Every year the first weekend in April is huge for college basketball. College coaches and fans alike descend on the site of the Final Four for the huge party that ends with the crowning of the national champion.
However, while the Final Four celebrates the end of the college basketball season, in Teaneck, NJ Jimmy Salmons' Playaz Spring Fling launches the start of the spring AAU season. Here's a preview.
Whether your shoe affiliation is Nike, Reebok, or adidas, if you are a big time AAU squad in the northeast, you're playing this weekend in the Spring Fling. Salmons does an excellent job of landing the very best to play in his event and this year looks to follow in that tradition.
Starting with his own Playaz Basketball Club, the talent is simply astounding, especially on the perimeter. 6-foot-4 2G Wayne Ellington from Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia may have raised his stock more than any player nationally in the Class of 2006 this past winter. Add his high school teammate 6-foot-5 forward Gerald Henderson (who will play only in a few select events this spring), 6-foot-2 Luis Guzman from Paramus Catholic, and 6-foot-8 combo-guard Earl Clark from Rahway, NJ and you've got a formidible backcourt. With the graduation from the program of seniors Brandon Costner and Ryan Ayers, the big question mark for the Playaz will be up front. Who will step up and give them produciton in the paint this year?
Other top teams and players include the NY Panthers with Derrick Caracter and Rob Thomas, New Heights with Lance Thomas, The Gauchos with Curtis Kelly, DC Assault with Nolan Smith and Michael Beasley, Cecil Kirk with DaJuan Summers, the Metro Hawks with Edgar Sosa and Jon Mitchell, Sam Rines with elite freshman Tyreke Evans, and Hunting Park with Antonio Jardine and Derrick Rivera.
The action starts tonight with pool play and goes through Sunday afternoon. Playoffs start Saturday evening.
The 17 and under pools are below. Rivals.com will provide extensive coverage of this event.
Albany City Rocks
Morris County Bulls
Bingo's All Stars
DC Assault II
Philly 3 on 3
Team NJ Elite
DC Assault I
Juice All Stars
Jersey Shore Warriors