Month: August 2017


Dapper Dandy’s

Part 2 of our look at Dapper Dandy’s who stood out at ‘The 8’ Tourney hosted by BigFootHoops July 26-28, 2017.


Jacobi Gordon  -6’7 Forward
Houston Hoops
Class of 2018
Cal Commit

Athletic forward who does the little things for his club  -hits the boards, plays defense, and shows a willingness to share the basketball. Active around the rim who will accept the challenge on the defensive end of the ball.  Will need to polish his offensive game to become a serious threat offensively, but has enough weapons in his arsenal to make an immediate impact as a freshman for Cal.  With a never ending motor and willingness to be a team player, look for this young man to receive quality minutes for the Golden Bears.

Mikeal-JonesMikeal Jones  -6’8 Forward
Team Final
Class of 2020
Keep your eyes out on the young athletic thoroughbred.  Nice offensive game at this stage of his development with that killer instinct you look for in major D1 players.  Plays very well on the defensive end of the ball – active on the defensive boards and blocks shots as a rim protector.  Shows the ability to finish well around the rim with bounce and makes minimal mistakes on the court.  Will need to continue to stay in the lab to become a deep threat but has the shot mechanics to get it done. Villanova has offered this stud after a strong summer outing.

James-AkinjoJames Akinjo  -6’0 Guard
Oakland Soldiers
Class of 2018

The #14 player in the State of CA for the class of 2018 (ESPN) didn’t disappoint. Living up to the hype on the biggest stages of AAU hoops this summer.  The kid is a cold assassin you fell me.  Has the craftiness and grit to get to the bucket and finish among the bigs, drops dimes while limiting turnovers, and pulls the bow and arrow from deep –  with accuracy and consistency.  Standing only six feet, this young man has the heart of a seven footer, time and time again putting his club on his back, making clutch shots and solid decision making down the stretch.  Didn’t get to see any action from Nike’s EYBL this year but rest assured this young man hand a big hand in Oakland’s 2017 Peach Jam title.   Sit when your on the defensive end of the court family or…hands down, man down.


Taeshon Cherry -6’10 Forward
Oakland Soldiers
Class of 2018
USC Commit

Major level athlete with the skill sets to make an impact at the next level.  USC commit who won’t be in college for too long.  Runs the floor with the best of them, looking to bang and be physical as a PF should.  Finishes with his nice frame, good feet, and elite level offense skills around the rim.  Very good feel for the game.  High basketball IQ allows him to make up for mistakes and capitalize on his opponents miscues.  The #4 player in the State of CA for the Class of 2018(ESPN) will be a major impact his senior season and an McDonald’s All American selection come seasons end.  Look for him to be on the radar of every NBA teams’ one and done scout list.


Rechon ‘Leaky’ Black – 6’7 Guard
Team CP3
Class of 2018
North Carolina Commit

Big guard, big skills, big pay day for the University of North Carolina, as this young man brings his A game to the Tar Heels.  All around solid player with intangibles you would expect from a North Carolina recruit.  High basketball IQ, solid play on both ends of the floor, and has that proven ability to get it done on the big stage.  We like this smooth operator and the impact he will make on the collegiate level.  Court ‘savy-ness’ and willingness to be a team player, will catapult Leaky to immediate star status.  Dean Smith is getting another quality player to continue the UNC tradition.

Become great at what you do.

AAU basketballTeam Cal

Team Cal Tourney Finale Mixtape


A G1 Elite guard pushes the rock during the 2017 Team Cal Summer Finale Tourney held at John Burroughs High and Reseda High.  Image by PopScout.

Check out the Tourney Mixtape from the last day of action spotlighting a few clubs.  The summer has come to a close but it doesn’t mean you have to.  Keep working on your game as if you have none.

Become great at what you do.

Big Foot Hoops

Dapper Dandy’s

Part 1 of our look at Dapper Dandy’s that stood out this summer on the AAU circuit.

Summer has come and gone.  It was a time to showcase your skills, beginning your journey towards stardom.  Many feel the AAU circuit may be watered down with Adidas, Under Armour, and Nike all having their own summer circuit extravaganza of some sort. With many teams not able to compete against each other because of this, it’s hard to determine who truly is the cream of the crop – although Nike Peach Jam – won by the Oakland Soldiers –  gives us about as close of an indication as we are going to get.


PopScout hung out at The Las Vegas Classic, hosted by BigFootHoops, which held a mini tournament featuring 8 of the top AAU clubs in the country called ‘The 8’.  Once the tourney was complete, teams then moved to the championship rounds of the Las Vegas Classic. We spotlight some of the Dapper Dandy’s that stood out during ‘The 8’.  California Supreme won the 17u Platinum Championship Division behind strong play of G Joshua Christopher and F Shareef O’Neal.


Josh Christopher  – Guard
California Supreme
Class of 2020
Dapper Dandy in the making.  Scores from all levels of the court.  Intermediate ball handling skills but has the craftiness and demeanor to get to the bucket. Solid defender who looks to make plays on both ends of the court. Pogo stick who jumps out the gym and shows decent 3pt range. Needs to limit mistakes at times by not forcing the issue. Class of 2020 stud will be on everyone’s radar when its all said and done.  If the kid continues to excel and stay in the lab, sky’s the limit for this young soldier.


Shareef O’Neal – Forward
California Supreme
Class of 2018
Arizona Verbal

Development of this young man’s game is flourishing under the tutelage of his dad and Cal Supreme.  Word on the street is that Kobe Bryant has been the lab instructor – giving Shareef knowledge beyond his years, that’s truly paying dividends on the hardwood.  Shareef has a nice tool-box set of skills.  Although he doesn’t do one thing spectacularly good, he’s well rounded and should be a monster when he hits the campus of Tucson, Arizona – after one more year of high school ball.  At 6’8 205lbs, he needs to add some muscle to his frame and fill out but that shouldn’t be an issue considering his dad is ‘The Big Diesel’.  PopScout loves, and we mean loves the upside of this kid and feels as though he’s a lock to garner NBA recognition after a year or two of collegiate ball.


 Javonte Smart  – 6’4  Guard
Houston Hoops
Class of 2018
This young man has benefited greatly from the Wear and Tear of the AAU circuit over the past several years,  being that we first saw him balling for Elfred Payton Elite as a sophomore.  This year, he took his game to the Houston Hoops during The Las Vegas Classic and showcased advanced skills at the point.  At 6’4 (typo in the image above) he has the size, craftiness, and handles to get to the rim. While making sound decisions with the rock, he is an ultimate floor general showing the willingness to get his teammates involved.  Very good passer, lights out from 3pt range, and seems to play at a high level against tougher competition.  Concerned about players taking their skills for granted, as we noticed a few times Javonte on cruise control. Javonte will catapult himself to the league after one or two years fine tuning his skills at LSU.


William Richardson  – 6’4  Guard
Each 1 Teach 1
Class of 2018
Point Guard U.  If you’re looking for a floor general, then look no further than William Richardson.  Garnering offers from 16 Div.1 schools, this young man seems to be born to run a squad.  Built in the mold of PG Jalen Brunson of Villanova, William possesses all the skills required to be an extension of the coach.  As we look for him to develop that killer instinct a bit more and become a cold assassin in addition to his leadership skills. He truly was one of the Dapper Dandy’s that stood out among the rest.


Kihei Clark  – 5’10  Guard
Oakland Soldiers
Class of 2018
It’s tough being undersized against some of the better competition in the country.  At 5’10, UC Davis commit Kihei Clark has to juggle this balancing act.  He does a very good job handling the ball despite his stature – as many defenders try to push your buttons, seeing if they can ‘break the little guy’.  Playing valuable minutes for the Oakland Soldiers, (Oakland Soldiers won the 2017 Nike Peach jam Championship) his experience as a floor general  – from that experience alone –  should allow him to outperform the competition when he suits up for Taft and Coach Derrick Taylor in the Fall.   We like what we see from Kihei and look forward to his development as a senior and when he suits up for the Aggie’s of UC Davis.

Elevate your game


Leaving so soon?


So the tourney is winding down and your club didn’t make it to the ‘ship.  It was a tough tournament, taking your bumps and bruises as a unit.  What’s the focal point of your participation in tournaments? Trophies?  Prestige? Swag?  PopScout is a bit concerned because many of the clubs aren’t sticking around to see the championship game after they get bounced in bracket/pool play.  Why not stick around for the ‘ship and truly take this time to be a learning moment?


Many coaches, such as CBC Head Coach Andre Chevalier, prefer to take their bumps and bruises by playing up a division.  Although it may make for a very long tournament, at the end of the day, it may pay huge dividends for the development of players.  Image by PopScout.

We understand how difficult it is to stick around after a defeat.  Coaches giving their post game talks and parents ready to vent on their way home from the game. No one wants to stick around with such a bad taste in their mouths after a tough defeat. But what if your team stuck around and watched the next several games as a teaching tool?  Aren’t we in this for the long haul and for the benefit of the kids?  I mean, if you made it to the ‘ship, you were going to stay anyway.  What better way to gauge your play than by watching those who have made it to the big dance, put in some work?  It’s not all about playing on the court, but being a student of the game as well – this applies to players and coaches alike.  Something to consider family.

All you 12u and under young bucks, take a look at the 2017 Platinum Division Championship Game of the Las Vegas Live Tourney hosted by Big Foot Hoops.  Good way to gauge where your teams are and what you guys should focus on during year round play.

Become great at what you do.


Sending a Message


Does it come down to wins and loses or do you have another philosophy behind your AAU program?  Image taken during the 2017 Las Vegas Live Tourney hosted by BigFootHoops.

The Summer circuit has come to a close.  Some teams have done very well, while others must head back to the drawing board – possibly to tweak or make some minor adjustments – while others must scrap their whole system and begin from scratch.  Whatever the case may be, it’s going to boil down to a very simple question for your program:

How are you approaching the game of basketball?



Many clubs look for the support of parents to create a program that’s beneficial for all.  What happens when a kid has the talent but parents can’t afford the AAU grind?


Financial Standpoint
If it’s financially based, because if it is so, chances are you’re finding that there isn’t too much profit in the AAU circuit from the get go.  Teams have to generate income for start up costs,  practice facilities, tournament fees, uniforms, etc.  Expenses across the board – from gym time to tournament entry fees just to name a few – seem to be rising, as everyone’s getting their hands on a piece of the AAU pie.  Many team managers and presidents have spoken of just breaking even, sometimes dipping into their own savings to keep operations afloat.



Many AAU programs start because dad has the best interest for his son so he decides to start a program.  Without the proper knowledge of the game, this can lead to a dead end road for your kid and your program.  Image by PopScout.


The Next Best Thing
Maybe you’re looking for the next big thing.  That star player that will take your program to the next level.  Chances are he/she has already been contacted by all of the top programs so, although you may have them on your squad for the time being, as soon as an opportunity arises for them to jump to a major AAU club, it’s adios amigos.  Would you blame them, consider they may have a shot at a free education and chances of pursuing their dreams of playing in the league.


It’s great when we can give back and see the development of young players over the course of their development. 

Your passion for the game
We’ve played the game before and feel as though we could truly make a difference in the lives of youths.   Many of us have horror stories growing up, dealing with coaches who didn’t have our best interest at heart. For those of us who really care, it becomes a challenge because of the grind, associated with AAU basketball.  Practices, tournaments, conditioning, and the list goes on and on.  Those who don’t have the time and luxury of developing a grassroots program find themselves between a rock and a hard place, unable to fully handle the commitments associated with running a program that has become a full time job for most.


 This summer there were over 2,000 teams in Las Vegas at various tournaments – all trying to stake their claim as the best of the best.

One things for sure is that the excitement and buzz of AAU basketball is at an all time high.  The stakes are big:  win that elusive college scholarship that will change the scope of your life forever, staking your claim as one of the true ballers from your hood  It’s coming down to much more than wins and loses these days on the AAU circuit.

Become Great at what you do.

Las Vegas Live 2017

A chip off the old block.


Former UNLV PG Dedan Thomas reacts to a call during the 2017 Las Vegas Live Tourney hosted by BigFootHoops.  Image by PopScout.

So you had game growing up huh?  Developed your skills and catapulted yourself to D1 status.  You made a name for yourself – whether it be overseas, NBA, or just the Drew league.  It all came down to putting in hard work, your passion for the game, and sometimes just someone who was willing to believe in your abilities and take a chance on your game.  You’ve done your part.  But will that translate in your kids being able to follow that same path?


DJ runs the point for West Coast Basketball’s 12u AAU Club.  He has the luxury of learning from his dad, Dedan Sr., who’s the head coach.  Image by PopScout.

Isn’t it sweet when the cake has already been mixed?  Ingredients added, pans buttered, and oven heated.  All you basically have to do is put the pans in the oven and watch it rise. Kids whose dads have played on a high level, have the luxury of having their cake and eating it too.  Being afforded the knowledge and experience handed down from pops.


Finding the right mentor in the game of basketball, at an early age, can be a lonely road.  It’s cool that some kids have dads showing them the ropes.

It was a blessing to see young DJ putting in work, taking the reins from his dad during the 2017 Las Vegas Live Tourney hosted by BigFootHoops.  In terms of parenting, it sometimes comes down to having an open relationship with your son (or daughter) and developing the communication lines that will enable the two of you to accept and trust each other.  It’s a slippery slope these days, dealing with kids and just how touchy it can be, when trying to give advice.  It’s safe to say that DJ has been listening to his dad and shows the ability to translate that into court success. Priceless you feel me.

Take a look at a few clips of Dedan ‘DJ’ Thomas during the 2017 Las Vegas Live Tourney hosted by BigFootHoops.  The kid has some swag.  We wish him the best of luck as he continues to develop his game.  With the help of pops, sky’s the limit.

Become Great at what you do.