Sunday, April 11, 2010

Boo Williams- Saturday Evening/Sunday Notes

I've made it to the Norfolk Airport and now that my flight to Kansas City (connection in Chicago) is about an hour and a half late I've got even more time than expected to reflect on the last day and a half of Boo Williams.

As far as any opening weekend for an event can go, Nike has to be pretty pleased with how the first weekend of the Elite Youth Basketball League played out.

Beal/St. Louis Eagles Score Win Over Rivers and E1T1

I hadn't initially planned to watch the matchup between the Saint Louis Eagles and Each One Teach One. However, the storyline of the Eagles 6-foot-4 scoring whiz Brad Beal going head to head with Austin Rivers -- who like Beal pledged to Florida before backing off late last week -- was too good to pass up. Even though the two didn't guard each other all that much, it was certainly an entertaining battle as Beal dropped 37 (including 22 in the 2nd half) and Rivers pumped in 34 as the Eagles erased a 12 point halftime deficit to take the win and finish their weekend 5-0.

Needless to say, the question of who is better was quite the hot topic amongst everybody in attendance. The truth is that you really can't go wrong with either but for now I'll take Beal. The reason for that is because he doesn't seem to dominate the ball near as much as Rivers -- who is a big fan of the dribble across halfcourt and take a shot without passing move -- and does things within the structure of the team. That's not to knock Rivers because Austin is a special player in his own right and likely the better long term (ie NBA) prospect than Beal. But for college, I'd rather have Beal.

In terms of what he did, Beal hit on deep threes, he attacked the rim and scored with either hand and showcased his beautiful mid range game. He's also a willing defender, rebounds his position and probably doesn't get enough credit for his athleticism. Bottom line, he's built to score and has an incredible arsenal to choose from.

Rivers, on the other hand, is a bit more dominant with the ball. He's impressive in the screen and roll, has some explosion off the dribble and has a pair of huge hands that really help him to control the ball through contact. He shoots with range and sometimes is a little too willing to forget his game attacking the basket to launch deep, contested threes.

Also interesting to note is that even though they are both members of the class of 2011, Rivers turned 18 during December while Beal is only 16 and won't hit 17 until the end of June.

More Top Performers

Stevie Taylor, PG, All-Ohio Red- Generously listed at 5-foot-10, the diminutive and skinny point guard from C-Bus was on fire from deep. Doing his best Isaiah Thomas (the Washington one) impression, he imposed his will on the game and led All-Ohio to a hard fought win over a deep and talented Oakland Soldiers team. He's got a big time motor and high major skills, the question will be whether or not bigger programs will be willing to overlook his smallish size.

Michael Carter-Williams, SG/PG, BABC- When I last saw him play in February, the 6-foot-4 combo guard was a scoring machine. Moving ahead to Boo, he was up to his scoring tricks again. Very skinny, he's a clever ball handler and shot creator who has easy range to the three point line. Credit him for playing through pain and he's a guy who should contend for the McDonald's All-American Game before it's all said and done. Syracuse got a good one!

Josiah Turner, PG, Drew Gooden Soldiers- At the end of last summer, Turner looked to be more of a combo guard who had a reputation for not always bringing it. A year later (and with a new team in the Soldiers) he's solidified himself as a scoring point guard with good size and a newly found killer instinct. Not a jaw dropping athlete, but he changes speeds and goes right or left with ease and really puts pressure on defenses. When pressured or cut off, he does a good job of finding teammates. Big weekend for the young man from Sacramento.

Jabari Brown, SG, Oakland Soldiers- At 6-foot-3, Brown is a strong and compact wing scorer who just goes out there and gets buckets. He's going to score a lot of points in the Pac-10 (where he lands I don't know, but I bet it will be in the Pac-10) when he gets to school and his strength and ability to catch and shoot should help him make the transition.

Keep an Eye on These Guys

Elijah Macon, PF, All-Ohio Red- One of the more impressive 2012 prospects in attendance, the 6-foot-9 power forward has exceptional quickness. He's got pretty good touch in the lane, competes for loose balls and has an ideal basketball body with long arms and shoulders that will allow him to fill out. Freshly de-committed from West Virginia, he's easily a high major prospect who could play just about anywhere in the country.

Bryce Johnson, PF/C, Carolina Ravens- Another 6-foot-9 big man from the class of 2012, Johnson is a skinny and swift insider. Runs the floor well, explodes for dunks in traffic and is a good positional shot blocker. He's got very narrow shoulders which is a bit of a concern looking down the road and projecting how well he'll be able to add weight.

Brandon Ashley, PF/C, Drew Gooden Soldiers- I'm on a roll with 2012 big guys so I'll talk about Ashley next. A legit 6-foot-8 (at least) and still growing, he's come along nicely over the last year. Gets on the glass, runs the floor and blocks shots. Has some offense in the paint but doesn't get a ton of touches with all the Soldiers guard talent.

Isaiah Zierden, SG, Howard Pulley- Hey look, another 2012 guy. He probably wouldn't be the first guy picked in a pickup game, but this undersized shooting guard can flat out shoot the ball and is quite clever in freeing himself for shots. He's got high major skill level, but at about 6-foot-1, his lack of size could mean good things for the quality mid major programs that are going to drool over him.

Mikael Hopkins, PF, Team Takeover- He's still lacking a bit for strength, but the 2011 big man is progressing quite nicely. He scores around the rim and is a high level rebounder both in and out of his area. Overall his fundamentals are solid (not surprising given he plays for a great coach at DeMatha in Mike Jones) and he plays with purpose.

Final Notes From Boo

Honestly, I'm not really sure what to make of Shabazz Napier. The future UConn Husky has good quickness, can score and plays with plenty of confidence. However, at about 5-11 he's also a shot jacker who loses focus of his job to get others involved on a regular basis. If I had to ballpark it, I'd say he's a bottom end top 100 type of player. Napier's BABC teammate Nerlens Noel looks pretty good but the skinny 6-foot-9 power forward/center is still a little limited while he recovers from a knee injury. Like the way he runs, the way he's attacking the rim and how he's getting involved as a shot blocker. He remains an intriguing guy in the class of 2012. ... Loved watching SG/PG Alex Carr of the Birmingham Storm. The 6-foot-2 shooter was nailing shots from all over and also displayed excellent quickness off the dribble. Looks like a solid mid to upper mid major prospect. ... He's not going to get much ink elsehwere, but I LOVE watching Carolina Ravens power forward Fred Mattison. Undersized a bit at 6-foot-6, he's just a hard working kid who uses his athleticism and desire to make a lot of little plays that go unnoticed. Solid mid level prospect. ...

Pound for pound, there's probably not a tougher guy in the country than 5-foot-8 Kiwi Gardner. West coast high majors are going to have to take a long look at him because he's a productive dude and a natural leader. ... Twins Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart have a younger brother named Hikeem who is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard. He's pretty athletic, lean, long and can stroke the rock a bit. He'll be interesting to watch as a senior at Rainier Beach and figures to get at least mid to maybe even upper mid major looks. His Seattle Friends of Hoop teammate Brett Kingma is a bigtime shooter but is pretty small for a shooting guard at six feet (at most) tall. Also like FOH's 6-foot-6 wing Jeffrey Perkins. Good size, athleticism and a nice looking stroke. Could be a late blooming sleeper. ... Johnny Woodard a 6-foot-4 wing from Duluth (Minn.) East is an intriguing guy and will get some high major looks. Explosive athlete who can shoot it a bit and still has a few years to improve as a 2012 kid. Looked very good for Howard Pulley. ... Really wish I could get a better feel for 6-foot-7 PF/SF Jakarr Sampson of King James Shooting Stars. He's a deluxe athlete with good length and quickness. But, he's skinny and is kind of without a true position. ...

Want to also make sure that the St. Louis Eagles Roosevelt Jones gets some love. Built more like a football player, the 6-foot-4 wing is a playmaker off the dribble who gets a lot done. He is a tough defender, junkyard dog on the glass and always seems to make good things happen. It's hard not to imagine him having a potential future in a conference like the Missouri Valley. ...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boo Williams- Saturday Afternoon Update

Other than some minor interruptions from the fashion show after party crowd in the Crowne Plaza hotel, I was able to wake up well rested and ready for games on Saturday morning. Now, sitting at Chili’s taking a lunch break I thought I’d take some time to break down some of the guys I saw this morning and early afternoon.

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Quincy Miller, PF, D-One Sports- He is certainly hunting jumpers (maybe a bit too much) but it’s hard to doubt his immense talent. D-One got spanked by the Saint Louis Eagles but Miller had stretches where he was hitting deep jumpers, blocking shots and getting to the rim for dunks. Adding bulk would really help him around the paint where his quickness and length are already big weapons.

Mike Shaw, PF, Mac Irvin Fire- It seems like Shaw has been around forever and 6-foot-8 four man still tantalizes with his face-up ability. Saturday morning he was smoking deep jumpers, handling the glass on the defensive end and making some very sharp passes. A good, not great, athlete, he’s looking a bit more streamlined. Still, it would really be nice to see him get in the paint and mix it up a bit more on the offensive end.

Brad Beal, SG, St. Louis Eagles- As he gets older, Beal continues to add good muscle to his long and lean frame. He’s become quicker off the bounce and his athleticism at the rim is a bit undervalued because of how easy he makes things look. Against D-One Sports, Beal couldn’t miss from deep or mid-range as he cruised to a 30 point outing without breaking a sweat. He put an exclamation point on his game by ripping Quincy Miller at halfcourt and pulling up to swish a three on a one on none break.

Stock On The Rise

Nino Jackson, PG, Athlete’s First- A super quick class of 2012 prospect, Jackson was very impressive. The 6-foot-1 player out of Ardmore (Okla.) High is a relentless attacker of the rim who can also pull-up and drain jumpers out to the three point line. A flashy passer, he’s a bit out of control but clearly very talented and a high major prospect. Even better, he’s a big time defender who rips passes out of the air and picks opponents pockets.

Ben McLemore, SG/SF, St. Louis Eagles- As expected, the super athletic wing is making his mark on Boo Williams. He attacks the rim, shoots pull-up jumpers and makes big time plays in transition. Still very rough around the edges, his upside is immense and it’s hard not to love his commitment to rebounding from the wing position.

Chris Bryant, PF, Team Florida- He had a few finishes at the rim rattle out because of a wickedly bent rim, but the long armed and quick insider was otherwise impressive. Gets off the floor quickly and fully extends his arms allowing him to play bigger than his size. Narrow shoulders are a concern for adding bulk but he has the look of a guy who should make plenty of top 100 lists.

Tyler Harris, SF, Albany City Rocks 16’s- The younger brother of 2010 McDonald’s All-American Tobias Harris, Tyler could be heading down that same road. A skinny 6-foot-6 lefty, Tyler is a natural small forward with a high skill level and lots of energy. He gets tips at the rims, scores off the dribble and hits some jumpers. He’s lacking in strength, but does have good lateral quickness and overall athleticism. Watched him go for 28 in a win over the Southern Kings #2 team in the 16’s.

More Early Saturday Notes

Went and took another look at the Arkansas Wings group and still don’t know what to make of them. 6-foot-4 Ky Madden is running the point for them, but hardly looked to score and really seems out of place as a PG. He seems so much more comfortable as a slashing wing who is particularly dangerous between eight and 12 feet. 6-foot-6 David Rivers continues to show flashes as well. He’s long, lean and athletic. Hard to think there isn’t a potential high major player somewhere in there. … Cimeon Bowers of Playground Elite is definitely going to be a four man on the next level. At 6-foot-6 he’s quite strong and willing to battle. He’s also an eager shooter of the ball and relentlessly hunts shots whether they are good or not. Exactly where he fits on the next level remains up to debate. … As a freshman at Oklahoma City (Okla.) Douglass, 5-foot-8 Stevie Clark developed a reputation as a shooter. Playing for Athlete’s First 17 and under team he’s definitely been stripping the nets. Another to watch for Athlete’s first is 6-foot-5 2011 wing Josh Richardson from Edmond Sante Fe. Long, athletic and can shoot it a bit as well. …

Went to watch BABC in hopes of getting a good look at Syracuse bound (and quickly rising up the rankings) combo guard Michael Carter-Williams. Unfortunately MCW got hurt early on (after looking quite good). But, that didn’t stop BABC from beating up on a very talented (but struggling) Team Texas squad. Shabazz Napier looks like Monta Ellis’ mini-me and has the same attitude when it comes to getting his shots. If it feels like leather, odds are the six footer who is pledged to UConn is letting it fly. … California Supreme’s Kevin Johnson has lost a significant amount of weight. The 6-foot-9 center from Woodland Hills (CA) Taft is easily a high major guy. In fact, he’s lost so much weight that he’d benefit from gaining some it back (so long as it’s muscle) so that he can be more of a power player. …

Too early to make any kind of call on the status of Tony Wroten. Way over listed at 6-foot-6 (he’s 6-4, tops) the Seattle (Wash.) Garfield product was attacking the rim, making slick dishes and getting to the line. Via twitter he reported that he had a triple double and though I’m not sure about that, he was pretty effective. …

Friday, April 9, 2010

Boo Williams- Friday Night Thoughts

Because my flight caused me to miss the first game or so of Friday night's action at the 2010 Boo Williams Invitational, I never really married myself to a schedule for the night's activity. Instead, I rolled in looking to get a feel for Nike's new Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) concept and a lay of the land.

Mission Accomplished.

First, the EYBL really is something new to the grassroots world. Not only are the kids set up in leagues, but Nike has all the coaches wearing matching polo shirts and slacks. With Position Sports running the event, management of teams, volunteers, scouts, fans and workers was outstanding. All in all, an impressive start.

Of course, it's the players that mattered most and I had a chance to see some guys who caught my attention.

As Advertised---------

Dajuan Coleman, C, Albany City Rocks- Considered by some to be the #1 player in the class of 2012, Coleman grows on you. He's a bit beefy and not really tall (6-8 probably), but he's very effective. He's not quite as skilled as Jared Sullinger, but he has very similar hands, strength and willingness to dominate the glass.

Gary Bell, SG, Seattle Rotary Select- Granted he didn't put up huge numbers. But, he doesn't get a lot of shots and remains committed to being a team player. He's learning to play the one, but is clearly most comfortable as a two or SG/PG combo. Excellent athlete and potential lock down defender. Hard to see how he won't eventually help a college coach win a lot of games.

Stock on the Rise--------

Eric Katenda, PF, Albany City Rocks- A long and lean 6-foot-9 insider from Cheshire in Albany, N.Y., Katenda is an interesting prospect. He's quite lean, but he runs well, has some skill to him and is a willing rebounder and help side shot rejector. Looks just like the type of player who has been very productive in the A-10 of late.

Torren Jones, PF, Arizona Stars- A member of the class of 2013, Jones boasts tremendous physical gifts. While he's likely closer to 6-foot-7 than his listed 6-foot-8, he's an impressive looking post prospect. He runs very well, has good balance and super hands. However, he looks unsure of himself and would likely benefit from playing on the 16 or 15 and under level so he can develop his skills a bit more and mature physically. Clearly, though, he's a pretty high level prospect.

Joe Coleman, SG, Howard Pulley- A solid athlete with some physical toughness, Coleman is a relentless competitor. He plays hard on both ends and can get to the rim or stroke the jumper. He showed some high major flashes last year, but the 2011 guard is looking pretty legit right now.

Shai Fields, SG/PG, Team Texas- Generously listed at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, he's a quick and fearless combo guard. He scores at the rim, is streaky from deep and has tremendous burst off the dribble and heading to the rim. Looks like an excellent mid to upper mid major level prospect.

More Friday Notes---------

There's no way I watched the Arkansas Wings long enough to draw too many conclusions. However, Aaron Ross (Arkansas commitment) really looks to be more of a PF/SF combo at 6-foot-6 and not a true three man like many expected him to be. Ky Madden definitely looks like more of a SG/SF than a point guard. Athletic, quick and can hit some pull-up jumpers. Hunter Mickelson doesn't look like he's added much weight. The guy I continue to think has a lot of potential is 2010 wing David Rivers. He's a slinky 6-6'ish wing that is oozing upside. ... There's no question who the best (at least hottest) shooter I saw on Friday night was. That honor goes to the Arizona Stars Judd Wolfinger. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard was smoking threes all over the place. That said, I didn't see Shabazz Napier (11 threes for BABC) and only got a brief look at Kentavious Caldwell (10 threes for Georgia Blazers). ... After playing for Pump 'N Run in the past, Sacramento guard Josiah Turner is in town with the Drew Gooden Soldiers. Word is the 6-foot-2 combo guard looked good. Will see him on Saturday.

During the winter, Huntsville's Devin Langford was touted as a 6-foot-6 point guard. When I saw him play, he struggled mightily and looked disinterested. Playing alongside Austin Rivers for Each 1 Teach 1, Langford looked like a high major wing prospect at times. A solid athlete with some versatility, it'd be interesting to see what he would do if he got much more aggressive. ... Last April I wrote about Irving, Tex. scoring machine Keith Frazier at the Real Deal on the Hill. He was an 8th grader at the time. Playing for the Houston Hoops 17 and under squad, the slender 6-foot-3 SG looked quite good. The Hoops are loaded with young guard talent. ... Liked what I saw from Howard Pulley's sophomore point guard Syanni Chambers. He's little at 5-foot-10, but he's quick and in control of the game on the offensive end of the floor. ... I noticed that Ricardo Gaithers is now playing with the Jackson Tigers 16 and under squad after running with Louisiana Select's 17's last spring and summer. Kind of an interesting switch. ... Memphis Southwind's Jonathan Williams is mistakingly listed as a 2014 guy (he's 2013), but that doesn't change the fact that he's a BIG TIME prospect. ... Rest assured, Playground Elite's Cimeon Bowers is going to get his shots. A strong 6-foot-6 power forward, he's quicker than you might think and a bull on the offensive end. He's going to cause some pretty serious debates about what level he best projects to at the next level. ...

Yes! It appears that the Boys To Men Academy has opened it's doors again. A few kids for the Meanstreets are listed there and the BTMA coach Loren Jackson is an assistant. I guess it is hard to say goodbye to yesterday..............

A Boo Williams Preview- A little Late

Alright, the idea was to post this around 5pm. But, flight delays got in the way. So, here's a preview (even if it's after first day).

I'll do some thoughts and highlights from Friday night later on this evening or early Saturday.


So, I’m sitting on my flight between Kansas City to Baltimore and just like seemingly every other Southwest flight I’ve taken in the past year or so the flight is completely full. But, hey, at least my bags are flying free, right?

Anyway, I needed a time killer for the flight so I decided to take a look at the schedule and highlight some of what I thought would be the best matchups and most interesting stories to keep an eye on over the weekend. I’ve yet to figure out exactly which games I’ll be watching, but there are a lot of guys that I’m real interested to get a look at.

To keep things easy to follow, I’m just looking at the 17 and under schedule and I’m just going to go time by time and mention some things that catch my eye. I’ll warn you in advance, this could be lengthy!


6:00 PM- The First game that catches my eye is Boo Williams versus the New Jersey Playaz. For the first time in a while, Boo Williams will be fielding a team that is a bit of an unknown. We do know that North Carolina bound 6-foot-8 power forward James McAdoo figures to be the centerpiece, but each year Boo produces a few high major guys that springboard to prominence at their own tourney. The Playaz, feature a group that is big with Derrick Randall and 6-foot-8 string bean forward Desmond Hubert and experienced in the backcourt with Myles Mack and Myles Davis. The other game that looks intriguing is the Oakland Soldiers with skilled 6-foot-9 power forward Kyle Wiltjer and 6-foot-2 combo guard Nick Johnson taking on D-One Sports and Quincy Miller. Any time Brian Clifton’s D-One squad hits the floor, you can be sure there are going to be athletes all over the place.

7:30 PM- It’s a pretty safe bet that there will be lots of scouts and fans on hand to watch Austin Rivers and Each 1 Teach 1 take on a LOADED Team Final team headlined by 2011’s #1 player Michael Gilchrist and imposing big man Rakeem Christmas. One thing’s for certain, no player will be interviewed by more North Carolina and Duke fan sites than Rivers will be this weekend.

Actually, it’s hard to go wrong during the 7:30 grouping. YOMCA vs. the Arkansas Wings is a great matchup and it will be interesting to see how far the Wings Ky Madden has progressed in the last year. The feeling among many is that the versatile 6-foot-4 guard is poised to make a big leap up the rankings to this is his first chance to prove it on the floor. Also, keep a close eye on the BABC vs. The Family matchup. Speedy Walker’s Family group was really good on the 16 and under level last summer and BABC features much improved Michael Carter-Williams. The silky 6-foot-4 combo guard who has committed to Syracuse will leave the weekend a legit candidate for the 2011 McDonald’s All-American game candidate if he plays even half as well as he did during February’s National Prep School Invitational.

9:00 PM- The Baltimore Elite vs. Team Takeover tilt will undoubtedly be a fierce battle between regional foes. It’s DC versus Baltimore and there’s not likely to be a lot of love lost here. The guy to watch out for is Team Takeover’s Mikael Hopkins. The 6-foot-9 Center/Power forward has generated a ton of buzz with high level college coaches. Not to mention, 6-foot-6 wing Michael Gbinje will be looking to show why he was able to give an early commit to Duke. Also looking forward to seeing the future Texas !&M backcourt of Jamal Branch and Jordan Green hit the floor for Team Texas. Watch out for Kentavious Caldwell’s Georgia Blazers vs. Marquis Teague’s Spiece team as well.


9:30 AM- Again, D-One Sports plays in a game that has a lot of intrigue. They’ll face off with the Saint Louis Eagles and their pair of stud wings Brad Beal and Ben McLemore. Beal is a well known and proven commodity, however McLemore has been all the rage lately and is coming off of a monster junior season. He’ll get his chance to prove that he’s for real in this game. The Southern Kings figure to be one of the better teams on the circuit this spring and summer and Ohio State bound Shannon Scott, 6-foot-3 shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker, 6-foot-8 forward Julian Royal and 6-foot-7 Henry Brooks seem like they’ve been playing together forever. Hopefully, 2012 point guard Nino Jackson is suiting up against the King for Athlete’s First. He and 2011 wing Josh Richardson could be breakout guys this weekend.

11:00 AM- This time slot seems as good as any to catch up on Seattle Rotary Select’s Tony Wroten. The 6-foot-4 guard missed his junior year to an ACL tear and he’s looking to prove that he belongs as an elite prospect. He’s been a youtube sensation since the 8th grade, but he’s one of the more hotly debated prospects amongst scouts. Some love him while others remain skeptical of him as a long term prospect. The weekend should also serve as 6-foot-2 combo guard Gary Bell’s intro to the spotlight and hopefully 2012 guard Anrio Adams is in attendance with them as well.

12:30 PM- Anybody who has watched grassroots basketball for a while knows that Team Florida’s Tom Topping is as good as it gets when it comes to coaching ability. Anybody who likes watching a well run team that plays together and has athletes will enjoy watching Topping’s group here.

5:00 PM- The Jackson Tigers always seem to have a bunch of young, long and athletic talents. But, since Al Jefferson left the program for the NBA, the Tigers haven’t ever seemed to win as much as their talent would suggest they should. All eyes will be on their big man tandem of Johnny O’Bryant and Tyler Adams along with wildly athletic wing Ladarius Page. Can O’Bryant finally put together production that matches his potential? While the Tigers battle with the Charlotte Royals, the Houston Hoops will be taking on the Playaz. The Hoops 6-foot-3 point guard L.J. Rose confirmed his status as one of the premier 2012 floor generals during the high school season. Meanwhile his running mate J-Mychal Reese continued to put up huge numbers. However, at just 6 feet tall or so, it’s time for Reese to prove that he’s really a point guard prospect and not just an undersized two guard. He’s been highly acclaimed for some time, but others have him in their sites.

6:30 PM- Team Final vs. Rotary Select may be the single most anticipated game of the weekend.

8:00 PM- This time figures to be a perfect time to check out Mac Irvin’s group as they take on Athlete’s First. 2011 studs Wayne Blackshear and Sam Thompson are big time wing prospects and they’ll be surrounded by athletes and an underrated point guard in Macarri Brooks.


8:00 AM- A top to bottom great round of games (Southern Kings/Ark. Wings, Mac Irvin/NJ Playaz, D1/Gauchos and others)but ouch that 8am tipoff is going to be a tough one to make and odds are the games will be sloppy. 8am games are always sloppy.

9:30 AM- Dion Bethea is one of the best guys on the circuit so it will be time to check out his South Carolina Ravens as they take on another good guy Mike Hart’s Albany City Rocks. Neither team features anybody that is particularly well known, but the Ravens DaMarcus Harrison is a rangy and athletic shooter.

11:00 AM- Norm Parker’s Georgia Stars and the Southern Kings will hold a battle for Atlanta bragging rights all the way up in Hampton. Regional pride will be on the line in this one and the Stars were very successful on the 16 and under level last summer.

12:30 PM- Each 1 Teach 1 vs. the St. Louis Eagles is a great storyline. Austin Rivers is now back on the market and rumors persist that Brad Beal will eventually reconsider his Florida commitment as well even though he continues to deny those rumors. Of course, Rivers was denying them last April and May as well and we see how that turned out. Either way, that’s a battle of two big time scorers and of course there’s the Ben McLemore factor as well. Not to mention, Eagles point guard Shaq Boga is trying to make a rep of his own.

2:00 PM- The final round of games in the 17 and under division offers up plenty of options. But, it’s going to be hard to not want to watch Team Final’s Rakeem Christmas do battle with the Jackson Tigers up and down big guys.

Stepping into the Blogosphere

I've been taking a little more time away from basketball than usual lately as I plan my next move. Some time away from the game has been good for clearing my mind. However, I still have a scouting service to run so I'll be back out on the road this weekend for the Boo Williams Invitational in Hampton, Va.

It should be an interesting weekend and not just because Boo has long been the unofficial start of the Grassroots season. This weekend, Nike unveils their much discussed Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.

Rather than play a traditional weekend tourney, all of the Nike teams have been split into divisions and will play five league games. After stops in Houston in mid May and Los Angeles over Memorial Day weekend, the top 24 teams in the standings will advance to Nike's top team event -- Peach Jam -- and even more importantly it will assure that they remain in the Nike stable of funded teams next year. At least, that's my understanding of why they've created the league.

That's right folks, winning is actually going to matter a bit more in the long run. Personally, I think it's a good step and am excited to watch.

Anyway, I'll do my best to drop in some nuggets and thoughts throughout the weekend. Also, I've never done a blog before so it's probably going to be a little bit before I can spruce things up a bit.