The 2009 NY2LA Sports Invitational attracted several elite squads from around the Midwest to Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the crown jewel to wrap up the spring circuit in the Midwest was up for grabs in the Badger state. Concluding their spring from the Brew City, action was intense and revealed several prospects worthy of noting on the national radar. Here’s the rundown from weekend for the 16u division…

16U Platinum Championship – DTA D-Harris Superstars defeated Bay City Hoops

16U Gold Championship – Wisconsin Blizzard defeated Chicago Demons

Top 15 performers from the 2011 class at the 2009 NYLA Sports Invitational:
(Editor’s Note – Listed Alphabetically)

2011 G Wayne Blackshear – Mac Irvin Fire
Silky smooth combo guard continue to fill it up even as his team fell in the championship contest. Skilled with the ball, he scored off drives to the lane, and his jumper was connecting out to twenty feet. More impressively, Blackshear was the toughest and fiercest competitor on a Mac Irvin team throughout the weekend. He could assert a bit more effort defensively, but still managed to disrupt the offensives he saw by using his length to play passing lanes. As he continues to improve his defensive play and works on developing his body, it could be another big summer for the consensus top 25 national prospect.

2011 F Cinmeon Bowers – Playground Elite
Wide-bodied big has an explosive burst near the rim and jumps powerfully off two feet. Nearing 6-foot-7, he’ll surely be recruited heavily at the high-major level. Strong finisher who battles through contact and has great composure on the court to take such a beating, he excels in physical contests where he can use his body to fight for rebounds and finish offensive attempts. He’s certainly a playmaker around the rim and a double-double threat each time out.

2011 F Elgin Cook – DTA Devin Harris
The son of former NBA player Alvin Robertson, Cook brings the same aggressive defensive mentality to the court that gained his father fame in the professional ranks. Blessed with athleticism and a keen understanding of how to attack from the wing, Cook was the perfect complement to high school running mate Darnell Harris during DTA’s championship run. He didn’t mind mixing it up at the rim with bigger opponents and has the frame that leads one to believe he’ll continue to add strength with ease. Continued development of his jumper will be key for an elite regional prospect already hearing from the Big Ten, SEC, and ACC on a regular basis.

2011 G DeShawn Greer – Mac Irvin Fire
Aggressive wing who is still learning the game, Greer demonstrated instincts as a rebounder and even as a shot blocker from the perimeter. Skill-wise he is still raw, but has the potential to be a devastating force on both ends of the court. More comfortable with the mid-range jumper than he is from the perimeter, he looked to pass beyond the three point line and attacked off one or two strong dribbles that took him deep in the lane. With circuit teammates Blackshear and Shaw at his side, expect Greer to keep working hard and improving on a regular basis.

2011 F Brandon Hannah – St. Louis Primetime
Elite athlete from the wing with the size and strength to take the ball to the basket. A two-sport athlete who began his career as a guard on the hardwood and safety on the gridiron, he’s looking more like a combo forward with NFL linebacker size these days. Aggressive to the cup and quick to the boards, Hannah still needs to develop perimeter skills in the form of shooting and ball-handling in order for his hoops recruitment to reach the level of his football stock.

2011 F Darnell Harris – DTA Devin Harris
He’s certainly in contention for the top player in Wisconsin at this point in time and had all facets of his game working on Saturday. Looking taller than the 6-foot-7 he’s listed at and capable of shooting the deep ball, Harris needs to tighten his ball-handling skills so he can become more effective as a slasher off the bounce. Liked his aggressiveness on the offensive boards and needs to bring that same mentality to the defensive glass. Has the length and foot speed to defend the perimeter but has a tendency to reach and occasionally get beat off the dribble right now. Excellent weekend for the 16u MVP against some stiff national competition.

2011 G Ricky Johnson – King James Shooting Stars
Small and lean point guard with some quickness to this game. Knocked down shots off the catch and did a good job of setting up passing angles to find open shots for his perimeter threats throughout the weekend. His reputation as a scoring point guard preceded him at this event, but Johnson impressed with his abilities as a playmaker that made his teammates better. Bigger guards shot over him or beat him with their bodies off the dribble, but he was relentless, often recovering to poke away the ball from behind or taking a charge when sliding over as the help defender. Competitiveness and winners mentality should not be overlooked when evaluating this prospect with a quiet demeanor off the court.

2011 G Charles Lee – DTA Devin Harris
Talented lead guard is competitive and possesses all kinds of heart. He’s got quite the chore of keeping an extremely talented squad happy in terms of his distribution on the offensive end, but does a good job, as multiple players hit double-digits in the scoring column during the tournament. Refusing to let his team lose, where Lee really stood out was on the defensive end, as he was the squad’s best defender and vocal leader. With lengthy athletic defenders behind him, Lee took chances and was often successful disrupting passing lanes and pressuring the ball.

2011 G Darrell Longstreet – Playground Elite
Impressive young prospect with size and athleticism, Longstreet is at the helm of the guard position for Wisconsin’s rising junior class. Word  is that Big Ten and Big East schools have been calling regularly. Capable of getting to the rim and finishing through contact, Longstreet was streaky from deep on this particular weekend. He’s got big-time potential as a defender and will have the chance to be a game-changer on that end of the floor if he continues working hard.

2011 C James Price – King James Shooting Stars
Made a strong case as the event’s top long-term prospect due to his ceiling for potential development. Still raw on both ends of the floor, Price is making strides with each game, and the bottom line is he’s nearly seven feet tall with the bounce, length, and timing NY2LA Sports already mentioned in the Saturday recap. Price has a great motor and he plays with the same high-level of effort on both ends of the floor. When he’s not swatting shots, he’s going to work for putbacks on the offensive glass. Needs to work on his touch near the rim, but he has the tools to be more than capable as a finisher.

2011 F Nick Romanowski – Milwaukee Panthers
Rugged forward with impressive physical features, Romanowski looked possessed around the basket. His determination to score at the rim also made him an important offensive rebounder for his squad, though most of his fouls came for pursuing the boards too aggressively. Appeared to play better with contact, as he goes at opponents with his body, hoping to throw them off balance and draw the foul. He controlled the paint on the defensive end as well by once again rebounding and even altering shots by penetrating perimeter players.

2011 F Phil Romback – Bay City Hoops
Skilled face-up four man whose versatility on both ends of the court has led his team to a better than expected semifinal appearance. Ronback already has a fairly notable reputation in Wisconsin but his recruitment should receive a boost this summer as regional mid and high-majors are sure to sniff around. He’s got a soft touch, can use the dribble to get to the rim from the high post or perimeter, and he is capable of finishing with either hand. Not exceptionally athletic, Ronbeck utilizes advanced footwork and positioning to battle on the boards. Perhaps most impressive was his ability to pass the ball from the wing and pass out of the post when pressured on the block.

2011 F Michael Shaw – Mac Irvin Fire
Shaw has a huge wingspan to go along with a smooth stroke from deep. He’s more effective when used as a face-up four man, as he beats post defenders off the dribble with his foot speed and advanced ball-handling ability for a frontcourt prospect. Shaw’s area for improvement revolves around his ability to get stronger as his physical stature has limited the development of his game in the last year. He’ll need to become quicker and more effective handling the ball to show he’s a legit swingman as the summer months close in.

2011 F Calahan Skogman – Bay City Hoops
The recipient of Romback’s passing ability; “Cal” capitalized on his opportunities to score, demonstrating the ability to hit the open three point shot and utilizing a variety of ball fakes to score off short jumpers in the lane. A combo forward with an impressive body, Skogman scored around the rim, and proved to be a reliable post defender for a slightly undersized Bay City Hoops squad. Solid set of hands helped him reel in rebounds and fight off bigger opponents.

2011 Quevyn Winters – Milwaukee Spartans
Skilled wing with excellent court awareness on the offensive end. Moved well without the ball and scored seemingly each time the ball was in his hands. An advanced talent, he made a number of plays from the perimeter, including shooting the deep ball off the dribble. Excellent passer in traffic and he’s more athletic laterally at this point than he his vertically. Adequate defender on the wing with decent length and ability to play passing lanes. However, Winters is a tough rebounder for his position, and scored off the offensive rebounds he collected. With a little more explosion jumping off one foot and continued emphasis on developing his ball-handling and perimeter jumper, Winters could easily become one of the most sought after recruits in the state of Wisconsin and beyond.

Other strong performers
(Editor’s Note - This list is not an exclusive one)

2011 F Eric Allen – DTA Devin Harris
2011 G DeVonte Beard – King James Shooting Stars
2011 G Deontre Brown – Illinois T-Wolves         
2011 F Darius Carter – King James Shooting Stars
2011 G Shaun Covington – R.E.A.C.H. Legends
2011 G Kiwane Crowder – Playground Elite
2011 G Will Doeckbl – I.B.A. Select
2011 F Chris Kading - Wisconsin Blizzard
2011 G/F Jakarr Sampson - King James Shooting Stars
2011 F Bryan Drauder – St. Louis Raptors
2011 G Mitchell Farr – DTA Devin Harris
2011 F Jake Keefer – Minnesota Select
2011 G Kiwane Crowder - Playground Elite
2011 F Jordan Noskowiah – Randolph Boys Club
2011 G Dominique Parker – Chicago Demons
2011 G Jalonnie Parks – Playground Elite
2011 F Jalen Thompson – Illinois T-Wolves
2011 F J.J. Panoske - Randolph Boys Club
2011 G Reece Zoelle – Bay City Hoops
2011 F Christian Williams - Playground Elite
2011 PG Nimrod Hilliard - Madison Spartans
2011 F Paul Jesperson - Wisconsin Playmakers
2011 F Miles Chamberlain - Madison Spartans