As has been reported over the past couple of days, NYBL teams have dominated at the D-I 6th grade AAU Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. so far. Case in point; of the eight teams still alive and fighting for a national championship, 7 of those teams participated in the NYBL this year. What that will mean, 7 NYBL teams will place in the top 10 in the country after the horn blows on Sunday. The significant success of the NYBL teams at the AAU Nationals can be traced back to the extreme level of competition these teams faced over the course of the first-year league. “It prepped us well,” said Dana Watkins, one of the coaches for the Southern Stampede.
The following teams, including their NYBL record, are still in the hunt for a national championship: All-Ohio Red (15-1), Carolina Preps (15-1), Deron Williams Elite (14-2), Southern Stampede (12-4), Carolina Chaos (12-4), ETU Select (8-8) and the Metro Flyers (8-7). In 3 of the Elite 8 games on Saturdayday, NYBL teams will face off against each other. Deron Williams Elite will play the Metro Flyers at 12:40pm; All-Ohio Red will match up against the Southern Stampede at 12:40; and Carolina Preps will face instate rival Carolina Chaos at 2:00pm. The final Elite 8 game pits ETU Select against the Memphis War Eagles at 2:00pm. Also, the 6th Man Warriors (7-9) are making a run in the Classic Bracket. In fact, they are only 1 win away from advancing to the Final 4.
Because 7 of the 8 teams in the Elite 8 are representing the NYBL, the league is guaranteed to have at least 3 of the Final 4 sports as well as a spot in the national championship game. If ETU Select can get it done, there could be both an all-NYBL Final 4 and championship game! From what I hear, the NYBL teams are pulling for and supporting their league brothers in Virginia Beach this week.
In addition to the 7 teams that have advanced to the Elite 8, three other NYBL teams are still fighting to place in the top 12. The SC Hornets (10-5) will take on Team Teague JTO at 11:20 in the first round of the third round consolation bracket. They would need to win 2 games in order to advance to the 9th/11th place medal game. The Upstate Warriors (4-11) and Team Izod/Sports U (6-10) would have to win 2 games in the first round consolation bracket to advance to the 10th/12th place medal game. Unfortunately, only one of those teams can advance to the game because they would have to play each other in the second game on Saturday.
Make no mistake, the success of the NYBL teams in Virginia Beach this week is no fluke. In fact, AGame, a team made up of players form Team Rio Elite (6-10) and Team Izod/Sports U went out west and won the West Coast AAU National Championship. The players on that roster included: AJ Hoggard (PA), Jalen Gaffney (NJ), Bryan Antoine (NJ), Alex Klatsky (NJ), Tarig Ingram (DE), Darrien Dalcourt (MD), Chris Autino (NJ), Stephen Lubischer (NJ), Jordan Montgomery (CA), Terrence Williams (DC) and MJ Wright (NJ). The only player who did not play in the NYBL on that team was Jordan Montgomery, but he will be running with Team Rio Elite in the NYBL next year.
Good luck to all of the NYBL teams still alive in Virginia Beach. Regardless of what happens from this point forward, the NYBL can take great pride in what ever role we played in preparing these teams for the run they made at the AAU Nationals!