|2022 SMAC Akron Elite|
Although there are several SMAC teams in the state, the Akron-based 2022 SMAC Akron Elite squad appears to have been flying under the radar so far this season. According to Coach Tim Sams, his team consists of four boys who previously played for Ed Heben’s Shooting Stars team for the last two years plus several other boys in the surrounding Cleveland/Akron/Canton area. In fact, the SMAC roster includes: Connor Sams (Wadsworth), Drew Dossi (Wooster), Luke Denbow (Ashland), Zack Oddo (Green), Aiden Palmer (Revere), Cade Henne (North Canton), Nate Francine (Tulsa), Brayden Hamilton (Brunswick), and Hunter Geissinger (North Canton).
So far this year, SMAC Akron Elite 2022 has a record of 20-6 with two tournaments wins in their last two tournaments played: (TNBA’s Make it Rain- Cleveland 7th Grade Division (March 31at-April 2nd) and BSA’s Hoopfest in Pittsburgh April 21st-23rd). SMAC Akron Elite also has a runner-up finish earlier in the year in Dublin at the Dot.Com Classic after a 2-point loss to Eastside Elite (Newark).
Apparently, five out the six of SMAC losses this year were decided in the last minute of play. This list included two close games at the Nike All Ohio Grass Roots in Columbus; a 2-point loss to the Family 2022 (Detroit) and a 3-point loss to Indiana’s Always 100. In their opening tournament of the season, SMAC suffered a 6-point loss to Ed Heben’s TNBA Shooting Stars in the early March Cleveland tournament. In addition, during the Nike Grass Roots tourney in Columbus a few weeks ago, SMAC Akron Elite defeated the North Coast Blue Chips by 2 points along with All-Ohio White 2022 in Pool Play.
In TNBA’s Make it Rain tournament, SMAC Akron Elite 2022 defeated Chicago’s Made Men (Iman Shumpert’s team) in the final game by 2 points (67-69) in the Gold Championship. SMAC Akron Elite 2022 had blowout wins in bracket play on Sunday over NC Running Rebels (83-28) and also enjoyed a big margin of victory against Lake Shore 185 (56-30) in the semi-final game.
In the Basketball Stars of America (BSA)’s Pittsburgh Hoopfest last week, SMAC Akron Elite 2022 defeated South Jersey Jazz 7th Grade (68-26) in the semi-final game on Sunday in the Gold Division, and beat Fayette Finest (58-28) in the Gold championship game. In pool play, SMAC Akron Elite defeated BSA-Dizon (59-21), BSA Carr Elite (50-29), and Shut Em Down- New Castle (53-29).
According to Coach Sams, "...the team is extremely athletic and prefers to play at a fast pace by pushing the ball on offense and applying full-court pressure on defense." In addition, SMAC Akron Elite 7th grade plans to enter the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown in Columbus June 16th – June 18th this year. Plus, they will enter several other local tournaments.