The final leg of the summer tour for this weary traveler would be the 17/16 AAU Nationals and Super Showcase in Louisville.
Representation from the state of Tennessee was plentiful and exciting as teams were located in the 17/16 and under AAU National tournament and a few squads playing in the AAU Super Showcase Silver Division.
TENNESSEE TIGERS 17s
The Tigers are no stranger to the Expo Center coming off a finals appearance in the Kentucky Hoop Fest the Tigers started things well finishing 2-1 in pool play action which gave them the 2nd place spot and an opening round game in the Championship Bracket.
In the final game of the pool play the Tigers clashed with All-Ohio and played them very well falling by less than 10 points to the shoe sponsored squad. Ross Cummings (Creek Wood) played well in the contest and was a shining light throughout the entire tournament for the Tigers despite tweaking his ankle and missing a game but returned to finish the event.
In the championship bracket opener the Tigers fell to the Shining Stars 64-51 moving them into the Round 1 Consolation bracket.
The Tigers seized the moment defeating the Charlotte Court 58-44 then besting Maine Basketball 65-54 to move into the Final Four of the bracket.
Jarrell Reeves (Blackman) had another fine weekend using his exceptional athletic gifts to get buckets and boards picking up the slack for the injured Kenny Bunton (Walker Valley).
Christian DeWitt (Blackman) showed his uber resilience re-injuring his ankle from a few weeks back but played through the pain and never missed a game in the event. His toughness was big for the Tigers in their advancement to the Championship bracket.
Brad Allen (Greenbrier) played reasonably healthy for the first time in a while and had his most consistent event of the summer. Matthew Norl (Kenwood) gave solid minutes at all frontcourt spots.
Guard play as usual was the strength for the Tigers with another solid event for the point guard tandem of DeQuan Summers (Hillwood), Cannon Campbell (Rossview), Gabe Cummings (Creek Wood) and newcomer Brad McCurdy (Bradley Central).
The Tigers fell to the Nova Village in the consolation bracket semi-final 76-67.
TENNESSEE TRIPLE THREAT 17s
Triple Threat came out of the gate strong finishing 2-1 in pool play to grab the 2nd place spot moving them into the Championship bracket where they fell to the West Virginia Running Rebels despite having a 12 point lead in the game.
Keaton Dotson (Station Camp) rode the momentum of a fabulous July as he closed the book with an outstanding event in Louisville. Dotson has been automatic from deep and his confidence level is at an all time high. He was the leading scorer throughout the weekend for the Triple Threat.
Josh Jones (Walker Valley) had another fine weekend knocking down shots while Cantrell Ware (Cleveland) gave huge minutes from the lead guard spot.
Triple Threat added a few nice pieces to the fold for the final event of the summer scene as Ryan Montgomery (Chattanooga Central) and Adrien Thomas (McCallie) were added to the roster. Montgomery showed his enormous potential with some big athletic plays that wowed those in attendance.
Despite being severely undersized the Triple Threat battled on the interior with James McRee (Cleveland), Hayden Baldwin (Station Camp) and Matthew Meadows (Meigs County).
The championship bracket loss dropped the Triple Threat into the Round 1 Consolation bracket where they fell to a talented King James Ohio squad.
MEMPHIS BULLS 17s
The Bulls opened the tournament with a big win behind a 38 point effort from Garrett Sams (Westview). The remaining pool games were not so kind and the Bulls finished 1-2 with a 3rd place slot.
The Bulls moved into the Classic 32 bracket where they found their inner Bull defeating the X-Factor 63-57 and the Arkansas Mustangs 66-58 advancing to the final four of the bracket before falling to the Texas Hoosiers 80-74.
Justin Benton (Houston) was solid the entire weekend and instrumental in the Bulls successful run. The talented guard hit shots and was a leader on the offensive end of the floor.
Sams was the teams heart and soul leading the Bulls in scoring and giving everyone a preview of what to expect for his upcoming senior season at Westview.
Dee Montgomery (Mississippi) played well in the backcourt while the Bulls got some scoring and more from Tekorian Smith (Melrose).
NYBA PLAYMAKERS 17s
The Nashville bunch got things off to a rousing start at the 17 and under Nationals winning their opening game behind the sudden emergence of Nathan King (Obion County). King is hard nosed competitor who can shoot the ball, plays with a fearless abandon and makes winning plays on both ends of the court.
NYBA finished the pool play portion at 2-1 but was relegated to third place due to a tie-breaker. That advanced them to the Classic 32 bracket where they met a determined Bearcats squad losing 77-73.
Guard play was enormous for the NYBA with Donnie Malone (Antioch) showing he could run the point and knock down some key shots when he was open.
Sawyer Taylor (Station Camp) was knocking down deep shots in bunches making defenses take note of his presence on the floor.
Finally, Walter Crawford (Mt. Pleasant) was simply a scoring phenom averaging around 18 points per game for the event.
TENNESSEE EXPRESS 17s
The Express were one of the two state reps in the Silver division of the Super Showcase. The Express ended pool play at 1-2 with a 3rd place standing.
Isaiah Crawley (Ripley) continues to turn heads with his overt athleticism and his ability to score the ball. He was the focal point for the Express
Tavon King (Halls) is a point a minute player who hasn't met a shot he didn't like. He was one of the top scorers in West Tennessee but his shot selection leaves some room for improvement.
Another underclassmen who showed some promise for the Express was Myron McKinney (Halls), an undersized inside player from the Class of 2017.
The pool play finish moved the Express into the Classic 20 bracket losing to the Indiana Elite Magic 85-77.
TENNESSEE PANTHERS 17s
The Tennessee Panthers made the most of the last event of the summer circuit making some noise at the 17 and under Silver Division of the AAU Super Showcase.
Pool play began with an unexpected schedule change leaving the Panthers with only five players thus resulting in a 69-65 loss to Maryland's Finest. Christian Bell (Mt. Juliet) led the scoring charge with 28 while Kyree Elder (Cane Ridge) added 17, Austin Douglas (Cheatham County) managed 15 and Brandon Dansoh (Cane Ridge) had 11 points and 13 boards.
The Panthers bounced back with a full roster taking their second pool game 68-60 over Team Vision. Marquis Davis (LaVergne) led the scoring brigade with 17 followed closely by Elder with 13 and Cedriontis Wilson (Blackman) and Tavares Hailey (MLK) with 10.
The Illinois Bears became the second victim of the weekend moving the Panthers to 2-1 in pool play. Austin Kirby (Hendersonville) led the scoring with 17. Wilson added 17, Elder and Chico Plunkett (Creek Wood) dropped 11 each and finally Dansoh and Hailey pitched in with 10. Dansoh also found time to snatch 14 caroms.
On to the round of 32 the Panthers faced and defeated the Erik Spoelstra Basketball Academy 72-49 behind 15 from Douglas. Kirby added 14 and Plunkett 11 while Demarco Jackson (Lead Academy) pitched in with 10.
The round of 16 saw the Panthers defeat BWSL-Woods by the count of 75-55 with Douglas leading the charge at 19. Elder added 17 while Wilson and Davis pitched in with 10. Dansoh had another fine game scoring 11 and grabbing 16 rebounds.
In the Elite 8, the Panthers mad e afurious comeback but a Douglas shot at the buzzer fell short and the Panthers ended a nice summer run with a 67-64 loss to Pro Basketball Skills Select. Elder led the scoring with 14, Douglas added 13 and Davis got 10. Dansoh had another fine game on the boards getting 16.
The Panthers finished 34-10 on the summer.
In the 16 and under division several teams with a Tennessee flavor made their presence felt. Team Penny-Cotton bears the name of the Memphis legends but this squad is made up of high level talent from the Arkansas area.
TENNESSEE LEGENDS 16s
Bo Hodges (Maplewood) led the scoring charge as the Tennessee Legends came out of the gate on fire besting all three of their pool play opponents and taking the 1st place moniker into bracket action.
Hodges showed his skills scoring from the wing, making tough drives to the bucket and finishing some high flying oops on several passes from Chase Freeman (Station Camp).
The Legends fell in their bracket opener against the aforementioned Team Penny-Cotton squad 71-62 then moved to the consolation portion of the event.
Opening with a 67-63 win over the Shining Star advancing to the Final Four of the Consolation bracket before falling in the semi-final contest to the York Ballers 77-51.
Kody Eden (Station Camp) caught his fair share of attention with his athleticism and solid skill level on the wing. He battled on the glass and is an exciting prospect in the Class of 2017.
MEMPHIS BULLS 16s
The Bulls did solid work in the pool play portion of the tournament finishing 2-1 and grabbing the 2nd place slot.
The Bulls advanced to bracket play falling to the Team Penny-Cotton squad 78-52 then dropped to the consolation portion of the bracket.
Parker Stewart (Union City) was certainly option #1 for the Bulls. The lanky guard was solid from the outside and scored several points from the charity stripe.
In the consolation bracket the Bulls defeated the Queen City Prophets 63-60 before bowing to the Manatee Basketball squad 57-45.
Blake Huggins (Obion County) was an intriguing prospect for the Bulls. at 6'8 and some decent basketball ideas this lanky customer might have a bright future if he continues to work on his footwork and hand strength. He has a bit of a motor and seems to like the fight on the interior. Stay tuned on this fella.
TENNESSEE TIGERS 16s
The Tigers showed more than their record would indicate closing the summer season on a strong note. Leading the way for the young Tigers with another solid weekend shooting the ball was Gray Michael (Franklin Classical). One of the best shooters in the state in any class, Michael had a really good summer and turned some heads along the way.
Guard play was again the focal point for the Tigers with C.J. Herbert (Home School), Garrett Sanderson (Lipscomb Academy), Carter Campbell (Rossview), Brennan Bailey (Ensworth) and Gabe Reasor (BGA) all contributing to the finish. Coaches were quick to acknowledge Herbert as having his best tournament of the summer with his efforts in Louisville.
Nate Boyd (Tennessee Christian Prep) closed out a strong summer with another solid event while newcomer Rasean Taylor (???) had a fine weekend including a 23 point effort in pool play. Taylor is a newcomer to the Clarksville area and has yet to choose which high school he will attend.