Excitement, nervousness and all the adjectives that describe being in a big new place with something to prove were all moved to the forefront for the players comprising the God's Chosen Few 16 and under roster.
A new program started by former Tennessee player Damon Johnson made their initial foray into the big time summer spectacular playing in the prestigious Real Deal on the Rock this past weekend and without question made the most of their experience.
Placed in pool play with the Atlanta Celtics, who incidentally won the event, GCF struggled a bit, as expected, but never gave up hope and then turned the proverbial corner when the field for the consolation bracket was presented.
Having tasted some form of victory with their first place finish at the Knoxville sub-state in the AAU arena, GCF knew they had some chemistry and once put together could compete with their peers.
God's Chosen Few behind some sterling guard play from Calvin Walker (Knoxville West), Ben Arnold (Cumberland Gap), Sabian Smith (Knoxville Central) and Osmond Robinson (Knoxville West), some timely shooting from deep threat Andrew Barnett (Pigeon Forge) and some big time inside scoring and defense from the likes of Carson Brooks (Knoxville West), Jake Wright (Oneida) and JayJuan Mitchell (Knoxville West) all contributed to the boys running the table and capturing the consolation bracket crown.
A wonderful accomplishment for a group of players that came together late, kept working hard and did not show fear or hesitation in the face of some monumental odds.
This tournament should be a spring board to a solid summer of hoops and togetherness for a tightly knit squad determined to show they belong.