ZG Finals - Day 1 Recap
The Zero Gravity Finals punctuated the spring AAU season by welcoming over 550 teams to the state of Massachusetts for the biggest grassroots tournament of the year. With the vast majority of New England’s top programs in attendance, day one of the event was like a who’s who of New England’s best:
Makai Ashton-Langford (Mass Rivals, 2017)- Ashton-Langford was the (unofficial) player of the day, making it look easy with his smooth game and finesse finishes. He was getting into the lane like he owned it.
Kellan Grady (New England Playaz, 2017)- The leader of the Playaz, Grady did a little bit of everything for them. Getting out in the open court and throwing down some highlight dunks and in the half court setting hitting from mid range and deep while showing his always improving court vision and floor game.
Jalyn Hinton (BABC, 2017)- one of most athletic players in the 2017 class, Hinton was one of the break out stars Saturday. Playing well above the rim and jumping passing lanes on the defensive end, Hinton stood out on a deep BABC team Saturday night.
Aaron Wheeler (Mass Rivals, 2017)- After making the big announcement earlier this week that he will be going to Brewster Academy next year, Wheeler was making plays on both ends; taking defenders off the bounce and finishing way above the rim while contributing defensively with some big time blocks from the weak-side of the floor.
Wabissa Bede (Mass Rivals, 2017)- The general of the Rivals, on and off the court, Bede's leadership and playmaking ability stood out. He was blowing by the opposition while reading the help defender and consistently making the right decision on whether to score or distribute.
Mike McGuirl (CBC, 2017)- McGuirl was huge for CBC as they advanced to bracket play. His quick crossover, which he employs to either get to the rim or hit the midrange, was on Saturday.
Makhtar Gueye (Mass Rivals, 2017)- Gueye seems to be starting to adjust to the speed of the game at this high level and was making plays in the open court that seem unlikely for a 6'10 player. He also knocked down the 3 ball.
Geo Baker (DC Blue Devils, 2017)- The floor general was getting to the rim by using his length and athleticism. When in the lane, Baker would make plays for himself and his teammates. He was also shooting the 3 ball at a high rate.
Jordan Mason (Wrightway Skills, 2019)- After a great showing at the Super Soph last weekend, Mason came out with a 36 point performance. He knocked down 8 3s, some from NBA range.
Caleb Green (DC Blue Devils, 2017)- The other member of the guard tandem for the DC Blue Devils, Green is as steady as they come. He's a heady guard who makes the right play and also knocks down the long ball.
Jakigh Dottin (BABC, 2017)- An unbelievable leader, Dottin, who is coming back from injury suffered in April, was on Saturday, making plays for himself and others in the lane with his strength, athleticism and craftiness.
Kai Toews (New England Playaz, 2018)- Toews was impressive with his court vision and and playmaking abilities. He arguably played the best basketball he has all spring on Saturday
Marcus Santos Silva (BABC, 2017)- The big man continued his hot play rebounding the ball at a high rate and using his soft touch around the rim.
Tshiefu Ngalakulondi (DC Blue Devils, 2017)- The athletic wing was making plays at the rim, both from the open court and half court set while also nailing the three ball.
Darnell Brodie (New England Playaz, 2018) The big bodied post man was dominate on both ends of the floor for the Playaz. He was finishing through contact offensively and defensively was blocking and altering shots.
Jared Simmons (CBC, 2017)- Simmons is an explosive athlete with a nice touch from all 3 ranges. With McGuirl and Simmons in the backcourt, CBC had an effective and dynamic backcourt on Saturday.
10th Grade Division
Taelon Martin (Mass Rivals, 2019)- Martin has had a very successful spring, and it continued on Saturday. His movements on the court look effortless; he can run all day and is consistently able to beat his man down the court for an easy basket. His quick second jump makes him tough to contain on the offensive glass.
Moses Flowers (Metro Boston, 2018)- Reclassifying to 2019 and attending Thayer Academy next year, Flowers stood out among a talented Metro Boston squad. He gets good arc on his jumper, but does not try to force his own offense. He is a very good rebounder for a guard, too.
Tanahj Pettway (Mass Rivals, 2019)- A skilled scorer, Pettway is a key cog for the Rivals 10th grade team. His ability to score on all three levels on a consistent basis is a big reason for their success.
Wildems Leveque (DBBC- Remi, 2018)- The big man is a great athlete and looks to dunk everything when he gets the ball. His great motor and desire to play above the rim bodes well for him down the road, as he is a prospect to watch in the coming years.
Martin Mann (BABC, 2018)- Mann showed the ability to guard outside on the perimeter on Saturday afternoon. The Lawrence Academy forward seems much more comfortable switching on pick and rolls than he has been in the past.
Patrick Morgan (Middlesex Magic, 2019)- Morgan has enjoyed a solid spring so far. He is a young big who can rebound at a high rate. Today, he emerged as a shot blocker from the weak side, as well. Morgan should only improve from here, so keep an eye on his development over the next few years.
Tyler Aronson (NE Playaz, 2018)- The Rivers guard is an outstanding defender due to his quick hands and feet. He is a good shooter who the defenses must keep an eye on, as he relocates very well once his defender loses sight of him.
Maurice Works (BABC, 2018)- Works started BABC's afternoon game with a thunderous dunk that caught the attention of everyone around the court. Pound-for-pound, he is one of the most athletic players in his class.
Chris Camille (NE Playaz, 2019)- The athletic wing is a freshman who plays above the rim. He rebounded the ball very well throughout the day, and loves to beat his defender down the court for an easy dunk.
Tyler Mola (BSS, 2018)- Mola, a combo guard, reads the game very well off of ball screens, as he can make passes within a tight window. He possesses a picture-perfect shooting stroke, and is a threat with the ball in his hands.
9th Grade Division
Bol Akot (DC Blue Devils, 2020)- A high IQ player, Akot makes plays in half court with a good pace to his game, especially for a young player. He is productive now, but his potential is very high, and Akot seems poised to be a great prospect and one to watch in the coming years.
Quest Harris (BABC, 2019)- The lefty point guard plays bigger than his 5'9 frame. he gets his teammates involved on offense, and also showed an improved jumper. Harris can also really jump for a small guard, as was able to throw down in the half court on Saturday night.
Deandre Wallace & Marquan Watson (CT Select, 2019)- Wallace & Watson both were aggressive in taking the ball to the hole and can finish above the rim. They are very good rebounders for their position, and it is very hard to contain both of them on the offensive glass at the same time.
Marcus Peterson (NH Elite, 2020)- In an upset victory for NH Elite, Peterson was the catalyst. He hit big perimeter shots and was able to go by defenders with a variety of moves. He also beat his defender twice on back-cuts. Peterson will transfer to New Hampton and reclassify to the class of 2020.
Matt Malone (South Shore Wolfpack, 2019)- Malone was extremely impressive with how relentless and passionate he played on Saturday night. The forward stands out with his effort; he got every loose ball and gathered up many rebounds over bigger opponents. His mid-range jumper is also something defenses must take note of.
Spencer Aronson (NE Playaz, 2019)- Like his brother, Aronson is a tough guard who can shoot the ball, He showed he can get his shot off both off the catch and off the bounce, including displaying a smooth step-back 3-pointer.
Judson Martindale (BABC, 2020)- A long wing, Martindale is at the point in BABC's press. His activity on defense creates opportunities for himself and others. He works hard on offense to get good position to rebound, allowing himself to get easy put-backs.
Aireus Raspberry (Expressions, 2019)- Raspberry ran the show at a high level for Expressions on Saturday. As a point guard should, he put his teammates in a position to succeed. He also nailed several jumpers, making him even more difficult to cover.
Jordan Richard (Mass Rivals, 2019)- Richards gets in the lane a lot. From there, he showed the ability to make the mid-range jumper or kick out to an open teammate for a jumper.
Jack Schaakey (NH Elite, 2019)- The 6'5 forward has a very good shot fake that he uses to get inside. He had a thunderous dunk in a big NH Elite win, but also showed that he can lock up on defense when it matters most.
Deandre Ortiz (Expressions, 2019)- The lefty forward showed a nice touch from 12 feet out, in addition to showing he can finish with his right or left inside the paint.
Matthew Fleming (Maine Renegades, 2019)- The younger brother of incoming Maine freshman Andrew Fleming, Matthew shares many of the same characteristics. He is long and active on the boards. He has a good feel for the game and can really pass the ball. Standing at 6'3 right now, Fleming has a chance to be a very good player