Dallas, Tex. — As quickly as it arrived, the Prep Hoops Next circuit season is coming to a close, as the inaugural event series completed its fourteenth tournament of the year and the final event for the Southwest region. As I walked around the Drive Nation facility this past weekend, I thought to myself, what’s the most appropriate way to place a bow on our coverage as we begin to wrap up a fantastic six-month run? Ironically, the answer might be to simply continue unpacking what I and several of the talent evaluators on our staff have observed to date. With that in mind, here’s my take on the most meaningful headlines that culminated in Dallas over the weekend…
SOUTHERN ASSAULT BELONGS AMONG THE BEST
Not only has Southern Assault’s eighth-grade group proven to be one of the best teams in the Southwest region, but it’s also clear that they have the talent to be reckoned with on the national level, too. Their Prep Hoops Next circuit season concluded with a 19-1 record that included a trio of titles (Southwest Kick-off in January as well as Collision In The ‘Ville and the Southwest Region Final in May). The squad’s only slip-up came in March to Team Griffin (OK), 62-56, during the semifinals of the Sooner State Showdown. Simply put, Southern Assault’s 2025s certainly etched their place in Prep Hoops Next lore.
LIGHTNING STRIKES IN 7TH GRADE DIVISION
We hadn’t seen the Lightning Elite (TX) program until the Prep Hoops Next Southwest Region Final, but the program represented extremely well, finishing the weekend with an organization record of 10-4 and taking home the 13U/7th Grade crown in the process. Their undefeated 5-0 run in the Class of 2026 division was impressive and each of the three Lightning Elite teams in attendance had a number of individual prospects worthy of additional recognition. We’ll continue to highlight this club as the week moves forward, particularly the championship team and its players, who we feel are worthy of regional recognition and more.
TEXAS SUMMITT MAKES STATEMENT (X2)
AKR Texas Summitt is easily among my biggest surprises when it comes to programs that emerged on Prep Hoops Next circuit this season. The organization’s teams proved they could play with anyone, and are willing to play anywhere, to find quality competition. Their 11U/5th Grade and 12U/6th Grade teams took home Southwest Region Final crowns while each finished undefeated (4-0) for the first time at a Prep Hoops Next tournament. The 12U/6th Grade group also finished 3-1 in capturing the Sooner State Showdown title in March and 3-1 to finish third-place at the Collision In The ‘Ville earlier this month. Overall, their 10-2 record is tops among the Class of 2027 teams in the region.
SPECIAL SALUTE TO THE VISITING TEAMS
A huge shoutout to the J.B. White Elite (NM) program, who in their first season, gained national notoriety on the Prep Hoops Next circuit. The organization fielded competitive teams in every grade division and quickly earned respect in the Southwest region and beyond. Additionally, All Vegas (NV) also deserves a special mention in the 14U/8th Grade division, who after winning the Prep Hoops Next War In The Valley tournament in April, punched their bid to the Southwest Region Final (a West Coast Region Final was not scheduled due to COVID uncertainties) and finished the event 4-1. Ditto for the Arizona Select organization that traveled a pair of teams to the Lone Star State and fared well despite unfortunate injuries. Lastly, the tNBA Team Jayhawks (FL) seventh-grade squad made a pair of visits to the region in May, including Collision In The ‘Ville (AR) and the Southwest Region Final (TX), finishing with a 7-3 record.
PLAYERS TO WATCH MOVING FORWARD
It’s abundantly clear that the Prep Hoops Next circuit immediately moved the needle in the youth hoops landscape based on the amount of individual talent that has flowed through the tournaments so far. Perhaps in no region is this more evident than in the Southwest when considering all four (4) participating grade divisions (5th-8th). While the transition will get underway in the next few months, as we usher the Class of 2025 into the high school division and welcome another class of newbies to the middle school scene, we’re going to hand several guys their “flowers” just in time to watch spring turn to summer on the calendar. We’ll divvy up the accolades this week, so be sure to check back soon.
Stay tuned for more from Prep Hoops Next!