(Courtesy of God First Crusader staff)...
This past weekend the God First Crusaders 2020 7th grade team traveled to Washington, D.C. for the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) Session 1. The NYBL’s motto, Elite Competition and Maximum Exposure,was on full display during the 2014 season and 2015 Session 1 did not disappoint. In fact, in terms of league competitiveness last season, NYBL teams again dominated at the AAU Nationals. As evidence, in both the 6th & 7th grade AAU Nationals, NYBL teams (Team CP3 & Oakland Soldiers) took home national championships. In addition, as was the case the first 2 seasons, the high level of exposure generated by the NYBL was unprecedented and unmatched, as the league has re-established partnerships with many of the major media outlets that traditionally cover middle school basketball. Not only were media outlets such as the Buckeye Prep Report, Basketball Spotlight, Middle School Hoops, Prolific Performance, DMV Elite and Lineage of Champions covering every move the NYBL makes this season, but the league’s official website will also be offering more coverage, including session-by-session recaps, top performer lists, player and team profiles, special feature stories as well as national individual and team rankings. Based on the number of NYBL players that are ranked in the recent top 100 national rankings, it’s clear that the NYBL-generated exposure has played a significant role in determining those rankings!
God First 2020 has made huge strides nationally in terms of playing at a high level against the nation’s best teams and players. Game 1 matched up the Crusaders against national Adidas sponsored powerhouse, Ohio Basketball Club. GFC played well with a great team effort, winning their first game of Saturday 53-46. 6’1 (PG/SG) Isaiah LeBlanc led all scorers with 17, 5’6 (PG) DJ Stewart had 13 and 5’9 (PG/SG) Tramon Mark had 11. The next game of the day for GFC was against Nike Sponsored Alabama Challenge. GFC jumped on the Challenge early and never looked back, pulling away 59-27. Tramon Mark led the attack with 17pts. while 5’11 (WF) Brycen Perkins finished with 14. Future 2022 star guard Giovanni Goree scored his first 2 points in a God First uniform in this game at NYBL. The third game of the night, was a headline game featuring a matchup of nationally ranked players on both teams. God First controlled the game for 3 quarters leading by 10 at the half and 7 at the end of the third quarter. A breakdown in the fourth quarter and a momentum swing by a well-coached, very talented and disciplined team, led God First to its first NYBL loss of the season 59-52 to the Mid-Ohio Pumas, one of the best teams from the East, who also knocked of the 2014 NYBL 2020 champion West Coast All-Stars earlier that day. None of the Crusaders played particularly well and ultimately the leading scorer was Isaiah LeBlanc with 16 points. Tramon Mark, Antwon Norman and 6’0 (WF) Jayden Moore played well in spurts but it wasn’t enough to overcome 6-1 national rising star Jack Pugh and the Pumas.
GFC bounced back at 8am Sunday morning in a dog fight of a game. Fresh off of a close single digit loss to the 2014 AAU National Champ Oakland Soldiers, Louisville, KY NIKE Go Hard in the Paint (The Ville) came in on fire vs. God First. GFC played their hearts out and withstood an unbelievable 3 point barrage from this talented bunch to edge out a 72-71 win. Tramon Mark and Isaiah LeBlanc both had 17pts. and Jayden Moore continued his outstanding play with 14pts. 6’5 new addition Terius Mathis 7 points and 22 rebounds proved to be humongous in this run and gun affair. The final game of the road trip was against Nike Team Final (red) from the Philadelphia area. GFC continued to roll lead by 5’7 Antwon Norman’s 17 points and a balanced attack with several others in double figures. All in all despite playing one fourth quarter of bad basketball, God First re-established the notion of how special this team could possibly be as they continue to develop and progress. Way to represent for Houston and Texas with a successful national power team made up of local area talent and great coaching and development.
2020 2015 NYBL League Power Rankings by: Prolific Performance National Player News www.p2bball.com - March 25, 2015
1. Oakland Soldiers (5-0) – Reigning national AAU champs return stronger and deeper
2. Team Durant (5-0) – 51-1 overall record and top ranked talent at every position places them in conversation
3. Team Takeover (5-0) – One man wreaking crew Terrance Williams may be most unstoppable force in the age group
4. Rip City (5-0) – The team is well coached, shares the ball, and defends in the half court – will be a tough out for anyone stepping on the floor with them
5. San Diego Select (4-1) – Huge point differential and dominating balanced team performances highlight this championship contenders run
6. West Coast Stars (4-1) – Great guard play combined with a stellar frontline boasting both size and skill has the defending NYBL champs poised for another run at the title
7. God First Crusaders (4-1) – Quietly put together a very impressive weekend led by forward Isaiah LeBlanc along with added size they are looking to climb the ranking quickly
8. Team IZOD/Sports U (4-1) – Boast good size and perimeter skill with knockdown shooters; team should be in every game they play with solid sets and good team defense
9. Mid-Ohio Pumas (4-1) – One of the most cohesive offensive units in the league forces teams to play their style which they do better than many others a team no one wants to play
10. Worldwide Wildcats- (3-2) – Solid weekend team has the inside/outside combination to be a factor all season long