The fourth annual Hoopville Spring Final takes place this weekend at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center and the neighboring Madison Park Community Center. While this is the fifth straight year Hoopville has run an event on this weekend, the first one in 2010 was named the Hoopville Elite 8. This year, the tournament will feature over 50 teams, including over a dozen from Canada. Game play will begin Saturday morning and continue through Sunday afternoon.
The schedule for the event can be found here. Now, some thoughts on what to watch for in the high school ages, starting with the 14-Under as this group features players who will be freshmen in high school in the fall.
The 14-Under is a small but loaded group. In Pool A, Team DEMI and the Shooting Stars have to be considered favorites, but the Connecticut-based STAR Athletic Club won’t be slouches, and Montreal United shouldn’t be a pushover. In Pool B, All For One and the Greater Boston Lions, the latter of whom had a number of players impress in March at the New England Junior Best 40, look like favorites. It shouldn’t be easy, though, as Blackbear North will be a strong team coming from Maine and MYCW shouldn’t be an easy out. If All For One and the Shooting Stars win the pools, the final will be a rematch of a semifinal in the Massachusetts AAU Tournament in late May.
In 15-Under, there is potentially good depth. BABC has to be considered favorites, fresh off winning another Massachusetts AAU title earlier this spring. BABC has gotten better as the spring has worn on, led by the likes of Jakigh Dottin (5’11” Fr. PG, Cambridge (MA) Rindge & Latin School) and Jalyn Hinton (6’1″ Fr. PG-SG, Boston (MA) Belmont HS) and with a number of players who are nowhere near their ceiling like Martin Mann (6’6″ Fr. SF-PF, Lowell (MA) Lawrence Academy) and Justin Mazzulla (6’0″ Fr. PG-SG, Johnston (RI) Bishop Hendricken HS). The Greater Boston Lions, QC United, Boston Warriors and one of the Team New Brunswick entries figure to be the top challengers. Fab 5 Elite, now in their second year of existence, is a dark horse after this group blitzed last year’s 14-Under field at this event. Exactly half of the entries in this field come from Canada.
The 16-Under field is small but full of local teams. In one pool, Team New Brunswick and the Boston Warriors may be favored, but BABC South will come up from Rhode Island and shouldn’t be an easy out as they don’t beat themselves. Newcomer Boston Elite projects as the favorite in the other pool, featuring probably the best sophomore in Boston in Catholic Memorial guard Brandon Twitty. The Beantown Bulls and MYCW won’t make it easy, nor will Canadian entry Bibi. In addition, BABC’s sophomore team will take on Team New Brunswick in a game with no pool implications.
The crown jewel of the tournament is in the 17-Under. While BABC figures to be the favorite with their EYBL squad led by Terance Mann (6’5″ Jr. SF, Lowell (MA) Tilton School) and Jeremy Miller (6’9″ Jr. PF, Milton (MA) New Hampton School), they won’t be prohibitive favorites as this is a deep group. The New England Playaz will have their 16-Under team play up, but that doesn’t mean they will be overmatched here, especially since they figure to have an imposing frontcourt featuring Tomas Murphy (6’8″ Fr. PF, Wakefield (RI) Prout School), who recently transferred to Northfield Mount Hermon, and Jordy Tshimanga (6’10” So. PF-C, Granby (MA) MacDuffie School), a space-eater who has developed during the spring. QC United and Team New Brunswick figure to have formidable entries, while the Boston Saintz, YABC and STAR Athletic Club are all teams that could surprise some people with groups of solid but unheralded talent. Capital City Lightning will come from New York and Red Rush will have two entries from Canada.
Stay tuned to Hoopville for coverage of the event, and follow our Twitter feeds for more on the games as they are played, including updates on playoff matchups as pool play completes.