The 2016 summer NCAA live evaluation period has come to a close for Double Pump and its biggest event of the season, the Best of the Summer did not disappoint. There were 244 teams from all over the country including international teams from: New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Brazil, France, United Arab Emirates and Canada. More than 150 college coaches representing: Tennessee, Michigan, UCLA, Gonzaga, Siena, Cal, Pepperdine, Stanford, UNLV, USC, Colorado, Utah, Colgate, Rice and the list goes on.
But that’s not all, we saw a few NBA pros (current & retired) sitting in the stands and one of them, NBA Hall of Famer, John Stockton, was coaching! He coached the Griffins 15U (playing up in the 16U Division). His son, Sam (5-7, 2019, Guard) is on the team and they had a great showing losing in the last 4 seconds of the semi-finals vs. Cal Supreme 16U EYBL with Shareef O’Neal (yep, Shaq’s son).
Shaq was a major presence over the weekend and was seen doing a little baseline coaching. Also stopping by were Lakers’ Tarik Black, Julius Randle and new Lakers’ assistant coach, Brian Shaw. Black came to cheer on M33M from Memphis.
Despite the star power, it was the hard work and great play from the players that made for a great tournament. Congratulations to the winners of each division. To see the full results, click here and click on “Live Results.”
17U Open Division – Team Eleate (Riverside, CA)
17U Gold Division –EBC Elite (Redmond, WA)
17U Silver Division –Clutch Players-Navy (Beaverton, OR)
16U Division –IEBP Red (Riverside, CA)
15U Division –Cal Supreme EYBL (Inglewood, CA)
Team Eleate 17U
EBC Elite 17U
Clutch Players-Navy 17U
IEBP Red 16U
Cal Supreme 15U EYBL
By JEFFREY PARENTI / STAFF WRITER
Published: July 16, 2016 Updated: July 17, 2016 5:53 p.m.
ANAHEIM — When Deshaun Highler was 14, he said he and his mother were looking for the best travel basketball team for him to join.Riverside-based Team Eleate would be the choice. A year earlier, Highler said his mom told him about a spring league run by Marvin Lea.
“I didn't know who he was,” Highler said.
He asked his mother who Marvin Lea was.
“Oh, some Riverside legend," she replied.
“Come to find out, he's one of the greatest," Highler said, "one of the greatest ever.”
In 2002, Lea led Riverside King to a state boys basketball Division II championship and averaged 25.8 points per game. He went on to play four years at Pepperdine. From there, Lea returned to Riverside – or as he calls it, “The House” – and started a grassroots basketball club. After a brief but productive detour to Arizona, Lea returned to The House.
Today, Lea, 32, coaches the Riverside-based Team Eleate program. His 17-under team, with Highler and other top-tier players from the Inland area, is a competitor in the adidas Uprising Gauntlet circuit and this weekend made a run through the elite Open Division at the international Double Pump Best of Summer tournament at American Sports Center.
This fall, the plan is for him to join forces with Tim Sweeney, his former high school coach, at the new Carnegie School (formerly Riverside Christian). Lea said he will run the post-graduate "prep school" team and assist Sweeney with the high school team.
Lea said his two years in Arizona building Westwind Prep taught him how to approach the position at Carnegie.
“I learned the formula for them and decided to start it at The House," Lea said. “That's one thing I love, I love my Riverside babies."
Highler, who helped Riverside North to a CIF-Southern Section title and a trip to the regional championship game in the winter, is among four commitments – so far – to play for Lea this fall.
"I felt like for my career, for me to get to the level I want to play at next year, I just needed to take my fifth year to get bigger, faster, stronger," Highler, 18, said.
"I'm going to be taking my classes online. We're going to be playing in some of the top tournaments around the country."
Highler is a 6-foot-2 guard who graduated this spring. The others earmarked for Lea's post-grad program at Carnegie are, according to both Lea and Highler, Alec Hickman, Ronald Knighten and Solomon Hunt. Hickman is a 6-4 guard from Riverside who played at San Juan Capistrano JSerra High. Knighten is a 5-11 guard from Oakland and Hunt is a 6-6 forward who spent time at Upland and Riverside Hillcrest.
Highler said he has been with Team Eleate for four years and the other three for the last three years.
"Marvin took me under his wing," Highler said. "When I was 14, he threw me into the fire. I played 16U."
A year after that, the other three joined, they dropped down to play 15U "and that's been our team since."
Lea, 32, who used to be recognizable by his large afro, now wears his hair in long dreadlocks. He said he works out at Bobby Bonds Park in Riverside almost daily. His longtime connection with his former high school coach led to the opportunity at Carnegie.
"Tim Sweeney called me and asked if I could help with the kids because I already know a lot of the kids in the area," Lea said Friday. "I already started a post-grad; I was going to run it out of the park & rec."
Lea said current NBA players Tony Snell (Chicago Bulls) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) both came through his early grassroots programs before starring at King High for Sweeney. He said Snell remains involved.
"Tony Snell does a good job with apparel, helping with stuff, giving back," Lea said. "Tony Snell helped us get on the map a little bit."
Lea said Snell's contributions helped Team Eleate develop into a strong program. This week they made the championship bracket of the highly competitive Best of Summer tournament. During the spring, Lea's team played in the adidas Uprising circuit called the "Gauntlet", playing in tournaments in Atlanta, Dallas and South Carolina. Next week, they will compete in the Gautlet championships at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In addition to the four players earmarked for Carnegie Prep, the Team Eleate roster also includes the following area players with high school eligibility remaining: Matt Mitchell, a 6-6 wing from Eastvale Roosevelt; Ajani Kennedy, a 6-7 forward from Moreno Valley Rancho Verde; Isom Butler, a 6-0 guard from Corona Centennial. All are rising seniors.
The roster also includes Matthew Bradley, a 6-5 2018 forward from San Bernardino; Kaelin Allen, a 6-4 2018 forward from Fontana Miller; Jarred Hyder, a 2019 guard from San Bernardino Cajon, and Darren Davis, a 2020 guard.
The team's success this spring and summer has drawn the attention of college scouts, Lea said, and that was evident during Saturday's championship bracket games.
"We have had 30-40 every game we go to," he said, listing off colleges such as Cal Baptist, Colorado, USC, San Diego, and UC Riverside. "They're following us.
"They've been following us from here to South Carolina. I tell (the players), go out there and seize the opportunity. Instead of me going to get kids from here and there and all over the country, which I could, I want my kids right here from The House. We're good enough. That's the only reason I do this."
AROUND THE RIM
• Team Eleate moved into Sunday's 17U Open Division semifinal with victories Saturday over Inland and Cal Supreme. ... In the first-round single-elimination victory over Loma Linda-based Inland, Bradley and Kennedy each had 12 points and Highler had 10. Greg Walter (Temecula Rancho Christian, 2016) had 21 and Legend Stamps (Etiwanda, 2018) had 10. In the quarterfinal victory over a Cal Supreme (Inglewood) team missing its regular starting five, Mitchell had 18 points, Bradley had 13.
JEFFREY PARENTI / STAFF WRITER
Published: July 17, 2016 Updated: July 18, 2016 11:29 a.m.
Just call them The Matts. Or Matt Muscle.By any name, Matt Mitchell and Matthew Bradley, are a dynamic duo on the basketball court.
The Matts led the way as Riverside-based Team Eleate beat Team Lillard (Oakland), 75-65, for the championship of the 17-under elite Open Division at the Double Pump Best of Summer grassroots boys basketball tournament that concluded Sunday at the American Sports Center in Anaheim.
In the 16U Division, the Riverside-based Inland Empire Basketball Program (IEBP), behind 29 points and seven rebounds from Iysaiah Rojas (a 2018 wing from Los Osos High), also won a championship.
Bradley is a muscular 6-foot-5 2018 forward with guard skills from San Bernardino High. Mitchell is a strong 6-6 wing from Eastvale Roosevelt. Both are as equally talented in the open court with the ball as they are in the paint banging for position. Both are easily mistaken for football players.
Both dominated Sunday’s early semifinal victory over a Utah Basketball Club (UBC) team that included 2016 unsigned guard Michael Bibby Jr.
In the final, Bradley had 17 points and Mitchell had 14. Alec Hickman, a 6-4 guard from Riverside who has committed to Cal, had 16 points in the finale.
The 17U Open was the top tier of three 17U divisions, which included 31 teams from U.S. and one from New Zealand. After winning its pool, Eleate had to win two games Saturday and twice again Sunday for the title, finishing the tournament at 6-1.
To reach the final, Team Lillard defeated Pump-N-Run Elite, a team that includes players from across Southern California, including 6-4 2017 wing Bryce Denham(Temecula Valley).
In the 16U Division, IEBP Red defeated Cal Supreme, 72-64. The Cal Supreme team included Shareef O’Neal, the 16-year-old 6-9 son of Shaquille O’Neal, who graciously posed for a team photo with the winners.
Elijah Harkless (Etiwanda) had 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, Jeremiah Martin (San Bernardino Cajon) had 13 points and seven rebounds and Julian Holguin(Etiwanda) added 10 points for IEBP.
To win the 70-team division, IEBP Red needed to win three games Saturday and two games Sunday, including avenging a Thursday pool-play loss to Cal Supreme. They finished 8-1.
The IEBP Red roster entirely of 2018 players, also includes Isaiah Knox (Corona Centennial), Alex Cartwright (Murrieta Valley), Mykale Williams (Redlands East Valley), Cameron Brown (Fontana Summit), Aaron Slack (Corona Santiago) and Brennon Wade (Roosevelt).
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