Saturday, May 11, 2013


Kelvin Powell, Contributor

League could be the wave of the future as coaches; parents look for more competitive venues to further enhance development.

(North Augusta, SC) – While it may not be commonplace to discuss the futures of 12 year olds in the workplace, it’s not against the norm to discuss their presence on the hardwood-henceforth I will. The NYBL – National Youth Basketball League – featuring some of the best sixth grade teams (and players) in the country will serve as the platform.  The League, which features 24 teams from 15 states, has created excitement and buzz in another 15 states and Canada welcomed its Session II to North Augusta, SC.  Here I’ll take a look at the present and in some ways- the future.  In forecasting the future we hope all those mentioned below will continue to work, sacrifice, and most importantly have fun at a game they all seem to love at 12 years old. Let’s ALL make sure they love it for years to come.

Scottie Lewis / 6’0” / Small Forward / Garden City All-Stars Scottie was one of the most impressive individual players during Session II.  He combines excellent size and athleticism to an emerging inside/outside game. I project him long-term as a small forward or shooting guard. His length and quickness makes him a superior defender against multiple positions.  He shows good timing to both block and contest shots. Offensively, he elevates quicker than just about all players in his age-group (at least in the NYBL), and scores at the rim.  His jump shot has a high release and he can score from 15-17 feet with a nice pull-up jumper. Scottie is most effective in transition, where his speed is exception and his first step explosive.  Potentially among the best you will find.

Jeremiah Francis / 5’11” / Point Guard / All-Ohio Red – All-Ohio Red is one of the best collection of talent I’ve seen on any level. The Red (as I will referred to them as, because they are soooo hot), are led by the play of Francis.  Although I have him listed as a point guard, Jeremiah can play all 3 (PG, SG, SF) perimeter positions with relative ease. I like him as a point guard long-term because of his vision and passing skills. You add in his size 5’11” with broadening shoulders and you can see why many view Francis among the nation’s best. Jeremiah can also score the basketball from beyond the 3-point arc. He plays hard and is not afraid to hit the floor after loose balls; a player who makes everyone around him better.

Chris Hinton / 6’2” / Power Forward / Southern StampedePossessing the size of a player who can possibly contribute at a level two-three years his superior, Hinton is polished with his skill set as well.  A relentless rebounder, Chris displays a work ethic rarely seen as such a young age.  I love his ability to finish around the basket with both hands. During my observations, he executed several nice jump hooks in the lane with both hands. His footwork is good and his mobility for his size is exceptional.  This young phenom is going to be a force over time.

Anthony Hoggard / 5’6” / Point Guard / Team Izod/ Sports UI like to refer to those compact, big body, physical play-making point guards as “Bagley” types after former NBA journeyman John Bagley who starred at Boston College.  Hoggard is a “Bagley” type and a very good one too.  Because of his physical nature, he can complete plays against contact. Whether it’s making a basket on a drive or holding defenders off while making a slick pass to a teammate, he gets it done.  A disruptive defender with his quick hands and aggressive mind-set, AJ caused several opposing coaches to make adjustment to their primary ball-handler depending on who Hoggard was guarding. Because chances are if he’s guarding the ball, there going to be a steal occurring or at least of unease that causes most offenses to frizzle.  A strong ball handler with good leadership skills.

Nico Mannion / 5’4” / Combination Guard / Arizona MonsoonNico is a ultra competitive guard who actually hails from Utah, but has made the move to the Arizona based Monsoon for the increased competition level the Monsoon face, as well as, to unite with the arsenal that is the Monsoon. He is capable of playing either of the guard spots with an array of position specific skills and understanding. As an off-guard, Nico is a lights-out shooter, possessing a quick release and deep range.  He has the floater in his game when defenders look to close out on his jumper and he has deceptive quickness that leaves would-be defenders in the dust.  Mannion can slide to the point guard position as well; there he shows the knack for involving his teammates and making the right basketball play every time down. His composure and savvy play will make him a much-sought after prospect in time, not to mention he is the son of two former high level athletes who stand 6’ 2”(mom) and 6’7” (father). He’s a long –term hit!

Kelvin Powell is a national scout who has worked with such media outlets as ESPN and SLAM Magazine. Powell serves as director of scouting and player personnel for Elev8/Ganon Baker Basketball-one of the top basketball training academies in the country. He serves a Camp Director of the JRNSA Camp – a national level middle school basketball skills camp, whose attendants include E.J. Montgomery – the nation’s number one 2018 prospect. Powell is a member of the McDonald’s All-American Selection Committee and the Advisory Board of the NYBL He can be reached at - also follow him on twitter @kppros

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