By Brandon Tatera
The fifth annual Nike Elite Youth Basketball League tips-off Session One in Sacramento on April 25th- the sole NCAA designated evaluation period of the Spring Season.
The league features over 600 of the nation's top student-athletes dispersed amongst 40 travel teams from around the United States and Canada. NCAA Coaches from around the country will attend. Californiapreps.com will have full coverage and will be court side for Sunday's game between the two elite California AAU teams.
Top Teams:Oakland Soldiers
Each 1 Teach 1
King James Shooting Stars
Mac Irvin Fire
Story lines:The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League returns to California, the first time in Sacramento. 12 of the nation's top 20 2015 players along with 6 of the top 9 2016 players form a loaded field at the Jackson Sports Academy in McClellan Park. Labissiere and Giles will draw a lot of interest since both missed either most of or their entire high school season. A Saturday morning matchup between Lawson and Tatum should draw coaches by the masses. I am also curious to see how San Gabriel Valley Academy star Marcus LoVett does with the Mac Irvin Fire against top competition. It looks to be a great weekend full of talent with this being the only spring NCAA coaches live viewing period.
California Supreme Preview:The story of last weekend's Hoop Review event run by Gerry Freitas was Cal Supreme. Aaron Holiday (Campbell Hall) and Bennie Boatwright (Village Christian) form a duo that can score at will at times. M.J. Cage grew by leaps and bounds with Mater Dei this season and his development is something to watch. Dual sport standout Roy Hemsley of Windward should provide a strong inside presence. If the Sierra Canyon underclassmen duo of Devearl Ramsey and Cody Riley play 17U, this team could be even better.
Oakland Soldiers Preview:The Oakland Soldiers have a potentially legendary AAU front court duo with the nation's #2 2015 player Rabb (Bishop O'Dowd) and 4th ranked Zimmerman (Bishop Gorman). Rex Pflueger of Mater Dei and Oscar Frayer (Moreau Catholic) are a talented wing duo that are highlights waiting to happen. Loyola point guard Max Hazzard will run the Soldiers show from the point guard position. Lawndale forward Chimezie Metu and northern California guards Tyrell Alcorn (El Cerrito) and Bernard Ward (Richmond Salesian) round out the Soldier roster.