Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July AAU Preview - Team AugBball

During the next couple weeks, our area will be a major hub for the some of the best "grassroots/AAU" basketball in the country.  July is a key time for high school basketball players to be evaluated by college coaches.  There are only 21 days during the Spring and Summer periods when players can be evaluated, and 15 of those days are this month.  With the Nike Peach Jam, the country's premier youth basketball event, and the "Peach State" tournaments hosted in the Augusta area beginning tonight, I am excited about seeing our area's best players face some of the nation's best players and teams.  I observed the action during the Spring period.  Here I will preview four teams that feature area players I follow.  And I will be back throughout the next couple weeks to update you on their progress.

Here is my preview of Team AugBball:

I haven't seen many AAU teams shoot and pass the ball as well as this group.  Alleluia's Ben Dresser and Greenbrier's Jakob Nelson are probably the area's best long range shooters.  Mac Mcbride (Alleluia), Moses Jones (Cross Creek), and Justen Hartfield are all capable of scoring and creating off the dribble and knocking down shots from deep.  And Hayden Hebert (Alleluia) is a skilled and athletic wing who impacts the game in many ways.

Dresser regularly strings together 6-8 threes in a game, many from distances rarely seen from a high school player. And he makes more than his fair share of important shots, the shots that win or seal games. And the rising junior is much more than only a shooter.  He handles and passes the ball well and he is mentally and physically tough.  In my preview of Team Power, I listed four players as being probably our area's best guards.  But the truth is I believe Ben belongs in that handful.  And he is only a junior.

I'm glad I've been involved with this group during the Spring because it has given me a chance to get to know Cross Creek's Moses Jones.  He is a fine young man and a very good player.  At times he has been the team's best all around player.  He creates opportunities for teammates with his penetration and willingness to find shooters.  He has a nice shooting touch and scores from deep, in the mid range, and at the rim.  He is a tough kid with a competitive spirit.

Greenbrier struggled last season.  But rising senior guards Justen Hartfield and Jakob Nelson have followed strong individual high school seasons with equally impressive AAU performances in the Spring.  The Wolfpack are in good hands next season.

Alleluia teammates Mac McBride and Hayden Hebert were very consistent throughout the Spring. McBride is a scrappy point guard who can score in all ways and has great instincts.  In addition to making shots from deep, breaking down defenses off the dribble, and creating opportunities for teammates, he does a good job of getting to the free throw line and converting.  Hebert is the team's best rebounder.  He has very good footwork around the basket and can knock down shots from deep as well.

Team AugBball's first several games of the July period will be in the Peach State Select tournament at Augusta Prep on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, July 8 - 6:20 PM
Thursday, July 9 - 10:20 AM
Thursday, July 9 - 2:20 PM
Thursday, July 9 - 7:40 PM
Friday, July 10 - 10:20 AM
Friday, July 10 - 6:20 PM

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