Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Slam City!" "Slam City!" - Thats What They Be Yelling!

Editor & Chief

Every youth basketball website and media outlet in the country is talking about a group of players from the Maryland/District of Columbia area of the east coast.  High School publications and college scouting services have even run stories on the middle school Phenom’s.   

Literally appearing out of nowhere, their origin is unclear; what isn’t unclear is the national buzz and excitement that this team has brought to the “off season” and ultimately the class off 2020.  Rock stars; 13 year olds giving autographs, being interviewed before, DURING, and after games? A head coach mic’d up during a game to capture the sideline and huddle activity?  This type of behavior is reserved at it the elite high school level, college, and professional realm – but typically not 7th grade.  At the end of the day without question, this speaks to the uniqueness and specialness of the situation at hand – and the once in a lifetime experience these KIDS are receiving. 

Despite having a talented and deep roster, the class off 2020 version of Slam City Elite fashionably known as the “Terror Squad” still has a lot to prove going into the season - with a plethora of talent and size the expectations are sky high; whether lineup-based or scheme-based, there will be questions for the ‘Terror Squad”, and who better to ask these questions than; in a sit down with the Slam City Coaching staff of Coach Francis and Coach Byrd we dug deep and asked the tough question the country wants to know.

Q: Coach Byrd, in a close game who takes the last shot with a team full of stars?

A: Tyler Brelsford or Austin Allison are both great choices due to their ability to shoot from deep, especially on contested shots. Jordan Toles is also an option as he can use his size to get to the rim and is a tough finisher in the lane. But other options are available. Terrance Williams is a unique player in the sense he is 6’5”/6’6” and can shoot from behind the arc while also having the ability to put the ball on the floor. Running a clear-out for Williams would allow him the space to go one-on-one against a much slower player, or draw help for an easy pass to an open teammate. All of these options would likely be initiated by our Floor General AJ Hoggard; he is the straw that stirs the drink.

Q: Coach Francis, with such a talented roster is anything less than a championship a failure?

A: My experience tells me that no team in the country starts their season hoping to finish in second place; the elite level teams don’t play for moral victories.  Every high level team from youth basketball to high school to college to the professional ranks play to win the game.  The championship is simply part of that process – the reality and definition of this question is simple; there will be hundreds of team who start the season with the same goal, only one will realize it….are all those teams failures? I don’t believe they are as there is winning in the process of competing and getting better – but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a goal of the team.  As high as the outside expectations are ours are higher; but as youth coach, kids who work as hard as this group I have been blessed to work with could never be considered failures.

Q: Coach Byrd; describe each player on your roster in three words?

A: AJ Hoggard: Great court vision; Terrance Williams: Best in Business; Austin Allison: Knock down shooter; Jordan Toles: Weapon of mass-destruction; Tyler Brelsford: Coach on floor; Montez McNeil: Old Fashion Bigman; Isaiah Todd: Next Kevin Durant; Demon Clowney: Youth Ben Wallace; Cameron Byers: The X-Factor, Ryan Conway: Our secret weapon 

Q: You didn’t mention Zion Harmon Coach Byrd?

A: Just know that horse is in the stable

Q: Coach Francis, recently the WACG Coach stated Slam City didn’t have a resume and shouldn’t be mentioned as a top team, your thoughts?

A: Frankly, it’s amusing – I’m sure the #5 team in the country the NY Gauchos felt the same way prior to last weekend. The NBA was founded in 1946; the Miami Heat entered the league in 1988 team/organization has to start somewhere. Players make teams as styles make fights the players on this roster have extensive national championship experience and bodies of work that can’t be denied.  At the end of the day we’ll be judged not by the name on our chest but by the score on the score board.  My career has been built on working with the most elite players in the middle school game – having covered championship caliber teams I know what it look like; and whereas we will respect each opponent we face I must say I like our chances against any team in the country. 

Q: Coach Francis what do you say to your detractors?

A: Play us. USA National Select has proved many things to the nation 1) top players want to play with each other and 2) top competitors want to compete against the best.  I have spoken to players from coast to coast who are excited, support, and want a chance to take us out; that’s basketball and what you want to see in another player and team.  The only disappointing aspect are the adults that attack kids who they tell to strive to be the best but when they achieve that level they then try to tear them down.  Real men build children up; real men don’t teach can’t and won’t they promote can and will, real men don’t attempt to demoralize a child working to fulfill a dream they support their passion.  So in the end, I say to the detractor’s man up. As a coach I’m preparing every child I have a chance to work with Slam City or National Select not only for high school basketball at the next level; but life at the next level and the detractors are excellent examples of what not be.  We will win with class and lose with class should that occur; the kids I touch will always exemplify what’s right in this game amongst the wrong. has seen and heard from Slam City Elite aka the “Terror Squad” and brought you the exclusive interview ~ now it’s the country’s turn, enjoy the just released Slam City introduction video below ONLY ON   

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