Jr. Finale: Day 3 Standouts
Augusta, GA — The elimination rounds began on Tuesday at the MADE Hoops Jr. Finale as the field was narrowed in the fifth, sixth, and seventh-grade divisions. There were certainly some surprises in bracket play as the semifinals are set…
Augusta, GA — The elimination rounds began on Tuesday at the MADE Hoops Jr. Finale as the field was narrowed in the fifth, sixth, and seventh-grade divisions. There were certainly some surprises in bracket play as the semifinals are set for the Classes of 2028 and 2030 and the championship game is locked in for the Class of 2029. The third day was jam-packed with intense action and here are a handful of the top performers as we near the event’s conclusion…
The Arizona Unity program continues to gain attention on the grassroots basketball scene and their seventh-grade team’s performance on Tuesday added more fuel to the fire. On a roster featuring several future Division I players, 6-foot-4 guard Martray Bagley is one of the prominent names to remember. The Bagley name should be familiar to most, as his oldest brother Marvin currently plays in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, and the trio of Bagley brothers are third-generation Division I athletes. Poised to follow in the footsteps of his family’s athletic accomplishments, the youngest Bagley has an impressive foundation upon which to build his own basketball career. Arguably the most skilled of the three at the same stage, he brings athleticism to the perimeter, and showed playmaking instinct and skill.
The day’s biggest upset was courtesy of The Performance Group’s (TPG Elite) quarterfinal victory against Team United (NC), as the determined Canadian group defeated who many considered to be the top-rated seventh-grade team in the USA. In the process, TPG punched their ticket into the Jr. Finale semifinal round, and may not be done yet. After missing game action earlier in the tournament, 6-foot-5 Jordan Fisher was a welcome return to their lineup, and provided a huge boost on the interior with his size and athleticism. The brother of Elijah Fisher, a former 5-star recruit in the Class of 2022, the younger Fisher has a more powerful game in the paint, and is being utilized accordingly.
Tyrone ‘TJ’ Jordan
Tyrone ‘TJ’ Jordan
The separation of dates for the 8th Grade Finale and the Jr. Finale has provided an opportunity to evaluate even younger prospects than what would normally be on my radar. The fifth grade division has delivered some pleasant surprises, including Class of 2030 forward TJ Jordan. A versatile forward capable of playing both in the paint and on the perimeter at this stage, Jordan has helped New England-based Team Spartans to a 3-1 record, allowing them to secure a spot in the semifinal round to be played on the event’s final day (tomorrow). Jordan’s ability to anticipate on both ends of the court as well as capitalize on opportunities wherever he catches the ball on the floor have been second to none when compared to his peers.
Austin Select’s sixth-grade team is one of the nation’s most well-traveled groups in the Class of 2029 and their experience is paying dividends this week at the Jr. Finale. The Lone Star State squad is currently unbeaten with a 4-0 record at the event including a pair of impressive bracket wins against TPG Elite (CAN) and New York Lightning. In the nightcap versus Lightning, 5-foot-6 guard Pierce Paul got hot and carried his team offensively with 18 points on 7 for 9 from the field. His shotmaking ability is a dangerous weapon for this club and a match-up with Team CP3 awaits them in the 6th Grade Championship Game tomorrow morning.
Team CP3 is among the few remaining undefeated groups after three days of action at the Jr. Finale. Georgia native David Whitaker caught fire at the start of bracket play, producing consecutive 25+ point games, and helping his team advance to tomorrow morning’s title game. The 5-foot-9 guard’s offensive abilities are clear and he’s currently playing with enormous confidence. Capable of creating his own offense off the bounce but also efficient in catch-and-shoot scenarios, the seventh grade guard has emerged as one of the most proficient scorers in the event. Whitaker’s attacking style has served him well in transition and he’ll need to be at his best once again with the championship game on the horizon.
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