The third of four tournaments in the Under Armour Association Grassroots Basketball Circuit takes place from Friday night, May 22 until May 24. Here are the dominant storylines to keep an eye on in Ardsley, N.Y. this weekend:
Are New Heights and We R1 out of reach in the Hungry standings?
The UAA circuit is broken down into two different “leagues”: Humble and Hungry. While Humble has a whopping eight teams within a game of the league, Hungry has two teams well out in front: Longtime summer circuit power New Heights, not far from Ardsley in New York City, and We R1. It would take a two-game swing to knock either of those squads from the upper rung and threaten their position heading into the UAA circuit finale in Atlanta. That may be a lot to ask from MWA Elite, Philly Pride and the DC Blue Devils, the three squads that are two games back of New Heights and We R1.
Team Thad and Canada Elite need to play hot to strengthen position heading into Atlanta
The headline says it all here. Team Thad is loaded with talent — new Kansas commit LaGerald Vick among the stars in tow — and Canada Elite is one of the more storied names on the UAA circuit. Canada Elite features Justin Jackson, a top 30 overall recruit (and UNLV commit) in the Class of 2016. Yet both those squads are muddled in a group of six squads at 5-3, with another powerful program — Earl Watson Elite — right behind them at 4-4. A rough weekend in Ardsley and two of the pre-circuit favorites could be facing Porky Pig time before they even get to Atlanta.
Josh Jackson vs. Kameron McGusty for the scoring crown
Speaking of Jackson, another, even higher-rated Jackson is right in the mix for the UAA scoring title. Josh Jackson — arguably the top-overall prospect in the Class of 2016 and the star of the 1 Nation squad — is right in the mix for the 2015 circuit’s scoring title. The Southfield, Mich. native is just two buckets behind unranked recruit Kameron McGusty, the Katy, Texas native who has lit up the scoreboard for the Houston Defenders. And Jackson is the man with the circuit-best 41-point game. So who will win out, the small forward with offers from just about every top collegiate program in the nation (Jackson, with Kentucky, Duke, Aruzona, Kansas, North Carolina and Louisville in hot pursuit) or McGusty, who is being chased by Big XII schools Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and lesser lights including Stephen F. Austin and Rice? The Ardsley games may go a long way toward deciding that once and for all.
Is McGusty or Quade Green the breakout star of the UAA?
It’s not hard to make a case for McGusty to be the single most notable breakout star of the entire UAA circuit. After all, he’s currently the leading scorer. Yet, a deeper look uncovers a diminutive, 5-foot-11 point guard from Philadelphia power Neumann Goretti who is seventh in the overall points standing and eighth in points-per-game. That’s one Quade Green, who has been the surprising glue in We R1’s run to the top of the Hungry standings. There’s never been a question of Green’s talent, but if anyone knew he was primed for this kind of a breakout, they’d probably be lying. Or at least stretching the truth. So far Green has just one significant D1 offer, from Maryland. Expect that to change very soon.
Can We R1 keep up it’s trapping success?
In the first two UAA events, We R1 rode Green’s hot hand and a relentless trapping defense to rise to the top of the Humble standings. Paramount to that trapping success was Trevon Duval, the Delaware-based rising junior at St. Benedict’s Prep who is ranked among the top-15 overall players in the Class of 2017. Duval leads the circuit in steals and is second in steals per game. That he can contribute that on the defensive end while also serving as one of We R1’s primary offensive threats will be critical for the squad to keep its momentum heading into the final weekend in Atlanta.