If Sunday’s action was any indicator, the first-year TNBA Grassroots event is a keeper! Not only did a few stars shine on Sunday, the overall  level of basketball was extremely high. So much so, we saw several overtime and double overtime games.

We concentrated our coverage on the 8th and 3rd grade divisions and were treated to some great basketball. In the 8th grade division, despite a 28-point masterpiece by Jakaris Shelton (5’4″/PG/2027/Cleveland, Ohio), the Florida Nets outlasted TNBA Ohio to claim 66-64 win and the 8th grade title. This was a terrific game that saw TNBA give up a late game lead with under a 2 minutes left to take the L. Big props to Kadin Flores (5’8″/PG/2028/Deltona, FL), who lead the Nets in scoring to the tune of 25 points.

Before we move on, we have to acknowledge the efforts of Shelton in the semi-final game against D5 Global Florida, when he almost singlehandedly willed TNBA to a 85-84 win to advance to the title game. Although Sammy Dari would convert a layup with time running out to claim the win, TNBA is not in that position without the outstanding play of Shelton! On another note, D5 Global’s Kevin Hernandez (6’0″/SG/2028/Orlando, FL) had a monster game himself, as evidenced by a game-high 32 points to keep his team in the game. Also, Yadiel Adolph’s (5’1″/SG/2028/Orlando, FL) perimeter shooting and 17 points were significant to keep the game close. Adolph’s production was even more impressive because he was playing up a grade. This kid can really shoot the rock!

The 3rd grade championship game between the Michigan Titans and D5 Global was another good one, as the lead changed hands several times. A key moment in the game came early, when a player from the Titans was ejected from the game for throwing a punch. At that point, the Titans were up, and the player in question was having a good game. With that being said, Darius Vengas (4’9″/PG/2032/Ocoee, FL) was the story of the game, and his 23-point outburst was the difference. Because we were so impressed with Vengas” play, we quickly published a feature on him describing what we saw (Feature). Oh yea, we also really liked his teammate,  Bryan “Bus” Tyson (5’0″/C/2032/Winter Garden, FL), who impressed us with his size, ball skills, aggressiveness and his ability to finish through contact near the rim. From what we’ve seen in this class, both of these players deserve to be nationally ranked right now!

In addition, we caught some of the action in the 6th and 7th grade championship games, and although the matchup between Bankshot Academy and New World was a close one (55-52), TNBA Ohio West absolutey ran away with the championship game with TNBA South Fountain 63-28. Ryan Durkin (5’2″/PG/2029/Southern Hills, OH) was a stud in that game and led all scorers with a game-high 15 points. In the 7th grade ship, big Jaylen Allen (6’6″/C/2028/Baltimore, MD) was a monster, with 21 points in the first half and 25 points in total. It should be noted that Olaitan Olorungdohuni (6’0″/WF/2028/Baltimore, MD) had an outstanding game with team-high 23 points. For the record, R.A.D.D. Sports defeated Grassroots Academy (39-14) to claim the 4th grade title, while TNBA Ohio easily cruised past Exclusive (43-16) to win the 5th grade championship.

In closing, we must say, we really enjoyed covering this event, and we appreciate the fact that tournament organizers cared enough about media coverage to actually invest resources for the same!  This is in such sharp contrast to most event organizers who lure teams to their events on the promise of “national media coverage,” and they have not spent 1 dime to make it happen! Next year, if your team is looking for a national tournament to conclude your season, you might want to consider the TNBA Grassroots Nationals!

Day I Report

Day II Report

Division Winners Team Pictures

Florida Nets-8th Garde Champions

Bankshot Academy-7th Grade Champions

TNBA  Ohio West-6th Grade Champions

D5 Global Florida-3rd Grade Champions

Standout Performers

Name Hgt/Pos Class City/State
Jaylen Allen 6’6″/C 2028 Baltimore, MD
Jakaris Shelton 5’4″/PG 2027 Cleveland, OH
Kevin Hernandez 6’0″/SG 2028 Orlando, FL
Kaden Flores 5’8″/PG 2028 Deltona, FL
Darius Venegas 4’8″/PG 2032 Ocoee, FL
Ryan Durkin 5’2″/PG 2029 Southern Hills, OH
Bryan “Bus” Tyson 5’0″/C 2032 Winter GardenFL
Yasdiel Adolph 5’1″/SG 2028 Orlando, FL

Standout Performer Pictures

Jaylen Allen

Jakaris Shelton

Kaden Flores

Kevin Hernandez

Darius Venegas

Ryan Durkin

Bryan Tyson

Yadiel Adolph