Show up and represent.
The mantra holds true for those squads that call Tennessee home.
Destination: Best Buy Chicago Classic
Result: Three Tennessee teams make the final four of the Platinum bracket.
Team Thad (16's)
Pressing from the opening tip, Team Thad used their relentless pressure to advance to the championship game of the 17 and under division finally falling to the powerful Florida Rams. Leron Black (White Station) was again outstanding providing much of the scoring punch and controlling the glass on both ends of the floor. Guard play is the staple of Coach Norton Hurd's philosophy and his trio of C.J. Anderson (Arlington), Chris Chiozza (Bartlett) and Anton Beard (Arkansas) are among the best in this class. Huge effort inside from rising junior wing/post Marcanius Hyman (Whitehaven) contributed to the outcome. This team has played up majority of the early period and stands at 34-2, clearly one of the best 16 and under teams in the nation. Bar None.
M33M Elite (17's)
Robert Hubbs (Dyer County) was the talk of the tourney with his high flying aerial circus and the rising senior with the long torso is gearing up for some serious recruiting contacts coming in July. Hubbs was instrumental as the M33M Elite squad fell to Team Thad in the semi-finals of the event. This final four appearance in the Platinum division was made possible from the inside work of Austin Nichols (Briarcrest) and Charlie Oswalt (CBHS). Josh Jones (Memphis Central) was lauded for his shooting and tough defensive effort while Class of 2015 stalwart Nych Smith (White Station) was a beast threading the needle for crazy dimes and running the show for M33M. Smith can also score which was evident by his 24 point effort in pool play.
Team Nashville (17's)
After winning their initial three events, Team Nashville made a serious run losing to the Florida Rams, who they best at Wallace Prather, in the final four contests. Asa Duvall (Brentwood) led the scoring with 16 followed closely by Corn Elder (Ensworth) with 15. Team Nashville stands at 25-3 on the season thus far. Elder started things off right with 19 as Team Nashville bested the Minnesota Pump N Run 68-64 in double overtime. Josh Phillips (PJPII) added 14 and Matt Pond (Centennial) added 10. The Indiana Elite Black was the next victim by the tune of 77-69, Elder managed 16, Duvall added 13, Phillips finished with 11 and Darius Thompson (Blackman) added 10. 75-69 was the final as Team Nashville hurt Dorian's Pride. Phillips came out with 16 followed closely by Jamonte Graham (Father Ryan) with 13; Ivan Alsup (Nashville Overton) added 12 and Duvall with 10. Duvall and Phillips led with 18 and Graham added 12 as Team Nashville advanced to the final four with an 83-71 victory over Club Elite out of Indiana.
The Nashville Celtics finished 2-3 in the 17 and under division playing with an undermanned roster. The Celtics got solid effort from Marcus Graves (North Carolina), Daniel Norl (Kenwood), Josh Williams (Mississippi) and A.J. Merriweather (Jackson Southside).
In the 16 and under division the Celtics made a little noise behind Makinda London (Summitt), Jaylen Barford (Jackson Southside) and Brandon Donaldson (Henry County).
Even more success as the 15 and under Nashville Celtics finish in the championship game of the Gold Division, Jalen Duke (MLK), Christian Smith (Sycamore), Chase Hawkins (Ravenwood) and J.T. Marable (Pearl Cohn) were sighted for their outstanding efforts over the weekend.