M.I.T.: Fifth / Sixth Grade Preview
2012 FEBRUARY M.I.T. 5TH / 6TH GRADE PREVIEW
Extremely young to the rest of the recruiting/scouting world, the class of 2019 will be on full display at this year’s February M.I.T., and is sure not to disappoint. As a whole, the group of competing teams already has several national finishers and rising competitors mixed into a division loaded with a seasoned field of youth prospects accustomed to the grind of the travel circuit.
Pool A features the highest-rated team in the fifth grade tournament, as travel circuit veteran head coach Jackson Brown brought his 2011 national semifinalist squad from the Fairfax Stars moniker to the Team Takeover program. The group returns a talented backcourt trio featuring Jaylen Cole-Williams, Justice Ellison, and Jaylin Hunter along with improving inside presence Cole Matthiesen.
After leaving the 2011 10U AAU National Championships with a third place finish, the youthful Takeover unit now has a major bull’s-eye on their backs entering the 2012 campaign and there appears to be ample regional talent to test them early in new year. The first challenges await Team Takeover in pool play match-ups against well-known New York program, New Heights, and rising Potomac Valley organization Metro Sixers.
The question mark is where forward Jaamir Butler and guard Jahmir Young, who played with Takeover last season, will suit-up for the new season. Rumors are swirling as to which squad will benefit from their presence but the answer should come sooner than later as both are expected to play in the approaching February M.I.T. event.
Another nationally-ranked team, (and M.I.T. host) Maryland’s Finest, headline Pool B in the fifth grade division after finishing sixth in the country at the 2011 10U AAU National Championships. Last season, the backcourt combination of Malik Anderson and Kenneth Womack proved too much for nearly every opponent Finest faced, and forward Charles Creek showed the ability to be a consistent impact on both ends of the floor by the conclusion of the year. DunkDog.com will be watching closely to see which players emerge for this team and others in 2012.
Finally, D.C. Assault’s well-respected class of 2019 group appears ready to respond on the national stage after failing to place within the top ten nationally at the 2011 10U AAU National Championships. The eleventh place medal for D.C.A. was the group’s lowest finish in any tournament on the national circuit and has re-motivated the team for a serious run in 2012.
Five-foot floor general Tyler Brelsford will guide the fifth grade group in Pool D but wing Jay Heath is emerging as a serious prospect for D.C.A. while posts Tyrese Jenkins and Terrance Williams anchor the paint. Also expect to hear names like Mekhi Long, Justin Lykes, and Michael Sumner as the tournament moves into bracket play.
Pool F is certainly the fifth grade division’s most intriguing group of teams. Top-seeded Swish City Magic from North Carolina are rumored to have put together one of the state’s top teams in the 2019 class while second-seeded Central Jersey Hawks return the major pieces from a roster that qualified for the national bracket at 2011 10U AAU Championships. Meanwhile, the third-seeded Fairfax Stars will have a different group hoping to create some positive buzz for their new-look team with a strong performance.
With a high-level of competition and marquee match-ups throughout pool play, it will be difficult to turn away from the action in the fifth grade division. DunkDog.com is favoring D.C. Assault’s 2019 group to come away victorious when the last buzzer sounds, but sleepers such as the Playtime Panthers (keep an eye on Jordan McCoy), Team Rebels, Riverside Hawks, and Banneker Kings/Team Melo each loom as potential spoilers to the higher-rated squads.