Summer National Championship Preview: 16U and 17U
Oakland Soldiers, CP3 All-Stars, Team SCAN and more...
Travel teams have completed their summer schedules and Summer National Champion week is upon us. Unlike last year, we now have four age groups in which to crown our champions and the race to the top went right down to the wire. Here is a look at the candidates for the 17U and 16U Five-Star Summer National Champions, which will be officially announced on Wednesday
Oakland Soldiers: It was a tale of two seasons for the preseason and current No. 1 Oakland Soldiers, and most of their inconsistencies had to do with missing Aaron Gordon, who sat for the bulk of the summer due to injury. The Soldiers rebounded from a slow few weeks without him though and won Peach Jam to reclaim the No. 1 ranking. They sputtered this week at the Las Vegas Classic, however, dropping games to California Supreme and the Mac Irvin Fire. Will those losses cost them the Summer National Championship?
CIA Bounce: The team from north of the border also spent a lot of time this year at No. 1, and right now they sit at No. 2. Though they lost to the Oakland Soldiers in the final at Peach Jam, CIA Bounce has some impressive wins on its resume, including W’s against Houston Hoops, Mac Irvin Fire, Texas Titans and Team United. This week, without Andrew Wiggins, they lost to Team Takeover at the Live in AC tournament. Right now, it’s hard to tell exactly how much a loss without their best player will cost CIA Bounce.
CP3 All-Stars: The CP3 All-Stars didn’t emerge as title contenders until recently, but they haven’t dropped in our rankings since May 2, almost three months ago. Since then, they’ve gone 14-4 in EYBL play and came within two points of beating the Oakland Soldiers in the Peach Jam semifinals. They’ve beaten Each 1 Teach 1, California Supreme, Texas Titans, Arkansas Wings and Mac Irvin Fire. And this week, even though they lost twice at the Super Showcase, they still beat All-Ohio Red (avenging a loss from earlier in the year) and the Houston Defenders.
Team Thad: Team Thad skyrocketed to No. 1 last week by winning the Nike Invitational. They took that momentum into the Las Vegas Fab 48 and carried it all the way to the championship game where they lost to No. 2 Team SCAN by three. Leron Black and Anton Beard’s team have made a habit this year of beating 17U teams, earning them the praise of coaches around the country. But in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup on the final day of the season, they fell short. Find out tomorrow if that cost them the Summer National Championship.
Team SCAN: Team SCAN can go into Wednesday knowing it has a very good case for No. 1. They already had arguably the best resume of any 16U team in the country, with wins over the Texas Titans, Houston Hoops, Meanstreets, The City and more, but now, they’ve knocked off No. 1 on the last day of the summer season. SCAN is led by Chris McCullough, whose team lost most recently in the semifinals of the Peach Jam Sweet 16 to the Southern Stampede. But the blemishes this year for the group from New York have been few and far between.
Team Takeover: Takeover comes into Summer National Championship week as a sleeper team for No. 1, but don’t think that means they lack the talent and track record of a title team. Paced by Phil Booth, Team Takeover has beaten All-Ohio Red and CIA Bounce this year, while taking home championships at the Southern Jamfest and Memorial Day Showcase. They spent most of the year in the top five and their consistency just might pay off.