17, 6’5, 165lbs 2. How would you describe Ballou basketball this season? Ballou basketball is great this year, coming from only winning 4 games last season.
3. As you get ready to head into the DCIAA playoffs what were your team & individual goals before the season started? Of course I’m ready for the playoffs. As a team our goal was to make a statement this year.
4.What do you believe you need to work on to take your game to the next level? I believe I need to work on my handle to take my game to the next level.
5. What schools have offered you or have shown you interest? No comment.
6. What school, boys & girls club, rec, AAU teams did you play for growing up & last summer? I played for MetroBall DC last summer.
7. You have had several dunks go viral what has the reaction been from your teammates, schoolmates, family & friends? My teammates, family & friends motivate me to dunk more.
8. What is the most underrated part of your game? The most underrated part of my game is my jump shot .
9. If you could participate in the NBA Dunk contest during All Star weekend what dunk would do to win it? If I were in the NBA dunk contest I would do an Eastbay dunk to win it.
10. How would you describe the overall competitiveness of the DCIAA this season? The DCIAA this season has been tough & underrated. There’s a lot of players competing to make it out.
2. ER is having a another great season this year what were your individual goals coming into this season & how have they aligned with the success of the team this season?
My individuals goals were to keep building relationships with my teammates and having consistency throughout the season it has aligned great with the seasons success so far as we are on one accord and winning games.
3. What did you work on this past summer to improve your game as a senior & what do you believe you need to work on to improve for the college level?
I have been working on my shooting ability, driving & finishing through traffic. What I need to work on is creating plays off the dribble more consistently.
4. You are known for playing hard & doing the small things that help your team win games is your energy/motor something you have always had or did you develop it while in HS?
I have always had a go hard or go home mentality but it has increased throughout my high school career.
5. You have recently announced that you will be committing to a university in the very near future what are you specifically looking for in a university both academically & athletically?
I am looking for a school where I fit in and the atmosphere is positive so that we can learn from each other and gel. Academically I’m looking for a marine biology or a sports management major and letting the academics be a factor in my life not just basketball.
6. Describe your "dream" high school senior season & how does it end?
My dream senior season is being undefeated in the county and winning a state championship.
7. What schools made your final list?
My Top Three are Coppin State, Shepherd & Chestnut Hill.
8. Take us back to when you were a freshmen what were your goals as a freshmen basketball player and how did they differ from your goals now as a senior?
My freshman goals where to make the varsity team but I didn’t so I made sure I was going to work for it. My Senior goals are to win a ring because I have seen what it takes to be a championship team in 2016 and this team this year is something special.
9. What is one basketball skill that you believe separates you from your peers?
My aggression and setting up my teammates when I am having an on or off game.
10. How would you describe the ER program & how has the ER coaching staff prepared you for both off & on court success?
The Eleanor Roosevelt coaching staff is one of the best coaching staffs in the DMV hands down. They have taught me a lot on and off the court. They push you to the goals you set for yourself on the court and off the court they are teaching us how to be young men and that impacts the lives of the team's players.
1. You play with two other guards in the starting lineup as a first year player at Flint Hill how have you been able to develop a chemistry with them & how have they made your transition to the offense easier?
I have always been capable of adapting and playing in any type of offensive structure. The last couple of years playing on the Adidas Circuit, I was blessed to play alongside multiple guards which helps a player not only learn how to run a team but also move without the ball. My chemistry at Flint Hill developed with them before the season began by playing pickup games with them, and learning what their tendencies were on the court. Me and Justice have been close friends and played basketball together since the 5th grade and I have known EJ for a couple of years now so our friendship chemistry was already there. Playing alongside other guards also keeps the defense off balance and makes the offense very effective in transitions and half court sets because at any time, any one of us will run the set, make our reads or break out on the wing. We work hard every day to be one unit.
2. Flint Hill is off to a great start what are your team & individual goals for the remainder of the season and did you anticipate the team would play so well early on?
From day 1 back in pick up ball, I started to believe that we could be a really good team if we all worked hard and bought in to what Coach Reed wanted and expected us to do. Coach Reed is a very excellent and strategic coach, he pushes us beyond our capable limits and holds us all accountable especially on defense. We’re all taught to focus on each individual game and take each game one game at a time. It hasn’t been easy some games and we have had some very close games including a tough overtime win but we try to use what the coaches are teaching us and fight one quarter at a time, down to one possession at a time. Every game we win is only a one game win streak, only thinking about one game at a time. Our objective as a team, is to win our conference and hopefully states, but only do it one game at a time. My personal goal, is to continue to improve every day and be as effective as I can be to give my team the best chance at winning. I do whatever is needed for the team and whatever the coaches ask me to do.
3. You have had some great displays of your shooting & scoring ability this season how have you improved in that area and what did you work on this past summer to improve your overall game?
Playing alongside some top ranked guards like Immanuel Quickly who’s at Kentucky and going against top national guards on the Adidas gauntlet like Zion Williamson (Duke) and Devon Dotson (Kansas) to name a few, ultimately it helped my confidence and I took pieces of their game and I try to incorporate it into mine, making not only my scoring ability better, but my playmaking ability better and just my overall skill set better as well.
4. What schools are currently showing you interest and have offered you?
I am having more schools reaching out now, I have been offered by Boston University, Lehigh University, Delaware State with high interest from Dartmouth, Bowling Green, Richmond, Bryant, UNC Ashville, Akron, Wagner, Cleveland State UMass-Lowell and a few others. There has also been some good interest from a few high major schools who has had a chance to see me this year and from last summer. I have schools that are also waiting to see if I am going to move to the 2020 class and has indicated that they would like to offer me in that class as did Lehigh. I leave all that up to GOD and just focus on what I can do.
5. You play with an elite rim protector in Qudus Wahab what does it feel like knowing that if you are step behind defensively he is back there to defend the rim?
My first goal is not to get beat but if we do, Big Q is a force! He’s one of the reasons that I came to Flint Hill. I know if I slip up on defense, he’s going to either block the shot or making it very difficult for the offensive player to score. He’s the backbone of our offense and defense. He takes stress off the guards because we know he’s going to clean up the mess if we so happen to get beat. But my goal is not to get beat!
6. How would you describe Flint Hill basketball & how have the head coach & coaching staff prepared you for this season?
Flint Hill basketball isn’t just about a team, it’s a family and we are there for each other whether it’s on or off the court. When we step on the court we know it’s all of us, versus all of them, and if one man goes down, we all go down. Coach Reed and the coaching staff has helped us prepare for the season not just physically with cardio, weights and skill set workouts, but also mentally with what our objective at hand is. He has taught us that everything we do, has to be one at a time, not get to down or to low, to stay in between and treat every practice or game as if it is our last.
2. You have been sort of thrown into the fire as a starting freshman PG due to the unfortunate injuries on your team - how have you been able to make the adjustment as a starter and what have the coaches done to ease your transition?
I’ve always played on a big stage and I’ve always played up so when my name was called I was extremely prepared for the opportunity. Also, competing against Ant Harris and J. Roach, the best back court in the country in the preseason it made me more than ready to compete against any other guards out there. The coaches have always told me to live in the moment and stay positive throughout the process which has helped me along the way as well. They believe in me.
3. Your passing ability looks to be one of your major strengths as you have registered double figures in assists as a frosh how have you been able to develop it or is it something that comes naturally to you?
I have always had great vision on the court. My main focus is always to get everybody involved and make sure the ball is being distributed to all the players on the floor. I think that’s a Point Guards job.
4. What are your team goals & individual goals as you play deeper into your conference schedule?
Our goal as a team is to grow together and keep developing chemistry so we can have a run at the WCAC title. My goal as a player is to make sure im making my presence felt. Its my first year in the WCAC and everybody has a name because they’ve been here for 3 or 4 years, so really establishing that I’m a player that is coming to fight every game. I do not back down from any challenge.
5. Take us back to before the season started what were some of the things you wanted to focus on as an incoming freshmen?
Well for one making sure my grades are superb or my mom would kill me. Lol. I also wanted to make sure I was fitting into my role as a fast floor general. Coach wanted me to come in and be the spark for the team. I was mainly focused on keeping the pace fast and fitting into the rotation and doing whatever was asked of me to help my team.
2. You are in the midst of your senior season take us back to your freshmen year & tell us what your mind state was as a frosh beginning to play varsity?
I was very nervous playing and starting on varsity my freshmen year. I wasn’t as strong or fast as any of the other players, so I had to work a lot harder to make an impact. I knew my role and I didn’t do anything outside of that. Mainly I focused on just rebounding, running the floor, and finding an open teammate.
3. What are your team & individual goals for this season & are you & your team currently on pace to meet them?
The team goal and my own personal goal is to win the MAC championship. I think we have a real shot at winning this year. If we play our game and play hard constantly, we could definitely be regular season and tournament champs.
4. What were some of the valuable things you learned early in your high school career from former Maret player & now Iowa forward Luka Garza?
Luka taught me to always play hard no matter who it’s against or how you’re playing. Playing with him and against him, l learned that if you play hard and hustle all the time, you can improve your own game drastically. He also gave me a lot of advice on post moves and finishing.
5. Tell us about your Yale commitment what was it specifically about Yale that made you decide it was the University for you to continue both your academic & athletic career?
I thought Yale was a great school, not just because of academics and basketball, but because of the student life and coaching staff. When I visited there, it seemed like the best choice for me. I thought Coach Jones was honest with me from the start, which said a lot about his program and the school. I’m looking forward to college life next year.
6. You appear to be more aggressive this season in scoring the ball - what did you work on this summer to improve your overall game? You were a member of the Team Takeover 17U team that won Peach Jam this past summer as a graduating senior what will you miss most about playing AAU?
This summer, we had a very deep team that was filled with D-1 talent. So whenever I would go against them in practice, I had to bring my A-game every single time. I worked on being more confident on the offensive end and communicating more on the defensive end.
The thing I’m going to miss about AAU is the concept of getting a bunch of guys that you played during the school season to come together and win weekend tournaments during the spring and summer. 3-5 games a day every Friday and Saturday then championship Sunday was definitely one of the most exhausting things, but it was also one of the most fun things. I’m gonna miss playing AAU.
2. You have recently entered IAC conference play what are your team & individual goals for
this season? How would you describe St. Alban's style of play and what do you guys consistently bring on game day?
Our goal as a team is to keep improving and getting better everyday to compete for an IAC championship. We’ve had a lot of injuries to start the year so we’re just trying to get healthy for the second half of conference play. Overall, we’re working to blend our fast break with our other offensive sets. I think our ability to bounce back and stick together when adversity hits during the course of the game will really help us come tournament play.
3. You have multiple games this season with at least 5 -3pointers made - can you walk us through both your in season & off season shooting routine?
I try to get in the gym every day to work on my shot. I always start with form shooting to get a lot of reps and build that muscle memory. I’d say the biggest key to success for me is practicing game shots at game speed off the catch and off the dribble. From there I gotta give a lot a credit to my teammates and coaches for always trying to put me in a position to succeed.
4. What college/universities are currently showing you interest or have offered you?
Right now I’ve been in contact with primarily Ivy and Patriot League schools.
5. What are some of the things you believe you need to work on to improve your overall game?
I want to continue to keep getting stronger and growing into my body. I’m also working on my ball handling skills to handle in the open court more.
6. What are your basketball plans for this upcoming spring/summer?
My plan for this spring/summer is to keep working to improve my overall game and body. Last year I was fortunate to play with Team Takeover and got a lot of great experience and want to keep building on that this summer.
1. How did you come up with idea of doing a documentary on the game of 33 & what were some of your fondest memories of playing 33?
Great question, it fell in my lap in all honesty. I was actually doing a clothing release inspired by “33” & I was sending my close friends a bio of the release & other ideas. I sent it to a good friend of mine who happens to be a great photographer. He was so infatuated with the game of “33” he wanted to make a short documentary on the game. He had a relationship with the creative agency Advoc8, & they were looking to do a creative project in DC, so we pitched the idea to them & they loved it. We start shooting 3 weeks after, & I explain my fondest moments in the film.
2. Basketball is played all over the country how did you discover that 33 was a game specific to the DC area?
It’s not a fact that all other states/cities don’t play “33” but the other game “21” is more commonly played around the country. Our belief is “33” was created in DC. Through a popular player who once played at Georgetown University.
3. Many people are saying that playground basketball is slowly disappearing in many cities across the country what impact if any have you seen on the popularity of playing 33 in the DC area?
Not really a big impact. Kids are playing “33” inside of gyms now. Kids are more “pampered” & “soft” now. They don’t know about playing “33” in 30 degree weather. That’s why older DC basketball players are so gritty & tough. It was the environment, it was the GAME. The environment made us fucking DOGS!
4. Were there any notable DC area players interviewed for the documentary?
Yeah a couple, but we really kept it in the streets. We wanted regular ballers who just enjoy the game & still play “33” on a everyday basis.
5. Will the documentary also cover the local game of "Butt on the Pole" a spin-off of 33?
Ha ha ha naw man, but those were some good times though. When I would lose I would just run off the court. My whole hood would be chasing me.
6. In your research of the documentary did you learn that 33 was possibly played differently in separate parts of DC such as Uptown & the Southside or elsewhere in the DC area?
Yes & that was interesting. You will see that in the film.
7. Please give us more info on the release of the documentary - what is the official release date & where will fans be able to view it?
The film will release in late November. I’m having a screening here in DC & would like all the ballers & others with interest to come out. The film will also be released via a private link after the screening.
2. What did you work on this summer to improve your game? Many are predicting a breakout season for you this year what is one skill you can say you have improved upon while in high school?
I have been working on my ball handling, defense, and athleticism, the one skill I can say I have improved upon is my defense, I wasn't always known as the best defender.
3. What schools have offered you or have shown you interest?
Loyola University, Oklahoma State, Mount St. Mary's, UNC Greensboro & North Carolina Central have shown interest.
4. What were some of your high points this past summer playing AAU?
The Adidas Gauntlet was a great experience for me. It was a very competitive tournament throughout the summer, I am really looking forward to playing in it again next year.
5. What are your expectations for Rock Creek Christian this year & what role do you forsee yourself playing on this years team?
My expectation this year is to win. I want to be a great help to the team. I expect our name to remain as one of the best schools in the DMV area. My role on this team is to score and help with defending/rebounding.
6. What are your individual & team goals this season?
My goal is to be the best junior player I can be. I want to live in the gym and work on being comfortable being uncomfortable by working hard when I am both tired and fatigued. Develop a mindset that I would not be in this position if not for this game and get better at it everyday. This season I want to work as hard as I can on and off the court and to be the first and last player in and out of the gym.
7. How would you describe your game for those who haven't seen you play?
I always thought of myself as a shooting guard. I run the lanes in transition and score when needed. Otherwise as a team player, I take good shots, find the open man, move the ball, and play defense.
8. What schools, rec, boys & girls clubs and AAU teams did you play for growing up?
The first organization that I played with was "Bump N Run" Basketball that is where I developed my game while I was in elementary school. I also played for Drew Freeman in middle school. Then when I started high school I played junior varsity at Wise. Then I took my talents to "Team Nationals" & the Adidas Gauntlet & transferred from Wise to Somerset Prep for one year and played with Team Nationals again this past summer. The recs that I go to and use to play were the District Heights rec center, North Forestville rec and also the Westphalia community center.
1. Age, height, weight? 17, 6’4, 195 2. How do you balance being a two sport athlete of both basketball & football - how do you effectively manage the rest that your body & mind may need from the grind of playing two sports?
It’s hard but I find a way to manage due to my stable and constant motivation. I try to get as many shots up as I can during the football season after practice and even on the weekends to keep my rhythm so I won’t be behind when the season comes around. Working on my weaknesses is essential in the off-season and during football season as I try and take my game to the next level. Football comes a little easier than basketball, but I still work as hard wether it’s footwork, route running, hand-eyed coordination, speed, or keeping my hands up to par. I have mentors that give me a blueprint, that way when they’re not around I still go achieve, amplify my work ethic and stay dedicated.
3. What schools have offered you or have shown interest in you for both basketball & football?
I currently have two basketballs offers from: High Point and Radford. Schools that shown interest are: OK State, Boston College, GW, Sienna, West Virginia, The Mount, Xavier, Seton Hall, Holy Cross, Kansas State, etc.
I don't current have any football offers however shools that have shown interest are: Norte Dame, Duke, UNC, Boston College, Syracuse, Villanova, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Rutgers, UVA, Georgia Tech, Temple, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Penn State, etc.
4. Are you looking to be a two sport athlete in college or do you see yourself picking one sport to focus on in college?
As of right now I plan on being a two sport athlete in college until otherwise, while of course diligently focus on academic aspirations.
5. Last year you played alongside the WCAC player of the year in Xavier Johnson what did you learn from him that you can use this year to grow your game?
It was fun playing with Xavier last year, he taught me a lot and our high-levels of competition and heart both made us better ball players. He was smart but wasn’t afraid to talk trash as he was all about the W and would do anything to get it. He taught me how to change speeds, which was something we both struggled with my freshman and his junior year. All in all he taught me how to lead a WCAC championship contending team not just with words but with action, all while making everybody around you better which is something I plan on doing this year and the year after that.
6. What do you believe O'Connell needs to do this year to win the WCAC championship? How do you see your role expanding this upcoming season now that you are a junior?
This year I think we need to play together and for each other. That means being a willing passer, attacking the lane for others, playing defense, sacrificing your body, taking the shot when it’s there, rebounding, communicating, being resilient, and playing with some grit. We have all the pieces, the key is to believe in ourselves no matter what the odds are. God will take care of everything else, by saying this I mean we have to control what we can control, have fun, and focus on making others around us better, that way we are making ourselves better. Last year my role was to be a leader, rebound, be the best defender on the court, create the energy, be a willing passer, and of course take my shot when it was there. This year I have to do the same exact thing, but add the part where I facilitate and score more which I have no problem with especially with the dynamic team we have again this year.
7. What were some of the high points of your summer playing on the AAU circuit?
Some of the high points from the AAU Circuit would be my first game at Bowie City gym & beating Team Melo. Putting the team on my back and really making a statement which was accomplished. Another example would be the Hoop Group showcase league tournament. We won the championship without my play on the court but I was there fighting with them on the bench every game making sure they were on their P’s and Q’s, igniting that spark within them, while giving them confidence that they could do it if they believed in themselves as much as I believed in them. Overall I played really well over the summer and turned some heads, I just tried to have as much fun with it as possible because I’m gonna wish I had these days back.
8. At one point you played Lacrosse is that something you still have interest in or would like to play again?
Although I did play varsity lacrosse as a freshman, it was for a condensed time. I stopped because it was too time consuming and I rather be fully committed than partially committed in fairness to the kids on that team that worked really hard. Lacrosse was very fun but I think that run has ended.
2. What school, AAU, rec, boys & girls clubs did you play for growing up?
Takoma Park B&G, KIPP DC - Will Academy, DC Premier & New World.
3. What were some of the things you learned as a JV player that helped you transition to the varsity level?
As a JV player it helped me play under control. As you move up in the different levels of basketball the pace increases so it is important to have and maintain control of your body and the basketball.
4. What schools have offered you or have shown you interest?
I recieved my first offer from Radford & I also have interest from Princeton, Georgetown, Notre Dame & East Carolina.
5. What role do you predict you will play on this years Episcopal team?
A little bit of everything. I like to hit the boards, pass/assist & and guard the best player on the opposing team.
6. For those who may have not seen you play how would you describe your game?
My game can be described as a Swiss Army knife. I have a lot of great tools and can effect the game in a lot of different ways.
7. What were some of the basketball highlights of your summer? Episcopal doesn't play summer league so what did you work on to improve your game & how did you stay game shape for AAU?
Although EHS doesn't participate in any Spring/Summer leagues I was able to benefit from getting out of school earlier than others & getting in the gym earlier. I was in the gym at least 2x a day getting up shots and working out while other players were still in school. To improve on my game I focused on getting up at least 1000 shots before leaving the gym. During the week I would also work out with my trainer Brandon Howell. Some highlights of this summer included playing great defense against Top 50 players - shutting them down and receiving my first offer.
8. Think back to your decision to attend a boarding school & describe your transition as a boarding student at Epsicopal was it an easy transition for you or did it take awhile for you to adjust?
I've known that I wanted to attend EHS since my mom took me to the Black Student Fair in 6th grade. It's funny because they didn't talk about their athletic program. I am a A Better Chance scholar and throughout the high school application process, I was always a match to EHS and I took that as a sign. The transition to boarding school was probably harder on my mom then it was me, the first two years she was on campus so much you would think she worked or lived there. The transition for me wasn't difficult as I embraced the opportunity to be in the boarding school setting and was able to feed off of the other students around me and it feels like family.
9. You had a basketball highlight or two go viral nationally last year - can you describe what that experience was like?
Initially it was crazy! My friends were in the gym working out and saw me on ESPN and sent it to me. After a couple of days it wasn’t really a big deal. It was just cool to see myself on tv. But the goal is to make that experience a norm.
10. What do you believe Episcopal will need to do this year to win the IAC?
Defense, plain and simple. We have a lot of talent on our team. The key will be to lock in on defense and get stops.
2. What did you work on this summer to improve your game?
This summer I focused on my ability to score and finish around the rim. I also worked on my off the dribble pull up jumper in transition and half court sets. Me and my trainer Matt Butts did many reps of floaters, pull ups,and creative finishes at the cup.
3. What schools have offered you or have shown you interest?
I'm currently receiving interest from Holy Cross, Loyola, UMBC, Shepherd, Millersville, Seton Hill, and Chestnut Hill.
4. What were some of the highlights of your summer in AAU, showcase events, camps & summer league etc?
This was definitely a break out summer for me and my recruiting. I had a great showing at the Elevate Hoops Capital Hoops Fest with the District Basketball Club where I earned all tournament team and was recognized as one of the top shooters at the event by prep hoops. Another great event was the Hoop Group Atlantic City Showcase tournament where I played with Baltimore Orange Life. During that event I scored 30 points in the first game against the NJ Roadrunners along with ending the tournament averaging 26.5 ppg. Lastly I had a great showing during the Hoop Group Elite Session 2 camp at Albright College where many college coaches gave me great feedback on my game and grew to show more interest in my talents.
5. How would you describe Williamsport basketball, what style of play will you guys play this season & what do you predict your role will be this season? Also how would you describe the competition in your Washington county public school conf?
Williamsport basketball this year will be very intense defensively because we know it starts on that end. Me and the guys love the way Coach Grabill runs this program and know he’s going to have us prepared when it’s game time. With the team we have this year we’re looking to play at a fast past and use our length. My role on the team this year will definitely be a leader along with being the primary scorer. I feel like this summer has mentally and physically prepared me to take on this role. This years Washington County conference is showing that we’re the best team. I feel like we will be well prepared and mentally ready for whatever situation hits us.
6. What was your biggest learning experience on the varsity level as a sophomore?
Playing varsity and starting as a sophomore brought many challenges with it. Me and my teammate Lincoln Ball were the primary ball handlers & scorers for the team and that just made us grow faster and stronger as the year went on.
2. What schools, AAU, rec, boys & girls teams did you play for growing up?
Rebels, Team Final, DC Assault, DC Thunder & New World.
3. You faced some adversity during your high school career at St. Johns, take us back & tell us who & what helped you effectively push thru that time period?
Some people that helped me were my parents, my coaches and my teammates. When I faced adversity I had my parents when I went home to push me and make me work hard and my teammates had my back through any situation. My coaches also kept coaching me through the hard times and good times to make sure I got better.
4. Why did you believe a prep year would be beneficial to you?
I believed a prep year would be beneficial to me to form relationships that I wouldn’t be able to form if I didn’t go to prep school. A prep year would also allow me to have a year to work on my schooling and my game.
5. What did you work on this summer to improve your game?
I worked on a bunch of stuff, I wanted to become a knockdown shooter so I made 500 shots every morning. I wanted to be more explosive with jumping so I worked with our strength coach at St. John’s, I also wanted to be a better ball handler so I worked on ball handling as well.
6. What are you team & individual goals this season?
My team goal for Loomis this year is to go undefeated in our conference which will be very difficult but I think if we are focused and we play as hard as we can then we should be able to complete it. My individual goal is to be a great teammate on and off the floor, and be the hardest worker at my school.
7. What were some of the more important reasons behind your commitment to FGCU?
Some of the more important reasons I committed to FGCU were just the constant communication and interest they were showing me. I talked to coach Fly and we had the same ideas, we have the same goals. I like how competitive it gets there and how much the team wants to push everyone to become better.
2. What did you work on this summer to improve your game?
This summer I focused on my decision making and scoring ability. So everyday in the gym I did drills with a lot of reads and got a lot of reps in so when game time came I was well prepared and as efficient as possible.
3. Your Team Durant 16U AAU team won the 16U nationals this past summer what was it like to win an AAU Championship for you, your teammates and as the oldest age group representing the Durant Org?
As an organization we were very pleased with our performance over the course of that week and were happy that we ended the summer on a high note. Since we’re the oldest age group in the organization we felt good about finishing the 16U season off with a championship, setting a good example for the younger age groups to follow, and we are looking forward to having an amazing season in 2019 in the 17U division.
4. What role do your predict you will play on this years St. Andrews team - will you be playing more of a traditional point guard role or a combo scoring guard role?
This year at St. Andrews, I’ll play both the traditional point guard position as well as a scoring off guard on the offensive end and defensively I’ll be taking on the challenge of guarding the opposing teams best player.
5. What schools have offered you or have shown interest in you?
I currently hold offers from Stony Brook, Columbia University, and Robert Morris. Harvard, George Mason, Delaware, Yale, Rice, Princeton, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Longwood and more are all currently showing interest.
6. Kevin Durant is both an NBA champion & finals MVP who is from the DC area how does his professional accomplishments influence your outlook on the game of basketball?
Kevin Durant’s accomplishments have a major influence on my outlook on the game on and off the court. It’s an honor to play on his AAU team and wear his name across my chest. When we step in between those lines we represent the DMV and the Team Durant brand. I take pride in being from the DMV, PG county area and representing the area when we travel and play teams from other states since this area is arguably the new mecca of basketball. Off the court Kevin Durant uses his position in the game of basketball to give back to the community and take care of others and someday I hope to be able to do the same thing.
7. Last year was your first year playing for St. Andrews in the MAC after beginning your high school career in PG county how would you compare the competition within both the private school & public school conferences?
Both the private school and public school conference's have tremendous talent and night in and night out you have to be aware that you cannot take any opponent lightly. I would say public school is more offensive minded and similar to AAU basketball whereas private school basketball is played more under control and with a slower pace since scouting reports are more detailed and teams key in on different sets and schemes.
8. What feedback are your receiving from college coaches and your high school coaches as to what they would like to see you improve upon on the court?
My high school coaches want me to continue to improve my decision making , leadership skills, and be more vocal on the offensive end. I’m receiving a lot of positive feedback from college coaches. They’re telling me continue to be a pest on the defensive side of the ball and take pride on that end of the floor. Offensively, coaches are impressed by my shot making and scoring ability as well as my high IQ for the game. Going forward college coaches want me to get more comfortable playing the lead guard position and continue working on all aspects of my game.
2. What did you work on this summer to improve your game?
This summer I worked on improving my confidence, by improving my strength and condition, and finding new ways to score the ball.
3. You are a two sport athlete can you explain how you are able to effectively balance the two sports during the summer & the season/preseason?
The Landon School requires a student to play two sports so it’s the norm here making it easy to balance during the school year. My parents assist with keeping me organized through the demands from playing both sports.
4. If you had to pick one sport which would you like to play at the college level or are you looking for a college opportunity that will allow you to possibly play both?
I would choose the sport that allows me to be at the best college, but playing two sports in college would be a great opportunity.
5. This season you will have a new head coach what are your expectations going into the season & what role do you predict you will play on this years team?Do you view yourself as a scoring/shooting guard or a combo guard who can play both the point guard & shooting guard position if necessary?
My expectation for this season is still to compete for an IAC championship. My role this year would likely be playing a combo guard and thats also how I view myself. I’m willing to play whatever position coach feels that is going to give us the opportunity to succeed.
6. You & your backcourt mate Canin Reynolds put up alot of points in the Capitol Hoops summer league this past summer - describe the chemistry that you two have & the overall impact of such a high scoring backcourt on your team?
The chemistry between Canin and I is great on and off the court, the impact we create by playing together is its hard to stop both, so if you are scheming for one the other could still have a great game.
2. What did you work on this summer to improve your game & what schools have offered you or have shown you interest?
I focused on getting stronger, catch and shoot and 3-point shooting. Currently I do not have any offers. Tulane has shown interest and I hear through my coaches that several other schools are asking about me and want to see me play this season. I look forward to receiving my first offer.
3. What do you think will be the biggest difference in your game in your sophomore season than in your freshman season after a year of varsity experience?
There are several differences, but I think two areas which will provide a big impact are both my strength and weight have improved. I am almost 2 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than this time last year. Another impact area will be my court awareness. Last year, I had the opportunity to lead our team against various defensive strategies and that experience will help me be a more effective point guard this year.
4. GDS is often overlooked when talking about high school basketball how would you describe the GDS style of play as well as your game for those who may have yet to see you play?
Last year we ran a lot of sets that would leverage high pick and rolls with me creating opportunities for my teammates or myself. On defense, we played a matchup zone. We have most of our team from last year returning and we added several really good players, so we will mix things up more this year on offense and on defense we will play less zone and more man. Last year my main offensive tool was the mid-range pull up jumper. This year I plan to be more of a threat on all 3 levels.
5. How would you describe the level of competition in the MAC?
The MAC is very competitive, each team we play usually has 2-4 guys that have offers or strong interest from D1 colleges. Last year during the MAC/IAC challenge, the MAC won most of the games.
6. What are your team & individual goals this upcoming season?
Our team goal is to win the MAC. My individual goals are to keep improving and put my teammates in the best position to be successful.
7. What was the high point of your summer playing?
The high point was my AAU team, Team Stat, winning the 15U Humble Division at the UA Challenge. We were not a sponsored team, so I believe we shocked a lot of the sponsored teams by winning the championship.
8.What school, AAU, rec & boys and girls clubs did you play for growing up?
I have been at GDS since kindergarten so that is where I played middle school basketball. My first love was soccer, so I came to AAU a bit later than most, but I got my start in AAU with the Playmakers Organization. I also played on recreational teams at Jelleff and One on One in Montgomery County.
2. What did you work on this summer to get better?
I definitely worked on getting stronger. I was in the weight room 4 times a week.
3. You are going into your Jr. season what do you predict will be your role on this years team?
I think my role will be to score, make plays and get everyone involved.
4. During your time at Mount Saint Joseph you have seen multiple D1 players what have you learned from observing their work habits?
I’ve learned that nothing is given you have to go out there and take what you want.
5. What schools have offered you or have shown you interest?
BYU has offered, but UMBC, Towson, Siena, Holy Cross, Boston U and some other schools are showing heavy interests.
6. How would you describe your game?
I would describe my game as a point guard who can get my team involved and also score when I need too. I also consider myself a leader on the
7. You are a very well traveled youth player how would you describe the Baltimore competition in comparison to the DC/MD & VA area competition?
I think the Baltimore talent is as just as good as anywhere else in the DMV area, but the difference is that the teams in DC have a little more depth and run more of a system.
8. What is one basketball skill that you can say you have definitely gotten better at doing since you have entered HS.
One thing I think I have improved in high school is definitely my defense.
9. When you first entered high school you played JV what did you learn from that experience that has helped you on the varsity level?
I have learned to just stay focused and remember it’s a marathon not a sprint. I just have to make sure at the end of the marathon I’m in first place!!
10. As his teammate what were your thoughts when James Bishop committed to LSU a school pretty far from the Baltimore area?
I think it was a good decision by him to commit to LSU he will have a great opportunity there to be successful, he just has to make sure he’s stays focused and keeps working hard. Also he will be playing in one of the best conferences against teams like Kentucky, so overall I think it was a great decision.