BOWIE, MD - The first session of the 2017 DMVelite Media Series took place on Memorial Weekend with two days of 15U, 16U and 17U action at Bowie City Gym.
Here’s some notes from last weekend’s event:
RELATED: VIDEO PART I | VIDEO PART 2 | VIDEO PART 3
RELATED: CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
17U: Higher Level Elite
16U: Maryland Movement
15U: DC Premier 2021
EJ WHITE, HIGHER LEVEL ELITE 17U
An unsigned senior from Potomac (Va.), White was one of the event’s standouts, putting together a very impressive weekend while leading Higher Level to the 17U title.
6-foot-4, 180 pound White did a little bit of everything offensively while averaging 18.4 points per game. He attacked the rim and finished with thunderous dunks, while hitting jumpers from mid-range and beyond the arc. He scored in double figures in all five of Higher Level’s wins against Fairfax Stars (16), Maryland Sharks (19), Washington Warriors (25), Team Renegade (15) and Crusader Nation (17).
“It’s really all my teammates feeding me the ball, and trusting me to do what I can do,” he said.
White said he has D2 and D3 interest, and is currently deciding between a couple of prep school programs while he looks to pick up offers.
“I’m only 17 graduating high school,” he said, “so it’s an extra year to just get better for college.”
White didn’t have a big scoring role at Potomac this past season, but credited his time with the program for aiding in his development.
“It really got my game better, especially my senior year,” he said.
DERRICK HOPKINS, HIGHER LEVEL ELITE 17U
Hopkins opened eyes with his length and athleticism, and played a key role in Higher Level’s title run.
A 6-foot-4, 170-pounder from Woodbridge (Va.), Hopkins’ explosiveness was evident even as he battled lingering knee and ankle injuries.
Hopkins looked good on the boards and attacking the basket all weekend. He averaged 9.2 points per game and scored in double figures in four of Higher Level’s five games, highlighted by 14-point outings against Maryland Sharks and Team Renegade.
“I’m just trying to get better and get more looks and interest from colleges and make my teammates better,” Hopkins said.
JERMAINE HALL, CRUSADER NATION 17U
Hall was Crusader Nation’s most consistent scorer, averaging 12 points per game to lead them to a runner-up finish.
“[I just want to] Make my game better,” he said. “I’m working on playing with teammates and also my IQ of the game and becoming a better player.”
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Severn School (Md.) 2018 wing said he’s heard from a lot of schools but is still awaiting his first offer.
“It’s going well, there’s schools talking,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep getting better and things will come.”
TRAVIS HENSON, A-HOOPS 17U
One of the area’s top remaining available 2017’s, Henson put on a show, displaying the scoring ability and athleticism he flashed during his breakout senior season at Potomac (Md.)
“I mean, just switching atmospheres from my last school really helped me out,” said Henson, who transferred in from Friendly (Md.) and helped lead the Wolverines to a state runner-up finish.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder was at his best in a semifinal loss to Bump City, going for 26 points while knocking down jumpers, getting to the rim and throwing down a poster dunk on a fastbreak.
“I’m just trying to get better and work on my game - my ball handling and shooting,” he said.
Henson has kept his recruitment status close to the vest, and wouldn’t divulge much when asked about his next steps.
HASANI MUSTAFA, MARYLAND MOVEMENT 16U
Hasani had an up and down weekend offensively, but he stepped up at the perfect time.
Mustafa (Duval 2019) carried the scoring load with a team-high 16 points in Maryland Movement’s 60-44 title win over 6th Man Warriors 2020, hitting four 3-pointers in the victory.
The 6-foot-4, 170 pounder looked fluid and confident on the offensive end, but said his biggest goal for the summer is to improve defensively.
“I want to be a lockdown defender; I want to be great at defense,” he said. “I want to be in the game during crunch time and for the coach to be able to trust me to get a stop.”
ANTHONY BOWMAN, MARYLAND MOVEMENT 16U
Bowman came to St. Charles (Md.) last season after a short stint at National Christian, following a freshman year at Fork Union Military Academy (Va.). He finished second on the team in scoring at 7.6 points per game, and looks primed to make a leap this summer.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder impressed with his motor and versatility on both ends of the floor. He created well for others, finished well and showed the ability to defend on the perimeter and in the post. He didn’t post any eye-popping point totals - his high was 13 in a win over Crusader Nation - but showcased an ability to do many things well.
“I’m just trying to become a better player, win a couple of championships and get some more interest,” Bowman said. “I’ve got some interest right now, but no offers yet. So I’m just trying to win championships and get some more college looks.”
DEONTA DUNLAP, CRUSADER NATION 16U
Dunlap enjoyed a strong weekend for Crusader Nation, consistently lighting up opposing defenses from deep. He his six 3-pointers in a win against Maryland D-Fenders and knocked down five more in a semifinal loss to Maryland Movement.
When he wasn’t connecting from deep, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Dunlap was attacking the basket, and also showed nice touch from mid-range.
The 2019 guard said he’s transferring from Catonsville (Md.) to Concordia Prep (Md.) next year.
“It’s going to get me more exposure, and the coaches are different,” he said. “I’m trying to get as much exposure as I can.”
JORDAN HARRIS, MARYLAND SUPREME 16U
The Bowie (Md.) 2019 guard carried the scoring load with a game-high 21 points in an opening win over Maryland Movement, and said he’s feeling good physically after a knee hyperextension.
“I’m trying to get faster on my feet and get my legs right,” he said. “I had an injury recently - my knee - so I’m trying to get it stronger. At first I was scared, like, to play on it, mentally. But I got back on it.”
Harris is a good shooter and showed the ability to create for others as well. He said he’s working on finishing while attacking the basket.
ABDUL-RASHEED IDOWU, MARYLAND SUPREME 16U
Idowu didn’t wow with his offense, but he exhibited a knack for making plays in key moments - none bigger than his putback of a Jordan Harris shot at the buzzer to give Supreme a 48-47 win over Maryland Movement.
“The play was for the guard to attack,” Idowu said, “and then have the big men slash to the rim when he was coming. So I saw when the shot went up, and I wasn’t having a great game, so I was at least just trying to make an impact - if not scoring, then rebounding. That shot kind of summed up what my game was. I saw it coming.”
The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Idowu said he feels his versatility is his best asset, and it was on full display. When his shot wasn’t falling, he attacked the boards and defended well - both man to man and helpside.
“Honestly, growth-wise, this should be the biggest summer ever for me,” he said. “I’m trying to get stronger, expand my wing game so I can be more versatility on the court. I’m trying to make a big leap this summer.”
AJ BURCH, TEAM RENEGADE 17U
Burch had one of the weekend’s top shooting performances, hitting seven 3-pointers in a 28 point outing against Washington Warriors.
“The first half wasn’t too good,” he said. “I only had about six points in the first half, but the second half, the rim just opened up for me.”
A rising junior, Burch averaged 16.8 points per game for Team Renegade, displaying the aforementioned outside shooting touch while also going to the basket and finishing or finding open teammates. He posted 16 points against Maryland D-Fenders and 14 against Higher Level Elite.
Coming off of a strong season at Severn School (Md.). the 5-foot-6, 150-pound Burch said his goal for the summer is to attract more recruiting interest.
MICHAEL JOYNER, TEAM RENEGADE 17U
The Arundel (Md.) 2018 guard did a little bit of everything for Team Renegade while averaging 14 points a game. He scored in double figures in every game, going for 16 against Higher Level Elite, 15 against A Hoops, 14 versus Maryland D-Fenders and 11 against Washington Warriors.
Team Renegade lost its first two games Saturday, but rebounded to knock off Maryland D-Fenders in their playoff opener before falling to eventual champion Higher Level Elite.
“I loved how we played hard to the end,” Joyner said. “We fought through everything: all the adversity with the refs, players talking trash. We just fought through it.”
While he still has a year of high school left, The 6-foot-3, 180 pound Joyner said he’s likely headed the junior college route, and has been researching those options.
JAHMAL BANKS, 6TH MAN WARRIORS 2020
Banks was one of the most impressive young prospects in attendance, averaging 14.4 points per game while leading 6th Man 2020 - which played up a grade - to a runner-up finish in the 16U Division.
After going 0-2 Saturday, 6th Man 2020 won its first two games on Sunday to reach the final, with Banks taking control offensively. The Bishop O’Connell (Va.) wing poured in an event-high 30 points in a 65-57 first round win over Xpress United (NC), getting to the rim with regularity and also showcasing a nice stroke from beyond the arc.
Although his squad ultimately fell short, Banks said the experience of playing up should prove beneficial.
“It really helps because I play against kids on 17U, 16U that are a lot faster and a lot stronger,” he said, “and that motivates me to get in the weightroom and get faster, more agile and work on my skills.”
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound Banks already holds a Division I offer from High Point, and said he’s heard from Xavier, Quinnipiac, St. John’s, South Florida, Wyoming. He’s also a standout wide receiver with Division I interest, and mentioned that he also played lacrosse before giving it up because it conflicted with AAU.
He excelled at attacking and finishing at the rim, and also proved to be an adept and willing passer. Banks is just scratching the surface of his potential, and noted that improving his ball handling was up first on his list of priorities.
“My right hand dribbling is not as good as my left,” he said. “Even though I shoot right handed, I was born left handed. I really started in sixth grade with competitive basketball - I was really a football player - so I defied all the odds and did things that people said I couldn’t do. They had changed to my right hand early on in life, so I automatically started just doing things with my right. The only thing I do with my left is throw a football and dribble.”
JADEN MARTIN, MARYLAND SHARKS 17U
Martin’s’ Maryland Sharks team didn’t enjoy much team success, but Martin put in work, averaging 16 points per game in three contests.
The River Hill (Md.) 2018 product is a tough and physical lead guard, and did a good job of using his size (6-foot, 180) to his advantage.
“People might think I’m slower, and then you hit them with one move and you’re by them,” he said, “and it’s like, ‘Oh I didn’t know he could dribble,’ or ‘Oh, I didn’t know he was that fast.’ It kind of helps because you have people sleeping on you. And then strength-wise, especially with smaller guards, I can post them up.”
Martin opened with 18 points against Fairfax Stars and 15 against Higher Level Elite, and finished with 15 while nearly leading the Sharks to their first victory in a spirited comeback against Bump City.
“When we come in games, people have never heard of us, so they think it’ll be an easy game,” he said. “And then they’re surprised when we give them a game that they weren’t expecting.”
ISAIAH JENNINGS, MARYLAND D-FENDERS 17U
A former Kutztown (Pa.) commit, Jennings is back on the market and looking at junior college options.
The 6-foot-3 185 pound Wilson (DC) graduate had a breakout season while helping the Tigers to the DCIAA championship, and his continued growth on the offensive end was evident in Bowie. He posted 20 points in a win over Bump City and 22 in a playoff loss to Team Renegade. He was active around the basket and showed good touch.
“I play really physical,” he said when asked to name the strengths of his game. “I’m a hard worker and I have a lot of energy and I’m a good leader.”
Jennings said he wants to improve his ball handling to extend his game to the perimeter.
DEONTE COOK, MARYLAND D-FENDERS 17U
Cooke is using the summer to hone his game before heading to Prince George’s Community College.
“This summer they mainly want me to get stronger, be more physical, and to be able to take shots to help the team get the win,” Cook said. “So basically just start being a scorer.”
Cooke flashed his scoring ability as a senior at Central (Md.) this past season, helping the Falcons reach the Class 2A state semifinals.
Cook is smooth and athletic point guard who sometimes struggles with his shot selection. He excelled at scoring in transition and showed that he isn't afraid to get physical at the rim. Consistently went at the bodies of bigger defenders and either hit the layup or got to the free throw line.
“I put the work in going to they gym,” he said. “I’m on the shooting gun 24/7 working on my shot, so when I shoot it in the game, it’s like I expect every shot to go in.”
ZION RUSSELL, DC PREMIER 2021
Despite playing up a grade, DC Premier 2021 put together a strong run to the 15U Division title, and Russell was a key reason why.
The 5-foot-11, 145-pound Riverdale Baptist (Md.) guard was good all weekend but turned it up in the playoffs. He scored 22 points in a tight semifinal win over DC Blue Devils Blue, hitting five 3-pointers. He followed that up with 19 points in the title game against Crusader Nation, knocking down three 3’s.
“This experience has gone really well,” said. “We were playing against people older than us, so they’re probably more developed than us, and we got a good experience of how it feels to play against people older than you. It helps a lot, because then when we play against people our own age, it’ll be an easier game because we’ve already experienced what it’s like to go against people older than us.”
EMANUEL HENRIQUES, CRUSADER NATION 15U
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Henriques was a physical mismatch on the perimeter, averaging 10.4 points per game while leading Crusader Nation to a runner-up finish in the 15U Division.
“The weekend was great,” he said. “We lost to a tough team, but even though we lost we competed every game. We went 3-2 this weekend and we played every team. We came up short, but we’ve just got to work on a few things at practice.”
Henriques said he had an up and down freshman season at Ben Franklin (Md.), but found a niche and feels he can use this summer to reach another level.
“My ninth grade season, it wasn’t what I was expecting it to be,” he said, “but it was good just coming in there and playing on the varsity level and just doing what I was capable of doing - averaging, like, 7 rebounds a game and doing what I was capable of doing.”
Henriques averaged 10.4 points per game and was strong driving and finishing at the basket, and also showed the ability to defend on the perimeter and in the post, where he was able to use his size to his advantage.
“I’ve always been big,” he said. “Since I was little I was always real tall, so I just took advantage of it. When I played football I was always bigger than everybody I played with, that’s why I was able to dominate the game.”
MORE NOTES: After two losses Saturday, Bump City 17U rebounded with a pair of wins Sunday, including a win over top-seeded A-Hoops. Matt Chambers (Catonsville), Reshaud Garrison (Woodlawn), Rashard Rice (Woodlawn), Nijelh Redd (Woodlawn) and Myles Morris (Calvert Hall) all came up big for Bump City. … Xpress United 16U enjoyed a solid weekend, taking the top seed in the 16U Bracket before being upset by 6th Man 2020 in the opening round. United enjoyed solid outings from LaTrell Campbell, LaQueze Campbell and Emery Simmons. … After a few off games, Higher Level Elite 17U guard Marcus Stephens (CD Hylton 2018) regained his shooting stroke in the the title game, posting a game-high 18 points and hitting three 3-pointers. … Washington Warriors guard Lorenzo Moore (Cardozo) scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to lead Washington Warriors to a 74-71 comeback win against Team Renegade. … DC Blue Devils Blue 15U’s Marino Dias nearly carried his team to a victory over DC Premier by scoring 15 of his 18 in the second half of a 15U semifinal loss. … Higher Level 16U guard Dechaun Reed was one of the event’s top long-range shooters, hitting a combined nine 3-pointers against 6th Man 2020 and Maryland D-Fenders. … Maryland D-Fenders 16U guard Tyree Lucas (Riverdale Baptist 2019) had 19 in 50-42 win over MD Supreme. 10 vs Crusader Nation.