Nashville Celtics Thrive at Nike Showdown


The Nike Showdown in Matteson,
saw a Southern invasion
courtesy of the Nashville Celtics this past weekend in the first "live
action" period of the summer hoops scene.


The Nashville Celtics 15 and under crew took their final
four appearance at the Knox Vegas Heat event and parlayed that success into a
4-0 run in Illinois.


The Celtics got off to a rousing start with a 63-39 drubbing
of Baylor Basketball before an epic showdown with nationally ranked and
perennial powerhouse The Family from Detroit.


In front of several college coaches including Michigan State, the Celtics made it known they
are for real getting the 62-59 signature victory.


The rest of the tourney seemed academic as the Celtics rang
up wins over the Wisconsin Flash (56-19) and the Illinois Celtics (74-52).


Leading the way for the Cletics with his leadership,
determination and hustle was Gage Upshaw
Upshaw was a catalyst on the glass and kept possessions alive and
made big buckets and plays when needed.


Kenny Cooper (FRA)
and Caleb Hollander (Home School)
were the top scorers for the Celtics
while Thomas Booker (East
was steady, played solid on-ball defense and
provided stability from the guard position.


Ross Cummings (Creek
seemed to have found his shooting consistency and confidence over the
weekend as he was lauded for his improved effort.


Gabe Cummings (Creek
was credited with providing leadership, setting the tempo and making
game changing plays from his lead guard spot.


16 AND UNDER (2-2)


Kyler Douglas
is the name that seemed to be bantered around when it comes to
the 16 and under Nashville Celtics. After a solid all around effort in Knoxville the 6'2
athletic freak continued his improvement with a big tourney in Matteson.


The 16's finished 2-2 behind solid efforts from leader James McPherson (Brentwood)
who always brings his "A" game and serious props were lauded for Jalen Duke (MLK) as he continues to
mature and realize his special gifts. This kid can score from the mid-range and
has a quick first step; as well as, a relentless attitude on the glass, both


Coaches mentioned the play of Will Shelton (Hardin County), Bryce Hopkins (Ensworth) and Ricky Dunnaway
being factors in their success over the weekend.



17 AND UNDER (3-1)


I believe it has finally clicked for 6'7 man-child Makinde London (Summitt). Long lauded
for his potential, London
has seen an amazing metamorphosis in his burgeoning game. He has increased his
strength, which is obvious for those who have seen him in the past. His skill
level seems to have evolved, shooting better, handling better and making much
better basketball decisions. Confidence seems to have reared its head into the
psyche of this young athlete.


As the Celtics search for their identity some things remain
very clear, Jake Allsmiller (CPA) can
shoot it and Braxton Bonds (CPA) is
more than happy to be the set-up man for those shots.


Allsmiller continued his torrid shooting in Illinois and caught the
eye of  more coaches as he becomes a
valuable member of any potential class with his gift of the stroke. Bonds is
making a believer out of those who doubted his skills...thankfully that was
never the case here. He is clearly in his element, making everyone on the floor
better, playing tough defense, making difficult passes look easy and simply
playing the role of leader and facilitator like it was originally drawn up.


Daniel Norl (Kenwood)
had a much better tournament in Illinois and Keon Williams (Kentucky) continues to be a glue guy who makes
basketball plays for the Celtics when he is on the floor.


D.J. Harvey
(North Carolina)
is a special young player who does not seem at all out of place with his
much older comrades.