The 7th grade/13U Generation Next Basketball Association Championships tip this Friday night at Homestead High School and the stage is set for some premier basketball between teams vying to bring home some hardware. Deontay Long has the Spartans as one of the favorites, while Cole Nau and company power a very talented and skilled Ray Allen Select squad. But will it remain that way with Talen Horton-Tucker leading Chicago Select and Zach Harvey leading a talented KC Powergoup to Wisconsin in search of championship hardware. Friday will provide many early answers and here’s a preview of what to look for opening night…
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2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 5TH GRADE PROSPECTS PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 6TH GRADE PROSPECTS PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 7TH GRADE PROSPECTS PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 8TH GRADE PROSPECTS PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 5TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 6TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 7TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 8TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
RAY ALLEN SELECT (8-0) vs. WI SWING (3-5)
FRIDAY - 6:00PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 5
Ray Allen Select has been atop the standings from Day 1 in the GNBA, currently undefeated through the 8 games, working as a team exceptionally to plow through their opponents thus far. WI Swing enters the championships a bit of an underdog by record but will undoubtedly play with intensity and energy to try to take out their opponent and advance. RAS is led by a group of guards that operate well together in Marcus Domask, Cole Nau and Gage Malensek, but they can also go to work inside with the stronger play of Jack Cooney, Matt Hickey and Demetrius Johnson. The task may seem daunting, but Swing’s squad, led by emerging forward Ian Brown (13.6 points and 8 rebounds per game), will see what they can do to keep their title hopes alive.
TEAM SIZZLE (3-5) vs. MILWAUKEE SPARTANS (8-0)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 5
The Milwaukee Spartans were the cream of the 7th grade crop in the Western Conference through the two conference sessions, and now will run up against a gritty Team Sizzle squad to kick off play in the Championships. Tyrell Terry has been putting up some big-time points for Sizzle as one of the more pure scorers in the grade and Siegel Howard is a solid player inside, but the Spartans are deep and have perhaps the most dominant player at his age in the GNBA in Deontay Long, averaging a double-double with 20 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game. Besides Long, Robert Anderson, Johntae Martin, etc. all pose match-ups issues for opponents and will be difficult for Sizzle to slow down.
TEAM RAMEY (4-5) vs. IOWA BARNSTORMERS (5-3)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 1
The Barnstormers will look to Travis Metzger and Jackson Molstead to lead them in this one as both take on leadership roles for a tough gritty Barnstormers club. Mario McKinney (14 ppg) and Rashad Ward have put together some really good performances for Ramey through the league so far and along with their teammates will give the Barnstormers all they can handle.
CHICAGO SELECT (6-2) vs. KINGDOM HOOPS ELITE (6-2)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 2
Chi Select has had a terrific run through the league so far, going 6-2 up to this point behind some fast-paced play and tough pressure defense. With a full squad in the championships packed with standout players like Gerald Hunley (12 ppg, 9.5 rpg), Talen Horton-Tucker (14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, Marcus Wright, Markese Jacobs, Anthony Vivian Jr. and company, Select could be primed to make some major waves in the championship series this weekend. Standing in their way though is a tough and talented group as Kingdom Hoops Elite packs a punch of their own. Jack Keough, averaging 13.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game will likely lead the way for them, but also look for other up-and-comers like Jace Davidson and Collin Lister to make their impact on the floor as well.
WI UNITED (6-2) vs. FULL PACKAGE ELITE (1-7)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 3
Full Package certainly enters this game the underdog at 1-7, but they have some good pieces that could surprise people come Friday night as Zack Toussaint is one of the league’s leading scorers at 14.2 ppg and other developing players like Brian Danowski and Brendan Conroy in the mix as well. However, WI United boasts one of the better records and a lot of experience in big games with players like Jaylon Gentry at guard and others like Javarrey Barrage playing big. Not to mention the previous addition of outstanding 2019 guard Matt Brown (18.5 ppg) and United will be a tough out for anyone.
REACH LEGENDS (5-4) vs. 43 HOOPS (4-4)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 4
REACH had itself a hot few games in Session 4 and appears geared up for a strong showing at the Championships, but standing in their way is a ready 43 Hoops squad. REACH’s Marcus Faqua was outstanding previously in Milwaukee putting together an excellent 14.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game effort there and others like Cameron McEvans (13.8 ppg), Chandler Turner and Joseph Marshall will also be on the hunt to make plays constantly. But 43 Hoops has a pretty balanced attack across the board, though led by emerging prospects like Carson Hollowaty (11.5 ppg), Tommy Jensen, Marcus Shepley and more, their team depth could prove to be a tough test for REACH come Friday evening.
PLAYGROUND ELITE (6-2) vs. KC POWERGROUP (7-1)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 5
This one has all the makings to be a hugely competitive affair between two very strong teams. Zach Harvey has had a very good GNBA season so far for PowerGroup, averaging over 12 ppg and with rising prospects like Jordan White and Andrew Stafford, they have some quality pieces to fight with opening night against an athletic and talented group for Playground Elite. Trequan Carrington has had some huge games for PGE topping the 20-point mark a few times and averaging15 points per game, but he will need help from teammates like promising young post prospect Xzavier Jones (9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) and Keandre Griffin who also has done a nice job on both ends of the floor. The match-ups here are fairly even and should fuel the competitive nature of these two teams from the jump.
FUTURE ELITE (6-2) vs. YANDERS LAW (4-4)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 6
Future Elite is hoping they are the future champions of the GNBA and will get started trying to accomplish that by heading up against Yanders Law in the opening Championships round. Led by Jonathan Roeser (14 ppg, 8 rpg), FE will likely look for bigger contributions even from emerging forwards Bryan Brown and Brian Wilterdink. But Yanders Law has some weapons also, with guys like Donte Reece and Tyem Freeman both scoring 14+ points per game currently, with Reece also being huge on the glass with 8.2 rpg. Both squads have some players that can score from multiple levels, so it will likely come down to who wants it more defensively that will decide this one.