After adding some pieces to an already successful group returning from last summer, the Reign Team Iverson 16 group was one of the best non-sneaker company teams in the nation, and continue their push to be mentioned with Team Loaded…
After adding some pieces to an already successful group returning from last summer, the Reign Team Iverson 16 group was one of the best non-sneaker company teams in the nation, and continue their push to be mentioned with Team Loaded and Boo Williams as a top tier team in the state. They sported perhaps the best backcourt in the state with Johquin “Pinky” Wiley and Mario Haskett, and were a talented and deep team that thrived in an uptempo and pressing system. Here’s the recap of their summer.
Top Tournament Finishes: Phenom Hoops MDC Classic champions; Zero Gravity Southern Classic champions; Big Shots DC Premier runner up; Bob Gibbons runner up; Rumble in Bronx final four; UA Finals runner up; Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest elite eight
Notable Wins: Team Loaded VA (2X), Team Loaded NC (2X), Team Wall, DC Premier, Game Elite (2X), Upward Stars, Southern Stampeded, Southeast Elite, Carolina Wolves, Team Felton
MVP: Mario Haskett.
The 6’3 combo guard out of LC Bird is starting to figure out how talented he is, and it’s kind of scary. On the offensive end, he’s tough to guard because he can shoot it off the catch out to NBA range, and crafty and smart when attacking closeouts. He doesn’t force things and is willing to take the mid-range jumper, but he’s athletic enough in transition to throw it down on a defender. Defensively, he’s a high IQ player who can get away with gambling in their trap because of his athleticism. He picked up a number of offers including Robert Morris, Cincinnati and Richmond over the summer.
Defensive MVP: John Salley.
Before injuries put a damper on his summer, Salley was a big time presence in the paint for Reign. He’s 6’10 with a good frame and long arms, so he can clog the lane and contest shots without leaving his feet which keeps him out of foul trouble. He’s a hard working, very coachable kid who still has room to grow on both ends of the floor.
Biggest Surprise: Zach Jacobs.
It’s hard to say he was a surprise, because everyone knew how good he was, but Jacobs was a production machine for Reign. The 6’7 four man averaged a double-double before he battled injuries in the second half of the summer, and his ability to score without being the focal point of the offensive game plan is what made him so good. He has a developing skill set, and he already is a monster on the offensive glass and runs the floor like a guard.
Reign 16’s were perhaps the best team in the 16U group in the state throughout the spring portion of AAU, before injuries derailed them before the July live periods. Pinky Wiley was masterful leading their uptempo style, and kept everyone involved spreading the love for easy shots. Jason Wade and Jaylen Dillard gave them multiple two way wings, while Jyles Webster and Ameer Bennett gave them depth in the front court as well. All-in-all, this team should have a bright future next season in 17U if they stay together, and most of their kids are set up for big junior seasons in high school.