- Buddy Collings
IMG Academy's Boubacar Moungoro stands out on elite travel-team
Each 1 Teach 1 long has been Florida's gold standard for travel-team boys basketball, fielding national-caliber squads in multiple age groups.
But never before has the program sponsored by NBA forward and Cypress Creek grad Amar'e Stoudemire put a team on the floor like its current 17-under elite squad.
"We're loaded from one through 11," coach Edward "Boobie" Francis said. "I don't believe there's a team out there that can beat us with what we have."
See for yourself next week. Hot off a win at the prestigious Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., Orlando-based E1T1 17U Elite, with Lake Highland Prep guard Joel Berry at the point, will complete its 2013 national tour with a hometown sendoff. The AAU 11th Grade Gold Super Showcase, the centerpiece of an 18-day run of AAU hoops in Central Florida, will tip off next Wednesday and run through Sunday, July 28.
The schedule has not been unveiled, but all of E1T1's games should be at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports. Francis said two will be televised live by ESPN.
Berry, Florida's Mr. Basketball as a sophomore and junior, orchestrates this all-star cast much as he did for Lake Highland's state championship team. The North Carolina commit plays a team-leading 27.8 minutes per game. He averaged 13.6 points and a team-leading 5.4 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range (13-of-30) on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit.
As a team, E1T1 hit 51.3 percent of its shots and was 18-of-21 (85.7 percent) from the free-throw line in its 108-102 victory against Chris Paul's CP3 All-Stars in Sunday's Peach Jam final. Berry was 4-of-8 on 3s and scored 22 points to go with eight assists as E1T1 became the first Florida champion of the Nike league. Montverde Academy senior D'Angelo Russell (Ohio State) also had 22 points, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
Alex Owens, the 6-foot-8 power forward who landed in Orlando at Oak Ridge after leaving Oldsmar Christian of Pinellas County in the spring, will be a junior and is playing up for E1T1 17U. Owens had 16 rebounds and nine points in the Peach Jam final. He shot 76 percent from the floor for the tournament.
Oak Ridge senior Marquel Willis comes off the bench.
The cast includes one out-of-state prospect, Trayvon Reed, a 7-footer from outside Atlanta. The rest are Floridians, including Jacksonville Providence standout Grayson Allen (Duke commit), 6-9 Mike Gilmore, and 6-7 slasher Boubacar Moungoro, who played for West Oaks in Orlando as a sophomore in 2011-12 before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Berry, Russell, Allen and Owens are playing in the Nike Global Challenge, which opened Wednesday in Washington, D.C. They are on the South team, with Francis serving as one of two head coaches. That three-day tournament has four U.S. teams competing against U-19 squads from Brazil, Canada, France and Africa.
The AAU Gold Showcase caters to college coaches, who are out in force this month. The NCAA allows recruiters to evaluate players through Sunday at 5 p.m. this week, then again from next Wednesday at 5 p.m. through Sunday, July 28, at 5.
Photo by: IMG Academy/Kit Carlson
Credit to: Orlando Sentinel