Tonight is the night that Team New York gets selected. After about half of the summer, each member of the selection committee has had plenty of time to evaluate the talent based on their body of work thus far. They have also witnessed three exhibitions where only the top players have competed amongst one another. So those in attendance have seen how certain players work together.
Assembling a team of this nature is no easy task. Think about it. The 10 or so players who get cut could arguably form a streetball dynasty with all of their talent. This raises the question: what makes, not a good streetball team, but the best one?
Here is a list of the candidates who have been invited to at least one of the three Team Nike New York tryout exhibitions:
Aaron "Problem" Williams
"Super" Dave Seagers
Eian "Eddy Kane" Davis
Kenny "Grown Man Stuff" Satterfield
Jeremy "The Cab Driver" Hazell
Greg "Tom Sheppard" Plummer
Ryan "Bird" Pearson
"Captain" Kirk Williams
Vernon "Mount" Goodridge
Curtis "Great Adventure" Kelly
Kavon "Slow Motion For Me" Jones-Lytch
Justin "Megatron" Burrell
Quinton "T2" Hosley
Geoff "The Bully" McDermott
Streetball aficionados can look at this list and know that one could almost blindly pick ten of these names out of a hat and come up with a dominant roster. But, this has to be done deliberately. After all, these guys will be representing the mecca of basketball, New York, in a battle for national supremacy.
I do not have any insider knowledge on who will ultimately make the final roster, but I have seen a lot of these players over the summer and will share my picks for who would blend well together and could, hopefully, keep the championship title in New York. The official roster should be released tomorrow or later this week and I'll be sure to share here as well.
First things first, let's establish our bigs (the forwards and centers) for the squad. Now, we only have ten spots, so balance will be key. Keeping situational scenarios like guys getting into foul trouble in mind, it's important to have at least three bigs to be able to rotate.
Quinton "T2" Hosley has demonstrated veteran leadership and competency on both sides of the floor. I'd be shocked if he is left off of the official list when it is finally released.
With his NBA experience, unwavering mettle, and leadership ability, Kenny Satterfield ought to be a lock as well. In no particular order, here is how the roster fills out:
- Quinton "T2" Hosley
- Kenny "Grown Man Stuff" Satterfield
- Vernon "Mount" Goodridge
- Curtis "Great Adventure" Kelly
- Kavon "Slow Motion For Me" Jones-Lytch
- "Captain" Kirk Williams
- Gary Ervin
- Greg "Tom Sheppard" Plummer
- Tutu Holloway
- Aaron "Problem" Williams
- Delroy James (I need 11 spots, I'm sorry!)
Vern Goodridge is not going to command many double teams on the offensive end, but he is a massive defensive presence and does command the attention of defenders to keep him off the glass. Geoff McDermott could also fill this role, but I think Vern edges him out because of the amount of space he clogs up in the lane on the defensive end.
"Great Adventure" is a versatile big man who can handle the ball if he needs to and is always one step away from taking the crowd—and some defender(s)—for a ride.
Kavon Jones-Lytch has not been stopped yet this summer. He plays for the formidable Sean Bell All-Stars who only have one loss on the summer across all tournaments (including a tight game at Rucker Park against Team 914 who suited up Kyrie Irving and Tyreke Evans in the fourth quarter, more on this in an upcoming post) and have been defeating quality teams by large margins. Kavon has been putting up relatively pedestrian numbers, but that's largely because his team has been so successful there hasn't been much of a need for him to take over games. In fact, at the rate they're going, it might even be unsportsmanlike if Kavon scored more. "Megatron" is also versatile and could easily be a part of Team New York. He can bang down low on the block, turn and face up his defender, and he can step out knock down the 15-footer. However, he's been nursing a nagging ankle injury and has seen limited action in any tournaments so far this summer.
"Captain" Kirk can play with his back to the basket and from the wing. He's also a deep threat to knock down the three ball if his man doubles down on someone else. Williams can play on the wing or in the post on both ends of the floor, making him an asset to Team New York.
No guard has controlled the game as well as Gary Ervin has at the tryout exhibitions. His poise under pressure and decision-making will prove invaluable to Team New York as they encounter adversity against the best from Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
Greg Plummer was once crowned the Nike Player of the Summer for his dominance. He was unconscious at Gersh Park for the third and final tryout exhibition where he absolutely lit it up with his sharp shooting. There are no other pure shooters in the pool as good as Plummer. Jeremy Hazell could be a terrific substitute for this spot as he is a great shooter, though streaky at times as most shooters are, and can take his man to the basket. Plummer, however, is a pure shooter and the team will need him to help them spread the floor and keep defenses honest.
Tutu Holloway is a steady guard whose presence seems to organize the inevitable chaos that comes with basketball at this highest level. He defends well, can score the ball, and can play at either guard position. Lots of competition for this spot, but I think his veteran experience will trump the exciting athleticism of guys like Zamal Nixon and Eian Davis—both of whom have earned a tremendous amount of respect from me this summer.
Finally, Aaron "Problem" Williams. The "Problem" is a constant threat to score the ball, so his defender will not have any breaks in this match up. He showed that he is a capable shooter at Gersh Park and he can play either the one or the two depending on what lineup is in the game.
If I could finagle an 11th spot, I would add Delroy James. He's a beast. He all but stole the show in the first half of the exhibition game at Gersh Park. He's about 6'7, can handle the ball like a point guard, can battle on the boards, and poses all kinds of problems on the defensive end.
I'm glad I'm not the one who will be making these tough decisions. But, if I were, this is the group I would go with. Stay tuned for the official list sometime in the next few days (maybe as soon as tomorrow).
Who would make your final cut to represent Team New York in Nike's upcoming Tournament of Champions to be held in Brooklyn, NY August 14th through 18th?