The New York Lightning put together another super-strong campaign in 2018, finishing with a () record behind a disciplined and defensive-minded approach. Director Dana Dingle and head coach Shandu McNeill are two of the very best in grassroots basketball and they’re back with another talented roster. Similar to Lightning teams in the past, the longtime New York City Elite Youth Basketball representative wont deploy a deep lineup. They’ll be relying on EYBL veterans Posh Alexander and Cliff Omoruyi to lead them back to the Peach Jam promised land, and there’s a lot to like about the rest of their roster.
NY Lightning junior Posh Alexander (247 2020 Composite No. 76)
Alexander (247 Composite No. 76) is about to start his third EYBL season, and the junior point guard will enter the season under different circumstances. The EYBL will be some of Alexander’s first live game action after breaking his arm in December. The Our Saviour Lutheran (NY) star was forced to miss the rest of the high school season, so he’ll be entering the circuit with a point to prove. Alexander averaged 13.7 points, 4.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 22 games in 2018, earning Most Valuable Player Honors after session one. He’s tough, confident, craft, and loves to lead the break. He’s also a lockdown defender, holding status as one of the best two-way players in the 2020 graduating class. Expect Alexander to pick up right where he left off. He’ll be a contender for All-EYBL honors in all three sessions and will be the biggest reason why the Lightning should return to Peach in July.
Jaylen Murray as a sophomore with Cardinal Hayes
The Lightning always roster some of the toughest guards in the country, and it’s the same story this spring and summer. Sophomore Jaylen Murray joins the fray, and the 5-foot-11 scoring guard is as hard-nosed as they come, and he’ll provide another fierce competitor alongside Alexander. Murray will be relied upon for his explosive play-making ability and on-ball defensive chops, and he should make an immediate impact with the Lightning. Murray is an evolving shooter from the perimeter, and the CHSBL 1st Team All-League selection is never afraid to attack the basket.
6-foot-4 Max Edwards will see big minutes in the backcourt, and the Bunnell (CT) star might just be the best shooter on the team. Edwards was selected as a CHSCA All-State Performer during his 2018-19 junior season, and his will pack scoring punch for the Lightning. Primo Spears will also see major time in the backcourt, and the 6-foot-2 playmaker has an interesting backstory. Two years ago, Spears suffered compound-fracture in his arm. He dislocated the elbow, ruptured a ligament, broke the radial head of the bone, and broke the front portion of the elbow joint. Spears struggled as he tried to return in last season's EYBL, but he turned over a new leaf this winter. He returned to form at Windsor (CT) high school, highlighted by a 19-points, 23-assist, 4-rebound performance in a win over Platt. Junior Anthony 'Rome' Marshall provides another offensive option off the bench, and the 6-foot sparkplug can score at all three levels. Marshall is very shifty and has good vision in the open court, and he's a prime candidate to raise his recruitment. 6-foot-4 Jalen Leach, currently ranked 32nd by NERR in the 2020 class, will also see minutes in the backcourt. The junior guard will provide a good scorer and defender, and as a NEPSAC player at Tilton School, he should be somewhat accustomed to the rigors of the EYBL.
Cliff Omoruyi with Roselle Catholic (h/t 247 Sports)
The aforementioned Omoruyi (247 No. 74) will be the main man in the middle for the Lightning. At 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, Omoruyi will be one of the most physically-imposing forces on the circuit. Omoruyi played in 12 games in last season's EYBL, averaging 5.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 12 games. Omoruyi will be a focal point on both ends for the Lightning, and it will be imperative that he can defend efficiently without getting into foul trouble. Omoruyi averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game for nationally-ranked Roselle Catholic (NJ), and colleges took notice; Omoruyi was offered by Kentucky in early April. He plans to work on his mid-range game in the EYBL, but his bread-and-butter is abusing people around the rim.
The only other true big man on the roster is Max Amadasun. The 6-foot-10 Amadasun will be relied upon for rebounding and defense, and he has a great chance of turning into a high-major big man by the time the season is said and done. Amadasun, who plays alongside Alexander at OSL (NY), is being recruited hard by Penn State, and Dingle expects him to continue catching the eye of college scouts.
6-foot-4 junior swingmen Dylan Wusu (Our Saviour Lutheran) and Alberto Laureano (Thurgood Marshall) round out the rotation, and both will operate as glue-guys in the Lightning lineup. Wusu is coming off a strong season at OSL, and his strength and physicality should make him an asset on both ends of the floor.
The Lightning always find a way to qualify for Peach Jam, and they will once again be a favorite to finish in the top five of Division D. The on-court success is great, but the Lightning also succeeded off the court, sending all of their graduating seniors to college in 2018. The same should happen again with their current roster, and if Alexander and Omoruyi play to their potential, they should find plenty of success on the EYBL court. They advanced to the Elite Eight at Peach Jam a year ago, and an encore bracket-play performance is definitely not out of the question with this unit.