was actually the easy part as this is what G3 is used too. How fierce was the comp you ask? Put it this way: the loss to the Terror Squad was that teams 3rd game in a SINGLE day versus a top 10 nationally ranked team. Though the journey to that podium wasn’t in the cards this time; George Hill once again proved they must be in the national conversation as one of the nation’s best with talent as well as coaching.

Mike Saunders Jr.

The backcourt of Saunders and Jackson creates a situation along with the high level coaching that puts them in every game.  Mike Saunders Jr. is mature well beyond his years and must immediately qualify as one of the best knock down shooters in the land.  He has that special ability to make the player around him better while still impacting the game on the highest level.  He notched 20+ in multiple games on the weekend and the only way you may have known is to check the score book, he is a silent killer that punishes you when it hurts the most.  His scoring prowess and the expansion of it with physical growth may potentially lead him to a top national postion at the next level, not that he doesn’t maintain one now.  He is not a 5 minutes evaluation and it clear how he is being developed – think Darius Garland for understanding.

Hunter Jackson

Hunter Jackson, the ultimate hybrid and one of the best yet underrated players (if that possible) in the country.  The kid simply plays the game the right way and does it with poise at the highest level of competition.  He has the understanding of where he is most effective on the floor and he is diligent about getting there to make sure his shots and that of his teammates are of the highest percentage.  The court vision, feel, and passing ability is next level easy.  Jackson oozed potential at the wing position and finished well, yet he handled the ball and ran the offense as a lead guard.  His explosiveness is underrated on the offensive but on full display as a defender – best’s perimeter defender in the country?  He has our vote…Great 1st step was impressive as was the floater work in the paint and mid-range.  He rebounds in and out of his area and isn’t afraid to lead the break and set up his guys.

The players, the coaches, and program must be respected in a win or lose as they do it the right way – no pouting, maximum effort, and playing for each other.  The special aspect of watching the players self-coaching on the floor; the players actually talk to themselves speaking to areas of improvement was something out of the Phil Jackson Zen method.  Whatever the method, even in a loss G3 remains special and a champion – period.


  1. Good job so far, time for you to step up and play your age group. Thanks to AAU for making sure the standard of education / honesty are upheld (AAU age rules 2015). Good luck in the future Mr. Jackson.

  2. Stop Hating. He plays his age group and three grades up. Get serious. He is no older then 75 percent of the kids in this class. Plays up 16U which is 2 grades higher and probably 3 years older because alot of juniors to be are 17.