Magic Win Big Apple
The Middlesex Magic have a long and proud tradition of excellence that dates back generations.
This 2017 grassroots season has been something special though. All spring, the Magic collected championships, and major ones at that. First it was the Northeast Hoops Festival, then it was the Pitt Jam Fest, and then the Memorial Day Super 16.
Last week, when they fell at the hands of the D.C. Blue Devils in the finals of the BasketBull Summer Championships, some wondered if they had peaked too early. Only a few days later, the Magic responded with their most impressive championship of the year.
What made the Big Apple Showcase unusual was that the field consisted of the very best non-sneaker sponsored teams from New England to Pittsburgh to Baltimore and all spots in between BUT ALSO sponsored programs from all three major sneaker circuits.
When it was all said and done the Magic, and the Blue Devils alike, proved that you don't need a sneaker contract to compete at the highest level and produce scholarship players.
Thomas Shaughnessy continued to be the emotional leader of the club, but while he had to carry them at many points this spring, he had more help this time around. Tommy ONeil, who stood out at the Super 16 in late May, continued to play at a high level and racked up 23 points and 12 rebounds in the final. Patrick Harding showed off his continued maturation as well, going for 10 points and 16 rebounds against The Firm. Both walked away with new D1 offers from Bryant as a reward for their hard-work. Justin Connolly made it a big three up front as he continued to be active and efficient with the vast majority of the NE-10 now following his every move.
In the backcourt, Bryce Daley emerged as an ideal compliment to Shaughnessy. He didn't always put up huge numbers but his tools and contributions exceeded the story of the stat sheet. Tyler Aronson and Brian Wright-Kinsey also had their fare share of moments throughout the tournament.
The Blue Devils might not have left with the championship, but they continued to turn heads for the second consecutive week after winning in Springfield last weekend. Ronnie Silva has emerged as one of the biggest stories of the summer so far while he's just one of five Blue Devils who has racked up full scholarship offers in the last two weeks. His backcourt mate Kevin Fernandez, who will prep next year at NTSI, continued to impress with his skill and craftiness. Ben Eckstrom and Jacob Iwowo form a great one-two punch at the forward spots, and both own offers now as well, while the presence of Martin Mann in the middle gives the team an athletic big man to compete around the rim. Add in rising junior Gob Gabriel, who had some spectacular moments this week, along with the likes of Isaiah Holmes and D.J. Frechette and this isn't just a team on the rise but a number of individual prospects trending up as well.