Tuesday, July 22, 2014

USA National Select (2023) - Last Team Standing at USBA Nationals

USA National Select opened the tournament with a dominating performance in pool play beating Youth Academic Athletes 45-1.  They used pressure defense and a balanced scoring attack; 6 players had at least 6 points in the victory.  The next day in pool play they suffered a upset loss but bounced back quickly for a 39-21 win over the Comets from Concord.  USA National Select had to win the rest of it games in pool & bracket play to get to the hardware – after a point deferential move occurred after finishing tied for second at 3-1 in the pool  - they stepped onto the floor and did just that; and in convincing fashion defeating a huge Queen City Thunder Team 38-21 in the Final 4.  That put National Select in the American USBA National Championship game vs the Durham Mites; National Select who was much smaller used pressure defense,  transition basketball that included excellent court spacing and jump shooting to take home the trophy as the 2014 American USBA National Championship.

Everyone contributed to the championship – the stars of the week can be found below; these players are some of the very best in the nation and they proved it taking home the chip on a 6-1 week!
Congratulations to USA National Select and Coach Francis; to learn more about them and their group you can visit www.middleschoolelite.us   

Anthony Benard (Michigan) - One of the best knockdown shooters in the class of 2023; Benard  showed that he was much more than a jump shooter all week at the USBA Nationals. Anthony has truly expanded his game which speaks to his time and dedication in the gym – and he showed it off for all in attendance to see.  Benard who is sneaky quick; displayed a crafty handle, which included moves on moves and a very nice crossover which he used to beat defenders off the dribble – we love his ability to finish in the paint and on both sides of the basket.  When this aspect of his game is combined with his dead-eye shooting Benard becomes a scoring force from all areas of the floor.  While his offensive game is developing to an elite level we were most impressed by his on ball defense and dedication to playing the game at both ends.  Often used as the head of the snake on defense he played passing lanes and made many good things happen.  As a on the ball man to man defender he worked hard and made an impact turning steals into transition points.  Anthony Benard has grown a tremendous amount in recent months and saved his best for the national stage with USA National Select..

Amari Farr (Washington, DC) – When you look for the picture perfect jump shot, you need to look no further than Farr.  He is the standard bearer for proper technique and the results can be as expected with such a stroke; Farr knocked down his fair share and at an excellent percentage for the 3-point shot.  With such a stroke he was a threat anywhere beyond the stripe and once he figured out that he had the defense on its heels, his pump and go/dribble drive game opened up.  One of the best mid-range pull up games we have seen in this age group blossomed into an arsenal of scoring opportunities for Farr. When Farr decided to put the rock on the floor and attack the paint he was unstoppable for long stretches; the value of his outside game and using it set up his dribble drive package is starting to become clearer as he matures.  Farr is a player that can space the floor and expand the defense; a coach’s dream and an opponent’s nightmare he can move the score board very quickly and efficiently. A strong body that can absorb contact he also stepped to the parameter in various sets to handle and act as a facilitator – Farr showed an expanded skill set and is poised for future success.

Jeremiah Dorsey (New York) – Rarely are you able to determine the proper positional fit for a player at such a young age. In cases when you can this player has a tremendous long term advantage as he can continue to develop with specific skill set.  Dorsey is your prototypical combo guard; Dorsey handles the ball and can run the lead guard position and run your team with patience and with pace.  He has the vision and the selfless nature needed to find the open man; and not only get them the ball, but to deliver it in a scoring zone.  He is a quarterback when handing the point and is a player that you can trust and believe in.  As a SG Dorsey does it all; he spaces the court with a jumper that expands outside the 3-point stripe and he knows when and to shoot the long ball and when to press the paint; which he does excellently.  As a penetrator and in transition Dorsey finishes well with both hands and he knows how to use angles NOT just offensively but also as a defender.  Dorsey is a defensive maven; he can most importantly guard both backcourt positions and is excellent on the ball and in the passing lanes.  He never gives up on a play on either end and is a mature beyond his years as a player and as a child.  He cares about only one thing and that is winning, and he does whatever he has to, to ensure the victory.

Jakhary Towns (Michigan) – Towns was tested during the course of the week and a huge weight was place on his young shoulders – Towns stepped up to the challenged and passed all test with flying colors.  Towns who is a natural scoring guard was asked to take on ball handling duties, asked to be a defensive stopper, asked to the be the attack man in the press break, all while helping on the boards and working as a point on press and trap defenses.  Needless to say his role and what we saw with this group was different from the last time we saw him with in PA.; Towns showed he can do it all and still give you buckets when needed.  He possesses that special “it factor” and “clutch gene” which allows him to have ice water in his veins and knock down big shot after big shot.  We believe Towns has some Westbrook in him and that ultimately he can be a very scary scoring lead guard; his quickness and moves along with his defensive prowess make him the ideal candidate when combined with his IQ and knowledge of game for the PG position.  He has many years to develop this and all the while he will be terrorizing the nation as one of its best players.

Jaylin Lyn (New York) – Lyn is steady as rock and was the glue that held the squad together – the plus minus ratio while Lyn was on the floor proved his value in ways that couldn’t be statistically computed. Lyn is a player whose been here before, no situation is too big for him, he handles pressure without skipping a beat, he runs the offense and is one of the few guards regardless of age group that counts transition numbers is able to evaluate angles for himself and others and determine if attacking or setting up with a secondary or primary scoring attack is necessary. He naturally adapts his game to the flow, the competition, and to the level of intensity. He plays within himself yet he boast the full and complete skill set of a player much more his senior.  He has a solid text book jumper, an actual jumper not a set shot, that he works off the catch and the bounce.  He is able to breakdown his defender off the dribble and his overall handle is only typically used at a 50% level of what he can actually do b/c no one can challenge him to another point.  A pure stopper on defense, he knows how to use his length on the ball and as a recovery or help side defender.  Because he gives you what you need when you need it his steadying force is often overlooked, we can assure you it won’t be once the national boards are computed in the upcoming months – flat out Lyn is one of the very best in 2023.

Tristan Nichols (Michigan) – “Baby Barkley” Tristan Nichols looks like a young Sir Charles; he dominated not just the paint but the entire 12-foot and in area; often times operating as the only true big and having to secure the boards independently.  Nichols displayed a soft mid-range jumper that he used at the high post and in the short corner.  Ultra-soft hands he caught and FINISHED all week long.  An excellent percentage shooter; he was also able to put the ball on the floor and create shots for himself and teammates.  Very tough he played great second level and help defense causing and getting many steals – when he did, his IQ was high enough for him to pitch ahead and then to fill the lane; his lane running was dedicated and hard and he set an example and tone for the entire team.  Coachable and with a passion to play each possession to the end Nichols is a dream come true and will further dominate as a combo forward when paired with a true big.  You don’t see this combination at this age which makes Tristan very special as he moves into the next class.

Jayden Lorenzo (New York) – Lorenzo leaves it on the court, he dives, he sprints, he bangs – whatever you ask he does and does it with a love for the game.  Best when catching and finishing he is able to find spots and open passing windows to receive the ball where he uses a quick shot to compete many assist.  A solid frame Lorenzo uses his body well as a defender and can move players off their spot as both an offensive and defensive rebounder.  A underrated ball handler he impressed us most with his ability to pass the ball over and ahead of defenders to create easy scoring opportunities, Jayden played at least 4 positions during the tournament proving his worth as a versatile player and often sacrificed so that others could lead, the true definition of an elite player – doing whatever it took to win. A soft touch but a willing passer no one knew what to guard against when the ball was in his hands and Jayden made them pay each time he had a chance.


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