|Jalen Blackmon, Caleb Furst, William Jeffress, Pierre Brooks& Meechie Johnson|
We’re only halfway through the day of the UA Next Combine Series Midwest and it’s already clear there are some serious ballers in the house! The second year event tipped off at the Quest Multisport facility in Chicago, IL. On the same court as the NBA Combine earlier this week, 40 elite 8th graders from around the region assembled for the first of 5 regional combines. Under Armour’s new partnership with the NBA and Jr. NBA is clearly evident and the upgrade in resources is quite impressive! Another nice touch was the presence of Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jernami Grant and former NBA great Antonio Davis, who offered their insight and experience to the campers.
So far this morning, players and parents have been treated to informative workshops designed to impart knowledge and valuable information about what kids and parents can expect going forward. In addition, players are being put through a series of skill and drills as well as the same combine testing as the future NBA guys experienced this past week. The 9 stations include shuttle drills, vertical jumps, 40-yard dash, wingspan and height measurements and several others. After lunch, players will begin practicing before the 3 rounds of games begin in the afternoon.
The opening event has attracted some of the some of the top 8th graders in the region including: Jalen Blackmon (6’1/PG/Ft. Wayne, IN), Caleb Furst (6’8/C/Ft. Wayne, IN), William Jeffress (6’5/WF/Erie, PA), Meechie Johnson (5’11/PG/Garfield Heights, OH), Pierre Brooks II (6’4/WF/Detroit, MI), Keon Henderson (5’11/PG/Detroit, MI), Skyler Schmidt (6’6/PF/Goshon, OH), Patrick Baldwin (6’6/WF/Evanston, IL), Glenn Bynum Jr. (6’3/CG/Mint Hill, NC), Chris Hodges (6’8/C/Schamburg, IL) and Jaden Winfield (6’1/CG/St. Louis, MO). In addition to the 8th graders, 2 nationally ranked 7th graders made the cut. Chris Livingston (6’3/CG/Akron, OH) and Paul McMillan IV (6’0/PG/Cincinnati, OH) will have the opportunity to pit their talent against some of the best the class of 2021 has to offer. With all the talent in the gym, we can’t wait for the games to jump off later this afternoon! Stay tuned for our post event report.