Rivals Run to Adidas Finals
New England teams literally made headlines from all corners of the country last week. While Expressions and Middlesex Magic battled for the Hoop Group championship and BABC's 10th graders took the AAU championship, the Mass Rivals were in Los Angeles advancing to the finals of the Adidas Summer Championship for the third time in the last four years.
While they ultimately fell to Compton Magic in overtime, in many ways this might have been the Rivals' most rewarding run yet as they exceeded external expectations and captured media headlines across various national outlets.
Akok Akok in particular stole the show. Rivals' Corey Evans declared him the best player in Southern California last week stating, "there is no argument for this one" and that he "dominated everyone in front of him."
247's Evan Daniels was equally effusive in his praise stating, "Some kids, some coaches, and some parents like to complain about their ranking. Akok Akok and the people around him do not fit that mold. With that said, they probably should have, because the performance he put on this week made us looks silly. So silly in fact that we did something we almost never do, and bumped him way up the rankings before an official rankings release. Akok was jumped 78 spots up to no. 25 and was given five-star status, that is how good he was."
The Rivals opened their week with a 75-71 win over EBO, featuring the #2 ranked player in the national class of 2020 Jalen Green, and handled Iowa Barnstormers 73-49 on Thursday. They earned two narrow wins over Team Knight Gold and Ohio Basketball Club on Friday. Saturday wins over Gamepoint Elite and Basketball University set up a match-up with D1 Minnesota and Matt Hurt, a top ten ranked senior in the country. The Rivals won that 75-69 before beating ITPS Wildcats in Sunday's semifinals.
Akok, Langford, and Wildens Leveque were also selected for the Adidas All-American Camp which took places immediately following the summer championships.
The Rivals are now on their way to Orlando where they'll join numerous teams from the northeast and across the country for The Prime Event.