Another season and another PSA Cardinals team qualified for Peach Jam. Have they had a lot of talent through the years? Of course, but we have all seen talented teams fail to qualify in the past. PSA Cardinals teams play disciplined basketball and are consistent on both ends. Head coach and program director Terrance 'Munch' Williams is very aware of his personnel and it showed in big games to get his team qualified. He and his guys are ecstatic to be back in grassroots biggest event.
“It’s a culminating event as far as our goals,” he said. “It’s one of our first goals as a unit throughout the program. For 17*, we have been fortunate enough to qualify every year of our existence within the Nike umbrella. We don’t take it for granted and we understand the process. We try to break it down session by session with the goal ultimately ending up between first and fifth in the division. Every time you make it, the kids feel like they have been able to capture one of their goals for the work they have been putting in both on and off the court.”
The PSA Cardinals finished the regular season with an 8-8 record. They definitely had their highs and lows, but Williams thinks his players are ready for what’s to come.
“It’s being recognized by the masses and for them it’s the pride for playing in the best event in the country,” Williams said. “They also understand that you will be able to play in front of a plethora of college coaches who will hopefully be vying for your services. I think it’s mentally and physically taxing on the kids and the coaching staff, but everyone gives their heart to that process. For us this year we did a phenomenal job of staying the course and I think the guys understand that we have a shot as long as we do all of the little things well.”
As expected, PSA Cardinals point guard Cole Anthony dominated this Nike EYBL season. He led the league in scoring with 26.9 points per game. There was no question that he was this year’s Nike EYBL MVP. Anthony’s motor, scoring ability and athleticism made him unstoppable this season. Coach Terrance Williams looked to Anthony as another coach on the floor. Williams thinks Anthony’s talent will separate the PSA Cardinals in July.
“We are going to be a hard team to score on because we are always tough on defense,” said Williams. “I think in the game of basketball you need closers and that may come from coaching or different players in how they impact the game. I think we have the best closer at Peach Jam in Cole Anthony. Having that level of talent as well as the pieces around him gives you an advantage.”
Anthony knows what it takes to make a championship run as he played 17u as a freshman when the Cardinals were runner ups to Mokan Elite. Anthony’s talent makes the PSA Cardinals a serious threat.
“We are going to be a hard team to score on because we are always tough on defense."
The PSA Cardinals backcourt is where they get most of their production from offensively. Clearly the first name that comes to mind when speaking on their backcourt is Cole Anthony. Anthony is the top guard and possibly prospect in the class of 2019. His talent and basketball I.Q. makes him very dynamic and unstoppable for most EYBL teams. Tyson Etienne is definitely one to watch out for. Etienne is a good scorer with intriguing attributes like his shooting and craftiness. He should surprise people as he is more than capable of having a big July. The PSA Cardinals glue guy is Joe Toussaint. You can always expect Toussaint to play hard and bring his toughness on both ends. He is someone that the Cardinals rely on and he compliments their backcourt very well. 6’8” Ismael Massoud plays within their backcourt. Massoud is an intriguing prospect with his size and shooting ability. He gives them more options as he stretches out the defense. Class of 2019 guard Jayden Reaves knows his role and does it well. Reaves is a great defender and decision maker. The PSA Cardinals backcourt is not one to mess with.
Max Lorca-Lloyd, Richie Springs, Essam Mostafa and Joel Soriano make up the PSA Cardinals frontcourt. Lorca-Lloyd is a good athlete with how bouncy he is and how well he runs the floor. With an improved motor and toughness he has developed nicely and will have high major schools keeping an eye on him this July. Class of 2020 Richie Springs made his PSA Cardinals debut this year. Springs is coming into his own and has the potential to become of the best four-men in his class with his skill and athleticism. Mostafa complements the PSA Cardinals well with his physicality and as well as Fordham commit Joel Soriano.
The PSA Cardinals go by the motto “own your destiny” and it works well with what it takes for them to win it all this year. Williams believes it will come down to how badly his team wants it and that all starts on the defensive end.
“A big thing with us is own your destiny,” he said. “We haven’t faced any team that we couldn’t beat. What it’s going to take for us is everyone buying in and each player playing their own individual role well. We need to be the most defensive team that week. If we want to give our 17u a chance to win we have to be the best defensive team in the country.”
Williams and his staff are going to do as much as they can to prepare their players physically and mentally in an event as grueling as the Peach Jam. This along with playing together will be what the PSA Cardinals will be focusing on.
“Another thing that people don’t understand is that it’s a lot of wear and tear on your kids bodies,” said Williams. “We do a phenomenal job of making sure the kids are hydrated, eating well, taking ice baths and resting. We eliminate all distractions with them not allowed to have cell phones and do a great job of film study. We make sure to make each game as important as the next. We don’t take any shortcuts and we know that in order to win it all it has to be done with a collective unit.”