Wednesday, March 30, 2016

USA National Select Continues to Showcase the Nation’s Top Talents

Jaden Johnsons Game is So Sweet He Might Be Diabetic

Jaden Johnson has improved each year appearing as the P2Bball.com #1 player; Johnson may be the best player in the country you haven’t heard about. Two national championships under his belt along with two top 6 finishes tells you all you need to know about the Maryland PG. Every year Johnson has taken on new tasks and pressures. Appearing in ther Atlantic City Showcase with USA National Select Jaden again dominated the action shooting a high percentage, dishing out dimes, and leading a talented squad that ran smoother when he was on the floor with the rock in his hand.

A team-first player he maintains a rep as a clutch shooter who hits bigshots in big games. A low turnover guy at the most important position; his IQ is next level understanding the value of assist to turnovers on the court. He remains a serious scoring threat, getting a bucket or creating for others almost at will – an excellent free throw shooter; his “weakness” is at times he can almost be too unselfish.
 
Jaden has very deceptive physical talents, he is not the strongest, but he makes up for it by playing at his own pace and displaying incredible stamina. He's not physically imposing, but he uses his deceptive speed to get around opponents. Few guards at this level can stay in front or keep up with him – if he doesn’t beat you physically he is as crafty as they come, almost like he’s been here before.

The dynamic part of Johnson’s game is that he can take over games without taking a shot – yet he is as prolific a scorer as you will find regardless of position when focused on doing so. He rebounds, kicks ahead, talks on both ends, does the little things, displaying poise and a calming affect when on the court. A natural leader who is focused on developing for the next level, playing the game the right way and winning – what shouldn’t get lost in this is that Jaden Johnson remains one of the very best out there doing it. Period.
 
Resembles a MS Version of:  Jameer Nelson

Antonio Hamlin Goes "Ham" In Atlantic City

The class of 2022 is starting to take shape and the player progression is making the future trajectory of various players clear and clearer.  At the 6th grade level evaluator are looking for transferable skill sets along with IQ, impact, and both tangible and intangible attributes. 
Antonio Hamlin, Maryland native has begun to exert himself into the conversation in all of the aforementioned areas.  Hamiln playing this past weekend as part of the USA National Select squad put his game on display at the Atlantic City Showcase in Atlantic City, NJ;  annually one of the most competitive events in the country.
Hamlin is a high energy long and lean combination wing/SG with an excellent motor. He excels on the break and with a quick first-step and uses slashes and mid-range pull-ups in the half court set effectively. He attacks the paint with a vengeance, displays unique finishes, and can hit the open jumper to the arc when his feet are set off the catch. Antonio displayed a propensity to control both the defensive and offensive glass and is threat to take it coast to coast once he get it off the glass.  He proved to be a match up problem at any positions because he has the ability to play all 5 positions depending on the line-up at this level.
He is a future 2-Guard who ultimately will be a threat on all 3-levels.  National recognition is due this young prospect as the resume and body of work is without question.  Its simply a matter of the nation getting used to the name – as he isn’t going anywhere and the progression in his game since his appearance in the Middle School All-American Game as been nothing short of astonishing.  When you are talking about any top 5 player in the DMV (DC, MD, VA) area; one of the strongest basketball markets in the country, that player must be in the national conversation.  Enter Antonio Hamlin him and is game are here to stay.
Resembles a MS Version of: Dion Waiters

Its No Walk in the Park Facing Jarace Walker



Jarace Walker  (Pa.) is a lighting bolt with the ball in transition, and he has added the ability to spearhead the occurrence as not just the receiver but the distributor. Walker’s long strides allow him to cover a lot of ground quickly and his power in the open floor combined with steadily growing athleticism which is leading him to closely finishing plays around the rim in the 6th grade.
 
Watching Walker being groomed as a perimeter player with both parents over 6-foot tall is a refreshing sight.  He is gaining maturity while assaulting the paint and clearly showed the ability to deliver many high-level passes.  Even with being such a talent Jarace continued to make the extra pass, the right passes, and is truly unselfish.
One of the most natural shot-blockers we have ever seen at this age; Walker plays both ends – blocking an array of shots with both hands (something rarely seen in a player so young) as well he works both glasses and cleans them with great precision.
Selected to the USA National Select Team Walker displayed the characteristic above while a growing skill set that will make him a problem for a long time to come and his best days ahead of him.  Right now less is more when finishing the deal, but seeing the confidence in some of his finishes clearly shows he is working a ton in the gym.
He has a great length and frame and is a prototypical combo wing, who can be a big two and even step over in the future as a lead against some line-ups we feel.  He has the great balance you are looking for between strength and quickness and is dangerous in space going both ways on the 94-feet.  The jumper can be streaky he does shoot it beyond the arch, but we are believers in that too because the mechanics are solid.
Walker is what you want in a top national talent; high level now with transferable skills and ton of upside physically and skill-wise.  He has game changing talent and the Pennsylvania native put it on display at the AC Showcase and will doing so all around the country for a long time to come.
 
Resembles a MS Version of: Nicolas Batum
 
If you have game and need a platform to showcase your skills to the nation visit:
 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Posh Alexander & RJ Davis: They Run New York


Posh Alexander is arguably the most talented young guard in New York due to his lethal combination of physical tools and skill. He is one of the most gifted scorers in the 2020 and can convert buckets at all three levels. Alexander is dynamic in transition and he can finish with either hand, yet he will stop on a dime and knock in several jump on the fast-break as well has piling it in from within the half court.
 
His 1st step is ultra-quick and he needs only a small shooting window and minimal time to release a shot anywhere inside of the half court – we have also been impressed with his space creation and step back jump shot.  He competes at both ends, has active hands, and plays the passing lanes – Posh is far from a one dimensional player. 
 
The part of his game as a scorer where Posh really separates himself is his excellent scoring and playmaking off the deck. He is a very well rounded guard that can flat out get buckets, our conversations with any player, program, or fan that knows New York City Basketball there has been no debate when asked “who is the best guard in 2020 in NY” – the consensus is, has been, and remains Posh Alexander.




RJ Davis out of NYC is a pure shooting guard, who has played point guard on occasion with the New York Gauchos.  Davis is a big-time scorer who has consistently put up numbers against the very best teams and players in the country – even with the defenses geared to stop him. 

Davis can hit the 3, drive to the hoop, and even though he is slight in frame, he has begun to grow and fill-out making his upcoming high school career one to monitor closely; he is the definition of the new millennium point guard. 

RJ is silky smooth, and his shot is about as pure as they come.  He also is a deadly FT shooter.  While Davis hasn’t put up the assist number he has in the past due to the reliance on him to score the ball, he still is a good ball handler and passer.   

With the heart of a Lion Davis will go inside and battle for rebounds and get his fair share. He doesn’t have an ego, and he is focused on winning and the process of getting better.  He is a player who will be able to contribute immediately at the high school level and/or with any team he plays one.  Davis who has had a phenomenal middle school career is one of those players who will excel at an even more impressive level in high school as his true skills come to the forefront.  Elite scoring ability, high IQ, and championship experience a recipe for future success for sure.
 
 

Is Jaden "Lil Penny" Bradley the Nations New Head of Class in 2022?

The #1 Spot In 2022 Won't Be Lost - But Jaden Bradley May Take It

Bradley who hasn’t even entered 7th grade is looking like a polished high major prospect all ready, a statement we do not make lightly. His frame has continued to expand since we last saw him at the Middle School All-American game and so has his position.  Previously he operated as a wing forward but in a short time has transitioned to the lead guard positon; a big point guard like another North Carolina player many may remember – Kendall Marshall.  Already considered nationally as one of the best on class the role of lead guard has only made him that much more dangerous as a playmaker – at the Atlantic City Showcase Bradley played both on and off the ball, was extremely fluid attacking slashing to the basket, showed range beyond the arch and was impressive in the middle game where he displayed a fine tuned use of floater finishes.

Bradley is being developed with a very similar skill-set to Anfenee Hardaway or Walt Williams; he has phenomenal size for the lead guard position and exception ball-handling prowess, vision, and passing ability.  Not only is he an exceptional shooter, but also a clutch one – he has that second sense of when to take over a game and the requisite skill set in which to do it.  The crazy part of Jaden Bradley’s game is that he could be considered the best player at multiple positions.  Ultimately Bradley will need to put on weight on what is a very slight frame, but he has more than ample time to do so – remember we are describing a 6th grader not next year’s lottery pick. 

A triple double threat IN MIDDLE SCHOOL each time he takes the floor; he is a sensational rebounder as well – he is more than legit and high school ready now, and is part of a growing North Carolina group that is transcending youth basketball right now.  We are not just talking about best in class now, we are talking now and in the future – his skill-set makes sense up multiple levels and Bradley is the prototypical player build, mental make-up, developmentally both physical and skill wise that are sought out by top national high school.  Mark this name down, Jaden Bradley you will be hearing it a lot moving forward, or it may be by the nickname he earned up north at Basketball Spotlights Showdown in America’s Playground “Lil Penny”.  No matter what you call him just make sure you place the #1 in front of it because he is currently the most complete OVERALL player that we have seen to date in the class of 2022.  Best scorer, no, best rebounder, no, best shooter, no – best combination of the aforementioned and more? Abso-freaking-lutly.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Who Are the Top 24-Players In 2020? Under Armour's Nationwide Search for the Answer Begins April 30th


The rosters for this summer’s Elite 24 2020 (eight grade) all-star game will be determined by evaluating the top players nationwide, with Under Armour inviting 24 of the top-100 prospects from the class of 2020 the competition is sure to stiff.

The game was first held in 2006 at Rucker Park in Harlem, but after spending a couple of years at California's Venice Beach, the event is now hosted in Brooklyn annually and has become one of if not the most exciting and prestigious event of the annually each summer.



Three No. 1 NBA draft picks have participated over the years as well as five NBA All-Stars and 55 first-round picks. ESPNU will televise the Elite 24 as it does each year.



This isn’t an open event which is one thing player must get used to as they prepare to walk on to High School Campuses; this isn’t a place where you prove yourself – it’s a place where you must be proven and a environment where iron sharpens iron.

Under Armour’s Invite Only “UA Next Combine Series” for Basketball’s Next Generation
 
 
This April, Under Armour Basketball will introduce the “UA Next Combine Series” for select middle school basketball players in the class of 2022/8th grade with plans to add 7th grade in 2017 . The Combine Series is an invite only program that will offer eighth graders high-level teaching, instruction and competition.  The program will run for a full day in each of the following six cities nationwide, including: Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston and Walnut Creek, California.

The “UA Next Combine Series” is for current eighth grade players (Class of 2020) and 40 total players will be selected at each location. Players will compete for invitations to the prestigious “UA Next Experience” at the Under Armour Elite 24 this August in New York City.  Under Armour’s Elite 24 event is the nation’s premier annual high school basketball showcase that offers the world’s top prospects an opportunity to experience the energy and spirit of authentic playground basketball, while competing on the biggest stage of the summer.
 
 

“UA Next Combine Series” is the latest program from Under Armour’s Grassroots Basketball platform. It joins ongoing nationwide events, including the UA Association League, NBPA Top 100 Camp, SC30 Select Camp, UA All American Camp and the UA Elite 24. It is the purpose of these events to provide youth basketball players with the opportunity to hone their skills and maximize exposure in high-level teaching and competitive environments.  The platform aligns with Under Armour’s mission to “Make All Athletes Better.”

For more information please visit the UA Next tab on www.theuaassociation.com or email  uanextcombineseries@underarmour.com

Who: Select Basketball Players in the Region

(40) 8th Graders Class of 2020

Format: Skills Development, Special Situation Games, and 5-on-5 Competition (3 games guaranteed) 

8:00 AM - 9:30 AMRegistration
9:30 AM - 10:00 AMOpening / Team Assignments
10:00 AM - 10:30 AMStretch
10:30 AM - 12:00 PMDrills (4 rotations - 20 min each)
12:00 PM - 1:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM - 2:00 PMSpecial Situations
2:00 - 3:00 PMGames
3:00 PM - 4:00 PMGames
4:00 PM - 5:00 PMGames
5:00 PM - 6:00 PMClosing / Awards

Cost: $150.00 (INVITED players please register online at least two weeks prior the event to guarantee your spot)

Provided:
  • Under Armour shoes, socks, full uniform, and T-shirt
  • Lunch
  • Online player profile/evaluation with picture (www.theuaassociation.com)
Awards: 1 MVP and 5 All Combine Team Trophies

Media: The media attention generated by these events will be unmatched, as many of the top scouting services from around the country will be in attendance.

Hotel: Determined by location

If you believe you deserve an invite to one of the regional combines please email your contact information to uanextcombineseries@underarmour.com & uanextcombineseries@gmail.com 
 
 

WASHINGTON DC - UA Next Combine Series East – Washington, D.C. – Saturday April 30, 2016
COLUMBUS, OH - UA Next Combine Series Midwest – Columbus, OH – Saturday May 14, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CA - UA Next Combine Series West – Los Angeles, CA – Saturday May 28, 2016
ATLANTA, GA - UA Next Combine Series South – Atlanta, GA – Saturday June 11, 2016
HOUSTON, TX - UA Next Combine Series Southwest – Houston, TX – Saturday June 25, 2016
BAY AREA, CA - UA Next Combine SC30 – Bay Area, CA – Friday July 1, 2016
 

UP FIRST

When: UA Next Combine Series (East) – Washington, D.C. – Saturday April 30, 2016

Where: St. John’s College High School 2607 Military Rd. NW Chevy Chase, DC 20015

Like Father Like Son Jabri Abdur-Rahim Taking Over the Family Business


Continuing with the family affair theme; one of the faster risers in the class of 2020 is 6’7 combo forward Jabri Abdur-Rahim who came onto the scene this past summer at the CP3 Camp.  Jabri is the son of former Cal University and NBA Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim's and again in this scenario we are seeing the benefits of developmental systems.

Jabri already boast great size and excels in transition with his ability to get to the rim and finish – we are seeing him really starting to show the ability to do it through contact as his frame begins to get stronger. Abdur-Rahim assaults the paint and attacks the rim, combine that with a nice mid-range rhythm dribble pull-up he is tough to stop.  He has a tremendous handle for a player his size and age and is quickly developing a consistent three point shot, especially when he has his feet set.
We love him in the open court as a finisher and as a passer – he is a willing passer, see the floor, and is very unselfish.  Even with a diverse skill set, Jabri will not hesitate to post and go over or through smaller defenders. Defensively we see the fast twitch to play in a stance on the ball and he is alert away from the ball. Super, silky, and smooth are ways to describe the future high majors game and he plays it with a solid motor with attention to detail.
Look back 20 to 25 years and this analysis will look very similar to his fathers; with continued work his story can end the same keep an eye on this kid his future is sunglasses bright.
 

Griggs 2.0 Completes the Texas Two Step

Bryce & "DJ" Griggs make it a family affair

Seth and Stephen Curry, Jon, Brent, and Drew Barry, Jeff and Marquis Teague, Brook and Robin Lopez – these are just of few examples in the world of basketball where brothers and families are able to “bottle” the tools, resources, and proverbial recipe for developmental success on the court.
A young heavy hitter who has been making considerable noise the past few years and is quickly becoming one of the top prospects in the class of 2022 and arguable the face of the class is Bryce Griggs out of Lake Jackson, Texas. 
Watching him play you see a keen maturity that is well beyond his years especially when it comes to pace and the ability to efficiently pick his spots – along the way he has had some prolific scoring outburst and stunning performances that have left fans, players, and opponents in awe.  Yet for many this is déjà vu …its almost like you have seen this before and for some maybe they have.
Not so long ago Demetrius "D.J." Griggs older brother of Bryce was a highly ranked middle school Phenom and continued to impress at the high school level achieving and maintaining his status as one of the top players in America in route to obtaining a college scholarship.  Watching the video below of D.J’s exploits from just a few years ago the similarities are almost eerie – it’s as if you are watching young Bryce and adding a bulk and about 6-inches.      
 
DJ Griggs wasn’t just another player, he finished ranked as one of the top 125 players according to Rivals.com; averaged 23ppg, along with 6 assist, and 4 rebounds his senior season in high school where he was named District MVP.  That concluded a career where he finished 43rd on the entire state of Texas All-time scorer list with 2,590 points.  ESPN named him Top Player to Watch in Texas.  Needless to say the path has been laid; and for Bryce the shoe seems to fit so he is wearing it; and wearing it well.  Both of them….they may of got it from their Daddy as he played football at eastern New Mexico State.
 

So much of transitional success is not coincidence; it’s the transferring of information from one generation to the next, the use of known training and systems that work.  In a world where less than 2% of all players make it to the professional side; to have success in the same family over multiple generations proves that there is a method to developing players on the highest level.  Do not try and reinvent the wheel; nothing replaces simple hard work and the having access to family secretes certainly doesn’t hurt either!