|Ball4Lyfe-2019 NYBL National Champions|
The 2015 National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) season concluded in early June with some unexpected champions, thrilling victories and regional bragging rights. When the 2015 NYBL season tipped off in March in the Nation’s capital, teams like Team Florida, West Coast Stars and DC Premier were heavy favorites in the 2019 division. However, known mostly as a “football state,” Florida basketball announced its arrival by placing a pair of teams in the final 4 at the NYBL Finals in Columbus. On the national level, few youth basketball fans were familiar with south Florida based Ball4Lyfe. With a void of nationally ranked players or an elite resume, a scrappy, well coached Ball4Lyfe squad shocked the youth basketball establishment with their run to the NYBL Championship. With the tallest front court in the nation, with the likes of Balsa Koprivica and Chol Mariel, the better known Team Florida further represented the Sunshine State with their 3rd place finish.
Also a virtual unknown at the start of the season, the Georgia based AOT Running Rebels thrilled NYBL fans with their up-tempo, in your face brand of ball. Blessed with a dynamic backcourt in Shareif and Omar Cooper, and an athletic scoring machine in Isaac Okoro, AOT’s appearance in the championship came as a big surprise to those not fortunate enough to get a peek at NYBL action this past season. With their second place finish at last year’s AAU Nationals, the West Coast Stars was also a favorite to take the 2019 crown, and their 4th place finish was more the respectable this year.
The results in the 2020 division were a little more predictable, with super teams like Oakland Soldiers, Team Melo expected to compete for a NYBL National Championships. The Soldiers’ mega roster of studs like Shemar Morrow, Kyree Walker and Zion Harmon made them one of the wire-to-wire favorites to take the Chip. Add the star studded West Coast All-Stars to the final 4 mix at #4 and it’s clear the division favorites represented in the end. Anybody who watched the Mid-Ohio Pumas play the previous year suspected that they might make some noise in the NYBL, and that’s exactly what they did with their 3rd place finish.
I’m not sure anybody who followed the class of 2021 thought that the Maryland based New World would take the NYBL crown. In dominating fashion all season, the upstart team from the DMV surprised teams with their play. Powered by Jalen Hall, Bray Freeman and Elijah Hawkins, New World established themselves among the best 2021 teams in the country. For many years Canada basketball has garnered more and more respect around the world, and Stags Elite’s runner-up finish confirmed that the trend continues. More of a dark horse entering the league finals, Stags Elite rode team oriented basketball all the way to the championship game. Rounding out the final 4 were traditional powers from a talent rich area in Bmores Finest at # 3 and Team Izod rounding out the final 4.
By most accounts, the 2015 NYBL season was a huge success and introduced to the country a number of very talented players and teams. Although the 3rd year league has been known for attracting already established teams and highly ranked players, the 2015 results reflects the depth of the league and the power of the league unearth talent in areas not traditionally know as hotbeds and to place players on national top player lists. Below is a link to the complete lists of the top 10 finishers in each division. Next up is the NYBL All-Star Weekend and Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase (September 12th & 13th), where many of the NYBL and nation’s most elite players will reassemble for one of the most competitive events in the country. Although the NYBL is all about team pride and the pursuit of championships, the NYBL Weekend is all about individual excellence and establishing a national reputation and resume! Stay tuned for the release of the NYBL All-Star Game rosters, including the rosters for the prestigious “NYBL vs The nation game. Congratulations to all of the teams and players who participated in the league and of course a standing ovation goes out to the league’s top 10 finishers!