Although many said it could not be done, 24 of the nation’s most elite 6th grade teams will reconvene in North Augusta, South Carolina this Friday for the second session of the National Youth Basketball League (N.Y.B.L.). As was the case in session #1 in Washington D.C., the gym is sure to be buzzing, as the competition will be intensified. In the Nation’s capital, 3 teams got out of town without a blemish. Ohio Select, Carolina Preps and Carolina Chaos all finished 5-0 in the opening session. Although they stumbled a bit, several other teams got off to great starts. Arizona Monsoon, Deron Williams Elite, S.C. Hornets, Metrolina Havoc, 6th Man Warriors and Southern Stampede all finished with impressive 4-1 records.
One of the big questions surrounding session #2 centers around whether any of the above teams will escape South Carolina without loss? Even money is on Ohio Select to run the table, despite the fact the DeMarco Bradley’s squad has to face a murders row of teams chopping at the bit to take down the #1 ranked juggernaut. The team most likely to rip off the emperor’s clothes is Keyford Langley’s Carolina Preps squad. With good size, a roster full of talent and the poise to withstand Ohio Select’s intense pressure, by most accounts, Preps has the team to get the job done. This match-up is slated for Sunday afternoon, and for those fortunate enough to be in the house, get there early if you want a seat.
|Carolina Preps will arrive in North Augusta with a 36-0 record|
I spoke with Keyford Langley, coach of Carolina Preps, and he, too, is very excited about the session #2 match-ups. “Everybody is talking about it [session #2], I have gotten a lot of calls from various coaches, both inside and outside of the league talking about the match-ups,” said Langley. There are a lot of guys not in the league planning to drive up to North Augusta to watch the games,” Langley continued. Although Langley and his players are looking forward to their match-up with All-Ohio, they don’t have a master plan. “It’s more about what we do, not what they do,” added Langley. “We’re not going to do anything special; it will be about our style [of play] versus their style of play’” the coach said. Although Langley’s team will face several quality teams over the course of weekend, the Ohio Select game sticks out the most. “I don’t won’t to over look the other teams, because they all can beat you, but it’s hard not to think about the Ohio Select game,” continued Langley. Carolina Preps has a good reason to feel confident, as they will be rolling into North Augusta rocking a 36-0 record. They have won 8 tournaments so far this season and have played up and beaten a number of 7th grade teams.
|Will Each 1 Teach 1 make any noise?|
Let me make this clear, Carolina Preps is not the only squad who can take down Goliath, as 5 teams in the league’s South Division have a resume that suggests they have a chance also. The S.C. Hornets, Southern Stampede, Metrolina Havoc and Carolina Chaos will all get a shot at shocking the world. Although most people point to the All-Ohio vs Carolina Preps match-up as possibly the game of the weekend, Langley feels the game to watch is All-Ohio vs the S.C. Hornets. This game would serve as a rematch of sorts, as the Hornets defeated All-Ohio Red in the first round of bracket play at the AAU Nationals last year. Also, the Hornet’s big man has returned to the squad for session two, and could have a major impact on the game. “That may be the game of the session,” added Langley. The Preps coach is also anticipating his team’s match-up with ETU Select and others. “I want to see ETU and Ohio Select; hell, I want to see all of the games," Langley said.
Although All-Ohio vs the South Division is the big ticket for the weekend, session #2 will feature other key match-ups, and will answer a few additional questions. Question two; can Deron Williams Elite and the Arizona Monsoon duplicate the success they enjoyed in Maryland? Question 3; just how strong is the East Division and can they bring pride and respect back to northeast basketball? Is the South Division really that strong or can teams like 6th Man Warriors, ETU Select or Each 1 Teach 1 take away a little shine from their southern brethren? Question 4; who are the top kids in the league? Ohio Select’s Gerard Reynolds was the consensus MVP just a few weeks ago. Thomas Brunner (S.C. Hornets), Chris Harris (D-Will Elite), Wendell Moore (Carolina Preps) and Isaiah Watson (Carolina Chaos) were all first teamers in session #1, but were they just lucky, or can they excel a second time around and punch their ticket to the NYBL All-Game Star in September in Columbus?
|Can the S.C. Hornets get it done in S.C.?|
Session #2 will also feature some upgrades off the court. This weekend, all of the games will be played under one roof so everybody will get a chance to watch most of the match-ups. I can almost hear the oohs and ahs coming from every court. I can see the crowds packing the gym to watch the action. Oh by the way, the facility for the event is the Riverfront Park Activities Center, the same facility the Nike uses to host the Peach Jam, their most prestigious event! Also, on Saturday night, the league will host a coach’s social at the host hotel. The social will be catered, and beverages will be flowing! After they beat each other up on the court, the event will give coaches a chance to socialize, fellowship and simply unwind after a hectic day of competition.
If you can’t make the trip to North Augusta, make sure you stop back by this site, as there will be a ton of stories, recaps and special features, all designed to fully document what went down in South Carolina In closing, “CAN’T WAIT!!