Our staff made the trip to Charlotte, NC this weekend to attend the Junior Youth Phenom MLK Kick Off. This event provided us with a great opportunity to get an early look at more than 80 grassroots basketball teams (Grades 2nd-8th) from all over the east coast. Before we dive into some of our notes, we would like to take a minute to honor the late great Dr Martin Luther King Jr with one of our favorite quotes of his: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Team Thrill UAA 2027 made some major noise this weekend going a perfect 4-0 and winning the 8th Grade Championship. In their first outing, Thrill 2027 “handled” a Garner Road team that they would eventually go on to defeat again in the Championship the following day. They also picked up wins over Flight 22 and Team ISH.
(Guard) Samartine’ Hill was a major contributor to the success of Team Thrill 2027 this weekend. The small (5’9) and SPEEDY guard was an absolute difference maker on both sides of the ball. He seemed to get himself going each game by locking-in on defense and creating steals that lead to him scoring in transition. He is exciting with the ball in his hands. This was evident with several excellent finishes in traffic and through contact. He showcased a smooth jump-shot as well, constantly knocking down shots both off the catch and the dribble. Follow him on IG (@TheOfficialS13)
(Wing) Nicholas Smith also made huge contributions throughout the weekend, proving why many consider him a Top 50 prospect in the country. Smith got better and better each time we watched him. This is usually a good sign for a young prospect with his combination of size (6’1) and guard skill. It doesn’t take long for his length and play-making ability to catch your eyes. You grow to appreciate his game even more when you realize just how hard he competes and how aggressive he can be. You can follow him on IG (@Nicholas_Smith).
Another notable prospect on this talent rich team is (Power Forward) Kenneth Anthony. He did a great job of commanding the paint and displayed good touch around the basket. He ran the floor really well, had good footwork in screen-and-roll situations and played with a level of ‘toughness” as well.
Follow team thrill 2027 on IG (@TeamThrill2027UAA).