With a couple days to reflect on the play of many players throughout the weekend at the 2K17 Generation Next Invitational, several performances should catapult players and their teams into the upcoming spring season with a lot of confidence and excitement. The play all around seemed to get better as the tournament developed, and the 8th Grade final four matchups were competition at its best, with both games coming down to the wire. 7th Grade bracket was solid and the games were played well, while the 4th, 5th and 6th graders played hard and showed they are doing a lot of work at the youth levels to learn about the game and develop skills.
Below is a recap of the entire weekend with who were the overall best performers throughout the event, along with the players who really improved their stock leading into March and April. Also listed are other players who showed up playing really well, as well as those players to remember over the next couple years.
AMAR AUGILLARD – 2021 – F – KESSEL HEAT
Augillard played strong early and drew some attention which he didn’t fail to impress. Great size and frame for what he does, the blooming forward has some guard skills to him where he can take the ball up the floor if he has to and can make plays off the dribble attacking the rim. He also shot the ball pretty well both from the mid-range and hitting some perimeter looks as well.
TERRY ELIAS – 2022 – G – MIDWEST UNITED ALL-STARS
Elias really set the tone for MUA all weekend with his speed and effort getting up and the down the floor rapidly and repetitively. The pace he set for his team and ultimately for his opponents really aided in MUA’s undefeated weekend where he was their high scorer a couple times finishing plays in transition and hitting shots. He was also perhaps their most active on-ball defender.
MICHAEL FOSTER – 2022 – F/C – MILWAUKEE REBELS/SPARTANS
Foster came in and proved early that he was probably the best player on the floor. At 6’7” the young big showed way better coordination that in the fall and was collected in his movement in traffic, scoring over and through people with confidence and control. He pulled down defensive and offensive rebounds with authority, and showed improved skills out of the post. Huge upside for Foster who will surely gain some major attention come spring.
TANNER RESCH – 2021 – G – RAY ALLEN SELECT
There’s not much more to say that hasn’t been said in the previous recaps of the event about Resch, the young hooper can flat out shoot the ball with precision. His overall form will improve as he grows some and gains more strength, but already he is lights out often when finding even the smallest amount of room to release the shot. He made some big plays all weekend and was really the leader in pulling RAS back from their early loss, and again in igniting their comeback in the semi-final by sinking clutch shots throughout.
SAM TALLEN – 2021 – F – PEORIA WARRIORS
Tallen was just so tough for the Warriors team that played tough each outing over the weekend. His play was instrumental to the team’s success, which was evident in a game late Saturday when the Warriors were trailing through the first half as Tallen was having trouble getting comfortable inside and making plays, and then when he found new ways to get to the hoop or got on the glass harder and got some put-backs, Peoria came back and got the W behind Tallen’s efforts. He was a consistent double-figure scorer and was excellent rebounding the ball and outletting to get their breaks going.
ANTUAN NESBITT – 2021 – G – MILWAUKEE REBELS/SPARTANS
Nesbitt really was excellent all weekend long, making plays in the half-court with a deceptive strength because of his advanced (for his age) body control through contact, and his ability to finish those plays. He rebounded well, he shot the ball alright when needed and got himself to the free throw with good consistency as well.
NOAH REYNOLDS – 2021 – PG – PEORIA WARRIORS
Reynolds has a smooth approach to the point spot and was calculated in his attacking throughout the tournament. He showed the ability to lead through scoring when he had to, but was also the facilitator when he had to as well, making plays for himself but even more for his teammates. Nice lefty with room to expand his game to take over even more at times.
MAX RIVERA – 2021 – G - PARADISE
Rivera was just steady throughout the weekend. He had teammates that also played really well during the tournament in spots, but Rivera was able to capitalize often in transition and sank a few nice shots both days as well to help his team to a 3-0 start on Saturday, before they fell in a tough game against a hot team Sunday.
JACK TRENT – 2022 – G/F – KESSEL HEAT
Trent had some excellent games throughout the weekend. He scored well on Day 1, but then really did a job carrying his team on the second day, getting rebounds and being more active defensively. Offensively he showed off a little more of his repertoire and buried big shots throughout the day, particularly a game-winner slicing through the defense into a pull-up jumper for the victory.
KIMAHRI WILSON – 2021 – PG – KESSEL HEAT
Wilson is sleek and slick on the court right now and once he reels in his control on a consistent basis, look out! He can score it from the outside as he proved during the tournament, he can slash and cut on a dime with outstanding handle and is excellent in playing the transition game where he finishes with control but will also make good passes too.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMERS
JARED BADIE – 2022 – F – MIDWEST UNITED ALL-STARS
Badie is a blossoming athlete with a good frame. He ran the court really well with his team, was active defensively and on the glass and finished plays at the rim.
TREY BAKER – 2021 – PG – KESSEL HEAT
Baker is really coming into his own as a floor general, leading with both his ball control, his passing and an ability to slice past defenders and knock down little tear-drop floaters or weave all the way to basket. His outside shot is coming along nicely also.
ASSANI BERKELEY – 2021 – PG - NESYB
Berkeley was really good on Saturday for NESYB and had a solid tournament with his overall game. He has good strength for the point spot and does a nice job using it under control to get to the basket and absorb contact to finish.
J.C. LATHAM – 2021 – PF – RAY ALLEN SELECT
Latham got better and better as the tournament progressed and he got comfortable in his role, cleaning up plays on the boards and finishing plays from the post with strong moves to the basket and a soft touch at the rim. You can’t teach his size at 6’4”, 220 lbs., but he is clearly learning how to use that size to his advantage on the basketball court.
BEN NAU – 2021 – G – RAY ALLEN SELECT
Nau got more consistent as the invitational wore on, finding his openings on the floor and sinking several shots without hesitation, which was missing from their debut game of the tournament which they dropped. When he got comfortable, the offense flowed much better and they rolled to a championship from there.
CADEN STOFFER – 2021 – SG – MARTIN BROTHERS
Stoffer came in Sunday and really set the nets afire, sinking shots from all over with a nice stroke. At 6’2 right now, he didn’t need much separation to get a clean look and he certainly took advantage. He wanted the last on the last play in their three-point loss Sunday, but they just ran out of time – lucky for the opponent he didn’t get the look.
KATINO BROWN – 2023 – G/F – PLAYGROUND ELITE
Brown just overworked and outmatched his opponents all week. He may have shot at volume, but he was clearly the best player in several of their games over the weekend, scoring in the 20’s or 30’s in each game.
NAZIR BEAMON – 2024 – G – PLAYGROUND ELITE
Beamon was excellent scoring the ball and taking over games at times along with teammates Bridges and Fletcher at the 5th grade level, but was just as good playing up with the 6th graders at times as well. He was consistently scoring in double-figures and was active defensively as well.
TAYSHAWN BRIDGES – 2024 – G – PLAYGROUND ELITE
Bridges was another young cager making plays in both 5th and 6th grade games over the weekend. He was finishing his lay-ups consistently, and also knocked down some shots away from the hoop with relative regularity as well for the age.
QUINTIN CRISTER – 2023 – PG – NESYB
Crister had a couple really nice games on Day 1 of the event, but followed that up with a huge game Sunday and then a decent outing in the final. He showed a really nice looking shooting form for his age and size, knocked down some tough shots and just played tough.
8TH GRADE CHAMPIONS – RAY ALLEN SELECT
8TH GRADE RUNNER-UP – BUTLER ELITE
7TH GRADE CHAMPIONS – MIDWEST UNITED ALL-STARS
7TH GRADE RUNNER-UP – KESSEL HEAT
6TH GRADE CHAMPIONS – PLAYGROUND ELITE BOLDEN
6TH GRADE RUNNER-UP – NESYB
5TH GRADE CHAMPIONS – PLAYGROUND ELITE BOLDEN
5TH GRADE RUNNER-UP – MARTIN BROTHERS SELECT
4TH GRADE CHAMPIONS – BUTLER ELITE
4TH GRADE RUNNER-UP – ILLINOIS CENTRAL ELITE