|B. Koprovica, J. Bishop, J. Edmonds, M. Walker & EJ Jackson|
The second stop of the 2015 National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) season tipped off at the beautiful Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, VA this past weekend, and as expected, the individual and team match-ups were at an elite level. As the NYBL has continued to grow in both numbers and prestige, so has the quality of the facilities and amenities. This past weekend, 88 teams in 3 divisions were all housed under 1 roof and 12 courts at the convention center; consequently, the true basketball junkie was in Basketball Heaven! More than in any session we can remember, the number of over time and down to the wire finishes were numerous. Everywhere we looked close games were being played, often requiring double overtime to decide a winner.
In terms of individual talent, there were a handful of players who really logged in superior performances over the weekend. Balsa Koprovicia (6’9/C/2019/FL) had another outstanding weekend and clearly made a case as the best player in the league. Koprovica dominated on both ends of the floor as he scored at will around the cup, while refusing to allow finishes at the rim. Bmores Finest’s James Bishop (6’0/PG/2019/Bmore, MD) followed up a breakout performance in session I with another outstanding showing in Richmond. They don’t call him “Buckets” for nothing; the kid can really score that rock! As noted in an earlier story, Marquise Walker (5’10/PG/2019/Bowling Green, KY) made his NYBL debut and more than lived up to his reputation. His addition to Team Florida’s backcourt immediately makes them one of the favorites to claim the title. Proving it was no fluke in session I, AOT’s Isaac Okoro (6’3/PF/2019/Atlanta, GA) was seen stuffing the stat sheet again. By the end of the NYBL season, if Okoro’s name is not solidly listed among the top 100 players in his class, someone is clearly asleep at the switch!
|I. Okoro, P. Achivwa, A. Gaffney, N. Day & D. Heard|
He may not have the biggest rep in the class, but for those of us who have followed the 2019 class closely over the last few years we know that Joey Edmonds (5’8/PG/2019/Wyoming, OH) has game. He demonstrated just why he has been thought so highly of since he ran with All-Ohio Purple several years ago. Edmonds went for 30 points in a game against Team Florida and another 27 in an earlier game and looked elite in doing so. Edmonds shoots with range, off the bounce or in catch and shoot situations, and he is fearless attacking the cup. A high basketball IQ and a superior handle make him tough to guard. Although New Heights 2019 was only filling in for the weekend, their 4-1 record was impressive and their roster included a pair of potential D-I prospects. Precious Achivwa (6’6/PF/2019/NY) is the best of the 2 and should demand a spot on college coaches’ recruiting board now. Long, athletic with a high motor best describes Achivwa’a game right now. He also runs the floor very well and is highly effective at blocking or altering shots. He could be a good one going forward.
Rip City’s Jyare Davis (6’3/WF/2020/DEL) was impressive this weekend. Good size with a soft touch around the basket allows him to finish at a high rate. He gets up and down the court fluidly and always appears to be playing hard. Davis has a nice upside and should be tracked by college coaches even at this young age. One of the best performances of the weekend goes to Alex Wade (5’4/PG/2020/San Diego, CA). Wade almost single-handedly led his San Diego Select squad to an upset victory over Team Melo late Saturday night. Wade’s diminutive size has no bearing on his determination and ability to attack and finish at the cup, as he is fearless. It’s not just heart and guts; the kid is super skilled, extremely smart and knows how to run a team. There is no doubt in our minds Wade will be playing college basketball at some level. We plan to keep an eye on New World’s Dearvae Heard (6’3/WF/Charleston, SC) who flashed just enough promise to keep us coming back to see just how good he really is. The same thing can be said about Brampton’s Josh Hemmings (6’3/WF/2019/Toronto, CN), who could represent a potential D-I prospect with continued growth and development. Good length with a smooth game is what we saw with Hemmings. Add OBC’s Alonzo Gaffney (6’5/C/2019/Cleveland) to that list. Gaffney has continued to stretch out over the past few season and the development in his game is really starting to show. As he continues to pick up weight and hone his skill set, we look for Gaffney to garner college interest by this time next year.
|K. Bogle, T. Aman, J. Hemmings, D. McKinney & T. Acuff|
We also really liked Kris Bogle (6’4/SG/2019/Ft. Lauderdale). He does not get much recognition with the South Florida Kings, but his, size, elite athleticism and motor will garner him enough attention going forward. The Riverside Flyers were a full time participant in the NYBL last year, but is only serving as a fill in team for session II this season. Although their record was nothing to brag about in Richmond, a pair of pickups are worth noting. Tariq Aman (5’8/PG/2019/Dallas, TX) is super quick, has a great burst with his first step and has little difficulty staying in the paint. Once he’s in there, more often than not he makes a great decision with the rock. His backcourt mate, Maxwell Abmas (5’10/SG/2019/Dallas, TX), gets it done on the perimeter where he is a three point marksman. Abmas got hot on Saturday and lit someone up for 30 plus points.
Jason Harris (6’4/2020/Chandler, AZ) continues to dominate and continues to justify his considerable hype. Not only does Harris project well, he is productive right now in terms of scoring and defending the paint. Long, agile and skilled is his calling card. The 2020 Mid-Ohio Puma’s Matt Allocco is widely known in Ohio as one of the top guards in the state. After the performances he has logged after the first 2 sessions in the NYBL, Allocco is demanding even more national respect. Much like Alex Wade, Allocco, a son of a coach, is highly skilled, intelligent, plays extremely hard, is unafraid and is a consummate floor general. Team Izod has a pair of studs with Quadir Maneri (6’0/WF/2020/NY) and Demon Clowney (6’5/W/PF/2020/Baltimore). There’s a lot of talent on that team, but Maneri and Clowney make them go. With that said, we have to keep and eye on the big man, Andrew King (6’5/C/202/Coatesville, PA), who has shown flashes of greatness and could be a good looking prospect going forward.
Last session it was Kyree Walker who put up gaudy numbers and paced the Oakland Soldiers to a 5-0 record. In Richmond, Shemar Morrow (6’4/SG/2020/Sacramento, CA) took control of the primary scoring and proceeded to light up the score board. As has already been depicted in a couple of highlight videos, Morrow was doing work above the rim and throwing down spectacular dunks. Team Melo’s AJ Hoggard (5’10/PG/202/Coatesville, PA) logged in another solid performance in Richmond, as did Zion Harmon (5’6/PG/2020/MD) and Jordan Toles.
|L. Moore, T. Keels, J. Davis, M. Branham & K. Brantley|
Most 2021 fans have figured at the Team Teague’s Jalen Blackmon (5’7/PG/2021/Ft. Wayne, IN) is an elite shooter and Caleb Furst (6’4/C/Ft. Wayne, IN) is one of the best bigs in the class with a lot of upside potential, but people may not yet recognize that Josh Davis (6’0/WF/2021/Indianapolis, IN) is the workhouse on that team. Strong, aggressive and blessed with loads of athleticism, Davis has the ability to put up big numbers at the rim. Davis is definitely one to watch in the next few years. Team Takeover’s Trevor Keels (6’0/PF/2021/Clinton, MD) was a beast in Richmond and proved to be a load to defend in the paint. Already standing 6’0 as only a 6th grader, Keels’ upside appears solid. Buckeye Prep’s Malakai Branham and Patrick Daniels Jr. are tough one/two combination and a big part of their team’s recent success. No discussion about the top 6th graders is complete without mentioning Latrell Moore (5’11/PF/2021/Houston, TX), one of the most athletic players in the class who is already playing all around the rim. Moore has a mature feel to his game and is simply too strong for most defenders. If you need a late game rebound or an and-1, Keels is your guy. We have to give a shout out to Khalil Brantley (5’0/PG/2021/Charlotte, NC), who exploded offensively against R.E.A.C.H. The dynamic PG appeared super quick and crafty as he kept his defender off balance the entire game. Once of the top kids in the class of 2020, Brantley is now getting it done in 2021. Below is a complete list of standout performers for session II.
20 Point Club
|Z. Graham, I. Okoro, M. Abmas, J. Bishop, DJ. Collins & I. LeBlanc|
2019: Zeb Graham Jr.-Team Charlotte (5); Isaac Okoro-AOT (3); James Bishop-Bmores Finest (3); Maxwell Abmas-Riverside Flyers (3); Joey Edmonds-SWO Elite (2); Brice Long-Lexington Hustle; Kevin Cross-Arkansas; Balsa Koprovica-Team Florida; Dejuan Cook-Metro Flyers; Alonte Harvey-Team Swagg (2); Kyi Wright-GPU Steel Rivers; Jared Smith-Arkansas Soldierz; Precious Achivwa; Jay Heath-New World; EJ Jackson-West Coast Stars; Evan Johnson-Team Loaded; Jeffery McClellon-Lexington Hustle; Nos Tyson-Team Charlotte; Day Day Heard-New World; Raquan Brown-Team Charlotte; R. Black-Queen City Thunder (2); Christopher Marganles-Maryland Playmakers; Josh Team Florida; McCorkle-Garner road; J. Benjamin-Garner Road; Trevis-South Florida Kings; Jalen-Maryland Playmakers; 2020: Isaiah LeBlanc-Gods First Crusaders; Alex Wade-San Diego Select (2); AJ Hoggard-Team Melo; Dillion Dupenia-West Coast All-Stars (2); Shemar Morrow-Oakland Soldiers; Jason Harris-West Coast All-Stars; Caleb Furst-Team Teague; Dwon Odem-Worldwide Wildcats; Jalen Blackmon-Team Teague; Sharife Cooper-AOT; Matt Allocco-Mid-Ohio Pumas; Latrell Gonzales-Brampton Warriors; Courage Ogbeide-Brampton Warriors; Jordan Toles-Team Melo; Josh Heemings-Brampton Warriors; Joshua Nickleberry-Team Loaded; Jack Pugh-Mid Ohio Pumas; Jamahri Harvy-Fayetteville Elite; Jake Younkin-SWO Elite; Tramon Black-God First Crusaders; J. Thomas-Team Final Red; L. Curtis-Bmores Finest; Amory-Tean Final Red; Ethan-West Coast Stars; K. Turner-Rip City; T. Walker-Garner Road Red; Butler-Team Final Red; D. Starks-GHITP; Jamal Barnes-Slam City; Zach-Team Izod; Kenny-OBC; Azaiyah Roberts. 2021: DJ Collins-Garden City Kings (5); Jalen Hall-New World (2); Trevor Keels-Team Takeover; Will Sizer-All-Ohio; Noah Peeples-EBA Hoops; Joshua Boscoe; Latrell Moore-West Coast All-Stars; and Khalil Brantley-Worldwide Wildcats.
2019: Balsa Koprovica-Team Florida; James Bishop-BMores Finest: Marquise Walker-Team Florida, Vernon Carey-Team Florida; Isaac Okoro-AOT; Precious Achivwa-New Heights; Kris Bogle-South Florida Kings; Donte Scott-Philly Triple Threat; Bryan Sanders-Team Florida; Joey Edmonds-SWO Elite; Zeb Graham Jr.-Team Charlotte; Jay Heath-New World; EJ Jackson-West Coast Stars; Jacob Ray-City Stars; Kevin Cross-Arkansas Soldierz; Tariq Aman-Riverside Flyers; Che Evans-Team Melo; Jared Smith-Arkansas Soldierz; Kendell Bynum-Team Loaded; Devon Fox-The Truth; Brandon Rush-The Truth; Mason Ellison-Atlanta Express; Talton Jones-Fayettville Elite; Charles Brown-Metro Flyers; Seth Lundy-Philly Triple Threat; Donald Hill-CBC Elite; Rylan McLaurin-CBC Elite; Alonso Gaffney-Ohio Basketball Club; CJ Charleston-Ohio Basketball Club; Dejuan Cook-Metro Flyers; Jamal Edmondson-Team Loaded; Evan Johnson-Team Loaded; Kyi Wright-GPU Steel Rivers; Keno Arrington-GPU Steel Rivers; Brice Long-Lexington Hustle; Donovan Souter-Butler Elite; Jeffery McClellon-Lexington Hustle; Alec Pfriem-SWO Elite; Latrelle Gonzales-Brampton Warriors; Taryn Todd-Brampton Warriors; and Dearvae Heard-Team Loaded; Cameron Byers-Team Melo; Triatian Miller-CBC Havoc; Mason Ellison-Atlant Express; Alonte Harvey-Team SWAGG; Ayan Teel-New World; Kendell Bynum-Team Loaded 757; Jalen Burbage-Lexington Hustle; Karin Coulibay-New World; Brice Long Lexington Hustle; T. Jones-Fayetteville Elite; Elijah English. 2020: Shemar Morrow-Oakland Soldiers; Jyare Davis-Rip City; Anthony Hoggard-Team Melo; Zion Harmon-Oakland Soldiers; Jason Harris-West Coast All-Stars; Alex Wade-San Diego Select; Sharife Cooper-AOT; Matt Allocco-Mid-Ohio Pumas; Thomas Notarainnai-San Diego Select; Cameron Byers-Team Melo; Kyree Walker-Oakland Solders; Jordan Toles-Team Melo; Dwon Odom-Worldwide Wildcats; Jalen Cone-Worldwide Wildcats; Dillon Dupina-West Coast All-Stars; Kendell Munson-Oakland Soldiers; Paris Dawson-West Coast All-Stars; Tommy Anderson-San Diego Select; Isaiah LeBlanc-God First Crusaders; Joe Bamisile-Team Loaded; Zach Martini-Team Izod; Bryan Perkins-God First Crusaders; Jack Pugh-Mid-Ohio Pumas; Chase Ellis-Worldwide Wildcats; Tyler Brelsford-Team Melo; Jeremy Roach-Team Melo; Montez McNeail-Team Melo; Keonte White-Worldwide Wildcats; Josiah Freeman-023 feet; Chuck Harris-023 Feet; Obinna Anyanwe-San Diego Select; and Jamir Thomas; Julian Thomas-Team Loaded Red; Wil Sizer-All-Ohio; Gervon Dexter-E1T1; J. Barnes-Slam City. 2021: Jalen Hall-New World; Josh Davis-Team Teague; Jalen Blackmon-Team Teague; Caleb Furst-Team Teague; Josh Basco-S. Elite; Isaiah May-All-Ohio; Jaylen Sullenger-All-Ohio; Khalil Brantley-Worldwide Wildcats; Rodney Rice-Team Takeover; Trey Thomas-Team Takeover; Courage Ogbeide-Brampton Warriors; Julian Ellerby-New World; Kino Lilly-Team Takeover; Alex Williams-Dayton Wolves; DJ Collins-Garden City Kings; Noah Peeples-EBA Hoops; Tyson Acuff-R.E.A.C.H. Detroit; Quentin Hassell-Brampton Warriors; Trey Patterson-Team Izod; Tyrone Washington-West Coast All-Stars; Elijah Hawkins-New World; Keon Henderson-R.E.A.C.H. Detroit; Justice Williams-Team Izod; Tristian Jefferys-Team Izod; Casey george-Mid-Ohio Pumas; and Omar Caraballo-Gardner Road.