The new NCAA ruling moving all events away from D1 campuses put a real damper on some of the long standing events that permeate the Memorial Day landscape but other events have sprung up in their place including the Best Buy Chicago Classic and the Rivals 150 Memorial Day Classic.
The Memphis Thunder Elite 15 and under squad made the most of their weekend in Birmingham, representing the state and advancing to the championship game of the Rivals 150 Memorial Day Event before falling to the Alabama Celtics.
The Thunder Elite came storming out of the gate finishing 3-0 in pool action then proceeded to slice through bracket action advancing to the ‘ship.
Tim Shaw (Memphis Central) was outstanding running the show and getting his teammates involved for easy hoops.
Jamerio Jones (Melrose) and Brandon Taylor (Raleigh-Egypt) did a wonderful job scoring from the wing and playing solid defense against some very good young guards.
Inside the duo of Fatodd Lewis (Raleigh-Egypt) and Marcainius Hines (Whitehaven) controlled the glass and scored from the block or the short corner throughout the weekend
In Chicago, 17 and under action the Nashville Celtics faired well finishing second in their pool including a win over Rising Stars Gold and for their troubles finished with a date in the Platinum bracket.
Taylor Barnette (Kentucky) and Demarc Richardson (Briarcrest Christian) played well throughout the entire event.
David Howard (MBA) showed some prowess during the event and the coaches lauded newcomers Cordell James (McCallie) and D.J. Bowles (Cleveland) for their consistent efforts in their debuts.
Also playing well in the 17 and under division, M33M finished second in their pool including a big win over the Dallas Mustangs. M33M advanced into the platinum bracket as well behind some sterling play from Robert Hubbs (Dyer County) and Alex Anderson (Memphis East).
In the 15 and under division, the Nashville Celtics finished a solid event in the final eight of the platinum bracket. The Celtics finsihed 1-2 in pool play losing only to the Indiana Elite and the CIA Bounce, who went on to win the entire event. The Celtics rebounded with two wins in bracket action.
Jalen Braford (Southside) came out of his shell and played excessively well according to the coaches. Emmanuel Smith (Oakland) showed his electrifying athleticism and Marcus Graves (Ravenwood) ran the team effectively again.
Daniel Norl (Kenwood) continues to prove he is one of the best shooters in the state, irregardless of class. "This was by far the hardest five games we have played this season, said Coach Young but we are stamping ourselves to be a force as we continue to climb in the age ranks".