If you thought the 7th and 8th Grade action was hot at the GNBA Eastern Conference Session 1 in Waukegan, Illinois, the 6th Graders really turned it up a notch over the 2-day weekend as well. Players stepped up and showcased some of the very best talent starting to come through the process on the hardwood and how competitive basketball should be played at the youth level. Jalen Suggs of Team Sizzle was spectacular and Dominick Martinelli of the IL Rising Stars had an all-star caliber weekend scoring the ball.  Others like Donovan Billings, Caleb Love, etc. also put together some high-level basketball throughout the weekend. Here’s a look at those and other 2020 talent who shined during the opening weekend of the Generation Next Basketball Association…

(Note - Listed in alphabetical order - This is not an exclusive list)

TOP PERFORMERS
DONOVAN BILLINGS - 2020 - F/C - WI UNITED

Billings stats may not have looked as powerful as his game actually was, but the young post product was a force once again for his WI United team. Billings went to work inside and also showed an improved ability to do work away from the hoop both knocking down a couple short jumpers and sharing the basketball to open teammates. His best game came in a victory where the 6-2 prospect scored 16 points and tallied 8 rebounds and a block. Overall on the weekend, Billings averaged 11 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.5 steals per contest.

BRANDIS BOWEN - 2020 - G/F - WI UNITED
Along with Billings, Bowen was perhaps equally as important to WI United’s success throughout the weekend in Waukegan. Bowen shot the ball fairly well from around the offensive end, but was even more valuable with his overall defensive effort. He rebounded well on the defensively and was extremely quick to the ball, racking up steal after steal in various games including a 6-steal effort in a win Sunday where he also scored 15 points, had 9 rebounds and an assist to boot. Over the two days, Bowen averaged 13.5 PPG - 6 RPG - 3.5 APG - and 4 SPG.

DECLAN CIURLIK - 2020 - F - WI SHOOTERS
Ciurlik had a very steady overall weekend for the young Shooters team looking to build chemistry and compete at a high level. A fierce competitor, Ciurlik was strong in various aspects of the game shooting at a good percentage and finding ways to get on the glass and rebound for his team. He also kicked the ball out nicely averaging 2.2 assists, and was all over the floor defensively averaging 1.8 steals and 1 block per game. His signature game came Saturday as Ciurlik scored 20 points (8-16 FG / 4-6 FT) and totaled up 14 rebounds in a tough victory.

JUSTIN GREENLEE - 2020 - PG - RAY ALLEN SELECT
Greenlee was the key ingredient in a pair of wins for the Ray Allen Select program this past weekend, averaging a steady all-around stat line of 8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals per game. In the two wins, Greenlee was highly efficient from the floor and was able to score in a variety of ways for his team while also finding opportunities to help his teammates get open shots. His highlight game came in the form of a 20-point (7-9 FG), 2-rebound, 3-assists and 4-steal effort which resulted in a solid win.

JADEN HARDY - 2020 - PG - REACH LEGENDS
Hardy overall had an explosive weekend, especially in regards to shooting the ball. Although his percentage dropped later in the event, he had a couple very impressive outings and showed off his range for his age. Hardy handles the ball well and showed his quickness along with the ability to create open looks for himself when needed. In a tough loss Saturday, the young guard connected on a tournament-best 8 three pointers, shooting it 57% from beyond the arc which literally kept his team fighting in it down to the finish, and he also contributed 5 rebounds. On the weekend, he averaged 12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 1.2 spg.

JALEN JOHNSON – 2020 – G – WI PLAYGROUND WARRIORS
The lanky young guard was solid again this weekend and filled the box score in each game with a number of quality floor performances.  He averaged around 9 points a game, kicked out 4 assists, and grabbed 3 rebounds while shooting close to 70 percent from the field and serving as the catalyst in an undefeated weekend for the WI PGC 2020 group.  A talented and instinctive skilled young guard, JJ is one to pay close attention to as you can expect him to build on a strong opening GNBA weekend moving forward.  

CALEB LOVE - 2020 - G - TEAM RAMEY
Love was another player who really stood out and made a name for himself this weekend. The young combo guard out of St. Louis scored the basketball at a high rate throughout the event, was active and effective rebounding the basketball and did nice work getting teammates involved at times also. In a tough loss for Team Ramey, Love scored 19 points, hitting 4-of-5 regular field goals and also showing off his talent from the perimeter hitting 3-of-5 triples, and then also recorded 3 rebounds and a block. Love’s potential is skyward and his play in Waukegan leaves excitement for future games in his wake after averaging nearly 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game in battles Saturday and Sunday.

DOMINIC MARTINELLI - 2020 - SG - IL RISING STARS
Though the Rising Stars lost a couple tough games, there were some major positives to take away from the weekend for the gritty young squad. One spot would be the star-like play from young gunslinger Dominick Martinelli who averaged a league-high 23.2 points per game in Waukegan. Martinelli had a 3-game span of 22 points, 28 points and an impressive 33-point effort in a win in which he incredible went 10-13 from the field along with a pair of treys. Martinelli was also active going to rebounds and did a solid job handling the ball in each game. It will be fun to see how he tries to top these performances in Session 2 against more top competition.

ALEX MARTZAHL - 2020 - F - WI PLAYGROUND WARRIORS
Martzahl had a strong weekend for the Warriors of the Playground in the GNBA’s first weekend. The young post player was strong inside, showed a little ability to knock down looks away from the basket some as well and rebounded consistently. In one win, Martzahl tallied a double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 11 rebounds off the boards, and added a block for good measure. He was also 7-of-7 from the floor and showed his skill-set inside finishing plays. Martzahl averaged 9.2 ppg and 7 rpg on the weekend.

JALEN SUGGS - 2020 - F - TEAM SIZZLE
Suggs was straight-up dominant on the hardwood Saturday and Sunday in the GNBA opening weekend. The young wing/forward out of Minnesota averaged a double-double (21 points / 10 rebounds) scored a high of 26 points in one game where he also had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block in leading his team to a victory. Another game he was a boss on the boards with 19 rebounds to accompany his 23 points. Suggs used his body remarkably to score strong inside and to position himself for rebounds, while also making plays for his teammates consistently. Look out for more from him as the Eastern Conference and Championships continue.

Stay tuned to GNBABASKETBALL.COM and GENERATIONNEXTBASKETBALL.COM for complete coverage of the Generation Next Basketball Association #GNBA all spring and summer…