The 2016 GNBA championships came to a close on Monday. As teams wrapped up the spring with titles handed out across all divisions, a number of players stepped up and proved the future was bright in the coming years. Leading Wisconsin United to the eighth grade title, Reece Beekman capped off a strong weekend and took home some hardware.
TOP PERFORMERS (7TH/8TH GRADE)
Trey Baker – 7th Grade – G – Kessel Heat Black
Baker was scoring at will in Sunday’s victory over Playground Elite. In limited duty, Baker scored a game-high 22 points in what turned out to be a 24-point rout. Baker was 7-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. He also recorded two rebounds for Kessel Heat.
D’Marri Bankhead – 8th Grade – C – Team Getshook
Bankhead led Team Getshook to a close win over Team Ramey Nettles on Sunday. Bankhead made seven of his 10 shots en route to a game-high 16 points. Bankhead was two rebounds shy of a double-double, grabbing a game-high eight boards in the win.
Reece Beekman – 8th Grade – SG – Wisconsin United
Wisconsin United won the eighth grade title and Beekman was big down the stretch in that one. He scored a team-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Beekman did a little bit of everything on Sunday, grabbing nine rebounds and also dishing out four assists. Beekman also recorded two steals in the win.
Bowen Born – 8th Grade – G – Iowa Barnstormers
A tough gritty young guard with skill, instincts, and feel, Born was solid throughout the weekend. He brings a little bit of everything to the table but nothing more evident than his heart and his effort as he plays hard and leaves everything he has on the court. On Monday the young guard hit jumpers, showed range, he created, he was activity defensively, and he attacked the rim in a victory over a tough Team Ramey Love squad. Really like the leadership and toughness shown by Born throughout the weekend.
Carter Gilmore – 8th Grade – G – Ray Allen Select
Gilmore and Ray Allen Select got past the Minnesota Falcons on Sunday. He led the way with a game-high 18 points. Gilmore was an efficient 7-of-9 from the field, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. He also had four rebounds and an assist during the win.
Johnathon Heinen – 7th Grade – F – Wisconsin Shooters
The Wisconsin Shooters ended the day with a strong showing against the Wisconsin Playmakers. Heinen led the way with a game-high 16 points. Also racking up nine rebounds, he was one shy of a double-double. Heinen was an efficient 7-of-9 from the field and also blocked two shots on Sunday.
Jalen Johnson – 8th Grade – PG – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
Always packing the stat sheet, Johnson did it once again in Sunday’s win over Team 1 Tyus. Johnson had a game-high 22 points and also had 10 rebounds and five assists. Johnson was 9-of-16 shooting and knocked down two triples. Johnson wasn’t done, blocking three shots and recording a steal.
Triyonte Lomax – 8th Grade – PG – Indiana SYF
Lomax carried Indiana SYF on Sunday. Despite a loss to Ray Allen Select, Lomax accounted for half his team’s point. Lomax scored a game-high 16 points and was on fire from downtown, knocking down four triples. Lomax also had three rebounds, three steals, and an assist in the loss.
Caleb Love – 8th Grade – G/F – Team Ramey Love
Another of the many talented 8th graders in this year’s GNBA field, Love wrapped his weekend with a solid 16 point effort in a loss to the Iowa Barnstormers Monday morning. He continued to show solid range, an ability to get to the rim, and a solid scoring ability that he combines with nice instincts and feel to make for a quality intriguing prospect on the rise in St. Louis.
Jaylon McDaniel – 7th Grade – PF – Kansas Pray & Play
A plus length young big, McDaniel didn’t score a ton in the title game but he was constantly attacking the glass, he blocked shots, and he made critical plays when it mattered to stop runs and keep his team in control after they got out to a large lead. Really like his upside and potential as he can make a positive impact both with and without the basketball in his hands. His activity on both ends Monday morning was critical to his team defending their GNBA championship successfully.
Cleveland Neal – 8th Grade – PF – Indiana SYF
A solid up and coming young interior talent, Neal was extremely activity and productive on Monday morning in a victory over Butler Elite. Neal finished around the basket, he scored in transition, and he cleaned the glass on both ends as he finished with 9 point and 9 rebounds in a victory to advance in bracket play on Monday morning.
Anthony Sayles – 7th Grade – G – All-In Athletics
Sayles was big for All-In Athletics all weekend and that continued on Sunday. In a blowout win over DTA, Sayles had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds from the guard position and recorded a game-high five steals. Sayles also dished out two assists in the victory.
Abe Scruggs IV - 8th Grade - SF - Team Sizzle
Playing alongside the likes of Jalen Suggs and Terry Lockett the talented 8th grader has started to carve his own niche that is maximum effort and an ability to contribute in a variety of ways. Always on the attack, Scruggs has range that extends beyond the arc and he has the ability to score off the bounce and in transition. Mix in a willingness to attack the glass and the talented 8th grade wing is always in the middle of things. On Monday he did everything he could in the second half to try and help his team to victory and although it wasn't enough, Scruggs still impressed in the processed and he wrapped his GNBA efforts with a solid 11 point 9 rebound effort in the championship game.
Jamari Sibley - 8th Grade - F/C - Wisconsin United
The long and improving big was at it again on Sunday morning as he powered home 17 points and 12 rebounds to help Wisconsin United to the 8th grade GNBA Championship. A plus length talent with instincts and upside, Sibley was excellent throughout the weekend as he showed an ability to finish around the basket, solid athleticism, and excellent activity that created major matchup problems for opposing teams.
Stevie Strong Jr. – 7th Grade – PG – Kansas Pray & Play
An athletic and highly aggressive lead guard, Strong set the tone early in the championship game as he was relentless in his energy and desire to attack the rim. He opened the game with floaters, dribble drive penetration, transition baskets, and some jumpers and helped his team out to a big lead. Defensively he was everywhere as his 7 steals could attest. He served as the catalyst to an impressive team effort in the championship game victory on Sunday.
NEW FACES (5TH/6TH GRADE)
Katino Brown – 5th Grade – F – Playground Elite
Brown almost carried Playground Elite to the fifth grade championship on Sunday. While his efforts weren’t enough, Brown had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He was 8-for-12 shooting and also had two steals and an assist. Playing some dominant stretches of basketball, Brown made a ton of plays despite the loss.
Steven Clay – 6th Grade – F – Wisconsin Shooters
A versatile, lengthy forward, Clay flashes a big upside every now and then. Sunday was another occasion when Clay shined. He had 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting as the Wisconsin Shooters dropped Junior Varsity. Clay had a double-double with 10 rebounds. He also added two steals, two blocks, and an assist in Sunday’s win.
David Freedman – 6th Grade – F – Kessel Heat Black
Feedman went off for 23 points in Monday’s loss to Net Gain Sports. He accounted for more than half of Kessel Heat’s points (44) in the defeat and had 10 of their 18 made field goals. Freedman was 10-of-16 shooting and also grabbed six rebounds, while blocking four shots.
Greg Galloway – 6th Grade – F – Wisconsin Playground Warriors
The Playground Warriors fell to the Illinois Irish Monday morning, but Galloway put together a nice effort. He poured in a game-high 19 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double. Galloway was 9-of-14 from the field and also recorded two steals in the loss.
Trejuan Holloman – 6th Grade – G/F – Minnesota Heat
Another of the highly talented 6th graders in the GNBA field this year, Holloman posted a near triple double on Monday in a victory over the Illinois Irish Elite. The talented young middle school standout showed range, activity, instincts, and court awareness as he posted a stellar 12 point, 10 rebound, 7 assist, 3 steal effort in an impressive win for a very talented Minnesota Heat squad on Monday.
Jack Janicki – 5th Grade – G – Team 1 Tyus
Janicki led Team 1 Tyus to a win over Ray Allen Select in Sunday’s finale. He scored a game-high 16 points, hitting six of his eight attempts from the field. Janicki also had five rebounds and four steals. He broke the game open with his three-point shooting, connecting on four of his six attempts from beyond the arc.
Jayden Livingston – 5th Grade – SF – MN Phenom
The young perimeter talent was on top of his shooting game on Monday as he helped his team to the 5th Grade Gold Championship. He finished with 13 points in the game on a variety of scoring including some stellar shooting from beyond the arc. He paced a quality balanced team effort in the win on Monday morning.