Coast2Coast Music City Premiere: 2025 Standouts
Coast 2 Coast Prep Music City Premiere tourney converged on the great city of Nashville and featured some exciting basketball on the same weekend of the 1st and 2nd round of the NCAA Tourney. So, not only were parents, players,…
Coast 2 Coast Prep Music City Premiere tourney converged on the great city of Nashville and featured some exciting basketball on the same weekend of the 1st and 2nd round of the NCAA Tourney. So, not only were parents, players, coaches, fans, and refs streaming the tourney when they could, they were provided with some live on-court games of some good in-state and out-of-state teams. Today we will start with the 2025 class, as there was some high-level talent in the building.
To get us started, we have to start with the 2025 Championship Game MVP, Christian Wilkins.
Christian Wilkins / 6’3 / Small Forward / Flight Team 2025 / Lakota Plains Junior School (Liberty Township OH)
When I first saw Christian’s team play, he played ok, nothing to really grab my attention, so at first, he was not even on my radar. The second go-around was utterly different, as I had to ask myself had Flight Team added another player or a player just got in town to play, but when I realized this was the same kid that played earlier, it was like night and day. What got my attention initially was a catch around the free-throw line, and he hit the defender with a jab fake to create space, then rose up over the defender to nail a mid-range jumper. From that moment, my eyes were glued on him, and he was putting in work. He was one of a very few players that even looked for mid-range shots. Once Christian got it going, with the mid-range pull-up off the dribble, his defenders were in for some trouble.
Once he got that going, he began to show his ability to knock down the trey ball, as well as get to the basket off the bounce.
He has good size at the wing spot and uses his body well when attacking the paint and finishing at the rim. Word around the gym was that he was coming off an injury. So if that is true and he was not 100%, I can only imagine the damage he could have done. Opportunities for Growth: As he continues to go up the ladder, he will have to work on his quickness and explosiveness. Definitely want to see him continue to work on his handles.
Javion Kinnard / 5’6 / Point Guard / Team Pressure 2025 / Jere Baxter Middle School (Nashville TN)
Javion is an interesting little player. At first glance at his play, you would think that he is a pass-first PG until you see his ability to score the rock. He is literally a walking bucket at any moment that he wants to get one. He is dominant left, yet no one defending him could stop him from going left because of his shifty handles and combo moves that he uses on his attack. Time and time again, he rocked players to sleep then exploded to the basket. He is extremely quick off the bounce, and if you do not have help, you’re done. He can step out and knock down the trey ball with consistency. He is small but strong and handles contact at the rim. He is an ultimate competitor, and if he gets it in his mind that he is going to score, one on one there is not much you can do. In the Final 4 game, I feel as though he did not exert himself enough in the second half and has to understand as he grows, depending on the situation and the team, that the ball needs to be in his hands in late-game situations. I literally watched momentum switch every time the ball did not touch his hands-on offensive possessions.
Again, he is small in stature but has a big heart, and I look forward to watching him this spring and summer.
Opportunities for Growth: Once seasoned defenders get in front of him or coaches have time to game plan and sit on that left, he will have to be able to go right. Not saying he cannot at this stage of his game, but I did not see one drive to the right, but I could have missed it. Being the type of player he is and his ability to score the rock and create for teammates, I want to see him take control down the stretch in late-game situations.
Andersen Green / 6’2 / Shooting Guard / Louisville Magic 2025 / Lexington Christian Academy (Lexington, KY)
If you are not careful when watching Andersen, it will be really easy to pass by him. He is the type of player that is not real flashy on the court, but he has filled it up when you check the stats at the end of the game. He was a steady presence for the Louisville Magic in every game that I saw. He plays both ends of the court, has good size, and can guard on the perimeter and in the paint on this level. He was highly reliable for the Magic, which helped them get to the Final 4
He has the size to shoot over and post-up smaller guards, and he can pull bigger defenders onto the perimeter and put in work.
He is highly efficient and understands his role, which I would say was the best glue guy, guys that keep the team together and in sync on both ends of the court, in the tourney. Opportunities for Growth: He has a skillset where he can be more aggressive. I would like to see him look for scoring opportunities and take them when they become available. He has to get quicker as he continues to play the 2, as he has to guard it as well.
Jayden Malone / 5’9 / Guard / Delta Force 2025 / Douglas MacArthur Jr. High School
Jayden was impressive in facilitating and making big-time buckets when his team needed one. He is a downhill type player when creating off the bounce. He drives in straight lines, which puts pressure on defensive rotations at times for teams.
Jay is a blue-collar type player that just keeps coming at you on both ends of the court.
He showed a lot of grit in some very close games. He has a toughness about him that his teammates feed off of. Opportunities for Growth: Jayden has to continue to work on his ball-handling, as well as his perimeter defense.
Makai Mandley / 5’4 / Guard / Illinois Flight 2025 / Brooks Middle School (Bolingbrook IL)
Yes, Makai is undersized, but as far as the long ball in the 2025 division, he was probably the best at it. He was the best in the gym when it came to the catch and shoot. Had it not been for his clutch shooting and four treys, his team would have never been in the contest against the Louisville Magic, in which Illinois Flight eventually lost.
When Louisville Magic understood that they could not help off of him, he adjusted and was able to put the ball on the floor and create for himself and teammates off the bounce.
Opportunities for Growth: For Makai, it is straightforward, how much more will he grow physically. He has a good skill set for the game, but 5’4 is challenging to overcome, which for now, we will just have to wait and see. Personally, I am rooting for Makai. Who doesn’t love the underdog?
Tahj Rosebur / 5’11 / Shooting Guard / NYBA Team Tae 2025 / Rock Springs Middle School
If you were looking for one of the most active players on the defensive end, look no further than Tahj. Against Team Nash, Tahj racked up 7 steals before I stopped counting. He was a force at the top of the zone for Team Tae and caused havoc for offenses with his disruptive defense and instincts. He impacts both ends of the court but is at his best on offense when he is in the open court.
One of his strengths on offense is his speed with the ball in his hands.
In a 35-25 victory over Team Nash, Tahj dropped in 11pts. Opportunities for Growth: Tahj has to continue to work on his skill set, primarily his ball-handling and perimeter jump shot. When teams stop transition and force a half-court game, Tahj is not as effective, which could be a sign that he has to get his skills honed a little more to be just as productive in the half-court situations as he is in the full court.
Jayden Jones / 6’3 / Power Forward / NYBA Elite 2025 / Goodpasture Christian School
Jayden plays on a talented NYBA team with a true Alpha-Male King Keary. However, in spite of an injured hand, Jayden began to show his ability to step up and compliment Keary. Jay had a solid weekend and showed signs of his offensive prowess and just what he is capable of. After seeing Jayden a couple times already this year, I am starting to think that he is learning how to put it all together. He showed his versatility on O & D, to play inside/outside, and defend multiple positions. Jayden has enormous potential but still seems to just take a step back at times when he could be assertive in scoring situations. In the 2025 division, there were times when he dominated the offensive boards, which resulted in easy putbacks.
He seems to just find ways to score, making it look easy at all three levels.
He also stepped out and knock down a trey ball, in which if he can be consistent with that shot, he will be an all-around threat with the ball in or out of his hands. Opportunities for Growth: Jayden has to continue to work on his handles. If he hasn’t already, it is time to spend time in the weight room. I would like to see Jayden be able to take strides to transition to playing on the perimeter, especially if he is not going to grow much more physically, and that is an if. However, even if he does grow but works on these things, it will only make him a more significant threat.
In the final two slots, I am going to double up and talk about 2 players from the Championship game for the 2025 class. I have already talked about a player from each team but making it to the championship game gives them an extra player report.
King Keary / 6’0 / Point Guard / NYBA Elite 2025 / Goodpasture Christian School
Here we go again at another tourney where King Keary was putting in work. Instead of focusing solely on King’s ability, let’s review his production in the Final 4 and championship game. In a heated battle on the court in the Final 4, NYBA Elite took down the Louisville Magic, which has become one of the top rivals in the TN and KY area in grassroots basketball. After a slow start and down by 3 at the half (19-16), NYBA Elite picked it up in the 2nd half. In what was an exhilarating and fast-paced half, King, who got off to a slow start in the first half, put his team on his back and led them to a 52-39 victory. Both teams made their runs in the 2nd half, but NYBA turned up the heat on the defensive end and extended their lead late, and closed it out down the stretch.
King finished with 23pts and was the emotional center of his team, leading them as the action intensified late in the tournament .
In the championship game: NYBA faced off against Flight Team, and it started out like a heavyweight boxing match with both teams throwing jabs just trying to figure out their opponent. The first half was played to an 18-18 score at the half. In the 2nd half, you could tell that both teams began to battle fatigue, and NYBA turned to their leader King, who made a valiant attempt to carry his team to the championship but failed short 34-30. Flight Team, who was one of the best defensive teams in the tourney, held King to 11pts.
Jesse Eubanks / 5’11 / Forward / Flight Team 2025 / Roger Bacon School (Cincinnati OH)
Jesse has an excellent skill set, but that was not what got me watching him. Jesse has a solid frame to be in the 2025 class, but that was not what got me watching him. What got me watching Jesse was his getting down and playing lockdown D on the perimeter. For the old heads, it reminded you of defense played by those Duke teams led by Bobby Hurley, when everybody hit the floor, and you knew they were about to lock-up. Jesse was playing that kind of D. I was highly impressed with his ability to move lateral and turn ball-handlers three and four times. As I mentioned, he has a great physical profile and played inside/outside.
He showed his versatility but distinguished himself with his motor — he never took a play off.
His catch-and-shoot game beyond the arc was on display and makes him a tough cover. I am not sure about the 5’11 that he listed because he seemed a little taller, and if he gets some more inches, the trajectory changes drastically for him. Opportunities for Growth: If Jesse does not grow much more, he will have to handle the rock on the wing, so getting his handles tighter is a focus point for him.
As you can see, there were some high-level players in the 2025 division. In the next article, we will look into the 2026 and 2027 divisions and see who made noise in the Music City.