Ladera Ranch, Cal. — Cue the California-themed music of your choice and keep it playing in the background as the Prep Hoops Next circuit is back in action this weekend from Orange County at Ladera Sports Center. The event marks the third of five regional “kick-off” events to begin the year for the newly launched series, as the “West Coast Kick-Off” follows the Southeast and Southwest Kick-Off tournaments that were held in January in Atlanta and Houston. True to its name, the West Coast will be well-represented this weekend in Southern California, with more than 30 teams from five states, and nearly 350 student-athletes set to compete. Here are just a few of the headlines worth following as the action gets underway…
Piecing Together The Puzzle Nationally
We’re overdue for our national team and player rankings so the implications of this weekend’s West Coast Kick-off are significant. It will be fun to see new faces enter the discussion this weekend and debate as to how they stack up nationally as we debut our initial lists. I’m expecting nearly a dozen players from this weekend to make an appearance in the upcoming national player rankings and several teams will have an opportunity to do the same.
Need-To-Know Names In The Class of 2025
Perhaps our most anticipated list, the “NEXT100” will feature exactly 100 ranked prospects in the Class of 2025 to keep an eye on as spring approaches. Koa Peat and Cam Holmes (A.E.B.C. – AZ), Isaiah Cunningham Isaiah Cunningham 6'2" | WG WA and Demarco Johnson Demarco Johnson 6'0" | WG CA (Gametime – WA), Jalian Holland and Daniel Lovato (J.B. White Elite – NM), Jayden Gray (San Diego Prospects – CA), Myles Singles (Team A.O.N. – CA), as well Brayden Burries and Caleb Render (Team DTermined – CA) will be among the hunted this weekend with the likelihood for many more names to emerge.
Title Favorites In The Class of 2026?
The last time I watched YBA Elite, the Northern California-based group took home an impressive title, but that was nearly a year ago. This weekend should prove challenging as they’ll face a seventh grade field that includes recognizable programs such as Branch West (CA), Gamepoint (CA), San Diego Prospects (CA), Team Eleate (CA), and The Truth (CA). Out-of-town visitors, JB White Elite (NM), will also be looking to build on their championship appearance a couple of weeks ago at the Southwest Kick-off in Houston, Texas.
Expectations Loom Large In the Class of 2027
There’s a buzz growing on the West Coast for the newly-formed “Sneaker Steal” team. They’re off to a great start to begin the year and have a number of teams that will give the group their best shot this weekend. This squad’s pool match-up with The Truth (CA) should set the tone for the tournament, but similar to the seventh-grade field, the sixth-grade division features a number of groups hoping to put their stamp on the event. Desert Elite (AZ), W.O.G.W. (CA), and 5onfive Basketball (CA) are just a few of the organizations not mentioned above that are on our radar this weekend.
So what’s NEXT for the Prep Hoops circuit?!
Despite all of the action that has already taken place this year, the inaugural Prep Hoops Next circuit is only getting started, as its tour around the country will continue nearly each weekend through June 2021. The goal is to see as many of the top teams and prospects as possible in every corner of the country and no club or player is off-limits. You can find the complete 2021 Prep Hoops Next event schedule by clicking here. There are opportunities to compete in every region so there’s no excuse to miss out!
Stay tuned for more from Prep Hoops Next!