Tuesday, June 17, 2014

USA National Select Dream Team III - 2020: A Team That Will Never be Forgotten!

USA National Select - Dream Team III - 2014 Run For the Throne Champions, Ft. Wayne, Indiana      

Like all the USA National Select teams; Dream Team III was constructed of players of major consequence throughout the nation.  On their way to their 11th consecutive championship National Select may have set the new standard for even themselves; the collection of players on this team are unparalleled – nowhere on any youth level has there been an overall collection of talent that compares to this group.  Inside of the program that has 3 of the best youth teams in basketball history Dream Team III 2020 would need a U-haul truck to move all of their accolades. Shemar Morrow is the current and unquestioned #1 player in the country at 2020, Jordan Toles the current #3, could make a valid argument for the #2 spot after a spectacular spring and start to summer, Zion Harmon (#1 2021) who less than a week ago averaged 40ppg against the top 2020 teams in the country in the NYBL.  Jaden Springer (#2 2021) hasn’t lost in months, everywhere he has gone on both the 2021 & 2020 level he is producing double doubles and contributing in 4 to 5 categories in epic fashion.  All of the aforementioned players need to simply be googled and each possesses an entire media and video library of their individual accomplishments.

“For them to be on the court together, for them to break-bread together, for them to get to spend time with each other as friends - transcends the game basketball; they have a new found respect for each other and relationships and memories that will develop for decades to come” stated National Selects’ Head Coach, Coach Francis.  “They respect each other as people and not just competitors; they sat together, they walked around together, they won together.  What this program is doing for kids throughout the country was exemplified this weekend; if the best of the best are willing to sacrifice for each other and to play together for each other; everyone has to do it – these kids are not just the best in the country, they are examples to parents and other players as to what is right in the world and in this game.  They are all a blessing in so many way; some of which no of us realize at this point.”
Combined with the players above where Montez McNeil, 6’5 post who less than 30 days ago turned 12 years old is a seek and destroy defender who brings so much and energy and talent to the floor that his upside is literally scary.  Namari Burnett, who played with National Select for the first time immediately, proved that he belonged not only on the team – but also in the conversation as one of the top players in the class.  Devin Hightower, starter for one of the nation’s best, Oakland Soldiers brought his game and toughness – he has a refuse to lose attitude and is like a player coach on the floor.  Ketaan “Keewee” Wyatt, as the consummate point guard was like a kid in the candy store with all this talent at his disposal proved he sees and plays the game at a continuously high level. Chance Mott, a bruising 6’3 post joined this group and gave them some great minutes as a banger and positively contributed to the team’s championship run.

Dream Team III; opened the weekend with a victory over Team Teague 51-37 and followed that win  They closed out the evening against the top players Indiana had to offer; as Team Teague and The Gym Rats organization sponsored an All-Star group from Indiana to compete against the National Select Group.  National Select controlled the game from the onset, though Indiana made a few runs, they never truly challenged.  National Select turned it on when needed against the best Indiana had to offer but cruised to the win 57-44.  Coach Francis said after the game “I wish more states did this when we came, New York has, Carolina has, and now Indiana –I am looking to assist coaches throughout the country put together a circuit National Select can come and play on nationwide against the best these states have to offer;  maybe even something regional – we bring the very best with us so we want to play the best available.”
with a multi-dunk, multi-alleyopp affair as they out-classed, over matched, and dominated Team Swat 64-24.

On Sunday National Select defeated Team Glory from DC and met Team Teague who battled its way back to the finals in the Championship – Teague actually lead for portions of the 1st half after a slow start from National Select, but they quickly righted the ship and sealed the deal with a 56-44 victory in the championship.  “Another tournament another title, that’s what we come to do ~ it’s about the kids being on the national stage and being showcased the wins are simply a result of that goal.  When they play for each other and share the ball, they look great…they become unstoppable.” Coach Francis concluded.

During this trip National Select also competed in the 2019 class, going .500 in pool play; while playing 2 of the nation’s top 10 teams.

There were many realizations from this weekend here are some of them:

Shemar Morrow (CA):  By acclamation, Shemar Morrow is the greatest basketball player in his class. He is a phenomenal athlete with a unique combination of fundamental soundness, grace, speed, power, artistry, improvisational ability and an unquenchable competitive desire, Morrow is redefining the standard by which future players at this juncture will be judged.  Much has been written and all is well deserved, he is one of the few players at the middle school level where pro considerations can even be mentioned.  His package contains all the necessary skill sets at a high level, mid-range, trey ball, pull-up, finishing ability – he is playing above the rim already.  What is required now is a script regiment of refinement, lateral defensive movement the ability to sit down out front and in space.  The building and adding of strength to what is already a basketball frame – in short he is ready for professional type training including diet and all necessary reps.  His time is now.

Jordan Toles (MD): One of the nation true marquee players Jordan Toles is a  "Human Highlight Film"; he continuously shows viewers a plethora of spectacular individual plays – those watching closely will notice a change in the frame of Toles and its not a good change for opponents; he is getting stronger and already one of the best athletes in this class; he is running faster and jumping higher – dunking is now second nature in the 6th grade.  But please do not get it confused, Toles isn’t an athlete playing basketball he is a basketball player who is a phenomenal athlete.  The improvement to his pace and change of speeds and IQ/court presence is what is truly turning him into a dynamic star.  Each year Toles has added a significant skill set addition and speaking with people in the know that conversation will continue; could the country picture Toles as a Westbrook like lead guard?  Well they may be seeing that sooner than later; this is not good for the rest of the country but very well may have college coaches paying attention within the next 12 to 18 months.

Zion Harmon (DC): Zion Harmon is pound for pound one of the nation’s top player his only peers appear at the top of each class – why because at this juncture he is playing and competing with the same effectiveness at all these levels.  So many articles have been written about Harmon’s skill set but that is driven by what makes him tick.  Zion is the grittiest performer to play the position, a feisty competitor who offers no quarter and expects none in return. Harmon possesses the skill and determination to take over a game at will; look closely and you will always see Harmon smiling in his photo’s, that sunny smile is belied by an inner toughness that has made him what he is, one of the most respected and most feared players in the country.  This weekend Harmon shot the ball less than we have ever seen, making sure the players around him were happy and involved, this only further proves that Harmon and Point Guard go together like cereal and milk and if asked to score for you, well let’s just say, he’s got that covered.

Jaden Springer (NC): One of the game's  top perimeter  players, Jaden is becoming known for his high-flying yet seemingly effortless swoops to the basket, a picturesque  spin move and being a relentless competitor on the court.  There is no one who plays harder than Springer; the more you see him and the better the competition the more you get out of him.  One of the sweetest, respectful, and humble kids you will ever meet off the court he is the exact opposite on the court.  He is the player you want to go to battle with, the player you know what you are going to get from.  Such a consistent scorer; he rarely takes a bad shot – he shoots an out the world percentage and takes what the defense gives him and/or he just takes…offensive boards, transitions penetration, he is what you call a game changer.  His work and his effectiveness on the levels he operates on is very clear as his improvement on those levels and his level of play versus higher level comp.  He plays his best against the best and when it means the most.  This is a skill that cannot be taught and a player who is not your typical normal player; Springer is going someplace bigger with this game and with a bunch of size in his future it begin with a “N” and end with an “A”.

Montez McNeil (MD): Known for his strong shot-blocking skills and power game; his energy and toughness are uncontainable.   He is like a horse in the starting gate he just wants to play, run, and bang.  Yet, he still a baby in every sense as it relates to learning the game.  How many elite players, shoot how many NBA players actually turn on every play and look for a man to put a body on?  5 McNeil’s on a team would win a lot of games, they could when a lot of wars too!  What is funny is the Montez could go and grab the ball off the rim without this on occasion – understand this ceiling on this player?  His growth is staggering and is being seen in short periods of time and in large burst; everyone knows that TRUE bigs, not the ones that are bigs and will become pg later,  come on a little later and McNeil is that big.  One of the best back to basket players in the class he is still very raw but has all the intangibles, skill, size, and work ethic to be great.  He will be one of the best, mom 6’2 and dad 6’6, him 6’5 at 12 any questions? We didn’t think so – put him on your list now in pen.

Namari Burnett (IL):  Why hasn’t the world heard of this player before now?  Burnett is a smooth as silk shooting guard. He has a sweet stroke with range to 22 feet. A combination guard that can run the point guard position. Burnett plays under control and makes good decisions. He has solid strength and can make shots, breakdown defenses off the dribble and off the catch.  Namari also boast a very high basketball IQ knowing when to push and when to pull; he thinks the game just as well as he plays it.  We also like his floater/mid-range package and ability to finish in the lane and the 5 to 15 foot area outside of it.  Off the catch and shoot, and outside the three-point stripe Burnett has one a picture perfect release point and shoots it high, this is a shot that can be refined and will not require much adjustment at the next level, with your ideal basketball frame Burnett is “built” for success – only one thing of note for Burnett, he has takeover the game ability but is such a team player this killer aspect must be developed; this may be why he has been under the radar for some, but it’s NOT ability it’s attitude. When he takes on that assassin attitude the sky is the limit for Burnett.  

Devin Hightower (CA):  Get to know this kid and you will find he is very special; he isn’t your typical point as many have said, he is actually more of a scoring 2-guard, a Anthony Peeler –type where his catch and shoot must be utilized, along with his defensive toughness and prowess.  He exhibits a very quick release and interior scoring package that when feature make his very effective especially in tight spaces.  He will float and penetrate off the catch in transition opposed to being your traditional lane filler; as a catch, pump, and go player he makes a living and name in this fashion.  We also believe with his size, strength and skill set Hightower can serve as a defensive stopper on the perimeter giving him even more value as he has a desire to contribute there too.  Once he become a proficient finisher in the lane and combines that with a mature lead guard game he will be very difficult to contain on all 94-feet of the court.

Ketaan “Keewee” Wyatt (OH):  A pure point guard who displays quickness and speed in the open   His handle cannot be questioned, and he developing a firmer understanding of how to use that handles and the different passing angles to kill opponents with scoring a single point.  Players  who can impact a game is this way are truly special and do not come around every day – becoming a more aggressive and consistent scorer combine with some increased size and strength to be more a physical problem; which would be combined with is speed/quickness problems he already possess will make him very attractive as him level increases.  We like his knock down shooting ability and we can see the catch and shoot and ability to get into the lane on penetration.  The Two S’s which is coming will get him there and to his most effective spots where Wyatt will hurt you of you let him.  Excitement personified and the son of a coach ~his best days are his next days don’t take your eyes off this star.
floor. Wyatt thrives in a fast tempo game but is known for his leadership the game stops. He understands his role is to set up the offense and settle down his team when the pace of the game is not favorable.

Chance Mott (OH):  Mott is skilled young forward with the potential to develop into a mismatch four-man; Chance has good hands and good feet. He is a solid athlete that can make plays within the paint and make a difference on the board. Mott does an excellent job of laying down the law in the lane. He goes up strong for rebounds and gets his elbows extended. He's the kind of center who takes pride in owning his realm and usually does; not a prolific scorer he is able to get the ball off glass and finish as well he is effective when catching – he understands the space on the post and always gives maximum effort; you can see his love for the game and the budding of some very good skills.  Watch this player; great size already his best days will be forthcoming without question. 

1 comment:

  1. Morrow and Hightower Both are from Ohio too and who was all on the Indy All Star team?