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Can Team Takeover DC unblemished and claim second EYBL title?

By Raphielle Johnson
Source: http://www.nbebasketball.com/w3/2011-0711/2011-nike-eybl-peach-jam-preview

Tuesday brings about what many consider to be the crown jewel of the first open period in July, with the 24 best teams in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League converging on North Augusta, SC for the Nike Peach Jam. While some of the top players in the 2012 class aren’t on teams in this event there will be no shortage of talent at the Peach Jam this week.

Where to start? How about with the lone remaining undefeated team in EYBL, Team Takeover. And this program is no stranger to success in this league as they won the inaugural EYBL last year, knocking off the Bradley Beal-led St. Louis Eagles in the title game. Who leads the way this time around for Team Takeover? None other than a trio of players from traditional WCAC power DeMatha Catholic.

Point guard James Robinson (2012) and interior players Jerami Grant (2012) and Beejay Anya (2013) are all players who have earned high-major offers and attention, but these three high school teammates aren’t the only weapons. Arnaud Adala Moto (2012) and Towson verbal Barrington Alston (2012) are two other players who have been instrumental in Takeover’s 15-0 record in pool play. To say the least head coach Keith Stevens has a team more than capable of repeating as EYBL champions. But they won’t lack for challengers either.

Within their own pool (Pool A) there are obstacles, beginning with a Houston Hoops squad that boasts an outstanding three-headed attack in the backcourt. Guards J-Mychal Reese (2012), LJ Rose (2012) and Duke verbal Rasheed Sulaimon (2012) make up one of the best backcourts you will find on the circuit, and the Hoops don’t lack for answers in this area. But they’re going to need frontcourt players such as Brian Bridgewater (2013) to step up if they’re to have any shot of reaching the title game.

There are other teams who can win Pool A (the Georgia Stars will be tough thanks to guard Kenny Gaines and forwards Tony Parker and Alex Poythress), and All-Ohio Red and Athletes First should also be head from. Pool B will be led by the always-tough Oakland Soldiers. The Soldiers, who ran through last year’s Fab 48 out in Las Vegas, have an outstanding frontcourt tandem in Brandon Ashley (2012) and Aaron Gordon (2013).

Ashley, who recently announced that he’ll play his senior year at Findlay Prep, is one of the most sought-after players in his class and can do just about anything on the floor. The same goes for Gordon, and when these two get rolling look out. 2012 point guard Dominic Artis, who played very well in Pangos All-America Camp, runs the show with 2013 guard Jabari Bird and 2014 wing Stanley Johnson two of the many options on the perimeter.

But the Soldiers are in a tough pool with individual stars such as Julius Randle (2013) and Prince Ibeh (2012) leading the Texas Titans, and 2012 guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and seven-footer Aaron Hammons leading Indy Speice. Boo Williams has one of the best shooters in the country in Virginia commit Justin Anderson (2012), and 2013 wing Troy Williams has impressed many throughout the spring and early summer. And Baltimore Elite is talented as well, with players such as Jamel Artis (2012) and Kayel Locke (2012) leading the way.

Looking for a team with a losing record that could do some damage? Look no further than the Albany City Rocks in Pool C, a team not to be slept on with the tandem of 2012 big man DaJuan Coleman and 2012 wing Ricardo Ledo at their disposal. But they’re in a pool led by Memphis YOMCA, who bring 2012 forwards Shaq Goodwin and Jarnell Stokes to North Augusta. Playaz Basketball Club (NJ) have players that any Big East fan recognizes by now, such as Kyle Anderson and Myles Davis to name two. Villanova commit Savon Goodman also runs with them, and defenders not truly invested in defending him may be best served to get out of his way when he attacks the rim.

CP3 (led by 2012 guard Rodney Purvis and 2014 forward Theo Pinson) and California Supreme (2012 guard Katin Reinhardt) will also be heard from, with the Supreme also possessing one of the more physical frontcourts in Emmanual Ndumanya and Daddy Ugbede (2013 forward Torren Jones, who runs the floor well, should also see time).

Lastly there’s Pool D, which is led by BABC, who went 14-1 in “regular season” play. They have two extremely imposing frontcourt figures in Goodluck Okonoboh and Nerlens Noel, and they make things difficult for opponents on both ends. But despite their talents opponents cannot afford to ignore Iowa State commit Georges Niang either, and on the perimeter head coach Leo Papile has some very good players as well. 2014 guard Wayne Selden is already receiving offers from the likes of Kentucky and UConn, and 2013 guard Jaylen Brantley has one of the best perimeter shots you’ll see.

As for their challengers in Pool D, CIA Bounce from Canada shows up with a full cupboard. The rising star? 2012 forward Anthony Bennett, who most likely is the most powerful dunker in the class. But Bennett has other tools on which to rely, as he’s also proven to be a solid perimeter shooter. 2014 forward Andrew Wiggins is considered to be one of the best players in his class, and 2013 guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes played extremely well in Los Angeles during Session 3. Xavier commit Sim Bhullar comes in at 7’5”, and one-time Louisville verbal Negus Webster-Chan can also get it done. It should surprise no one if the title heads north of the border.

Mac Irvin Fire have two outstanding young players in 2013 forward Jabari Parker and 2014 forward Jahlil Okafor, and two 2012 players to keep an eye on are guards Eddie Alcantara and Aaric Armstead. Alcantara played well at Pangos All-America Camp, earning a spot in the Top 50 All-Star Game, while Armstead received praise for his play at the Reebok Breakout Camp. All-Iowa Attack is no slouch either, with the fast-rising Adam Woodbury (2012) and guard Mike Gesell (2012) being two of their key players.

To say the least it’s going to be a fun four days in North Augusta given some of the elite talent that will be on display. Does Team Takeover repeat as EYBL champion, or do one of the many contenders have what it takes to knock them off? Only one way to find out.

Pool A – (GYM 1)

A1 – Team Takeover (DC) 15-0

A2 – Houston Hoops (TX) 12-3

A3 – Georgia Stars (GA) 11-4

A4 – All Ohio Red (OH) 9-6

A5 – Arkansas Wings (AR) 6-9

A6 – Athletes First (OK) 8-7

Game of the Pool: Team Takeover vs. Houston Hoops (Wednesday, 7:15 pm)

The Hoops’ backcourt vs. James Robinson, and how the Hoops will deal with the Takeover frontcourt make this a fun game to take in.

Intriguing subplot: Archie Goodwin (Arkansas Wings)

Goodwin dislocated his wrist at Pangos, but if healthy could very well take part in the Peach Jam. Adding him back into the fold would make the Wings a dangerous outfit.

Pool B – (GYM 2)

B1 – Oakland Soldiers (CA) 14-1

B2 – Baltimore Elite (MD) 11-4

B3 – Indy Spiece (IN) 10-5

B4 – Boo Williams (VA) 9-6

B5 – Louisiana Select (LA) 8-7

B6 – Team Texas Titans (TX) 8-7

Game of the Pool: Oakland Soldiers vs. Texas Titans (Tuesday, 6:00 pm)

Ibeh and Randle vs. Ashley and Gordon. Not sure if much more need be said, although the Soldiers look to have the advantage on the perimeter.

Another Player to Watch: F Ricardo Gathers (Louisiana Select)

Gathers most likely doesn’t have enough help to get his team out of pool play and into the quarters (only the top two teams from each pool advance), but physically he can be a man among boys at times.

Pool C – (GYM 3)

C1 – Memphis YOMCA (TN) 13-2

C2 – Playaz Basketball Club (NJ) 11-4

C3 – CP3 (NC) 11-4

C4 – California Supreme (CA) 10-5

C5 – The Family (MI) 8-7

C6 – Albany City Rocks (NY) 7-8

Game of the Pool: Playaz Basketball Club vs. CP3 (Thursday, 10:15 am)

While Anderson (Playaz) and Purvis (CP3) won’t match up against each other, there are a number of talented players on both teams who can steal the show. One whose name may not show up on the marquee for some is Playaz point guard Darick Wood. If he and Anderson perform well running the show they’ll be a tough out.

Best Duo: Shaq Goodwin and Jarnell Stokes (Memphis YOMCA)

This frontcourt tandem is going to be tough to deal with, especially in a group that may lack the ability to slow them down outside of City Rocks possessing DaJuan Coleman.

Pool D – (GYM 4)

D1 – BABC (MA) 14-1

D2 – CIA Bounce (CANADA) 12-3

D3 – Mac Irvin Fire (IL) 11-4

D4 – All Iowa Attack (IA) 10-5

D5 – Howard Pulley (MN) 7-8

D6 – Mean Streets (IL) 7-8

Game of the Pool: BABC vs. CIA Bounce (Wednesday, 7:15 pm)

With all due respect to the other teams in this group a simple choice, thanks in large part to what both teams bring in the frontcourt. It will be interesting to see how the BABC big men adjust to a player with the height of Sim Bhullar. The perimeter play will be nothing to scoff at either.

Windy City Battle: Mac Irvin Fire vs. Meanstreets (Tuesday, 9:00 am)

No time wasted for this meeting, which will open up play in Pool D. These two met during the regular season, with Meanstreets pulling out the 60-53 win in Session 2 in Dallas. But one thing to note from that meeting: Jahlil Okafor didn’t play.

2011 Peach Jam Schedule (PDF File)

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