Boo Williams defended home turf with ease in Hampton, Virginia, wrapping up the session with a 4-0 record and a 15.8 point margin of victory. Hampton Most Valuable Player Keldon Johnson will have a target on his back in Indianapolis, and it will largely be on him to sustain the success he and his teammates found in session one. They have a deep, talented lineup that should be just fine on the road.
Last year’s Peach Jam Champion MOKAN Elite (KS) kept the momentum going in 2017, finishing the first session with a perfect record behind new feature piece Jontay Porter. The 6-foot-10 junior looked tremendous during the opening session, averaging 19.2 points and 13.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists. This year’s version of MOKAN only goes eight deep, so durability will definitely be a concern moving forward. Junior guards Cooper Kaifes (12.8 PPG) and Isreal Barnes (9.5 PPG) stepped up big time in Hampton.
MeanStreets returned to form last season, and they haven’t missed a beat in so far in 2017. Head coach Tyrone Slaughter and company delivered a 4-0 session in Hampton, riding combo guard Tim Finke and emerging swingman Damezi Anderson Jr. This squad is deep, talented and well-coached, but will likely need a big man to step up their production by season’s end.
The City Rocks were the biggest surprise of the first session. Head coach Jim Hart turned over another talented lineup that has all the pieces to sustain this type of success. Nahziah Carter absolutely blew up in the first session, and the senior may rethink his decision to reclassify to the 2018 class. They would certainly take a hit by losing Carter, but they have more than enough depth to maintain their success without him in the lineup.
One thing is certain through the first session; the PSA Cardinals are the scariest defensive team on the circuit. In four wins, the Cardinals were completely locked in defensively, only giving up 48.5 points per game. Head coach Munch Williams preaches defense constantly, and his players have clearly bought in. They have a floor general in Cole Anthony, and emerging feature players in Isaiah Mucius, Chase Audige, Jose Perez and Jake Forrester. They won’t win pretty, but they should continue to win often.
BABC looked terrific in the first session, with their lone setback being a tough loss to CIA Bounce. Junior Cole Swider (21.8 PPG) dropped 37 points in a huge upset win over Team Takeover, while Jakigh Dottin (16.8 PPG) and Shandon Brown (9.2 PPG) delivered big-time production in the backcourt. 6-foot-9 big man Dimon Carrigan took home Defensive Player of the Session, blocking 16 shots in four games. Add in their constant pressing defense and top-notch coaching, and they have all of the necessary pieces to stay in the rankings.
Last year’s 16E champions All Ohio Red had a strong start to their 17U run, finishing the session with a 3-1 record behind Dane Goodwin, Foster Loyer and Thomas Kithier. They closed the session with back-to-back blowout wins while their lone set-back was a two-point buzzer-beating loss to No. 3 MeanStreets, so you can bank on All Ohio Red remaining highly competitive in Division A.
Howard Pulley spent the majority of the 2016 season ranked atop the D1 Power 10, so it felt wrong not to include the Panthers after a strong opening session in Hampton. Junior guard Tre Jones (18.0 PPG, 9.8 APG, 3.8 RPG) dazzled for Pulley, leading them to three big wins after a season opening loss to the undefeated City Rocks. Jones is one of the best floor generals in the country and he absolutely hates losing, so the Panthers look to be in good shape in their health stays in tact.
Bol Bol (21.0 PPG) and Shareef O’Neal (15.2 PPG) form a deadly frontcourt duos on paper for Cal Supreme Elite, and they delivered on the court in Hampton. Supreme’s lone setback was a loss to No. 8 Howard Pulley in which they came out extremely sluggish. If you take away the opening 10 minutes against the Panthers, Supreme looked as good as anyone in Virginia. The backcourt of Spencer Freedman, Devonaire Doutrive and Tevian Jones is extremely underrated.
The final spot in the rankings are a toss-up. Luckily, games are set to be played tomorrow and everything should sort itself out. Team Penny (TN) gets the nod here due to their balanced lineup behind EYBL veteran point guard Alex Lomax. The 6-foot-1 point guard has done a lot of winning in his past, and with the talent he has around him, Lomax should have no problem helping Team Penny rise up the rankings. They play Team CP3 (3-1), Boo Williams (4-0) and MOKAN Elite (4-0) in Indianapolis, so we will find out quickly if this version of Team Penny is for real.
All with 3-1 records: