Hoopers Of Tomorrow League Lives Up To Name

by Spencer Pulliam

December 5 2016


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One of the most respected event hosts on the East Coast, Separation Sports Management unveiled their latest project over the weekend, as the ‘Hoopers Of Tomorrow’ League made its debut in the Queen City. The concept of league play with cumulative standings continues to be a popular trend in grassroots hoops, and with its launch, the #HOTLeague showcased a number of impressive prospects from the 2021 and 2022 classes. Here are the headlines you need to know from Session I of the ‘Hoopers Of Tomorrow’ series…


Jaden Bradley has earned a reputation within his class on the national level and his celebrity is continuing to grow. Easily one of the top backcourt prospects during the opening session of the #HOTLeague, the New York implant turned Tar Heel State prospect showed poise and creativity with the ball in his hands, and simply could not be kept out of the lane. The challenge for a player of Bradley’s ability will be to continue to elevate his game despite being so far ahead of his peers in the 2022 class at this juncture. From a team standpoint, this freshly minted CP3 seventh grade group has high hopes with regard to establishing themselves among the nation’s best, and finished the weekend with an unblemished 3-0 record.


I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of Team United’s 2021 group a few months ago but was asked by their program directors to keep my findings quiet to the public. One of the bigger reasons, quite literally, was the addition of 6-foot-9 John Butler to the roster. I realize it’s high praise, but the South Carolina native is reminiscent of a young Juwan Durham, who I had the opportunity to watch for the first time as a seventh grader (shoutout to Tampa Bay Ambassadors). Butler runs the floor with relative ease, erases shots in the lane, and should be expected to become more of a contributor on offense as he gets stronger. He is one of several intriguing prospects for an eighth grade Team United group that went unbeaten at Session I of the #HOTLeague.


In youth hoops circles, particularly in the DMV, the buzz on Trevor Keels started last year. One of the youngest players in the Mid-Atlantic region, the versatile perimeter prospect also happens to be one of its most talented, and he wasted no time establishing his presence at the inaugural #HOTLeague. Keels carries himself with a dose of quiet confidence, but his approach speaks volumes, and he proved to be one of the most dominant competitors at the event. He helped set the tone for his team on both ends, showing discipline as a defender, giving valiant effort on the glass, and relentlessly attacking the rim on offense with the ball in his hands. Overall, an extremely well-rounded class of 2021 Team Takeover squad finished their weekend with three wins and zero losses, and appear to be one of the favorites to be named champions of the inaugural event series.


I thought I made a mistake when I credited Marquise Rice for 14 first half rebounds with six coming on the offensive end. However, the official stats indicated the same, and the versatile forward continue his tear by totaling 52 rebounds in three games. That equated to an average of 17.3 boards per game to lead all #HOTLeague performers. His scoring average of 14 points per game led Team Wall for the weekend and was good for third overall during Session I among class of 2022 prospects. When considering his strength and ability to handle the ball, there’s no argument that Rice is a dominating presence at the seventh grade level, but his physical growth will ultimately dictate his ceiling from a recruiting standpoint. As a team, the North Carolina group finished a respectable 2-1 to begin their quest for a ‘Hoopers Of Tomorrow’ championship.


Team Thrill was undoubtedly one of the top teams at Session I of the #HOTLeague. The eighth grade group finished 3-0 on the weekend and proved they have the pieces to be one of the top squads in the country. On an individual level, Darrius Tilghman starred, showcasing an intriguing blend of both production and potential. The 6-foot-5 lefty has fully transitioned to the perimeter as a defender and showed the ability to shoot and slash from the wing throughout the event. Tilghman brings size and athleticism to a balanced Baltimore group that prefers to play fast in transition and take advantage of their ability to get into the lane in the halfcourt.


Spencer Pulliam

Spencer Pulliam is the National Scouting & Recruiting Director for The Prep Insiders. Born and raised in North Carolina, he has 12 years of industry experience in youth basketball, and is respected as a nationwide leader in the field. See the 'About Us' page for Spencer's full bio.
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