Wednesday, June 4, 2014

USA National Select "Dream Team II" - The Return of the Heavy Hitters

You'll often notice that the phase of “great team” is not often used in youth basketball at this age – UNTIL NOW.  The 2022 group of players on USA National Select AKA “Dream Team II” have an identity already and they are known throughout the country as a team and as individuals, the team has the best personality you could ever want – they are fun and serious, yet have a killer instinct and an extremely mature will to not only win, but to dominate. Not only do they dominate, they do it with swagger, confidence, flare and, yes, rebelliousness that has never before been seen.

 “Dream Team II” who has never lost a game traveled to Charlotte, NC to participate in the SE CUP/Rivals Zone Tournament where met by opponents that were very anxious to compete against them.  Their dreams of playing with quickly turned to nightmares as the National Select used changing line-up, diverse defensive schemes, and a potent offence to dismantle each team that stepped onto the court with them on their way to the title.

The first game pitted USA National Select against National Championship Contenders and top 10 national finisher from 2013, the Carolina Hornets - as the players became acclimated to each other again after a few weeks of not seeing each other and introducing new players to the group – the Hornets kept the game close in the first half and were only down 6 30-24 at the break. Midway through the 3rd quarter Select took over and opened the lead to 20; finishing with a 59-44 win.  Antonio Sellers (NY – Gauchos) led the way with 28-points and 18 rebounds. Knasir “Dug” McDaniel (Washington, DC – Team Glory) led the team with 10 assist in the match-up as well as contributing 11-points.  Josiah Harris (OH – All Ohio Red) showed his prowess on the defensive end with multiple blocked shots.

Moving to the second game of pool play Select inserted an entirely new starting line-up of 5 guards to showcase their versatility verses the Carolina Phenoms; who approached the game as if it were a championship.  They came out very intense and had the crossed behind them, the first half was a back and forth battle as Select began to take control at the end of the first half. In the second session they dominated again opening the lead up to 20+ points, and put on mini-show for the on lookers at the end of the game as each player had a chance to showcase their one on one skill in designed isolations situations. Every single player scored in this game, Sellers finished with 24points and 15 rebounds led the way, McDaniel had 9-points and 12-assist, while Kameron Rodriguez (NY- Riverside Hawks) chipped in 8-points and 8 steals in an amazing defensive effort.  One of the nation’s top shooter Evan Young (Utah) showed displayed his skill knocking it down from deep behind the stripe and played well on both ends of the court.  Ferrell Crowell (Washington DC) also contributed with 6-points and 4 steals.  Sean Jones (OH-All Ohio Red) wowed the crowd with his patented spin moves as he scored from multiple levels, he handled the ball expertly scoring himself (7-points) hooked up his teammates dishing out 6 –assist – he also added 5 steals to complete a well-balanced performance.  The final score for this contest was 67-50.

Championship Sunday opened with a game against the CBC Spiders; the coach of the Spiders advised he was looking forward to the contest as they had been dominating their specific circuit.  They too came out intense; but ran into the most complete performance by Select to that point. Chris Winborne (MD – Bmore Finest) played well on both ends and finished with 9-points 5 rebounds and 4 steals.  Again the entire National Select 2022 roster contributed making them impossible to stop.  Sarmartine “Fatman” Bogues (MD. – Bmore Finest); whose grandfather Muggsy Bougues came to see him play in person was the only 3rd grader on team and he played well against all competition; his 6-point 3-assist effort kept the defense off balance all game long.  Evan Young had an amazing game knocking down 5 three pointers finishing with 15-points; many of those scores came off the passes from “Dug” McDaniel who set a National Select record with 20- assist in a single game.  Antonio Sellers had another solid performance leading the team in scoring and rebounds with 26-points and 18-rebounds his front court mate Josiah Harris dropped in 8-point 8-rebounds and continued his domination with 5-blocks. With such a well-balanced performance the Spiders had a difficult time knowing who to stop and/or doing it, falling 69-30 in the semi-final match-up.

The championship was a rematch with the Hornets who fought their way back from bracket play. Big-time players step up in big-time games; Tre’ Green (MD – Columbia Ravens) played the passing lanes, hit floaters and knocked down two three on his way to 10-points in the championship game.  Sean Jones displayed a great floor game, hitting from behind the arch, running the team dishing out 7-assist and getting 6-steal along with his 8-points.  The Hornet who were seeing Select for the 2nd time kept the game close until midway through the 3rd quarter, staying within striking distance of 8 to o10 points.  A quick run open the lead up to 16 and Select rode the momentum out the championship 62-42.  Sellers again dropped in a team high 22 points and added 11 rebounds.

Roster Members: Antonio Sellers, Tre’ Green, Sean Jones, Josiah Harris, Evan Young, Sarmartine “Fatman” Bogues, Chris Winborne, Knasir “Dug” McDaniel, Kameron Rodriguez, Ferrell Crowell

All-Time Age Group Record: 15-0

All-Time tournament Result:  3 Championships

This team is one of the best of all-time because ... It continues on with its undefeated record.. They have been an consistently dominant teams at every event they have played, beating opponents by an average margin of victory of 25.9 ppg.

Antonio Sellers: He is a throwback player and his style reminds many people of Kevin Love of the NBA, he can handle, rebound, pass, and yes hit the three. Antonio plays with an intensity not seen in a long time from someone at this age – he is a dominant scorer who knows how to use his body to create space and is patient enough to wait for his opportunity thereafter.  On top of having very soft hands on the catch he also passes well and is a unselfish teammate. Sellers is a tremendously focused young man who flat out loves to play the game.

Tre’ Green:  Tre’ is a truly gifted athlete that uses his athleticism to wreak havoc on the court. He brilliantly relies on this athleticism to instinctively make plays. He takes the ball to the basket with purpose. He has the leaping ability, speed and quickness that allow him to challenge opponents with the ball and to cause problems on defense.  A streak shooter, who when hot can score with the best of them, especially behind the stripe.

Sean Jones:  Jones has all of the tools that coaches love to see in point guards. He has great strength and size for a point guard. Despite being powerfully-built, he has the quickness to penetrate past defenders and get to the rim. He also shoots the ball well, extending out to the three-point line.  Quickness personified with the ball in his hands he can give you anything you want as he is a complete players.  You need scoring he can operate as a scoring guard, as a stopper he can shut down the other team’s best guard, as a lead he will run your show and get his teammates involved.  Bottom-line Jones’ game even at the level translates to any level already – he will continue to excel and be considered a top prospect in the country – flat out and period.

Josiah Harris:  Harris is the prototype power forward. He is a strong, amazingly athletic for his size, a reall physical specimen with a workmanlike attitude. He reminds you of a young Elden Campbell. Coaches will covet Josiah because he is old school. He is a tremendously hard worker, competes hard all the time and does the little things that big men used to do.  The way that Harris moves can only truly be appreciated in person, a big this size isn’t supposed to do what Harris does; for a long time to come he will be mentioned as one of the best in the country without question.

Evan Young:  A team and fan favorite, Evan is a versatile combo guard who can play both guard   This kid is wired to compete he refuses to fail; we love his ability to meet challenges face on and is a fast improving defender.  He is also gaining confidence and improvement in breaking down his man in space, once this is mastered he will be very difficult to stop.
positions. He has a tremendous mix of playmaking and scoring to his game. Young is a crafty, heady player with a tremendously high basketball IQ. He is a consistent performer who will lead any team that he is on as a three point shooter and FG percentage.

Sarmartine “Fatman” Bogues:  Playing the point guard position requires many intangibles and immense basketball knowledge. Bogues has the skills, knowledge, and not to the mention the pedigree, that makes him a great point guard. He has benefited from bloodlines of this grandfather, former NBA point guard Tyrone “Muggsey” Bogues. He has the high IQ necessary and the pace, confidence, and toughness to be the #1 player at the 3rd grade level where he is dominant.  At the level he is more cerebral but just as effective as a lead guard; playing up and looking like every other player on a team like this shows why he can be considered a superstar.

Chris Winborne: Winborne is one the hidden gems of the Class of 2022. He has the height to play   With a strong build he can be used in a multitude of ways; but no matter where he goes he will be a contributor as he can impact a game both sides; a great on ball and weak side defender with the ability to play the lanes - as a scorer in that way, it only exemplifies why he is one of the best and can do what he has always done and that being a big-time scorer.
the small forward spot and enough perimeter skills to play the shooting guard position. He scores the basketball extremely well, with the ability to develop into an explosive scorer on the wing or along the baseline he can be used in a variety of ways.

Knasir “Dug” McDaniel: McDaniel is the best pure point guard in the class in the country without question.  He plays the way that a true point guard should play, looking to get his teammates involved first as well as leading the defensive charge for his mates. He has very good quickness and handles the ball as if connected to his hand. He has to be tasked to score as he loves passing more than finishing; the amazing part is that he can score just as well as any 2-man too.  Absolutely impossible to guard in space, he can’t be contained, is very difficult to trap and is a flat out problem because when you help he will deliver the pass. He has to be considered as one of the top 3 in class if not #1 – he is fun to watch but a flat out terror to play against.

Kameron Rodriguez: Rodriguez has a positive impact on the game through his versatility. He has good size, strength, and unmatched quickness which allow him to excel on the perimeter as a scorer and defender. He uses his quickness to get into the paint and once at there, he uses his body control to adjust and finish. As an attacking wing that can score he is a threat to go coast to coast or to steal and finish – one of the quickest in the class point to point. He is a very solid  ball handler is a natural lead guard, but scorers so well from the 2 guard spot he must be used they as it is just too tempting not to take advantage of his immense skill.  May be the best perimeter defender in the class, even when beat he has the speed to recover and start the issue all over again.  A tough competitor who doesn’t just want to win he want to dominate and for the most part that is exactly what he does.  

Ferrell Crowell:  Crowell is a terrific scorer that attacks the paint both in transition and in the half court especially along the baseline. He does a great job of finishing through contact and drawing fouls where he makes the defense pay by knocking down free throws. Crowell also makes his presence known by moving over to the lead guard position – very smooth, his catch and shoot is extremely underrated – his stroke is text book.  What is Crowell? A 1 or a 2, a combo – he is a basketball player and one you want on your team.  As a wing he is an attacker from the middle of the court, as a catch and shoot he is a zone buster – Crowell easily acclimates to any set of teammates and circumstances.  When asked to score and be a leader he does that, the ultimate teammate.


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