"It's All About The Game"
Team Takeover Does Just That
Ron Bailey, Publisher
DC-based crew captures Super Showcase hardware
July 29, 2009 – A common web-based dictionary defines the word takeover as, “The act of seizing, appropriating, or arrogating authority, control, management, etc”. The entry goes on to apply takeover to the business world, as in assuming authority, control, management to companies/organizations. It also applies to what Team Takeover did last week in the world of AAU/travel team ball.
Having been formed last September after emerging from Triple Threat (AAU), Team Takeover stormed the recent AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, FL, winning not only the 17 and under division, but it’s 16u classification as well. That’s a duo of gold bracket tourney wins, which are in effect national championships for a single organization in grassroots hoop’s most competitive divisions, a feat that likely has never occurred.
“It was a great feeling” said Ken Johnson, Team Takeover’s Co-Director and coach of the 16 and under unit. “I’m happy for the kids, it makes all the hard work, all the long hours and sacrifice worthwhile”.
Mike Gbinije is a factor on the recruiting landscape
According to Johnson, his 16 and under team went 8-0, while the flagship 17u crew suffered only one defeat on the way to the chip; both team's performances were a culmination of solid work all summer long.
One of the older team’s players, Jerian Grant, noted earlier this week while sporting his national championship medallion, the experience was also significant because “It’s our last big out of town tournament”, which produces great memories for a unit that will no longer travel together.
Considering they have one more year on the circuit, Johnson’s 16u group will make their way to tourney’s across the land next spring and summer in 2010, which begs a question; is their pressure to defend their crown next year?
“It doesn’t make it a significant challenge” responded the coach when asked just that. “Our goal is to maximize our talent. Now you have to be confident in our group returning”, which will be buttressed with several 17 and under players who were actually playing up in age. Johnson also went on to say the organization is challenged constantly by foes, “whether we won it or not”. Nevertheless a common refrain of Johnson and Grant is that the organization has been established not just on the east coast, but nationally.
Congratulations go out to Team Takeover, including its Director, Keith Stevens. In a short time they’ve succeeded in establishing a national footprint for a fledgling organization.
Based on the conversation with Johnson, following are players that stood out in both team’s march to a national crown. These players also upped their recruiting profile in Florida, and can be seen this weekend at Hoop Magic Sports Academy’s Certified B.T.B tourney:
Dorion Atkins, 6’7”, 190 pound junior forward, Landon School (MD) – Villanova, Wake Forest, MD, VT are all interested in this athletic frontcourt player that seems to excel against better competition. Even though his footwork needs to be focused upon, Atkins has been offered by Atlantic 10 schools like GW, as well as virtually the entire CAA.
AJ English, 6’2”, 170 pound junior guard, Appoquinimink (DE) – A combo-type guard, English has garnered a scholarship offer from GW, with other A10 schools interested, like St. Joes and Richmond either following suit or being close to it. CAA institutions VCU and Delaware have also provided scholarship opportunities.
Julian Dubose, 6’4”, 185 pound sophomore guard, St. Johns (DC) – Dubose, an all around player that needs to further develop his ball handling and shot’s constituency, has nevertheless impressed many high level programs, with St. Johns, WVU, MD and Georgetown expressing major interest. GW has offered, as have CAA programs like Richmond.
Brandon Young has burst on the scene during travel team season.
17 and under
Jerian Grant, 6’4”, 180 pound senior guard, DeMatha (MD) – Having earned MVP of the championship game, Grant, a shooting guard that can toggle over to a point position periodically, indicated “Maryland, Clemson, DePaul” are all new suitors, having offered him a scholarship since the Super Showcase. They join Charlotte, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Providence.
Mike Gbinije, 6’7”, 195 pound junior swingman, Benedictine (VA) – Despite being named the Super Showcase’s Breakout Player, Gbinije has long been highly recruited, having received offers from Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Villanova, Pitt and Miami. It’s not surprising, given his penchant of shooting, driving, and rebounding. Mike, who is also capable of defending, must continue working on his strength and to a lesser degree, explosion.
Brandon Young, 6’3”, 175 pound senior point
guard, Friendship Edison (DC) – Probably no single player has used
the Showcase and this travel team season to emerge like Young has; he’s
proven himself a high major Division I point guard, with offers from Marquette,
Missouri, DePaul, Xavier, Charlotte and UMass being tendered. Young will
have to get stronger for college ball, but is a player that’s highly
competitive and has a solid feel for the game.
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