First I'd like to personally extend my sympathies to the family of John Schmitz, a highly respected man in the community and a member of the NY2LA Sports family who passed away earlier this week. John was a very good friend to a lot of people and kids in the Greater Milwaukee area and he was a good friend to me and a member of our family here at NY2LA Sports as he worked for us at times over the past few years. He was an extremely hard worker, always on time, and always put in 110%. He was a quality person across the board and he will be missed.
The High School season is in full swing and the Grassroots travel season is right around the corner so there's tons of things to talk about today...
We're really excited about our new partnership this year with SLAM Magazine. As the Midwest PUNKS Editor and National Consultant it gives us another vehicle in terms of both the magazine and their website to provide additional exposure above and beyond our responsibilities with NY2LASports.com and the HoopScoop. We've already been able to do that a number of times with articles on their website in 2009. All of our events this year be it tournament, camps, or high school events will all be covered and reported on with the different sites this year. Take a look at the articles posted this week on the SLAM website by CLICKING HERE
Speaking of events the Swish & Dish Spring Warm-Up is right around the corner April 3-5, 2009. The premiere tournament to kick off the Grassroots travel season is again open to teams ages 9u-17u with games being played throughout the Greater Milwaukee area. Last year teams from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin put it down for 3 days in the single largest and most competitive tournament ever held in the state of Wisconsin. This year promises to be no exception as a host of powerful programs are already confirmed to attend the event including the All-Ohio Red and the All Iowa Attack, which feature the #1 and #6 players in the country for the Class of 2010, 6'7" Jared Sullinger (All-Ohio) and 6'6" Harrison Barnes (All Iowa). This event will be loaded with talent from top to bottom.
Congratulations goes out to 5'11" frosh PG Chris McHenry of Howard University who was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. McHenry graduated from Milwaukee Bradley Tech. He's currently second on the team in scoring and averaged almost 14 points a game last week during a 4 game stretch for Howard University.
2010 PG Josh Gasser of Port Washington continues to see his stock soar this winter as he's seen interest in recent months from the likes of Iowa, Indiana, and Northwestern, amongst others. Gasser is the top 2010 PG prospect in Wisconsin and could very well be a top 100-125 prospect nationally by the end of the summer. A 6'4" PG with excellent range and the ability to attack the rim, hit the mid range, and stroke the trey ball, Gasser is one of the best kept secrets in the 2010 class nationally. He competes with the Wisconsin Swing on the Grassroots travel side.
Keeping in mind the 2010 class, 2010 standout Flavien Davis and undefeated and top ranked Wisconsin Lutheran High School play host to the explosion scoring machine that is William Chrisman High School (Missouri) January 24, 2009 in the 2009 NY2LA Sports Extravaganza. Chrisman features 2009 standouts and Illinois State commits Justin Clark and Jon Ekey. This game is slated for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday the 24th and will take place at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin. Prior to this game Milwaukee Madison will play host to Brooks College Preparatory Academy (Illinois) at 5:45 p.m.. Brooks features one of the top 2011 prospects in the country in PG George Marshall Jr. who was sensational at the 2008 Windy City Showdown last month to help Brooks upset previous unbeaten Racine Horlick of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Bay View will take on Brookfield Academy to start the day at 4:00 p.m.. Fore more information on this event CLICK HERE.
Former Milwaukee Vincent star Diante Garrett continues to impress and develop as a talent with the Iowa State Cyclones. He's currently averaging 10.7 PPG and 5.1 APG for the Cyclones. A long versatile athletic talent, Garrett looks primed to have a monster junior and senior campaign in the Big 12. He competed in part for the Stay in the Game program and wrapped up his Grassroots career with the D.T.A. program at the Adidas Super 64 2 summers ago where he saw his stock really take off alongside the likes of Bryquis Perine (UW-Green Bay) and Korie Lucious (Michigan State).
Speaking of big campaigns, as announced earlier this week the July "Live" evaluation period is going to be huge and no place stands to be hotter than Milwaukee where the 2009 Next Level Invitational will drop July 6-9, 2009 and Summer Jam 2009 will drop July 12-15, 2009 with all 15u-17u games being held inside the same facility for both events! These events will be certified for Division 1 College Coaches. The past couple of years teams from New York, Maryland, Georgia, California, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have all put it down in July in front over over 100 college coaches from virtually every Division 1 conference in the country as well as a host of Division 2 and Division 3 schools. A host of loaded programs from across the country are already confirmed to attend both events this year as each will have it's own flavor of different programs from various regions of the country. Both events will have all divisions covered in-depth by NY2LASports.com, the HoopScoop, and SLAM Magazine!
Remember the name Travonn Wright of Waterloo, Iowa. By the end of this summer you're going to hear an awful lot about it because he could explode over the next 6 months. He'll be playing with the All Iowa Attack this spring/summer.
Couple of 2009 sleepers still rocking the courts include 6'9" Ross Ellrich of Olatha South and 6'5" Brandon Pullman of Rock Island. Both Ellrich and Pullman put it down for the Iowa Barnstormers last spring/summer. Ellrich is a solid skilled interior prospect with nice instincts, good size, and some excellent upside while Pullman is an excellent athlete with the ability to score by attacking the rim or stroking the perimeter jumper as his 20 PPG average this season for Rock Island will attest. Both are wide open in terms of recruiting and both have shown the ability to compete both regionally and nationally at a big time level.
Another name to keep track of in 2010 is 6'4" G Rayvonte Rice of Champaign Centennial in Illinois. Gonzaga and Virginia have shown interest in him in recent weeks. Rice was sensational last summer in leading the Illinois Stars 17u team to the championship of the 2008 Next Level Invitational and the explosive swing talent should see his stock soar. He's definitely one to watch in the 2010 class.
Speaking of one to watch, 6'3" G Jordaire Jett of Saint Bernards in Minnesota continues to dominate at the prep level. Jett is a lethal combination of size, athleticism, skills, and toughness and one of those dudes who can do whatever he wants to do when he gets it going. Baylor, Iowa State, Seton Hall, UW-Milwaukee, Evansville, and Bradley are just a few of the schools lining up for the 2010 standout. He is tough across the board and could be a big time dude at the next level if he continues to develop and progress.
Speaking of tough big time dudes, make sure you throw 6'4" G Keala King of Dominguez H.S. in California into that mix. King can put it on the floor, stroke the jumper, and is a major dude across the board. He showed that last summer at the 2008 NY2LA Sports Next Level Invitational in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last July with the Compton Magic and parlayed that performance into interest from the likes of Texas, USC, and Oregon to name a few. King is versatile, athletic, quick, and skilled and you can expect that to translate into some big time interest and offers over the next 6-8 months.
Remember the name Rasham Suarez. He's a 2011 PG who's going to be a major dude with the Iowa Barnstormers this spring/summer.
While Mike Shaw, Wayne Blackshear, and Andre Henley are getting tons of burn right now regionally and nationally, don't sleep on 6'5" swing Sam Thompson of Whitney Young and 6'8" Phillip Jackson of Providence St. Mel in the 2011 class. Both Thompson and Jackson are big time major dudes in their own right and over the next 12-15 months you can expect their stock to skyrocket alongside that of Shaw, Blackshear, and Henley. All 5 are top 75-100 prospects nationally in the 2011 class and all 5 played for the Mac Irvin Fire Grassroots travel program last year.
Keep tabs on 6'11" Chad Calcaterra of Cloquet High School in Minnesota and 6'8" Marshal Bjorklund of Sibley East High School in Minnesota. Both are two of the premiere bigs available in the 2010 class. Bjorklund is a physically skilled power forward with the ability to grab rebounds, stroke the mid range jumper, and also get buckets in the paint. He really came on the scene last spring playing with John Sherman's Minnesota Magic 16U team based out of Minnesota and turned in a big time performance at the 16U division of the Next Level Invitational in Milwaukee last July. Really like his game and Bjorklund stands to collect a lot of mid to high major offers over the next 6-8 months as he is again expected to play for the Minnesota Magic program. Calcaterra is a big long young interior prospect who's just scratching the surface of his potential. He's already received interest from a host of Big 10 schools and you can expect that to grow substantially as he is expected to rock the courts this spring/summer with the Howard Pulley Panthers Grassroots travel program based out of Minnesota. These are two kids to definitely take a look at if you need bigs in the 2010 class.
Speaking of events, keep in mind that the 2009 NY2LA Sports Invitational is set for May 29-31, 2009 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This premiere spring travel tournament has developed into one of the best tournaments in the country to finish off the spring portion of the travel season. Last year teams from Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota rocked the courts for 3 days. This year promises to be much of the same as a host of elite travel programs have already committed to attend the event for 9u-17u teams. Add to the mix games being played inside the AL Maguire Center at Marquette throughout the weekend and all championships being held there on Championship Sunday and you have the recipe for another strong event that will also be covered in depth by NY2LASports.com, the HoopScoop, and SLAM Magazine along with other services in attendance.
6'4" Brandon Dawson of Lew Wallace High School (Indiana) is the real deal. A dominate skilled swing, Dawson is an elite 2011 prospect nationally and a major dude on the come up. Expect to see him take off this spring with the SYF Players Grassroots travel program based out of Indiana.
Looking for a sharpshooter in the 2011 class, look no further than 6'2" G Nick Latzke of Minnetonka High School. Latzke is a lethal left handed perimeter shooter who could develop into a major dude over the next 12 months. Add to the mix the ability to attack the rim and Latzke is going to develop into a hot commodity before it's all said and done. He'll play with the Howard Pulley Panthers this spring.
Speaking of guards, is there a tougher guard in the state of Wisconsin right now that 2010 5'10" PG Terry Taylor of Milwaukee Washington. While others may walk the walk, Taylor talks the talk as he is a dominant perimeter defender with excellent ball handling ability, solid dribble penetration skills, and the ability to stroke the perimeter jumper as well. While you can have all the size and upside you want at the end of the day it's about production and wins and Taylor is a talented floor leader who flat out knows out to play and adds instant toughness whenever he takes the floor.
Staying with Milwaukee Washington, if you're looking at 2009 guards still in the mix 6'3" Antone Byrd is a tough physical skilled perimeter talent who has Milwaukee Washington undefeated and is one of the top candidates for City Conference Player of the Year. Byrd attacks the rim, can stroke the mid range jumper and is a fierce competitor. He's also an excellent defender with a no fear mentality and one of the top sleepers in the 2009 class for the Midwest. If you want production and someone who will do whatever it takes to win, Byrd is one of those dudes. Indiana State, Texas A&M, Missouri State and a host of other schools have shown interest in Byrd in recent weeks. Expect that list to grow as he really is a tough physical guard with an old school flavor that can do some major damage at the next level if given an opportunity.
While Milwaukee Vincent has lost a couple of tough ones early in the year, new Head Coach John Allen is going to do a great job over there as the focus really is on the kids and getting them to improve and develop. 6'8" 2012 F/C Phillip Nolan is a major dude on the rise and you can bet the house that Vincent is going to be putting it down in a major way when it's all said and done under the leadership of Allen.
Last but not least the 2008 NY2LA Sports Generation Next All-Star Camp will drop June 12-14, 2008 for Rising 6th-9th graders. This elite national middle school camp has brought in close to 200 nationally ranked prospects the past couple of years and this year Clark Francis who is the National Editor for the HoopScoop and the premiere evaluator of talent at the middle school levels will be in attendance for the camp this year. Also new to the event this year is the fact that it will now be held inside the AL Maguire Center on the campus of Marquette University! This facility is one of the premiere facilities in the entire country and should be an excellent venue for what promises to be one of the premiere middle school camps in the country this year. The event will be covered in-depth here at NY2LASports.com along with the HoopScoop and SLAM Magazine this year. Registrations will again include jerseys, shorts, shoes, and in-depth profiles of each player online here at NY2LASports.com. Call 414.732.3245 for more information or stay tuned to us here at NY2LASports.com for additional details in the coming weeks.