Monday, November 24, 2014

The NGA Stars Look to Gain Respect

NGA Stars-2019
As far as 2019 west coast teams are concerned, the West Coast Stars (formally City Stars) and the i10 Celtics are the big dogs on the block.  With a star-studded roster that includes super guard Earnest “EJ” Jackson (5’7/PG/CA), Jaden McClanahan (5’8/WG/CA), Jovan McClanahan (5’8/WG/CA), the West Coast Stars are the undisputed kings of the west, while the i10 Celtics with Jovan Blackshire (5’8/PG/AZ) and Jalen House (5’8/WG/AZ) are right behind them in terms of national notoriety. With plans to participate in the 2015 season of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL), Coach Rossi Valentine's NGA Stars, currently ranked as the third best team on the west coast by West Coast Elite 25 (WCE25), are preparing for their national debut when the NYBL tips off in March.

Unlike some of the top west coast teams that have picked up players from surrounding states, the NGA Star’s roster is composed of players that live in the Los Angeles area. This past season, the NGA Star’s biggest accomplishments included championships in the WCE25 Kick Off Tourney in April; a 1st place finish at WCE25’s Championship Series finale in July; a runner up finish at the WCE25 Phoenix Rising Tourney (lost to #12th ranked Roadrunner Dynasty); and an elite eight finish at the Coca Cola Nationals (lost to the i10 Celtics by 10 points).

Although some may question their lofty rankings, and plan to withhold respect until the Stars go head-to-head with some of the west coast’s other elite teams, the NGA Stars have, in fact, defeated a number of ranked teams (west coast). “We have not played the Stars, but we have beat a lot of teams on the list [WCE25 rankings],” noted Valentine.  We lost to the [i10] Celtics by 10 points, and they later beat the Stars by 10 points,” added Valentine. “We beat the RC Bulls and they beat Earl Watson Elite. We also beat Utah [Elite],” Valentine said.  The Star's resume against other ranked west coast teams is as follows: Beat #23rd ranked Earl Watson Black by 30 points; Beats #17th ranked Junior Hoops by 25 points; beat #13th ranked Utah Basketball Club by 20 points; beat #11 ranked San Diego Game Point by 30 points; beat #8th ranked Riverside Matrix 3 times in a row (the last game was by 20 points); and beat #6th ranked RC Bulls by 20 points. Based on the above resume, it would appear the Stars have played some very talented teams.

Amitai Afenjar Battles with Chandler Lawson
According to Coach Valentine  although his squad employs a total team approach towards the game, and is not dominated by 1 or 2 superstar players, he acknowledges his team is powered by his starting five of: Amital Afenjar (6’4/WF/CA); Jeremy Davis (5’7/PG/CA); L Simpson (6’0/F/CA); Nick Answorth (6’1/WF/CA); and Spencer Hubbard (5’1/PG/CA). According to Valentine, Afennjar is super athletic, fast and can jump, while Davis, the teams starting PG, is described as quick, can get in the lane, can handle, and can shoot. L Simpson is also athletic, can jump, handles the rock well and can shoot. “We are a super athletic team,” said Valentine. The rest of NGA Star’s roster includes: Michael Carter (5’9/SG/WF); Samuel Ingram (5’10/WF/CA); and Justin Korn (5’8/P/SG/CA).

Valentine describes his team as “up-tempo, very fast, athletic and a strong pressing team.” Moreover, Valentine is confident of his team’s ability to compete in the NYBL next season. “We can compete and we will compete [in the NYBL] at a high level,” said Valentine.  “Our guys are on the same level as those other guys; you guys [national media] just don’t know it,” continued Valentine.  “We aren’t running from nobody,” offered Valentine.   Valentine feels his players don’t get the respect they deserve on the west coast. “There’s a lot of politics out here,” opined Valentine  “Our guys go to theses camps and get at guys [ranked players] but don’t get recognized,” offered Valentine.  When the NYBL tips off in March 2015, the Stars will get their opportunity to show the nation what they can do. Valentine's  final text message illustrates his goals. "We ready! We want to play the top teams. Period!

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