The 2017 NY2LA Sports Swish N’ Dish came to a close on Sunday. Day three featured championship play in the 15, 16, and 17U divisions. Taking home the 16U title, Mario McKinney was stellar for Bradley Beal Elite, who were a step ahead of the competition all weekend.
Note – This is not an exclusive list
Darius Garland – 2018 – PG – Bradley Beal Elite
If this kid is on your team, you have a really good chance of winning. Garland led Bradley Beal Elite back from a sizeable deficit against Mac Irvin Fire in the 17U semifinals. Garland made play after play in the second half. When it was time to close out the game, Garland made sure the ball was in his hands and he was taking the key free throws. Defenders had no answer for Garland all weekend. One of the most electrifying players in the country when the ball is in his hands, Garland can generate just about any shot he wants. His passing ability is also elite. Garland can look off defenders and deliver strikes to his teammates without even making eye contact.
Talen Horton-Tucker – 2018 – SF – Mac Irvin Fire
He went cold at the end of the 17U semifinal, but we won’t hold that against him too much because for much of the day and weekend, Horton-Tucker put on a show. With star guard Ayo Dosunmu sidelined, Horton-Tucker showed the ability to step up offensively. He’s made big strides in his game as a shot creator and is scoring from all three levels, a lot of times with his momentum going away from the basket. His frame doesn’t suggest that he’s a big elevator, but Horton-Tucker threw down some huge dunks on Sunday. Horton-Tucker also has a chance to be very good defensively. He’s long and strong and the want-to is there on that end as a perimeter stopper and even a weak-side shot blocker.
Lamond Johnson – 2019 – G – Mac Irvin Fire
Mac Irvin Fire played a low-scoring, physical battle against Martin Bros., but it was Johnson that was able to break through the most. His ability to knock down tough, contested shots was key. Down the stretch, Johnson made a number of winning plays. He collected a few steals and his creativity off the bounce was a big difference in what was a defensive struggle throughout. Defensively, Johnson racked up a number of steal/score opportunities, including one late that all but iced the game.
Deontay Long – 2019 – SF – Milwaukee Rebels-Spartans
Long put together a huge second half as the Rebels-Spartans rallied for a win against the Iowa Barnstormers in the 16U quarterfinals. The sophomore was an animal on the glass and sparked his offense with a number of hustle plays. One of the most relentless scorers in the Midwest, Long is a bully on the floor. He plays with a lot of power and makes his presence felt. He’s so strong that even some of the harder fouls aren’t going to stop him from putting the ball in the hole. Long has improved his body as well and showed some exciting quickness off the bounce. When he got downhill, he put some moves on some people that had defenders left helpless. While Long is a scorer, he also possesses vision. Long does a terrific job of drawing defenders and kicking to open teammates.
Mario McKinney – 2019 – SG – Bradley Beal Elite
McKinney had a very nice championship Sunday, helping lead Bradley Beal Elite to the 16U title. The first thing that grabs your attention about the 6-foot-3 shooting guard is his explosive play at the rim. If you want to stop him from making a highlight, you better foul him hard. McKinney opened a lot of eyes this weekend with his elevation in transition. On the ball, he was uncontainable at times. A smooth, elusive driver, McKinney attacks the basket in a variety of different ways. This is a killer offensively. When McKinney smells blood in the water, he goes until the opponents are surely put down.
Francis Okoro – 2019 – F/C – Bradley Beal Elite
One of the most physically imposing players in the country, Okoro was often a man among boys even in a 17U game. In what was just a fistfight with the Mac Irvin Fire in the 17U semifinals, Okoro probably delivered the most blows. He was harassed offensively. Every time Okoro went up for a shot down low, he was mugged. Not only did he draw a number of free throw opportunities, but he was able to finish off some impressive shots against a lot of contact. An impressive athlete and physical specimen, Okoro is a force on both ends of the floor. He’ll clean up the glass on both ends of the floor as well as own the paint.
Jhalen Berry – 2018 – G – Jets-Ramey United NY2LA
Key in sparking a big comeback, Berry got after it on both ends of the floor. He was terrific in transition, using his strong frame to attack the rim. A good blend of speed and power, Berry looks like a weight room warrior. Always engaged in the game, Berry got after people defensively and made the opposition very uncomfortable. Berry always sees ball and man and is never out of position defensively. Able to play on or off the ball, Berry created a number of turnovers with his physical defensive style. Although his team came up short Sunday morning, Berry impressed with his high motor and will to win.
Dillon Carlson – 2019 – SG – Martin Bros.
Really liked Carlson’s shooting ability. He buried a number of big time shots in Sunday’s 16U quarterfinal. Carlson has a quick stroke and can hit even when he’s off balance. Carlson comes off screens, rises, and fires and hits with pinpoint precision. Carlson doesn’t necessarily look the part, but make no mistake, he’s a dead-eye marksman from beyond the arc. Leading Martin Bros. back from a double digit deficit against Mac Irvin Fire, Carlson caught fire in the second half with an impressive display of shooting.
Joshua Eagins – 2019 – G/F – Kessel Heat NY2LA
Kessel Heat made a deep run in the 16U Division, knocking off some big names along the way. One of the main reasons for that was the playmaking ability of Wallace. Whenever Kessel Heat made a run during the game, Eagins seemed to be in the middle of it. Sometimes it was scoring, other times it was a great pass to a teammate, a key rebound, or a hustle play – Eagins was just always in the right place at the right time. Eagins has a great feel for the game and anticipates well on both ends of the floor. One of many underrated players on his team, Kessel Heat NY2LA showed they could be a force during the travel season.
Derek Krogmann – 2019 - F – Iowa Barnstormers
Krogmann does a lot of stuff that doesn’t show up in the box score. A polished big man, Krogmann is a skilled post prospect that understands and excels in his role. Always doing the little things, Krogmann screens very well off the ball and is rarely stagnant in the offense. He passes the ball very well, especially from the high post in the high-low game. Krogmann also has a good understanding of position and does a nice job of pinning and sealing his man down low for easy buckets. He’s athletic enough to steal some buckets in transition and capable of hedging and recovering against the pick n’ roll. He’s not a big rebound guy, but he’s certainly not giving up many second chance opportunities with his ability to box out and hold off defenders.
Michael Saunders – 2020 – PG – G3 Grind
Speed is a big part of Saunders’ game and he has a lot of it. Trailing 23-6 at the half to the Playground Warriors in the 15U semifinals, Saunders helped bring G3 Grind back from the dead. He was tremendous defensively in the press. Flying around sideline to sideline, Saunders created a ton of turnovers with his pesky defense, helping his team a huge comeback win. He also carried the load offensively, scoring a combined 29 points in the final two games as G3 won the 15U championship. Defenders just couldn’t match Saunders’ speed off the bounce and he was a headache for opposing teams all weekend.