Thursday, March 26, 2015

Meet The New Stars of the NYBL - Fresh Faces in the Place To Be (PART I)


Makhi Mitchell (6’8, DC Premier) – Dynamic front court player with some very nice perimeter skills; has both face up and back to the basket game.  Shows the ability to impact the game on both ends on every possession – brings it every time clearly carving out his spot as a top player in the league and in the country.

Marvin Price (6’4, DC Premier) – Silky smooth and cool as the other side of the pillow – Price “slides in your painted area” and drops buckets in heavy supply.  The lefty can put in work from 20-feet and in but was extra effective in the mid-range and along the baseline.  Price proved capable of putting up some bigtime scoring numbers.

Korbin Spencer (6’2, Team Teague) – The deadeye shooter made a cameo appearance in the league last year but the NYBL has him full-time and he is back looking better than ever.  The player that never gives up on a play; he is a 3-level scorer with great size and strength for the position.  If you love basketball, you will love watching Spencer he leave it all on the floor and he has a lot to leave.

James Bishop (6’1, Bmore’s Finest) – Moves on moves on moves, he comes at you in waves and can stop on a dime.  Pull up game is sick and he shoots it with range, very difficult to stay in front of this guy and he will punish you with the rock in his hand.  Do not let the slight frame fool you – he can finish with both hands and displays next level body control.  Put him on your schedule to see session II.

Issac Okoro (6’4, AOT) – You will immediately appreciate the frame in the lay-up line, but once the ball is tip you will appreciate a whole lot more.  The proverbial windex man, he cleans both glasses and may be one of the best finisher able to shred contact while knocking down put backs or on drive to the tin.  Able to put the ball on the floor and knock down the perimeter shot; a match-up nightmare.

Zeb Graham Jr. (6’0, Team Charlotte) – Ok ladies and gentlemen we have ourselves a bucket getter – with great size from the position Graham does it from all over the floor as well as working off the block.  He is one of those players where everyone in the gym knows he is getting the ball and you still can’t stop him.  Also gets to the FT line which is the definition of a scorer vs. just a shooter.  One of the best perimeter players in the league for sure.


Jalen Cone (5’8 Worldwide Wildcats) – Style of play is mature beyond his years, plays the game like a seasoned high school guard.  Reads defenses, shoots a true and natural jump shot, and works off the bounce in space but can also use screens and cross cuts.  He is the rare combination of shooter & scorer and is tough enough to engage in the paint – Cone is a problem waiting to happen and he will happen.

Dwon Odom (5’10, Worldwide Wildcats) – Aggressive wing who plays with style and flare – was extra in transition as he attacked relentlessly.  Very versatile Odom can handle and breakdown his man as well as see the floor and cutters.  Like the combination of being able to catch and shoot as well being able to elevate and work off the bounce.  Talent is very clear and apparent when watching this kid.

Leonard Manual – (6’3, E1T1) – We have a future star watch here; Leonard presents a clear and present danger to the league and the country.  He will be making an appearance in the national ranking without question.  A 6’3 PG who can handle, defend, and get to the cup – you see what he is being groomed to be and he isn’t far off.  Showed flashes of brilliance but the upside is absolutely ridiculous – a consistent jump shot away from being dominant but already a flat out problem in the class and the NYBL.

Jack Pugh (6’1, Mid-Ohio Puma’s) – What is he you ask?  He is a basketball player and one of the most fundamentally sound players in the league.  He could get it done with his sheer talent but has he great size and footwork and a next level IQ to go along with it.  Those judging by the eye test may question – but seeing is believing as Pugh is clearly one of the best in the league and age group.

Jaden Springer (6’1, Oakland Soldiers) – The North Carolina legend was in the building and showed that he is cut from a different cloth than most.  No player at any age group plays harder than the young star and he does it at both ends.  Tough in the paint and around the basket, but his dominance in the mid-range, lane filling ability, and great footwork set him apart.  On the defensive end disappointment could be seen in player’s eyes who earned the Springer assignment.  Seeing him with Soldiers was a contrast of styles – but his star power is without question.

Richie Greavis (5’7, Team IZOD) – With a team bursting with talent Greavis may very well be the most important component out the group.  A very steady ball-handler that doesn’t turn the ball over, spaces the floor with the range on his jump shot, and displays proficiency in the mid-range and with the floater.  He runs the team like a seasoned floor general and makes the most of opportunities – can lead the team in scoring as well as assist easily.  The team is not the same when he isn’t on the floor which is the definition of a difference maker and impact player.


Jalen Hall (G, New World) – Some would argue that Hall could be the best in the age group, we are talking a mini-Mitch Richmond.  3-level scorer with handle and range gets to the paint at will but is patient enough to make reads and is a willing passer.  Can takeover games in many different ways including defensively and does so within the team concept.  Has been under the radar for some time but not anymore Hall is poised to make a name for himself at the expense of anyone standing in his way.

Trevor Keels (F, Team Takeover) – Versatility personified, basketball purist will love and see the talent and upside in this player.  What he ultimately will be positionally who knows; but when you can score, rebound, handle, shoot, finish, and defend multiple positions it really doesn’t matter.  The size and length you want in a player Keels is the gift that will keep on giving all season long in the NYBL as he proved in session I he simple does it all.  With some impressive score totals over the weekend already he has 30ppg potential – period.

Jalen Blackman (G, Team Teague) – You always have to careful when saying “the best” – but Blackman without question one of the top pure shooter in the class in the country.  He can knock it down from anywhere and is special beyond the stripe.  High IQ player who knows how to find opening in the defense to get himself off – uses screens very well.  We saw some very nice ball-handling and passing skills, but he was a game changer when he was in scoring mode.  Must be accounted for every possession. 

Caleb Furst (C, Team Teague) – Throwback fundamentally sound back to the basket big man with great touch and move counters that George Mikan would be proud of.  Loved watching Furst play positional basketball on the black and seeing him attack the points of least resistance feeling the defender behind him.  As well one of the best passer in the gym off the block as he regularly hit cutters and weak side spot up shooters in the sweet spot.  Talks on defense and is also an impactful shot blocker and shot changer.  Runs hard and is a solid FT shooter – Team Teague and the NYBL have something special in this player.

Donnell Harris (C, Team IZOD) – Harris is the quicker picker upper – you miss it, he gets it, one of the best rebounders in the gym and with great size and immense athleticism Harris is a terror in the open court as a lane filler.  Great paint protector and shot blocker you won’t find a better back line defender; as he takes care of his man and also assist with any breakdowns by others.  Equally effective as a strong and weak side defender – no better help of the helper and he see it developing in front of him.  Raw straight off the block he specializes on put backs and transition plays – when that aspect catches up with the rest, boy oh boy he is going to be trouble.  Harris is oozing with potential and isn’t far off from realizing it.
Noah Pebbles (F, ) – Another player that basketball fans will just love; Pebbles has big time scoring ability and works the baseline with great efficiency.  Has an array of finishing moves and is patient off the catch feeling and seeing his defender before making any moves.  Looks solid facing the basket and does a great job on the offensive and defensive glasses.  Doesn’t wow you or jump out at you – but from a production standpoint he is a stat sheet stuffer who shoots a high percentage.  This is a player you must see and one that is undervalued but must be appreciated as he flat out get the job done.  


Wednesday, March 25, 2015



1.      New World (5-0) – Tough, hardnosed, and talented is a combination that few will be able to stop.  With one of the nation’s best in Jalen Hall they are the clear favorite to win the chip
2.      Team Takeover (5-0) – With Johnson at the point and Trevor Keels everywhere their pressure defense and fast break style is going to be a problem for any team to contain and deal with
3.      West Coast Stars (5-0) -  Ty Ty (Tyrone) Washington will be one of the toughest players to stop all season long for opponents.  Great supporting cast and coaching no surprise to their 5-0 start
4.      S Elite (5-0) -  The group out of Canada is HUGE, the team runs disciplined sets and can knock it down from distance very good chance for this group to take the title across the boarder
5.       Bmore’s Finest (5-0) – May be the hardest working group, they come at you in waves and plays the game the full 94-feet.  Pressure on both ends and a killer instinct defines the group
6.      Oakland Soliders (4-1) – The singular most unstoppable force Zion Harmon is the catalyst with him in the line-up they have a punchers chance against anyone in the country
7.      Team IZOD/Sports U (4-1) – Whenever this team takes a loss it’s a shock nationwide, may be the most talented and deepest group in the country they stumbled but look for them to be there in the end
8.      Brampton Warriors (4-1) – Another team from the north that showed immense skill and well-rounded players.   They can pass and shoot and will force you to defend for extended periods of time
9.      Team Teague (3-2) – A surprising start to the year this squad is one of the most talented and well coached in the league look for them to make a lot of noise as the season progresses
10.  Team Durant (3-2) – Two losses by a total of 6-points left them a few possessions from being undefeated, definition of team Jalen Smith, Jake Koverman, AJ Thomas, and D. Johnson are all names you will know by seasons end


1.      Oakland Soldiers (5-0) – Reigning national AAU champs return stronger and deeper
2.      Team Durant (5-0) – 51-1 overall record and top ranked talent at every position places them in conversation
3.      Team Takeover (5-0) – One man wreaking crew Terrance Williams may be most unstoppable force in the age group
4.      Rip City (5-0) – The team is well coached, shares the ball, and defends in the half court – will be a tough out for anyone stepping on the floor with them
5.      San Diego Select (4-1) – Huge point differential and dominating balanced team performances highlight this championship contenders run
6.     West Coast Stars (4-1) – Great guard play combined with a stellar frontline boasting both size and skill has the defending NYBL champs poised for another run at the title
7.     God First Crusaders (4-1) – Quietly put together a very impressive weekend led by forward Isaiah LeBlanc along with added size they are looking to climb the ranking quickly
8.     Team IZOD/Sports U (4-1) – Boast good size and perimeter skill with knockdown shooters; team should be in every game they play with solid sets and good team defense
9.     Mid-Ohio Pumas (4-1) – One of the most cohesive offensive units in the league forces teams to play their style which they do better than many others a team no one wants to play
10.  Worldwide Wildcats- (3-2) – Solid weekend team has the inside/outside combination to be a factor all season long
1.     Team Rio National (5-0) - Completely dominated session I with no one coming within 30-points – clearly opens as the early season favorite to win the crown
2.     Butler Elite (5-0) – Balanced team who plays great team defense and shares the ball on the offensive end.  Anchored by Nobel Days in the middle they will be tough to beat any time out
3.     New World (5-0) – With new national star Karim Couliby and bookend by scoring sensation Jay Heath the DC mob is a force to be reckoned with
4.      Team Texas* (5-0) – Speed and athleticism personified  combined with talent, no squad plays harder
5.     Philly Triple threat (5-0) – Tough defensive minded team that competes on every possession and plays with passion. Solid size at each position and skilled one to watch
6.     Metro Flyers (5-0) – Under the radar team with big time skilled front line with underrated guard play will remain a factor throughout
7.     DC Premier (4-1) – was vying for #1 spot prior to a surprise loss; team is built to win may be no better inside out combination in the league than Price & Mitchell
8.     Team Florida (4-1) – With the big man in the middle and all-world Bryan Saunders on the wing they will be in every game, solid PG play allows them to remain a favorite to challenge for chip
9.     Bmore’s Finest (4-1) – Has everything you need to compete, their will to win may be their best quality tough defensive team and multi-dimensional offensive pieces may be surprise of season
10.   (TIE)Team Teague (4-1) – Great scheme and well run offense makes the talented bunch one of the most cohesive units in the class.  Great perimeter shooting will keep them in every game              
(TIE) Team Charlotte (4-1) – Zeb Graham is bigtime and can take over games for long stretches with ample support and a up-tempo style they cannot be overlooked or forgotten