BABC Takes Rumble in the Bronx Title
Defense was the name of the game this weekend as Boston Amateur Basketball Club captured the sixteen-and-under championship at the Rumble in the Bronx.
BABC advanced to Sunday afternoon’s finals by holding opponents to 29, 33, 30, 31, and 45 points in their first five games respectively. Perhaps their most impressive win along the way came on Saturday night when they disposed of the Long Island Lightning, a team who had won 3 of the last 4 national championships, by a 56-30 margin.
“We try to be like a football team who controls the line of scrimmage,” BABC head coach Leo Papile said of his team’s defensive identity. “We want to play 60 to 70 percent of the game from foul line to foul line and force our opponents into three times as many turnovers as we have.”
That strategy typically includes 32 minutes of three-quarter-court pressure dropping back into some sort of aggressive half court trap with constant ball pressure.
That strategy worked to perfection this weekend as the final point totals tell the story, defensive dominance leading to blowout victories.
Sunday’s action began with a commanding win over the Metro Hawks in the quarterfinals and then a 74-45 beating of the Delaware Panthers in the semi-finals, setting up a match-up with the PA Playaz and their highly regarded point guard Ryan Arcidiancano.
Despite the quality of the opponent, the outcome was no different. BABC established a lead early, gradually grew their advantage, and eventually pulled away for their latest blowout victory and the Rumble in the Bronx championship.
Nerlens Noel was the star of the day. While he continues to be the defensive anchor for this team, it was his offensive development that was most notable. In the semi’s it was his improved ability to score over either shoulder that stood out, while also able to facilitate from the low post with his passing ability. In the finals, he was a dunking machine, spinning off contact and bouncing up quickly to throw down the vast majority of the catches he received in the paint.
With BABC’s defense able to control the middle of the floor, their style of play requires a poised quarterback to control the tempo of the game once they are able to establish their advantage. Jaylen Brantley plays that role to perfection. He handles the ball and runs the show with total composure and is also a lights out three-point shooter.
BABC’s depth was also a major asset throughout the course of the weekend as different players stepped up at various points.
Domonique Bull was at his best on Saturday, making plays on both ends of the ball, while Jake Layman showed flashes of his huge potential in the semi-finals, and Jared Johnson made notable contributions throughout the weekend. Shaquille Jones stole some headlines in the final, as he locked up Arcidiancano on the defensive end, hammered home an explosive dunk, and stroked the three-ball with a quick release.
BABC's deep and talented frontline also proved to be crucial. Egi Gjikondi rebounded and scored in traffic inside the paint while Andrew Chrabascz provided a much needed spark off the bench and Georges Niang outmuscled people on the block.
This weekend’s performance wasn’t just notable because of the sheer dominance with which BABC exhibited over a highly talented field, but also because this championship could reportedly be assistant coach Chris Driscoll’s last hurrah with the BABC.
Multiple media outlets reported this weekend that Driscoll had emerged as the leading candidate for the vacant assistant coaching position at Providence College. Such a hire would certainly make sense for Providence College head coach Keno Davis, not just because Driscoll’s presence would put to rest any rumors of Gerard Coleman’s potential unhappiness while giving Providence a recruiting pipeline to the BABC program as well as the rest of the Nike EYBL, but also because of Driscoll’s experience and incredible success having served as a coach and general manager of the BABC.
If his team was campaigning for him this weekend, they certainly made a convincing argument!