Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Only One Shall Rise - The NYBL Road to the Chip Has Begun

NYBL Season 3 Session I opened in style with major talent from across the country taking the floor from the opening tip.  The old adage is that the best teams are home to the best players – with so many talking the talk only a handful of teams actually walked the walked as session concluded.  

adjective: undefeated
  1. not defeated, especially in a battle or other contest.
"the undefeated champion"

The best way to prove and achieve at the highest level is to do so on the court; below find a list of the teams that survived session I with a perfect record – P2bball.com predicts that this list will become shorter and shorter each session as major power house programs collide from across the country.  The battle for the crown shall continue and Only One Shall Stand in the End who will it be?

New World – Stepping onto the NYBL circuit for the first time the squad from the DMV represented well. After a scare against the A.O.T Running Rebel in which they fell behind by a whopping 31-points at half; which set the stage for one of the greatest come backs in NYBL history – New World controlled both ends of the floor as they notched comfortable wins against the rest of the field.  Led by one of the nation best and fastest rising prospects who just arrived on the screen from Mali; Karim Couliby (6’8”) immediately made a name for himself with multiple double – double performances which included a 30+point outing.  Assisted in the front court by BJ Joyner they formed a formidable front line.  Malik Anderson and Jay Heath both verterans of the NYBL anchored the back court with Anderson controlling the tempo, slashing top the tin, and playing phenomenal defense while Heath showed another level in his scoring arsenal by dropping 20 marker multiple times during the session.

Team Rio National – One of the most exciting teams on the circuit the wing combination of Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine are a virtual live highlight film.  Antoine whose overall skill set is already built for the next level is clearly on the path to high major D1 basketball; all these skills were on display as he scored from all three levels game in and game out.  Lewis didn’t disappoint either as he showed improved range on the perimeter and a new array of dunks and finishes that wowed the crowd.  Lewis has major tools and they were all on display in session I.  The game changer piece for Rio very well may be 6’8 Traiq Ingraham who roamed and controlled the middle on both ends.  He cleaned the glassed, finished with authority, and alter any shots he couldn’t get his hung mitts on.  The old school back to the basket post man is a throwback to the good old days of tough hard-nosed in the paints basketball.  How dominating was Rio?  Try a 207 point differential and no team staying with 30-points of the mob. 

Butler Elite – Led by Nobel Days Butler Elite whose known for their fundamentally sound style of play showed some new found excitement in the transition game.  Getting up and down and scoring some easy buckets in transition along with some very consistent shooting from the perimeter and from beyond the arch made Butler Elite a very tough out for anyone that faced them.  It cannot be over stated how much Days does for the team as he anchors the defense and has the offense ran through him.  Is ability to pass out of the post to cutters and shooter is precisely why they left session I undefeated.

Arkansas Soldier – They are back and looking even stronger.  Defense and transition was the name of their game.  Players with motors must be a mandatory requirement to make this team.  Not the biggest team but no one played harder and they would not be refused entry into the painted area.  No matter who, where, or when playing this team is going to be a tough out.

Philly Triple Threat – Already having played a very extensive schedule leading up to this point the Pa. group used a balanced attacked and played with heart and passion every single possession.  In their last Sunday game their style was exemplified as they made 5 straight stops to hold onto a 1-point lead in a 49-48 victory. Jamil Riggins was versatile and contributed in multiple categories and the team dominated when they were out in transition.


Team Durant – One of the most publicized teams in the country the “Terror Squad” has been traveling the circuit seeking the best the nation has to offer and checking them off the their list one by one.  Stepping into the NYBL they proved again they are who they said they are completing the session undefeated with an overall 51-1 record.  The nation’s best backcourt of Tyler Brelsford and AJ Hoggard operated like fire and ice as Brelsford spaced the court and kept defenses honest with his jump shooting and distribution.  Loved his assist to turnover ratio and complete floor game.  Hoggard came out firing lighting up the scoreboard with a 28-point, 5-rebound, 6- assist performance in game I; while displaying the ability to control the game as a scorer and distributor throughout.  His work on the boards was a game changer as he could start the break off the glass, display court vision in finding his teammates, or make a play for himself.  The gym was immediately abuzz when Jordan Toles walked in the building and the question was posed Morrow or Toles – well Toles’ ballot box was most certainly stuffed as he has transformed into a new player since last on the NYBL circuit.  Always a prolific scorer Toles is a 5- category contributor each time out and has become maybe the best defensive stopper in the country as well with his ability to guard 4 positions.  Yes we saw the dunks, but the mid-range work, pull up game, and three ball was what impressed the most from a scoring standpoint.  By my oh my it was his vision, IQ, and ability to act as a facilitator which made him impossible to account for all weekend.  In the front court Cameron Byers who has been taking the class by storm since his move to 2020 average just under a double – double for the weekend toping the charts with a 15-point 14-rebound performance against Team Felton; when he locked in and focused he is capable of doing this at any time to anyone.  We saw some very good face-up ability from Byers and the finesse to his power game made is scary and tough to handle.  Growth and upside define Montez McNeil as he too retuned to the league a different and improved player.  Young and restless he fought through injury to block and challenge anyone who came into the paint.  McNeil runs the floor possibly better than any big in the country and his finishing ability on both sides of the tin is making him almost impossible to defend.  Much improved mechanics had McNeil knocking down 10-footers as well and we can’t wait to see him at full strength as at 75% he still notch multiple double figure games.  Jeremy Roach is also part of the Team Durant “Terror Squad” and he flat out murdered anyone attempting to stop him.  Scored double figure in every game with two 20-point outing and couldn’t be stopped in space while netting marker after marker from beyond the 3-point line.  We must watch Roach as he may have been the most natural scorer in the gym all weekend long – combining that with some excellent defense it’s easy to see why they ended the weekend 5-0.  Big minutes were also played by Justin Lewis especially with the injury to McNeil and he looks to have a very high ceiling especially on the defensive end with this length and size; has the potential to be a phenomenal finisher and may be one of the best kept secrets of the weekend.

Oakland Soldiers – The reigning and defending AAU national champions returned to the NYBL and where challenged out the gate but survived the test.  After the wakeup call they became locked in and returned to normal dominating fashion.  Led by the #1 player in the country Shemar Morrow who turned on when needed and showed flashes of the brilliance we have become accustom to.  He is clearly looking to be challenged and frankly wasn’t during this session.  His matching bookend on the wing Kyree Walker (NR#9) returned to the league looking sleeker, more athletic, and is skill set was much cleaner and crisper – he will be a problem for anyone facing him this season.  Arguably Walker has become one of the most skilled and versatile players in the class; if that talent is ever harnessed for 32 minutes we may see a performance for the ages.   As if that wasn’t enough the Soldiers added another of the country’s top performers Jaden Springer (North Carolina) and he set the tone setter for the squad proving them with an identify and a purpose.  No one plays harder and he contributed in every statistical category on both ends of the court; with this group Springer has triple double potential.  As if that wasn’t enough the Soldiers also added Zion Harmon who basically was a kid in a candy shop as he played a pure point guard setting the table for all the talent around him.  Still a prolific scorer but those services weren’t needed as the team cruised with ease while having an overabundance of fun at session I.   

Team Takeover – Traditionally not know as a one man show Takeover was carried by the #2 player in the country Terrance Williams.  Put him in the scorebook for 20-points and 10-rebounds when he get off the bus and he did that plus some toping the charts with a 32-point performance against the Worldwide Wildcats.  Another surprise for the orange and black was the insertion of 6’9 Hunter Dickerson who made an impact on the glass and on the defensive end; showed nice touch on the mid-range jumper and was able to impact the game playing face up basketball.  Altered shots he didn’t block and gave Takeover something they have lacked to this point; an inside presence.  The backcourt of Cannon Reynolds and Ishmael Leggett  played with renewed energy and played off of one another all session long.  Reynold was able to space the court with his jump shot and ran the team like a true floor general, while Leggett still showed is versatility effecting the game from all three levels – the added fire power allowed Leggett to show off his passing skills as he proved he is more than a bucket getter; he is also a elite facilitator. 

Rip City – Well coached and well disciplined, the group was a pleasure to watch – they shared the ball and ran very smooth sets when they weren’t laying it up after a picture perfect fast break.   The make-up of the team looks to be very balance as they have shooters, rim runners, penetrators, and finisher both off the catch and in the paint.  They played great team defense as evident by no competitor coming within 10-points of the ball club.  The balance of the team makes in tough to determine who to stop and it was impressive how they didn’t miss a beat once they went to the bench.


New World – AKA “The Lynch Mob” has been deemed one of the nation’s and haven’t been challenged very often this season.  Session I of NYBL was more of the same as the country was able to see first-hand the skill and talent of all-world Jalen Hall; powerfully built and skillfully developed he is destine to be a Mitch Richmond type scoring two and did nothing but improve his stock as he got to the paint at will but also was able to knock down the jumper.  The consummate we also like what we say from him as a passer and ball-handler.  Ariel Goddot formed the New World inside out combination and he must immediately be considered to be one of the league’s best  bigs as well as be considered for national attention.  The style of play and talent which include Elijah Hawkins, one of the most seasoned veterans in youth basketball can run the team with his eyes closed, is going to make them tough to beat and they may have one of the best chances to run the table out of the 3 age divisions.

Team Takeover – Tough, hard-nosed, and talented – big, long, and athletic….clearly they have what it takes to get the job done and what we liked most was their ability to play the game at different speeds.  Their secret weapon to the team and  shall be no more to the rest of the country is Trevor Keels a 5-position player , 5-category contributor, 5 position defender.  Not much he didn’t do in session I one dropping 20-points on 3 out of 5 games.  He handles, he passes, directs traffic, and with his size and over all skill set he can do and be whatever the team needs on a given possession.  Add PG Darius Johnson to that mix who is like a miniature Trey Burke strong low center of gravity but quick with a jumper with range and mid-range game – combine that with some solid interior length and you have a 5-0 team on the board.  Needs that signature win and NYBL will give them that opportunity. 

Bmore Finest – They play fast and they play tough – they are coached hard and they respond.  A high pressure transition group who boasted a line-up with some very integrated pieces – starting with top ranked Ahmad Harrison who can simply do it all and has a skill set that he can affect every possession.  Versatility is Harrison’s middle name.  Next add the pure scorer Christian Moore, a flat out bucket getter who does a lot of damage off the bounce and breakdown, plus you spacer and shooter Chris Winborne and you have problem and 5-o team.  We like the interior size and predict a solid season from the Finest.

West Coast Stars – One name Tyrone Washington, know it and remember it.  One man wreaking crew at this age group and flat out no one was even close to having and answer for him.  Wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, he scored at will, guarded any player on the court and was easily one of the top two in the age group.  A three level scorer he also did the job as a set-up the definition of star – he made those around him better.  How far can the Stars go in this age group as far was Washington can take them period.  The versatile Jaden Jones out of Texas has returned to the circuit and displays exceptional size and a diverse skill set that will boded well for the Stars as the season progresses.

S Elite – Coming to you from across the northern border; this team is flat out big and can flat out shoot the light out.  They are deep and play 8 to 10 each time out.  They pass, and rebound and may be the most complete team top to bottom.  The coaching was impressive and they worked well in the half court – not always interested in transition this may be their Achilles heel; but with such a solid system good luck in getting them out of their game.   The balanced scoring attack made it hard for us to pick a star but that includes their opponents who will struggle to determine who to stop and anyone seems to be able to hurt you and hurt you bad.  5 teams took a hurting as they went 5-0 out the gate and will look to improve upon that in April.

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