23 Apr 2018

First Live Period: A Florida Focus

Photo by Jon Lopez / Nike

The first “live” period of the spring has come and gone.  The EYBL and Under Armor Associations both invaded Dallas with their contingent of teams while Adidas held regional Gauntlet events in Dallas as well as Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C.  Here is a brief look at how some Florida teams did this past weekend in the 17U divisions of the EYBL, UAA, and Adidas Gauntlet Gold circuits.


NTF went 3-1, a solid first outing for a team that has a serious shot at a Peach Jam title.  The team was clicking offensively, shooting 52% overall from the floor.  Maybe more important was Nike Team Florida shooting fifty more free throws than their opponents, making 36 of them.  This helped offset the fact that the opposition got off 41 more shots (24 of them being threes) and scoring twelve more field goals.  Scott Barnes led four players that averaged double figures for the squad.  He tallied 19 a game while both Vernon Carey, Jr. and Kyle Sturdivant averaged 18 and Noah Farrakhan added 11 points a contest.


E1T1 also racked up a 3-1 record in the EYBL’s opening weekend.  All of their games were close as their biggest win was by six as was their only loss.  While opponents shot the ball at a better rate from the floor, E1T1 converted five more threes and nine more shots overall than the opposition thanks to getting off 25 more shots over the course of four games.  It was no surprise that Tre Mann led the team in scoring at a little over 17 a game and that C.J. Walker would come thru with solid numbers of 11 points and 8 rebounds a contest.  However, Marsei Caston proved to be a major surprise.  He was just under Mann’s 17ppg at 16.8 but shot a sizzling 56% overall from the floor and a respectable 38% (5-13) from beyond the arc.  He also cashed in his free throws at an 82% clip.  Add on his nearly 2:1 assist to turnover ratio and you can argue that Caston was the surprise of the weekend.


Team Parsons took part in the Washington, D.C. Adidas Gold Gauntlet competition and came out of the weekend with a solid 3-1 record, including a win over in-state rival Team Knight.  The team defense was exceptional this weekend, holding teams to below fifty points in their three wins, limiting teams to 40% overall from the field and 29% from beyond the arc. Team Parsons had its own struggles on offense as they shot below 60% from the free throw line as a team and also turned the ball over nine more times than the opposition.  Still, with their defense and by outrebounding the opponent by nearly five a contest, they were able to get the win more often than not.  Darin Green was the team’s top scorer at just over twelve points a game.  He was a very good 46% from beyond the arc and 47% overall from the floor.  K’mani Doughty also averaged double figures with ten a game while Omar Payne knocked away shots at a 2.75 clip per game.


Despite falling to Team Parsons, Team Knight also finished 3-1 this past weekend in the nation’s capital.  While the team shot close to 50% overall from the field (94-190), it was the defense that made the most impact.  Holding teams to just 42% overall and just 29% from three point range, a team without a great deal of size made it tough for opponents to score.  Team Knight made 22 more field goals than their opponents overall and would have won by larger margins if their performance at the free throw line (21-39, 54%) wasn’t mediocre.  Niven Glover was the only player to average double figures for the weekend at just over ten per game.  However, getting several small contributions from everybody was a winning formula this past weekend for Team Knight.


If was a tough weekend in the Under Armor Association for the Pink and Black.  After winning their first contest, they fell in the next three.  Team Breakdown actually made one more field goal overall than the opposition and out-rebounded them by sixteen and enjoyed a 20-8 advantage in blocked shots.  However, opponents shot 41 more free throws, making 25 more overall, than Breakdown.  Combining that with averaging nearly twenty turnovers a contest, it made winning very difficult.  Jamal Mashburn paced the team with just over seventeen points a contest and Demari Monsanto was in double figures as well with twelve a game.  Kai Jones, a newbie to this level of play, acquitted himself pretty well at 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game.