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Winter Circuit Championship Preview

By ZG Select, 03/09/18, 5:30PM EST


Keep up with all the action this weekend on Twitter @Hooprootz

7th Grade Division

The 7th grade division will once again feature some of the top players in the Northeast. A plethora of New York teams will look to defend their home court including Courtmasters Elite, NY Jayhawks, Team POP and Riverside Hawks. Courtmasters will be led by wings Mamadou Traore and Javon Germain while Danny Diaz will man the middle. Brandon MccReesh has been phenomenal so far for Riverside Hawks. He is far from a one-man show as Makenzie Mgbako has proven his worth as well. The Jayhawks have Nasir Welch, an athletic wing who makes tough shots over his defenders and Michael Bruno, the steady hand at point. Team POP has one of the best big men at this level in Trey Robinson. Dwayne Pennicooke runs the show while Michael McQuionton is a premier knockdown shooter. Kwinten Ives of Team DREAM is one of the most well rounded players on the circuit and will look to lead his team on a run to the championship.

            New Jersey will be well represented as well with Hilltopper Heat, Jersey City Boys and Girls Club, T-Town Ballerz and NJ Bulldogs. Druv Robinson and Josh Mingledolph are two names to know for Hilltopper Heat. Deuce Moore is near impossible to defend when he gets hot for his T-Town Ballerz team. NJ Bulldogs are entering the weekend with a target on their backs. Led by Kamal Lee, a heady guard and Will Norman, a bull in a china shop forward, they will be hard to beat. Tahaad Pettiford was last session’s most outstanding player after averaging over 30 points on the weekend.

      Heading up north, two New England teams will be represented as Bay State Jaguars led by Andrew Serullo and Playaz West led by William Watson will be making the trip to New York. Canada’s DC United will also be in attendance. The dynamic duo of Anden Alexander and Kailon Nicholls will once again lead the team. Nicholls is a strong point guard while Alexander is a super athletic wing.

8th Grade Division

The 8th grade bracket is absolutely loaded from top to bottom. Here is a look at some of the top teams and players set to battle this weekend.

In the top half of the bracket, DC United, Playaz West, Boston Bobcats, Riverside Hawks and Philly Triple Threat all earned first round byes. Born Ready Elite, Team BBC, Courtmasters Elite, Epic Youngbucks, Team Melo and Laurel Lakers all will be competing in the first round.

Born Ready has an incredible frontcourt in 6’7 DJ Beckford and 6’6 John Tarabokija. They face off guard heavy Team BBC led by point guard Devin Adams and 2 guard Jaden Davis. Courtmasters Elite has a dynamic duo of their own in the Filipowski twins. Kyle is a jack of all trades 6’5 forward who has an ability to play 1-5 while his brother Matthew stands at almost 6’9 and has a high IQ as he is growing into his frame. Tyson Commander balled out in session 3 for Team Melo while Laurel Lakers got a ton of production from wing Dylan Long.

Philly Triple Threat wing Bobby Rosenberger can score it from all 3 levels while 6’6 6th man Mike Farley is a strong big man who runs the floor well and is very active on the glass. DC United 8th grade has a 1-2 punch with Jaden Clayton and Isaiah Adams. Clayton has a throwback style who plays beyond his years while Adams is near automatic from 3 torching the nets throughout the entire circuit. Two New England teams round out the top half of the bracket with Playaz West and Boston Bobcats. Joseph Griffin leads Playaz West and TJ Power and Harry Large lead Boston Bobcats. Large is a typical undersized forward who is starting to evolve his game while Power is ahead of the curve playing as a 6’5 ball handler who can play 1-5. The Bobcats will also be getting a boost this weekend as Shyheim Odom is expected to play. Odom is one of the top 8th graders in the country; don’t be surprised if the Bobcats make a run this weekend.

The lower half of the bracket consists of VA Playmakers, Brampton Warriors, Mass Rivals, Nx Level Jayhawks, 6th Man Warriors and NEBC will all have play in games. VA Playmakers star Andrew Nguyen is the teams residential sniper and leader. Mass Rivals get a boost this weekend with Jeffrey Goguen returning to play. The backcourt of Roby Dormevil and Ben Bochicchio gives Rivals a well-rounded team. 6th Man Warriors have a rising star in wing Malik Bowen. Bowen, only a 7th grader has been dominant for the Warriors throughout the circuit. Max Ragusa has proved to be one of the top 8th grade point guards in New York City and he looks to continue to show it with the NY Jayhawks this weekend. The Squad’s Jason Drake is an aggressive driver with a high IQ. They will face off against Achieve More out of Delaware. When Enai White went down with an injury, Dorian Mdwenda, Brandon Graves and Jason Young carried the load as they finished session 3 on a high note. Another big injury was Jaquan Harris of NJ Bulldogs. Corey Floyd Jr, a high flying wing, stole the show with his range and athletic ability throwing down numerous highlight reel dunks. The final team is NC Elite who have session 3’s most outstanding player in Kheni Briggs to go along with shooting guard Snoop Magness. Wing Fred Dilione and forward Shane Fernald are two more players who have a bright future ahead.