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Posted On: 04/17/18 12:25 PM
Colorado Chaos 16U Elite
This team showcases all of the things I’ve been saying from the beginning of the season about how deep the class of 2020 is. Although they came up short in the championship game they turned plenty heads with their play. Most surprising was Zion Ruckard as he played with control and was able to get going on the offensive end. Another standout that had quite the weekend was Cameron Le Van as teams were scrambling to contain the two. Caleb McGill also was one of the best players in the tournament as he showed improvement on the offensive end and played with confidence, but he was a difference maker on defense as well as he changed many shots. The thing that stood out about this team was their chemistry; they celebrated one another’s success and played well in only their first tournament – imagine what they’ll look like in July.
Colorado Miners 16U Elite
What makes this team so special is that they have managed to keep their core guys together for so long. In an era where so many players leave teams for various reasons they still are able to keep players together and they play together better as a result. This team has many gems, but their best player this weekend was Luke O’Brien as he was completely dominant. Luke has a very smooth game and can score from all three levels. He is great at taking what defense gives him and used his body to move the smaller players out of the way. An under the radar player that stood out this weekend was Christian Speller. He was active on the boards and in help side defense and had countless nasty blocks. As great as O’Brien and Speller were, the team wouldn’t have had the balance and control if it wasn’t for Dominic Nellis and Isaiah Jamison. They acted as great floor generals and put their offensive game to the side to get it to their Isaiah Hayes; this is a very deep team.
Las Vegas Prospects 17U
At first glance, this team’s size stands out. They have so much athleticism and that took teams by surprise. What many didn’t expect was for one of their best players to be the youngest player on the team. Kobe Stroughter is a name to remember. He was one of the best players in the tournament despite being so young and changed each game. They got the ball out and ran and their three-point specialist darted defenders to give him a tad bit of space and when they did, he made them pay.
Defense is how this team got it done and Majok Kuath was their defensive anchor. He essentially stole lay-ups from teams as he covered so much ground to get to the block that he forced teams to shoot bad jumpers. Another huge defensive piece was Antwon Jackson but it wasn’t his shot blocking or hands in the passing lines that did it, it was just his presence. He scared players into missing shots and this team intimidated teams on the defensive end that got them going offensively.
KC Spurs 17U
This KC Spurs team was one of my favorites to watch over the weekend. They had lots of talent on this team and were completely unselfish with how they shared the ball. Many times good looks were passed up for even better looks. Their chemistry stood out most. On the rare occasion when the play broke down, it was Dalen Ridgnal who kept things at bay and made it look easy doing so. At 6’7 with elite athleticism, he was able to clean up everything off the boards and took control in the paint. On defense, he blocked everything that came his way which made it easier to go and gave second chance opportunities. Keyton Thomas was a solid playmaker with the ball in his hands and team attempted to throw full court defense at him. He calmly broke it down and got the offense going showing he’s reliable with the ball and makes the right play to put teammates in the right position. This is a dangerous team.
Colorado Knights Elite 15U
Knights Elite are a second year program that started to find their way at the end of the summer last season of AAU. With that, they are looking to put themselves on the map and get the respect they know they deserve from other programs. With not a single player within the top 20, this is a team that competes and does all of the right things to win. They have no problem going that extra mile as they dive for loose balls and do the little things like boxing out every possession. They have one of the best underrated wings from the 2021 class in Taeshaud Jackson Jr. running the show with a solid supporting cast, which makes them a dangerous team. Taeshaud did everything that was asked of him for his team to succeed. Rebounds, score, be a playmaker and the primary facilitator and he did those things. They also have players like Jarmell Johnson and Brad Kerr that can get to rim at will and knock down the outside jumper. Perhaps their best gem is Boston Stanton, a player that locked up on defense and scored on offense. He was seen making the high IQ play that gave this team the edge. This team is better than your average, but to get to that elite level they will need to find easy ways to score in the half court as well as keep other elite teams from putting up lots of points against them.