Posted On: 08/10/18 10:15 AM
The PrepHoops 15U, #1 team in the country, the Team Loaded VA 15U squad, has officially ended its season, 40-0, back home, where it all originated. The team is comprised of 3 of the Top 10 ranked 2021 players in the state of Virginia. #1, 6’11, Efton Reid, of the Stewart School, provided size, in addition to elite skill to a front court, that already had two of the best guards in the class, but he is not alone. #3 ranked player, a freshman starter for the reigning 3A state champions, the John Marshall Justices, 6’10, Roosevelt Wheeler, became Reid’s, “partner in crime,” and the two were often seen as the twin towers of 15U, AAU basketball. But remember, I told you they had two of the best guards of the class too? Right, ranked #6 in our rankings, is Anthony “AJ” Williams, the Varina state champion combo guard, along with his high school partner in crime, Jason Nelson, made up the Loaded VA 15U backcourt, how is that for, “loaded?” But, there was more, in addition to the players above, Lamonta Ellis of Hopewell, Isaiah Simmons of Cosby, & Evan Castellanos of Benedictine round out the seven local players that were listed on the roster. Blue Ridge’s, Mike Gray and Green Run’s, Gregory Melvin made up the final roster of nine.
Efton Reid, the #1 ranked player in the Class of 2021 in Virginia, currently holds fifteen offers and counting. When I asked how he felt about going 40-0 this summer, it was simple for him, “it was a huge accomplishment for our entire team to go undefeated.” Reid, was also humble when I asked about his newly released, #1 ranking, “it is a huge honor.” Going 40-0 and becoming the best team in the country, on top of being ranked the #1 player in your state can be a lot for most kids, but especially, a 15 year old. But Reid, does not let any of this “hype” effect him. He is still in the gym, daily, working on his craft,and even was highlighted was of the Top 20 Sophomores in the nation, at the HoopGroup Future All-American camp.
Roosevelt Wheeler, also joined Reid at the camp, held in East Stroudsburg University, and was named a top sophomore as well. The 6’10, Wheeler began to receive buzz after joining a John Marshall Justice squad, that already featured, Isaiah Todd. Wheeler held his own as a starter, providing rim protection in the front court, as Todd has the ability to play at the guard position, and his recruitment begin to rise as a result. A 40-0 summer didn’t hurt his recruitment either, as Wheeler picked up a Norfolk St, VCU, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion offer, to go along with a Hampton offer he received to start the new year. With Todd now gone from John Marshall, Wheeler can expect his role to increase, as well as his stock. With his tremendous upside, this should be no issue for Wheeler.
The backcourt for the Team Loaded VA 15U squad was not unfamiliar to most locally either. AJ Williams and Jason Nelson, led Varina to a 5A State Championship in March. Williams, spoke with PrepHoops at the beginning of the AAU season, where he said, his major focus going into this new adventure, with a new squad, was to get recognized by college coaches. Well, mission accomplished. The combo guard picked up four new offers this summer as he led his troops to the 40-0 record; Ole Miss, JMU, VA Tech, and Old Dominion, to go along with aHampton offer received prior to his freshman season. As for Nelson, the tough nosed point guard, received his first offer from Norfolk State in July, and followed it up with four additional offers, from Virginia State, Virginia Union, Canisius, and Drake, to round out July.
In addition to the two Blue Devil guards, Blue Ridge’s, Mike Gray, a point guard, also joined this stacked roster. Gray, may have come into this AAU season, as one of the most underrated players in the state. Averaging 20ppg in his sophomore season at James Monroe, Gray reclassed, and is now at Blue Ridge. When the season began, he held no offers. After a solid, April showing, Gray received his first offer from Hampton, and ended the summer with three Division I offers, with Virginia Tech and James Madison, both showing their interest.
Guards, Isaiah Simmons and Lamonta Ellis, also saw their recruitment start, both gaining their first offers from the Drake Bulldogs. Simmons, took on a leadership role, and was key component to providing offense for the 2nd group for Team Loaded VA 15U. A quick guard, with court vision beyond his age bracket, “Zay” as he is commonly known as should continue to get looks heading into his sophomore season at Cosby. As for Lamonta Ellis, or LJ, winning is something he should be pretty used to. His Hopewell Blue Devils made a 3A State Final Four appearance, and with the departure of three of the four leading scorers, LJ’s production will be depended upon in order for the Blue Devils to have another successful run to a championship. Ellis also received his first offer from Drake University after the 40-0 season. 6’6 F, Evan Castellanos, received both Drake and Canisius College to end off the season. The Benedictine sophomore provided tough nose defense, on a team that was already offensively strong with the play of some of the best freshman in the state
Last but certainly not least to round out the “loaded” roster of stars, was the lone 757 member of the Team Loaded VA 15U squad, Green Run’s, Greg Melvin. Melvin is an active player on defense, whether that be in the paint, or coming out on the wing to guard. Unknown to most, Melvin is also freakishly athletic, and with departure of Green Run senior, Shawn Sanders, should get more opportunities to showcase that this season. To round out the season, Melvin also picked up Drake and Canisius offers.
After going 40-0, the big question for most is, will this squad stick together? With each, and every one, expected to have stellar sophomore seasons at their respective high schools, it will be interesting to see where these guys will be next summer.