Be Seen - RI Elite u17
It was 90 degrees outside, the gym wasn’t air conditioned, and the team had already played earlier in the day.
And yet, when we walked in the gym to watch Rhode Island Elite last Thursday night, what we saw was a competitive and well-organized practice with constant energy, communication, and competition.
In short, they were getting after it and getting better.
And this is the norm for Rhode Island Elite. They’re in the gym every day, sometimes twice a day. It may begin at 6:30am or 7:00pm, but they’re in there working.
The result is a program that has quickly made its mark on New England in just five seasons (four with a u17 squad).
They’ve won major tournaments like the Northeast Hoops Festival, sent multiple players onto the college level, and increased the number of scholarship players on their roster with each passing year.
This year will be no different. In fact, of the 17 players in the gym on Thursday night, six of them already hold scholarship offers.
Sebastian Thomas is the maestro of the u17 squad. Coming off a big junior season at Bishop Hendrick, “Bassy” is already known as one of, if not the, best players in the state. While he’s known for his prowess as a scorer, what was immediately clear in this setting was that he was both a pure point guard and already an authentic leader. On the recruiting front, he owns a recent offer from Siena and is bound to continue collecting D1 offers in the future.
Recent highlights of @RIElite_ point guard Sebastian Thomas @bassyyyyy4. Smooth & smart lefty point guard who recently added an offer from Siena.— NERR (@NERRHoops) July 25, 2020
Check out the full RI Elite profile Monday on NERR. #BeSeen
Rising senior forward Raymond Espinal-Guzman is another D1 talent. He’s been a well-known local talent for years but has made notable recent strides as he’s added at least an inch to his frame while playing with more explosiveness and continuing to develop a mismatch skill-set.
Bishop Hendricken guard Justin Perez and Everett (MA) forward Kyle Alcy are two more players in the class of 2021 who already have scholarship offers to their name and yet still may be sleepers to many college coaches. Perez, who may have been the hardest working player in the gym (which is saying something in this gym!), was offered by Dominican earlier this month while Alcy landed an offer from Felician in June. Perez is another Bishop Hendricken product and a true self-made player who is productive and reliable on both ends of the floor. Alcy is a physically gifted 6-foot-8 forward with a very high-motor and infectious energy level.
Holderness point guard Muhamed Kante is in his first season with the program after coming up the ranks with the D.C. Blue Devils and he provides another reliable floor general who can make plays off the bounce and run the show, which allows Thomas to step off the ball and look for his own offense at times.
Sam Kodi, a rising junior at Bradford Christian, is playing up with the u17 squad this summer and is more than capable of making a significant impact. Kodi doesn’t have any offers to date, but that won’t last long as he has physical gifts and playmaking tools alike along with an evolving skill-set.
Andres Andujar, another Hendricken product, is likely headed to the football field at the next level but is nonetheless an asset on the hardwood right now.
And that’s just the u17 team. Stay tuned later this week for a look at Rhode Island Elite’s u16 squad.