Marvin Bagley transfers to Hillcrest Academy for sophomore year

It’s all in the family for the Bagley’s. An incredibly tight knit group that travels the country to support each other all throughout the AAU season with the We All Can Go All-Stars, the Bagley’s (including #1 sophomore Marvin III) roll together. Now they have a new stop: Hillcrest Prep (AZ).

After simply dominating his freshman year at Corona Del Sol in Tempe, there was little more for Marvin III to prove at the local high school level. He led his squad to an undefeated record and state title while rarely facing players near his 6-foot-11 stature. Spurning offers from national powers such as Findlay Prep to stay home for a year, the Bagley family wanted to give their son at least one year of the traditional high school experience.

“We wanted to give him a chance to have that normal high school experience with regular students, caffeterias, changing lockers, and all of that,” his father Marvin II told CityLeagueHoops. “It was an easy decision [to attend Corona], especially with him being so young.”

At Hillcrest, Marvin III will be with his entire family. His father will be an assistant coach and his younger brother Marcus, a 6-foot-5 eighth grader, will be playing right next to him on the varsity team. Hillcrest will play a national schedule that includes games against junior colleges and many of the nation’s elite high school programs. With Arizona Interscholastic Association bylaws not allowing middle schoolers to play varsity ball, the opportunity to play next to his baby bro was just too much to pass up.

“It was Marvin’s decision,”. his father explained. “Marcus wanted to play and compete as an eighth grader, and Marvin wanted to play with him. It was a tough decision for him, but after discussing it and going through Hillcrest’s schedule, it just provided a great opportunity to continue to get better and play on the national level right at home.”

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on Marvin Bagley.

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Sixth grade dunker Jai Smith turns heads at The League Finals

Growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it was simply nuts to hear about players dunking in middle school. During the pre-YouTube generation, that was the stuff that urban legends were made of. In today’s generation of the bigger, stronger, faster athlete, things are changing. It’s quite routine to see eighth graders throwing down dunks at elite tournaments. However, at The League Finals in Dallas, Jai Smith showed no problem throwing down on the regular sixth grade.

A native of Syracuse, NY, Jai played for the championship winning We All Can Go All Stars. The new EYBL program that is home to top 2018 Marvin Bagley and freshman sensation Tyger Campbell cruised through the 2021 bracket, winning nearly every game by at least 20 points. Their 6-foot-3 leaper was the recipient of a number of dimes from YouTube sensation Zion Harmon, was an imposing force as a shot-blocker, and incredibly unselfish with the rock, giving WACG the inside presence to cruise to victory. His passing was simply unique for such a young forward, only leading you to realize the immense potential that he has brings to the table.

At just 12 years old, Jai Smith is certainly a name you’re definitely going to want to keep locked in the back of your head for the future.

Big thanks to MiddleSchoolHoops for the video

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Jamie Lewis recovers from torn meniscus to lead Georgia Stars to Peach Jam title

Last summer, Jamie Lewis was widely considered one of the ten best incoming freshman in the country. He earned himself an invite the the USA Basketball U16 trials in Colorado Springs and then disaster struck. What was thought to just be a sprained knee turned up being a torn meniscus, causing him to miss his entire freshman campaign at Westlake High School just outside of Atlanta. Fast forward nearly a year and Jamie is back, and better than ever.

Making his return at the Peach Jam for the Georgia Stars 16U squad, Lewis immediately showed that he was back to 100 percent. He posted averages of 11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on a team that was straight up loaded with high major talent. Playing a year up in the biggest AAU tournament of the season, he used his high IQ and shifty change of pace to throw defenders off guard. Jamie knew when to accept/reject ball screens, finished in traffic, and had his head on a swivel to constantly find the open man. Just as important as the Stars winning the ‘chip was the confidence that Jamie regained in himself. College coaches noticed, too.

“[Florida head coach] Mike White offered him after seeing him play for seven minutes,” Jamie’s father Ryan told CityLeagueHoops. “He’s receiving a lot of interest from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Texas, Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Xavier, and Memphis.”

With a list like that and having not even played a high school game yet, expect many more elite programs to follow suit.

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on

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8th grader Charles Smith IV with huge poster at CP3 Rising Stars Camp

The 2015 CP3 Rising Stars Camp provided no shortage of highlights and one of the best was brought to you by 6-foot-4 Charles Smith IV. The Houston product threw down a monstrous one handed poster dunk that was arguably the dunk of the tournament. Athletic and possessing nice size for an incoming freshman, Charles definitely has the potential to be a name that people in the Lone Star State will be hearing about for quite some time down the road.

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more CP3 Rising Stars videos.

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Derryck Thornton Workout —Duke’s next point guard

Derryck Thornton has been a player that we have been tracking since his middle school days and after jumping from the class of 2016 to join Duke’s class of ’15, he has been putting in some serious work. In between our Draft workouts on the west coast, we were able to stop by Impact Basketball in Las Vegas to see what he was doing to prepare for his time in the ACC.

During his time with the staff at Impact, Derryck showed off his much improved range on his jumper. He was completely comfortable shooting the ball out to the NBA three point line, both on the move and with his feet set. Continually improving his athleticism, he showed off much more explosive bursts to the rim and then finished well above the rim via a variety of windmill and 360 dunks. To top things off, Derryck showed an understanding of how to use his change of speed, which will only make him more deadly in pick and rolls during his time at Duke.

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more on Derryck Thornton.

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Trevon Duval dunks on defender and drops nasty dime at Adidas Nations

Throughout this spring and summer, Trevon Duval has taken his game to new heights. Always known as a big time combo guard, he has continued to make monstrous strides as a lead guard to the point in which he is now considered by most to be the top lead guard in the class of 2017. In the summer’s final event, he showed NBA scouts this in LA at Adidas Nations.

During his outstanding play from the weekend, he had two highlights that stood out specifically. A big time drive down the lane for a poster dunk on a nearly 7-foot defender, then a nice penetration to the paint for a drop-off pass to EJ Montgomery for a solid flush. His ability to change speeds and direction at the drop of a dime was evident throughout the entire camp, especially off of pick and roll situations. While he is still more of a natural scorer, his progression as a playmaker has been simply outstanding.

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more videos of Trevon.

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Justin Anderson NBA Draft Workout and interview with trainer Drew Moore

For Justin Anderson, the recruitment process started far before his high school career even began. Donned as the top 8th grader in the country, he headed to Montrose Christian before ultimately settling on the University of Virginia. An integral part of the program’s resurgence to national prominence, Anderson established himself as one of the nation’s best “three and D” players to the point that he was able to enter the 2015 NBA Draft with one season left in his collegiate career.

Getting ready for the Draft, Anderson headed to Las Vegas to train with Joe Abunassar, Drew Moore, and Co. at Impact Basketball. Here is what he had to say about the swingman’s preparation for workouts:

CityLeagueHoops: What have you been working on with Justin in the pre-draft process?

Drew Moore: He had a great year shooting the ball, but we still wanted to get him more comfortable from NBA three. We also did a lot of work on his ball-handling. He’s probably not going to come off of ball screens right away, but simple moves for a shooting guard.

CLH: What do you think Justin is going to show NBA teams that he didn’t necessarily show at Virginia?

DM: How mature, focused, and ready to play with an NBA team he is. People don’t understand how much of a teammate he is. Justin loves being around gym competing in shooting drills, he picks the vets brains, and is eager to learn. He is a great teammate and a great locker room guy. The transition will be pretty seamless for him.

CLH: What makes you believe that Justin Anderson will be a successful NBA player?

DM: He’s going to be a factor right away because he can make an open three and can really defend.

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Jarell Martin NBA Draft Workout and interview with trainer Drew Moore

Jarell Martin burst onto the scene a bit later than most, but immediately made a name for himself. At nearly 6-foot-10, he showed the ability to play inside and out for New Orleans Elite on the adidas AAU circuit. Following two productive years at LSU, Martin is headed to the NBA.

Here is the workout that we saw during the ASM Sports Pro Day along with an interview with Impact trainer Drew Moore, who worked with him on a daily basis.

CityLeagueHoops: What have you really been working on with Jarell in the pre-draft process?

Drew Moore: Shooting. He’s got to shoot it better. We’ve been doing a ton of catch and shoot off of pick and pop. With his speed and athleticism, he’s going to have an advantage against a lot of fours. He’s lightning fast up and down the floor, especially in transition.

CLH: What do you think he’s going to surprise NBA teams with in workouts?

DM: He’s got a little bit more post up game. He’s got good footwork and can finish with both hands.

CLH: Why do you feel Jarell Martin will be successful in the league?

DM: He’s humble and composed. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but is fiery competitive on the inside.

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Larry Nance Jr. NBA Draft Workout and Interview

Growing up as a Cavs fan, I idolized the teams that had the stacked front line of Larry Nance, Hot Rod Williams, and Brad Daughtery. As a 6-foot-10 small forward, Larry was simply doing things that guys his size weren’t doing at that time. Fast forward twenty years and his son was doing his thing in the city of Cleveland. Just outside of where the Coliseum used to be, Larry Nance Jr. put in work too. Playing for Revere HS, Nance came on during his senior campaign and he only had one D-1 offer, he still managed to take the opportunity and run with it. After four solid years at Wyoming, he worked his way into the NBA Draft Combine and is fighting his way into the NBA. We watched him train in Chicago with Tim Anderson and Ryan Thompson, Larry showed off his surprising range to the NBA three point line and held his own on the blocks against guys like Bobby Portis and Cliff Alexander.

Here is the full interview that we did with Larry:

CityLeagueHoops: You were not a very highly touted guy coming out of Cleveland. What made you decide to go all the way across the country to Wyoming?

Larry Nance Jr.: Well, I came out of high school as a 6’6 center and not that many schools were interested in me. Coach Shyatt came and started recruiting me late, and they were my only offer so I had to take the visit. Then I fell in love with the place and have loved it ever since.

CLH: How do you think that you fell under the radar with having your athleticism and your Dad being who he is?

LN: I was 6’6 and I was real skinny. Our high school team wasn’t very good. If I was a coach, I wouldn’t have recruited me.

CLH: What do you think some of the bigger improvements that you’ve made on your game are to bring you where you are today?

LN: Well I grew and I got stronger, but naturally those come with age. I think mentally a grew to a new person and a new player. I grew up a lot at Wyoming.

CLH: Working with Tim and Ryan, what improvements are you looking to make on your game?

LN: I’m looking to translate to the pro game. I’m a little bit undersized to be strictly a four, so we’re working on getting my ball-handling right to improve on my shots off of the dribble so that I can maybe do some work as a three. Guarding Sam Dekker is awesome for that.

CLH: What do you think you’re going to surprise teams with in workouts that you didn’t necessarily get to show at Wyoming?

LN: I didn’t get to show any the fact that I can shoot it. I was just playing with my back to the basket with a bulldog underneath, but that’s not necessarily what I do. I”m a high flying athlete that runs the floor, blocks shots, and has a motor. If I can show that off, I think I’ll be in good standing.

CLH: If I’m an NBA GM, why do I want Larry Nance Jr. on my team?

LN: You get a high character guy and someone who has never been in any trouble in their life. I am coming to work every day and there is not one person that I will not go at. I love to compete and take every opportunity, then make the best of it.

CLH: What type of advice has your father given you throughout this process?

LN: Coming out of high school and college, he wasn’t very highly thought of either. Then coming out of Portsmouth, he went from a fifth rounder to a first rounder. That’s what I’m hoping to do here. No one is projecting me to be drafted, but no one expected me to be here coming out of high school, so I”m just hoping to surprise people again.

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Rakeem Christmas NBA Draft workout and interview with trainer Drew Moore

Some things come later rather than sooner. This was the case for Rakeem Christmas. A top-10 player coming out of high school, it took Christmas more time than most of his peers to make the impact that you’d expect of such a highly touted guy. Never averaging more than five points per game throughout his first three years at Syracuse, Rakeem spent the summer of ’14 working with the guys at Impact Basketball and had a career year. His averages of 17 points and 9 rebounds per night combined with his package of size (6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan) firmly placed him in the first round mix for next week’s NBA Draft.

Here is an interview with Rakeem’s trainer Drew Moore:

CityLeagueHoops: What have you been working on with Rakeem in the pre-draft process?

Drew Moore: A lot of it was getting his confidence back to where it was in high school. He was physically capable of doing a lot more than even he realized. He believes in himself now. He’s been working with us for two years now and look at the improvement that he made last year. Going up against guys like Timofey Mozgov and Serge Ibaka one on one and knowing he can compete with them. Got here March 15th and had two solid months with us before the Combine, where he was arguably the best player.

CLH: What do you think he will show teams in workouts that maybe he didn’t show at Syracuse?

DM: His mid-range shot. He used it little senior yearr, but it wasn’t his bread and butter. He has a nice first step and good forwork, so he’s skilled enough to attack.

CLH: Why will Rakeem Christmas be a successful NBA player?

DM: His age is a benefit. He is mature, composed, focused. Rakeem will be able to step in right away and contribute. Look at the level of improvement before his senior year of college at 23, so he can still add things to his game.

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