The 17U Rebels earned an invitation to the Super Showcase, an invitational tournament that precedes the 2009 AAU National Tournament, meaning the team will get a chance to display their talent to college scouts over the course of 10 days at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., starting July 23.
17U coach Mike Brown said his squad is where they need to be at this point in their summer league.
"The team has come together and played as a team at the right time," he said. "Nobody felt that they were better than anyone else and that put things in perspective so we played together as one."
Brown voiced confidence in his squad, saying they are better than any team they’ve played against, including the top ranked team in the nation. But he admitted his squad took a hit in its last tournament.
"We played three games leading up to the championship and that took its toll on our guys," he said. "If we can get the spacing in between games and our guys have time to recover ... then we’ll go out and play the type of ball game that I know they can play."
Brown credited the play of his three guards, Justin Boyd, Henry Roberts and Mike Brown Jr., for posting a good season to date.
"All three of my guards were in double figures in every game and that is our strength," he said. "All three have the ability of shooting the ball from far court and being consistent. That makes teams want to come out and play them man-to man-and once they play them man to man that opens everything up. I think we have the guards in the nation."
"We have to have good play out of AJ Ansley," Ernie Walthour, St. James Sport Center director and 16U Rebel coach said. "He’s been working extremely hard and he’s really starting to get recruited now by all different colleges. We also need some good play from another high recruit D.J. Felder. He’s playing well for us right now. We are really excited about Hakeem Golden also he’s playing strong."
Brown said last year his squad did well, placing 12th out of 248 teams.
Bur for Walthour and Brown, the invitation is an opportunity for the Rebels players to attract attention and scholarships from different colleges and universities.
"Before the Nationals, we’ll be playing in the Super Showcase based on how well we did last year, so all the coaches or the representatives of major schools will be there from around the nation," Brown explained. "The players will have the opportunity to be on the big stage and be looked at by the majority of all the schools.’
"At Nationals you will have just about every Division I and Division II scout watching," Walthour added. "It makes it that much more important for these kids to go down there and play well. They are seniors and this is this last year at AAU."
Walthour said he’s thankful to 17U coaches Brown and Larry Baggs for the great job they’ve done getting the team ready for the season.
The 14U Rebels also earned a bid to Nationals and are headed to South Carolina in July. Walthour’s squad, the 16U Rebels, will be at Nationals competing in their age division in Orlando as well.