Back when I was in eighth grade, I had the opportunity to play in MADE Hoops events with my AAU team. It was an unbelievable experience, we got to bond over the trip and compete against the best of the best. Today, I went back to my roots and took in some action, from my blogging perspective. Here are some names that stood out:
Benjamin Hammond (Boo Williams)
Hammond was the catalyst for Boo Williams throughout their entire game against Team Melo. He brought great energy and truly impacted both ends of the floor. On offense, he showcased a complete arsenal that featured impressive court vision, a quick first step and a smooth three ball. On the other side of the ball, Hammond used his speed and instincts to cause havoc in the Boo Williams press.
Zion Walker (Boo Williams)
Before going down with an injury, Walker was dominating the game in all facets for Boo Williams. He has a big strong frame and the ball skills to go with it, Team Melo just simply couldn’t keep him out of the lane. Once he got to the rim, he showcased impressive body control and strength to finish around the help. As he continues to add to his game, Walker will definitely be a name to watch.
Emmanuel Okitondo (Team Durant)
Okitondo is an absolute physical specimen on the floor. Standing at 6’7”, he can dominate opponents down low but also has the coordination and fluidity to run the floor gracefully. Okitondo also flashed some touch, drilling a free throw line jumper in the first half. His game is obviously predicated around physical dominance at the moment, but if he can continue to improve his touch and stretch his game, he can be a force in the future.
Derrick Eley Jr. (Team United)
Eley Jr. plays the game with a certain toughness and it’s really fun to watch. He doesn’t back down from anyone and is extremely creative with the ball in his hands. Eley Jr. brings that same intensity to the defensive end where he creates events for Team United at the point of attack. It’s very hard to project guards this early in the process, but I enjoyed the poise Eley Jr. played with.
Ahmad Nowell (Team Final DiVincenzo)
Nowell is the epitome of a tone-setter. As the point guard, he dices up the defense with quick pull-ups and drop off passes. His ability to attack the gaps and get to his spots against New York Lightning’s 2-3 zone was very impressive. Defensively, Nowell is an absolute menace. When guarding the ball, he disrupts his opponent with ball pressure and quick feet. Nowell really made a positive impression defending off the ball as well, he showed great instincts and an advanced understanding of the game as he was always rotating in the right spot and stayed one step ahead of the offense. His two-way impact jumps off the page immediately, Ahmad Nowell is a name to watch.