Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fifth Grade AAU Nationals Preview - Players Win Games/Teams Win Championships

Top Left: Seth Wilson, Top Right: Jaden Springer Bottom Left: Zion Harmon Bottom Right: Caleb Furst

The 2014 5th grade AAU National Championship boast an immense level of talent and an array of impressive teams that will vie for this year’s title.  As the opening tip approaches P2bball wanted to provide you with a brief synopsis of what to look for and what to look forward to.

Team Takeover from the DC Metropolitan area are the defending champs and the current #1 overall seed, but they look very different from last year’s team returning without 3 starters.  Team Glory Elite the last year’s national runner up; who happens to be from the same region as Takeover returns deeper and more experienced and hungry to avenge last year’s championship loss.  The Orlando Jayhawks from Florida have traveled all over the country playing the best competition they could find nationwide to prepare for this opportunity; they are primed and ready to go.  2021 Kansas Elite is one of the most balanced and well coached groups, while Team Teague has unreal size and a great perimeter shooting which will cause lots of teams fits.  Hardwork – OBC has possibly one of the best backcourt combo’s; they will be tested early and often.  Yet with all these known commodities, one of the best groups and national championship contenders is a team that didn’t even step foot onto the floor in 2013.  Enter We All Can Go from Tennessee; a up tempo, tough as nails group that comes to Coco Beach with only one goal in mind and that is to bring home the title.

At the least this will be one of the most exciting age groups and at best it will produce new stars, some startling upsets, and memories to last us all a lifetime.

These are some players you may want to keep an eye on as P2 provides week long coverage:

Zion Harmon, 2021 CG, Team Glory Elite – Some publications have questioned if Harmon is the nations best in his class; we have no such question here.  Harmon continues to produce jaw dropping, legendary status numbers each time he steps onto the floor.  Playing up a year Harmon averaged 40ppg in the NYBL 2020 class; his sheer will, will take Team Glory Elite deep into the tournament.  There is no moment too big for Harmon and nothing he has not seen defensively or situationally being a perennial title contender year in and year out.  He is a poised leader with all the superstar qualities required to lead his team to the title.

Jaden Springer, 2021 CF, We All Can Go – Coming off a 3rd place finish playing up with the WACG 6th grade group in the D2 7th grade nationals Springer is primed and ready for a full out assault on the 2021 class.  This multi-category contributor will dominate individually and can single-highhandedly not only control but win games for this WACG group.  Springer could arguably be the best scorer, best shot blocker, best defender, and best rebounder as individual categories in the tournament – he could also be considered the best individual player.  At the end of the tournament with Springer on their roster he may be playing for the best team.

Seth Wilson, 2021 CF, All Ohio Red – One of the best physical specimens in the country; Wilson can dominate inside and out.  A quick leaper, a strong rebounder, and phenomenal finisher off the boards and even more dangerous in transition – Seth can also score from all 3 levels of the perimeter and has grown into an exceptional 3-point shooter which makes it even more difficult to guard him.  Great lift in the mid-range, his shot doesn’t get blocked - one on one he can’t be guarded and with a strong handle he is even hard to double team.  Wilson is the type of player that can carry a team for extended stretches and win big games by himself, with him on the roster AOR always has a chance.

Caleb Furst, 2021 C, Team Teague – One of the true back to the basket post players in the class and one of if not the biggest big in the country.  Already standing close to 6’0 he is one of the most fundamentally sound post players we have seen at this age period.  He operates well of the drop step, uses the up and under, and is an excellent shot blocker and rebounder.  Some may look at his size and not appreciate the full skill set, but Furst runs the floor, shows soft hands, has excellent feet, and can dominate games on both ends in the paint.  With no one in the tournament that can match up with him as it relates to the combination of skill and size; with the other pieces his team has Furst could find himself playing on Sunday in the national championship with all he brings to the table. 

Jalen Smith, 2021 PG, Orlando Jayhawks – Smith is in range when he walks into the gym, and his picture perfect quick release proves that he has spent hours in the gym refining his craft.  Smith is the type of shooter that can win games by himself if he gets hot, a great scorer with high end quickness he can beat his man off the dribble and finishes as well.  Is mid-range and floater package is also part of a scoring package that is one of the hardest to stop in the class of 2021.  Smith has a great supporting cast, who dribble drives, as per their offense and kicks with Smith proficiency as a scorer he it is tailored made for him to thrive – and for the Jayhawks to make a deep run into the tournament.  
Jalen Smith

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