Thursday, July 31, 2014

Starting with the Man in the Middle - Top Post Players in 2020: The Biggest & Baddest in the Class

Basketball has always been a game played from the inside out—from the hoop outwards. A regulation court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide, but it is within the narrow painted lane, known as the paint, where games are often won or lost. It is the space where centers traditionally dominate, as scorers on one end of the court and protectors on the other.  The youth game often does not possess clearly defined back to the basket players until the 7th grade level and sometimes beyond.  Yet, the 2020 class has a group of players that few that maintain a very strong post presence.  

What do we look for in a center? An effective center should have the ability to deny the opposition any easy points in the paint, offensively a great center will have an arsenal of shots that make him impossible for one man to guard.  More than just putting up points, a traditional center employs the low-post technique—a physically demanding, back-to-the-basket set of offensive and defensive fundamentals. The low post—an imaginary region on both sides of the key—is one of the most important areas of the court, and one that a team's center must control.

 Basically, the center acts as his team's last line of defense, while also performing many of the unpleasant work that few others are willing to do. It entails highly desired, lowly recognized duties, everything from setting screens and posting up on offense, to jamming up the painted lane around the hoop and turning away shots in the defensive zone.  One of the toughest yet underappreciated positions in today game – but still one of the most important and coveted; every team WANTS a big no matter how good the team is.

With the end of season rankings soon approaching for all grades Prolific Performance Basketball ( will be presenting a series of top positional groupings for all classes – these are not our formal rankings; rather an introduction to the top players in their respective classes at their positions.  They are not listed in a specific order and there is not a direct correlation to  national ranking position – will release its formal national player ranking starting September 15, 2014 after the identification of the Reclassed student athletes. 

Below is a list of 10 of the Top Centers in the class of 2020:

1.      Jason Harris – West Coast All Stars
2.       Donavan Billings – Wisconsin United
3.      Isaiah Todd – Team 4-Real
4.      Montez McNeil – Banneker Kings
5.      Kendall Munson – Oakland Soldiers
6.      Marcus Dumervil – Ft. Lauderdale Lions
7.      Raymond Terry – Indiana MVP
8.      Tyjavious Bedgood – Dream Team Elite
9.      Josiah Hardy – Leesburg Basketball Club
10.  Visual Russell – Florida Force 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

P2BBALL.COM 2014 6th Grade AAU Nationals Player Achievement Awards


2014 6th Grade AAU Nationals Player Performers Awards
Most Outstanding Player: Shemar Morrow, Oakland Soldiers
Most Valuable Player: Rashad McDaniels, St. Louis Wildcats 
Breakout Player of Tournament: Rashad McDaniels, St. Louis Wildcats 
Best Scorer: Rashad McDaniels, St. Louis Wildcats 
Top Prospect: Isaiah Todd, Team 4-Real
Top Lead Guard – Kalib Murphy, Atlanta Volt
Top Defender – Marcus Dumervil, Ft. Lauderdale Lions
Top Shooter(s) – Narmari Burnett, We All Can Go All-Stars & RJ Davis, NY Gauchos
Best Backcourt – CJ Robinson, RJ Davis, & DJ Berry - NY Gauchos
Best Rebounder – Donavan Billings, Wisconsin United
Best Frontcourt – Kyree Walker, Kendall Munson, Dillon Dipena – Oakland Soldiers
Most Underrated Player – Jack Pugh, Mid- Ohio Pumas
Clutch Shot of Tournament – Jalen Suggs, Wisconsin United & Shemar Morrow, Oakland Soldiers
Teammate Leadership Award – Jaden Springer, We All Can Go All-Stars

AAU Nationals Top  10 Performers 

1. Shemar Morrow – Oakland Soldiers
2. Rashad McDaniels – St. Louis Wildcats
3. Namari Burnett – We All Can Go All-Stars
4. Donavan Billings – Wisconsin United
5. Kyree Walker – Oakland Soldiers
6. Dillon Dipena – Oakland Soldiers
7. Jaden Springer – We All Can Go All-Stars
8. Jalen Suggs – Wisconsin United
9. RJ Davis – NY Gauchos
10. Marcus Dumervil – Ft. Lauderdale Lions

Honorable Mention: 

Khalil Brantley – Worldwide Wildcats
DJ Berry, NY Gauchos
Dwon Odon, Atlanta Playmakers
Juwon Carpenter, We All Can Go All-Stars
Kalib Murphy – Atlanta Volt
Jack Pugh – Mid-Ohio Pumas
CJ Robinson, NY Gauchos
Mike Saunders – George Hill Rising Stars
Chase Ellis – Worldwide Wildcats
Donnell Harris – Miami City Ballers
Dylan Branson – St. Louis Wildcats
Jason Harris – West Coast-All Stars
Ishmael Leggett – Team Takeover
Paris Dawson – West Coast All-Stars
Hunter Jackson – George Hill Rising Stars
Zion Harmon – Team Glory
Devin Hightower - Oakland Soldiers
Isaiah Todd – Team 4-Real
Isaiah LeBlanc – God First Crusaders
Jaylen Clark – West Coast All-Stars
Trey Patterson – Rip City
Justin Lykes – Team Takeover


St. Louis Wildcats Cinderella Story still has Storybook Ending at 6th Grade AAU Nationals

Every once in a while, everything comes together and basketball perfection is attained. Sometimes, by the most unlikely of teams; the St. Louis Wildcats didn't even compete in the previously in AAU. They arrived with 6 players and a dream; they didn’t have a large crowed or entourage. They didn’t have a large budget, pancakes, hotdogs, and grilled cheese filled were their main staples for the week – until they were adopted by Boo Williams staff who introduced the group to Bojangles Chicken.  

But when St. Louis played their game, they were the kind of club that opposing coaches feared. That fear grew during the Tournament as the Wildcats knocked off all pool opponents and the Wellington Wolves, New Jersey’s Team IZOD,  and the Tennessee Legends to reach the Final Four shocking the world.  There they almost shocked the overwhelming favorite and soon to be National Champions Oakland Soldiers falling 69-61 in a game that wasn’t decided until the last minute.  After that they lost by only one to defending national champion Wisconsin United 61-60 in another amazing performance.  

Throughout the tournament they were told not to play to lose, play to win.  That they were good enough to win and that they could beat anyone in the country and that is just what they did.  Without question they were the fan favorite and one of the most inspiring youth basketball stories seen in some time. Some may have felt that the Wildcats had to win it all to complete this unlikeliest of fairy tales; but that is far from the truth.  They allowed everyone for a week to know that its ok to dream big if you have put in the work, trust each other, play hard, and maximize talents – in doing so you can not only possibly win a national championship you can win at life.

5 Champions - Superstar Leaders of Their Packs from 6th Grade AAU Nationals

Kyree Walker the versatile 6’3 165lbs Swiss-army knife of the Oakland Soldiers  and who scouts refer to as possibly the “most promising prospect in the class of 2020”  - used his frame and immense skill set to drop two triple doubles during the Soldiers run at the national championship. He continued to do things with the ball that players his size only dream about and on the national stage his ability to operate on the wing, act as the primary ball handler, or provide facilitation from anywhere on the floor solidified Walker as a national fixture a top the ranking boards. Walker’s dominance while leading the Soldiers to the championship came with the realization and focus on exploiting mismatches; all week and all year for that matter – Walker shot over small guards, drove by bigs, and finished in the lane and mid-range over anyone standing in his way.  The 1-2 punch of Walker and Morrow was best tandem of the tournament.

Dillon Dipena is a star in any system any style star; already taking the country by storm after a 2nd place appearance in the 7th grade D1 nationals with City Stars playing up a year; Dipena has further impressed with another phenomenal showing as a member of the 2020 Oakland Soldiers.  Dillon literally played all over the floor and scored from all over the floor.  He dominated as a rebounder and was especially effective on the offensive glass.  Due to Dipena’s high motor he will not be denied, every game he was relentless in his effort and his attacks – a player who is capable of taking the ball off the glass, handle it in transition, and finish for you if needed and can also throw the no-look pass off the dribble which we witnessed multiple times. He does everything he’s asked to do and care nothing about accolades or stats even with him being a stat sheet stuffer; he only cares about winning.  One of the best at transitioning from offensive to defense he is difference maker and game changer on both end.

Jaden Springer proved again that he is one of the nation’s top players; the name Jaden Springer is quickly becoming synonymous with winning his finals runner up was preceded by a 5th grade national championship title as well as a 3rd place D2 7th grade finish with the same team we say in the 6th grade national championship.  Please understand this is no coincidence, the intensity and will to win is next level and contagious to teammates, coaches, and fans.  Throughout the tournament his high flying antics seemed effortless.  From his diving on the floor to his swoops to the basket there is no one who plays harder than Springer period.  Every game we watched a consistent scorer and contributor and never took a bad shot – he shot an excellent percentage taking what the defense gave while playing his best against the best when his team needed it the most.  His natural ability was apparent the kids is special in ways beyond the basketball court, you will see and hear from the player again on a championship level. 

Had WACG captured the national championship Burnett would easily have been considered the MVP of the tournament.  He amazed all week with his consistency and the ability to not only sense when a big play or shot was needed but to step up each and every time to knock it down.  No situation was too big and he may not have touched the rim on any of his jump shots. Having seen him earlier this year we can qualify that his scoring prowess is emerging as one of the nation premier shooters and scorers, the progression is similar to a young Steph Curry prior to his conversion to the lead guard position. His length and strength  and breakdown ability keeps defenses off balance.  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 spoke to his trainer and found out he works with an individual who has developed multiple pro’s – this makes sense to watching the overall skill set of Burnett.  Our analysis earlier this year was the Burnett needed to develop that “killer instinct” – we apologize to the rest of the country; this was on display during his run for the national championship and only means bad things for competitors in the future.

Juwon Carpenter WACG’s tough and nasty point guard displayed quickness and speed in the open court, his handle could not be questioned and he showed a firm understanding of how to use that handles and the different passing angles to kill opponents with or without scoring a single point.  When he turns on the switch and goes into his scoring mode he was very difficult to contain and propels his team to another level with him at the lead position.  We like his knock down shooting ability and we can see the catch and shoot skill set along with the ability to get into the lane on penetration.  Carpenter thrived in the fast tempo game but showed equal skill in settling down the team and running them in the half court.  Very complete players and with his size and length has a bigtime future on this stage on the national ranking boards.