Eighth-Grade Boys Basketball Top 10 Rankings | Youth1

Eighth-Grade Boys Basketball Top 10 Rankings

(Youth1 Basketball) Our first-ever basketball team rankings dissects the best eighth-grade AAU teams in the Mid-Atlantic. We have picked teams based upon coaches input, league director's opinions, recent play, and head-to-head results.

 #10 New Renaissance (NY)

New Rens, as they're known, takes the final spot in our rankings based upon leadership and quality wins. They defeated the previously unbeaten Team Scan 45-39 in the Jr. Pros league with grit and tenacity led by forward Christian James and Brandon Hurt (6-3). While they didn't advance out of their pool at the Tip-Off this past weekend, their coach, Artie Cox, is a 28-year veteran of basketball in New York City and a terrific leader. Look for him to take the games of stars Marco Morency and Jose Alvarado's to the next level.


 #9 Expressions Elite (MA)

The team from Boston has developed a nice rivalry with CBC. While they aren't as talented as the boys to the South, they are worthy of this spot and play tight games against them. Last weekend, Nate Pierre-Louis joined Expressions at the Tip-Off which instantly gave them national credibility. "The Great" averaged 27 points, despite the team going 1-2. Todd Quarles' team is currently competing in the Baltimore Elite Winter League. They were missing some key parts and went winless in the first session, losing to Team Final, Team Takeover, and Baltimore Elite. Guard Shyheim Hicks did a solid job drawing defenses away from Pierre-Louis.


 #8 Team Final (PA)

This could be the lowest you see Team Final ranked all season. The talent-rich squad out of the Philadelphia area has stumbled out of the blocks. At the first session of the Baltimore Elite Winter League in which they went 2-1, Final was without key players such as Trevon Duvall, Evan-Eric Longino, Manny Stokes, and Anthony Ochefu. Last weekend at the Tip-Off, Orlando Hidalgo and Khayree Burton's group went 1-2, losing close games to P.Y.O. by two and the Playaz by six. It's by no means time to hit the panic button. With players like Nick Alikakos (6-5), Quade Green (5-10), and De'Andre Vilmar (6-3), they have an experienced, skilled core.


#7 P.Y.O. (PA)

P.Y.O. hangs their hat on defense, energy, and tenacity. They are 2-0 in the Funsport Jr. Pros league playing in the Kyle Anderson Pool. David Beatty (G) has averaged nine points and five rebounds and has received scoring help from Isaiah Culpepper (G). Last weekend, the Philadelphia-based squad beat their local rival, Team Final, by two points at the Tip-Off. While they may not have elite talent up-and-down the roster, they are off to a strong start and get positive results from hustle and effective schemes. Brothers Ahmad and Ahmin Williams are players who provide consistency and depth.


#6 Playaz Basketball Club (NJ)

Anytime a team has a player like Jamir Harris on it, they are a threat and contender. The "Terminator" flashed his exceptional ability at last weekend's Basketball Spotlight Tip-Off, raining pure jumpers and scoring from just about anywhere despite facing double and triple teams. Teammates Marcus McClary (F) and Leondre Washington (G) provided valuable secondary options and helped guide the Playaz to a semifinal appearance at the Basketball Spotlight Tip-Off. Coming off of victories against Team Final and P.Y.O., the Playaz squared off against Takeover in the Final Four. Harris put up 20 points in the first half, but was limited to eight in the second, and the team lost by two. The club based out of Paterson, NJ has been around since 1997. The 14U team has a packed schedule through next October. They will take the court next at the Jingle Bells Jubilee in Paterson on December 26.


 #5 DC Assault (DC)

DC Assault is in the fifth-spot mainly because of their talent level and potential. Jamir Moultrie (6-1) is the leader and captain of the team. He is one of the best pure scorers in the region. Coach Fred Howze's squad underwent a complete overhaul after the sixth-grade season. A year of playing together should turn chemistry from a question mark into a strength. Chris Lykes (5-7) runs the point with tremendous ball-handling ability and a knack for creating turnovers. At the Basketball Spotlight Tip-Off DC Assault did not advance to the Final Four, but did take down Expressions and the Milbank Flyers (NY). The cast is back from an Elite Eight appearance at the June MIT and a semifinal bid at the FAB 48 in Las Vegas. They have the chance to achieve great things this year.


 #4 New Heights (NY)

The team from Harlem has been very busy to start their season. They've been playing in both the Funsport Jr. Pros basketball league in Brooklyn and the Baltimore Elite Winter League. Despite their 1-2 mark in both circuits, well-known coach Rahme Anderson has his been teaching his team valuable lessons which will be useful later on. New Heights had their most impressive showing last weekend at the Tip-Off when they advanced to the Final Four after beating DC Assault and Expressions Elite. Six-foot-five Hayes Kelcher is a beast in the middle. The 8th-grader is a rebounding machine who has a size advantage over most of his opponents. Chris Coalman (6-5) forms a terrifying interior with Kelcher. Coalman's strength is his versatile methods of scoring. New Heights presents matchup problems for all of their opponents. They are a dangerous team.


 #3 Team Takeover (DC)

Between last year's results and their offseason additions, Team Takeover can make a strong case for the top spot. Tony Thompson's squad has finished in the top-six at AAU nationals four years out of the past six; including last year's fourth-place mark. They won championships at the Nike Invitational at Boo Williams, Basketball Spotlight's Clash for the Cup, and the Potomac Valley AAU Qualifier. Newcomer Tre Woods has provided stability and depth to the guard position, creating a dynamic backcourt with Aaron Thompson (5-11) and DJ Mitchell (6-3). Andre Boykin is a vital player for Takeover, as the 6-3 forward is strong near the basket, but possesses nice touch. Boykin could be their most important player, since the only flaw of Takeover is interior size. They lost a tough battle to CBC last weekend in the final of the Basketball Spotlight Tip-Off (despite DJ Mitchell's best efforts). At the Baltimore Elite Winter league, Takeover beat New Heights by ten, Expressions by 17, before losing by four to Sports U.


#2 Team IZOD/Sports U (NJ)

This is an interesting team. Sports U/Team IZOD has merged with St. Michael's to create an all-star group. St. Michael's had five core players re-class (making them 8th-graders again) from last year's New Jersey 14U AAU championship team, including star guard Ray Cortes. This has created a squad with experience, size, and strength- a winning combination. Forward Patrick Stryzala (6-4) has been impressive, averaging a double-double at last weekend's Basketball Spotlight Tip-Off. Along with the NJ championship, coach Lou Delgado's team also won the Clash for the Cup last year in the Garden State. Through the first session of the Baltimore Elite Winter League, Sports U beat Team Future 59-58, Team Final 61-57, and Team Takeover 61-57. Impressive wins against top competition. Takeover avenged their loss last weekend with a four-point victory over St. Michael's at the Tip-Off. Stud forward Kahmonie Foster (6-5) has recently transferred from the Jersey City Boys Club to Team Izod, that's a major score.


#1 Connecticut Basketball Club (CT)

Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC) has a firm grip on the top spot-and most people wouldn't argue about it. The "Money Team" is fresh off of a championship at the Basketball Spotlight Tip-Off this past weekend. They blew through their competition until the finals against Team Takeover where they won a close contest, 48-44. Point guard Jaecee Martin is the leader and orchestrator of CBC's potent, balanced offensive attack which features Jermaine Samuels (6-4) and Chaylyn Martin (6-1). Coach Reggie Hatchett's starting lineup is filled with long athletes backed by deadly shooters. If healthy, this team is a legitimate contender for a national championship in July. CBC's next big tournament appearance will be at Basketbull's Junior Hoophall Classic in January at Springfield College. Last year, the Milbank Flyers (NY) won the 13U division. Something tells us this year could be different.


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