On Sunday, Keyford Langley’s Carolina Preps squad defeated Deron Williams Elite 50-55 in overtime to capture the 6th grade AAU National Championship in Virginia Beach, VA. On their trek to the title, Carolina Preps defeated Georgia Stars (78-36), NO Rising Stars (64-35), and Team Providence (72-34) in pool play. During bracket play, Preps dispatched SEMO Elite (79-45); Rens 6th Grade (59-48); Carolina Chaos (62-36); All-Ohio Red (41-47); and finally Deron Williams Elite.
According to Coach Langley, the game was close the entire way, as both teams employed similar styles of play. “We felt that D-Will was a mirror image of our team. They have a similar defensive strategy as we have. They ran our same defense we used in the past,” offered Langley. In terms of his strategy heading into the title game, “we had to contain their shooters. We watched them play Memphis [War eagles] and knew they had shooters who were not afraid to put it up,” stated Langley. “We just had to stay the course. The difference in the game, we had Wendell Moore. He was the X factor,” Langley said. Wendell Moore scored a team-high 14 points, followed by Michael Green who finished with 12 and Kobe and Keyshawn Langley who added 10 and 8 points, respectively.
Langley’s team has been participating in the AAU Nationals since the second grade and have enjoyed some success, including a 6th place finish in the second grade; a third place finish in the 5th grade and a second place finish to All-Ohio in the fourth grade.
This year, Carolina Preps finished with an impressive overall record of 70-1. Langley credits much of his team’s success to their participation in the National youth Basketball League (NYBL). “We played a lot of tough competition [in the league] this year. We normally don’t see competition like we saw in the league until the [AAU] nationals,” said Langley. “The NYBL was big for our kids. We had to face a lot of adversity throughout the three [NYBL] sessions,” continued Langley. “Three tough games in one day [in the NYBL] made our kids ready. You can’t duplicate that anywhere else,” Langley said.
Langley thought his team benefited from NYBL play off the court as well. “This nationals was unlike any nationals we have ever attended. There was no craziness between teams. Our parents and kids all socialized and hung out with the other parents and kids from the other NYBL teams. It was like one big family. It [NYBL] was a great experience,” Langley said.
Although the 2013 AAU season is now in the books, Coach Langley said he will give his kids 2 weeks off then they will get back in the gym then start getting ready for next season, I guess that’s how you win a national championship! Congratulations to the entire Carolina Preps organization for a job well done!
Before I close, I would like to give a shout out to all of the NYBL teams that participated in the AAU Nationals and represented the league better that we ever expected. In total, 13 teams participated, and 7 teams finished among the top 8. The final order of finish is as follows: 1) Carolina Preps; 2) Deron Williams Elite; 3) All-Ohio Red; 4th) Memphis War Eagles; 5) Southern Stampede; 6) Metro Flyers; 7) Carolina Chaos; 8) ETU Select; 9) Team Teague; 10) G3 Indy Hoosiers; 11) Chick Web/B-More Finest; and ATR.