Hudson Catholic's Louis King (above) is a talented addition to the Team Final roster. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
This week, we’ll be taking a look at the local AAU programs whose players will be drawing the attention of quite a few college coaches over the next two weekends, which constitute the April Live Periods.
The only local program to play on Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), Team Final will draw the attention of the elite coaches in the country with two top-50 wings on its oldest team, including a potential one-and-done. The rest of the program is filled with future Division I athletes, including strong guard groups in the 17U and 16U levels. Starting this weekend at Boo Williams (Va.) and continuing in Indianapolis the following weekend, they'll begin their trek towards the Peach Jam in July.
Here’s a look at Team Final’s oldest two teams:
Justin Anderson (2018/Archbishop Carroll, Pa.)
Matthue Cotton (2018/St. Benedict’s, N.J.)
Sean Good (2018/Trinity, Pa.)
Mikeal Jones (2020/Girard College, Pa.)
Cliff Joseph (2018/Timber Creek, N.J.)
Louis King (2018/Hudson Catholic, N.J.)
Marcus Littles (2018/Neumann-Goretti, Pa.)
Maurice Murray (2018/Timber Creek, N.J.)
Cameron Reddish (2018/Westtown School, Pa.)
Sam Sessoms (2018/Shipley School, Pa.)
Breakdown: It all starts with a pair of 6-foot-8 wings who are both amongst the top prospects in the entire junior class. Reddish, No. 4 in the ESPN 2018 rankings, is being courted by the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Oregon, Villanova and more; King (No. 38) has Kansas, Louisville, Oregon, UConn and many more. So expect high-major coaches to flock to Team Final’s games for those two alone, but there’s a nice little stable of Division I prospects around them. Cotton, who spent his first two years at Academy New Church, blossomed during his first season at St. Ben’s, reeling in offers from the likes of Miami (Fl.), Virginia Tech, Rutgers and more; the 6-4 lefty is a smooth scorer from all three levels, a nice development from his time coming up as a pure 3-point specialist. Also out on the perimeter are the 5-11 Sessoms, who averaged more than 23 ppg at Shipley; Anderson, a 6-3 shooter who picked up several mid-major offers last summer, and Murray, an athletic 6-4 slasher who’s got the tools to be productive on the circuit as well.
In the middle, Final boasts 6-9, 245-pound Littles and 6-10, 205-pound Good, who bring rather different skillsets to the table. Littles is a strong interior presence who can muscle his way to the hoop and score through contact, while Good is more of a face-up threat out to the 3-point arc who has some issues against more physical posts. The key for this group will be chemistry. King is new to the Final program, spending his previous years with Sports U Team IZOD on the Under Armour circuit; Reddish had been playing up an age group for the last five years, so he’s got to adjust to playing with his classmates for the first time in a while. If those two can figure out how to co-exist while also getting their teammates involved, Final’s going to win some games on the EYBL.
Younger brother of Syracuse freshman Tyus Battle, Khalif Battle (above) is a 6-4 wing with terrific range. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
John Bol Ajak (2019/Church Farm, Pa.)
Khalif Battle (2019/Trenton Catholic, N.J.)
Jack Brown (2019/Salesianum, Del.)
K-vonn Cramer (2019/Mount Pleasant, Del.)
Da’mir Faison (2019/Hazleton, Pa.)
A.J. Hoggard (2020/Archbishop Carroll, Pa.)
Konrad Kiszka (2019/La Salle College HS, Pa.)
Lucas Monroe (2019/Abington, Pa.)
Ray Sommerville (2019/Shipley, Pa.)
Peter Sorber (2019/Notre Dame, N.J.)
Breakdown: Despite being the only member of the 2020 class on the 16U roster, Hoggard is undoubtedly the engine that makes this Team Final group go. The only lead guard on the team, the precocious Carroll freshman handles almost all of the ball-handling duties, using an array of dribble moves and his muscular frame to get to the middle of the floor and create. Hoggard is considered one of the most talented guards in his class, and expect him to be a star for this team despite playing up an age group. Another strength for Final, which is traditionally known for its outstanding perimeter play, will be in the paint, where they’ll feature two high-upside center prospects in Ajak and Sommerville. Ajak, a native of South Sudan, is a surefire high-major prospect, standing 6-foot-11 with a nice array of skills that allow him to facilitate from the block and the high post. Both Temple and Saint Joseph’s have already offered, while schools like Notre Dame, Virginia, and Georgetown have expressed interest. Sommerville is still very raw on the offensive end, but his 6-9, 240-pound frame combined with an endless motor allow him to make a consistent impact on the glass and as a finisher inside.
What will likely determine how good this group ultimate becomes is the development of a number of intriguing prospects on the wing. Battle, Faison, Kiszka, and Monroe are all new to the Final program this year, joining the returning Cramer to form a deep perimeter group. All five have a chance to develop at least into mid-major prospects, and if just one or two of them start showing signs of such development this spring, it would give Team Final a dangerous, versatile lineup with which to work. Of particular interest will be Battle -- the younger brother of Syracuse sophomore, Tyus -- who sat out this past year with a back injury but looked plenty healthy at last weekend’s Team Final Scrimmages; Cramer, a freak athlete who plays well above the rim and possesses a near 7-foot wingspan at 6-foot-5; and Faison, a potential sleeper from the middle part of the state who made waves in cracking the top-30 game at the prestigious Pangos All East camp this past fall.