Posted On: 07/27/20 6:10 AM

Yesterday in Laurel Team Durant and District BC came together to have their 15s, 16s and 17s play against each other. First and foremost, it was a controlled environment where each player had to use hand sanitizer on stoppage of play, the ball was wiped down with Clorox wipes and all coaches were masked. The programs did a great job of separating those who were in attendance and keeping crowds to a minimum in certain spaces. 

I was in attendance for the 15s and 17s. For the takeaways from the 15s game, click here.

Team Durant’s talent

This Team Durant squad has no shortage of talent. With multiple players who are considered top 200 in the nation for their respective class, sometimes it can be difficult to get these types of guys to accept roles within a team. Fortunately all of these players complement each other’s games. 2021 Jalen WarleyJalenWarley6'4" | CGWesttown School | 2021State#23NationPA fills the floor general role who can also score when needed from all three levels. 2022 Dariq WhiteheadDariqWhitehead6'6" | SFMontverde | 2022State#6NationFL is the explosive off-ball guard who plays above the rim, spaces the floor with his jumper and can guard multiple positions. 2021 Jalen WarleyJalenWarley6'4" | CGWesttown School | 2021State#23NationPA fills the floor general role who can also score when needed from all three levels. 2022 Dariq WhiteheadDariqWhitehead6'6" | SFMontverde | 2022State#6NationFL is the explosive off-ball guard who plays above the rim, spaces the floor with his jumper and can guard multiple positions. 2021 Gabe DorseyGabeDorsey6'6" | SFThe Hill School | 2021State#146NationPA is the ultimate southpaw sniper who barely needs a glimpse of the rim before he knocks down NBA range triples. 2021 TJ GadsdenTJGadsden6'6" | PFSt. Andrew's | 2021StateMD is used as a swiss army knife that uses his length to block shots, rebound and finish from the mid-range and in. 2021 Sam Ayomide provides the size and brute strength at 6-foot-11 who is also mobile and determined in transition to rim-run. When you add other names such as 2021 Ike CornishIkeCornish6'6" | SFLegacy Early College | 2021State#106NationSC, 2021 Daniel NixonDanielNixon6'7" | SFThe Hill School | 2021StatePA, 2021 Alpha Bangura and 2021 Chace DavisChaceDavis6'2" | CGSt. Andrew's | 2021StateMD you have what is a plethora of quality depth. *Note: 2021 Jordan HawkinsJordanHawkins6'5" | SFDeMatha | 2021State#44NationMD or 2021 Terrence ButlerTerrenceButler6'7" | PFBishop McNamara | 2021StateMD Jr. did not participate Saturday. DBC brought tremendous energy The gym was limited with those who attended because of COVID-19 restrictions, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t energized. The DBC bench had it rocking with nonstop cheering and screaming when their team made a good play. After getting a stop defensively if you would’ve closed your eyes you would’ve thought you were sitting in a packed gym of screaming fans. There was a lot to cheer for from the DBC early on and they used that energy to capitalize and stay withing striking distance heading into halftime. Eventually falling to Team Durant by a final score of 79-53, there was much to take away from the District’s energy and heart throughout. Whitehead shines Even though 2022 Dariq WhiteheadDariqWhitehead6'6" | SFMontverde | 2022State#6NationFL was the youngest player on the floor, the 6-foot-5 guard played as if he was a veteran. He made back-to-back three’s to ope things up and for the majority of the game did his damage in transition. Whitehead created a handful of turnovers off the ball causing deflections and manufactured fastbreak points for himself or his teammates. On at least three occasions he stopped on the dime from 17-feet for pull up jumpers and hit nothing but net. Cornish provides spark 2021 point guard Ryan CornishRyanCornish6'3" | CGSidwell Friends | 2021StateMD took some time to settle in, but started getting involved more in the second quarter. The 6-foot-3 floor general was at his best operating in ball-screens where Team Durant seemed comfortable switching the 6-foot-11 Ayomide out on Cornish. Instead of rushing into a decision, Cornish would force Ayomide’s feet outside of the arc to guard him in which he then proceeded to use his quickness to his advantage. He’d take a hard dribble left into a step-back jumper, use hesitation dribbles and burst into the paint to force the defense to collapse or utilize the mismatch his team had in the post following the switch. Defensively Cornish held his own as well against the shifty, head guards of Durant. I walked away impressed with how Cornish competed with some of the best guards you’ll find in the country. Warley’s approach I enjoyed watching 2021 point guard Jalen Warley facilitate this Team Durant team. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Warley in action, but his approach to the game seemed mature beyond his years. He’s a calming presence that this talented team needs in chaotic situations. He plays with tremendous pace and IQ, as he knows when to push the pace and when it’s best to pull it back out to set up a play in the half court. He’s quick enough to make the defense pay for giving him a sliver of a driving lane and can finish consistently over the rim or under with soft touch. What stood out the most was his approach defensively to compete every possession. You see plenty of players who take possessions off and when you consider this game wasn’t to advance in a tournament or even count towards their record, it speaks to the pride he has in his efforts for that end of the floor. Warley is also a great leader, which is key at his position. Any time there’s a stoppage he’s looking for a teammate to encourage or talk about strategy for an upcoming possession.

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