The annual Next Level Invitational tournament continued on Friday as NY2LA Basketball Association Championships came to a close and bracket play for the Next Level Invitational started up.  Here’s a look at more prospects who stood out along with recaps of the 15U Gold and 16U NY2LA Basketball Association Championship games from day 3…

The Wisconsin Swing and SYF proved themselves as the two best squads during NY2LA Sports Association divisional play, and when they met in the Association Championship they didn’t disappoint in putting on an entertaining, tightly contested battle Friday morning.

Mitch Listau (6’4, G, Waunakee) turned in a standout performance with 26 points, including a step-back, baseline jumper to give the Swing the lead for good in double overtime on the way to a 62-59 victory. Listau, who also calmly sank a pair of free throws in the first overtime to force double OT, has been consistently dangerous with the ball in his hands all week at the Next Level Invitational, but he’s also got plenty of help on the perimeter with Mason Steffen (6’3, G, Waunakee), Nick Klug (6’1, PG, Burlington) and Hunter Plamann (6’1, PG, Xavier).

Klug, a dangerous three-point and midrange threat, scored 12 points in the title game including a trey ball with 3.3 seconds left to force overtime while Steffen scored 10. Steffen’s athleticism and skillset has led to a productive week and he was able to score from all three levels on the court against SYF as well. Inside, 6’4 forward Marty Stray (Sun Prairie) came up huge when he grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free-throw late in double overtime to help secure the Swing’s win. 

SYF’s 5’8 point guard Chase Adams (Marian Catholic) had some electrifying plays throughout the game on his way to a team-high 20 points, and also set up his teammates for plenty of good looks off the bounce. Johnny Bernard (6’3, G/F, Merrillville) also stepped up big for SYF with 12 points. A slashing wing, Bernard can also step out and hit shots from the perimeter as well as defend all three positions on the perimeter. Though Zion Young (6’3, SG, Andrean) and Orlando Allen (6’7, PF, Thornton) had relatively quiet games scoring the ball, both are dynamic athletes in their own right who surely have caught the attention of DI coaches eyes with their play at the Next Level Invitational.

Balance was the name of the game for Quad City Elite in the NY2LA Sports Association 15U Gold Championship and it served them well as they hung on for a 64-60 title win over a talented Colorado Titans squad. 

Carter Dowa (5’11, G, Pleasant Valley) scored 11 points, Deonte Billups (6’3, G, Moline) and Drew Wiemers (6’2, F, Moline) each pumped in 10 points, while D.J. Carton (5’11, PG, Bettendorf) scored nine including a big go-ahead three pointer late in the game. 

Billups is a great athlete with a versatile offensive game and has a long wingspan that helps him as a defender. He has made his case as one of Quad City Elite’s 15’s most intriguing prospects.

Quad City Elite had to overcome an early second half double-digit deficit because the Titans’ Steven Croell (6’4, SG, Broomfield) caught fire from downtown. The lefty connected on five three-pointers throughout the game, and finished with a game-high 25 points. His trey as time expired in the first half gave the Titans a 37-30 lead.

Tanner Baird (6’2, G, Holy Family) finished with 15 points against Quad City Elite, after a dazzling 22-point performance and a game-winning three-pointer against the IL Stars IBA in the semis.  Rugged 6’4 wing Kyle Helbig (Holy Family) also played big in the title game with 15 points of his own. Helbig isn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint, but can finish at the rim and also step out and knock in a three-pointer.


Unfortunately no mixtape video guys were on hand for Armstrong’s aerial assault against Indy EBC 2K17 Friday, but the underclassmen playing up in the 17U division had some of the best dunks at the entire Next Level Invitational and scored a game-high 16 points to boot. At 6’7 with crazy athleticism to go with a high motor, Armstrong’s recruitment has the chance to blow up in a big way over the course of the next few years.

Creal (Joliet West) led Hoops 4 Health in scoring in a tough win over Quad City Elite, and got his squad started with a big poster dunk early in the game. With a strong, and long, 6’3 frame, Creal is an intriguing prospect due to his athleticism and ability to lock down on defense. He got all of his buckets in the paint or at the free throw line, so if he can become a threat from the perimeter as well, Creal could rise fast up the state rankings in the class of 2018.

Chicago’s Uplift Academy’s Jacobs has already collected some low and mid-major DI offers, and it’s clear why more and more are starting to take notice. Jacobs, a 6’3 combo guard, has electric athleticism and potential to be a productive two-way player as he continues to gain strength. On Friday, he had it rolling from the perimeter against the Northern Michigan Drive with three three-pointers on the way to a game-high 22 points.

Notch oozed some of his potential Friday in a win against Team 1848 in the first round of the Next Level Invitational. Standing 6’7, with a long and wiry frame, Notch has springs for legs and good looking shooting stroke that extends beyond the three-point line. He put down several highlight-reel worthy dunks, and blocked a couple shots on the defensive end as well. If Notch can improve his handle, and continue to add some weight and strength, watch out.

Speight (6’3, Saginaw) is your prototypical junkyard dog, but what made him standout Friday against Indy EBC 2K17 was some of the inside-out skill that isn’t part of the cliché. Speight had plenty of finishes inside through contact against a bigger defender, and also showed a good looking stroke when he knocked down a couple shots from the perimeter.  He was dominant in spurts, and helped Greenwood blow Indy EBC out.

Wilson continued his high level of play Friday in a Association Platinum Division semifinal win over the IL Stars IBA. The 6’4 combo guard from Edmond North High drained four three-pointers and finished with 18 points. Aside from his stroke, Wilson is a strong finisher on drives and a willing defender. If Wilson can show he can continue to create for himself as well as teammates, DI coaches will have another name to add to their list of potential recruits on Omaha Elite’s 17U squad as Wilson wasn’t with them in Minnesota or Dallas.