Memphis, Tenn. — The Under Armour Future Circuit kicked off their 2022 grassroots basketball season at the newly-opened P7 Sports Academy this weekend. The excitement and attendance for the event series have grown in recent years with the inaugural UA…
Memphis, Tenn. — The Under Armour Future Circuit kicked off their 2022 grassroots basketball season at the newly-opened P7 Sports Academy this weekend. The excitement and attendance for the event series have grown in recent years with the inaugural UA Future Presidents’ Day Classic serving as the latest installment under the guidance of new director Rafi Goldman.
In conjunction with 3Step Sports, the nearly 50 team field is hosting approximately 500 boys athletes in fifth through eighth grade, proving that programs believe in the Under Armour Future Circuit to provide a platform that delivers competition and exposure opportunities.
As the tournament tipped off on Saturday, I dialed in on the Class of 2026, and began the search to identify new names in the current group of eighth-graders. Here are a handful of players from opening day at the UA Future Presidents’ Day Classic that should be expected to generate some buzz as high school freshmen in just a few short months…
Aidan Chronister | Rogers, AR | Class of 2026
Chronister and his AAO Flight (AR) teammates were slated in the last game of Day 1 at the UA Future Presidents’ Day Classic and delivered in a big way, collecting an impressive win versus Team ELEATE (CA), 75-60. A versatile 6-foot-5 forward, Chronister created match-up problems for his California-based opposition from start to finish. He’s confident stepping out onto the perimeter, but can also catch and attack from the mid-post area, and possesses the length and touch to finish over and above more physical players. This statement victory from AAO Flight proves the talent level of the group and should raise expectations for this team moving forward.
Marcellous ‘Cello’ Jackson | Memphis, TN | Class of 2026
There’s a ton of buzz right now in Memphis right now surrounding the new P7 Sports Academy and the P7 Elite program. One of the stars for the club’s current eighth-grade class is Cello Jackson, who delivered in a major way on Saturday, coming up clutch in a hard-fought, overtime victory against Powerhouse Bulls (FL). The 6-foot-2 perimeter prospect has an alpha mindset and brings an aggressive approach to the floor. He’s physical getting into the lane, already playing above the rim, and is simply a load to handle at this level. Jackson found a different gear in the extra period helping his team secure a 77-70 win.
Evan Jacobson | Waukee, IA | Class of 2026
Jacobson immediately stood out physically from his peers as the 6-foot-5 forward is a brute force in the paint and competed with an excellent motor on Saturday. He was the leading scorer for his Kingdom Hoops (IA) team as they made quick work of the St. Louis Knights (MO), 58-27, in their only game of Day 1 at the UA Future Presidents’ Day Classic. If not for Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) rules, Jacobson would likely already be a contributor for the Waukee (IA) High School varsity team, but cannot compete due to only being in eighth grade. There will surely be more to report on him as the weekend moves along here in Memphis.
Aden ‘AJ’ Jeffries | Clayton, MO | Class of 2026
Despite his St. Louis Knights (MO) team getting off to a rough start to open their weekend, the 6-foot-3 wing is a name to remember among Missouri’s current eighth-grade group. While there are likely players that bring more consistent production to the floor at this moment, Jeffries is oozing with upside, and already possesses several skills that will translate well to the high school level and potentially beyond. The physical indicators allude to additional growth from the wiry wing and his shooting touch is also a positive indicator for the future. In the interim, it will be important for Jeffries to help his squad get into the win column this weekend.
Kareem Willmore | St. Cloud, FL | Class of 2026
I watched Willmore at last year’s PHN Rumble Under The Palms, and was impressed by the improvements he demonstrated during a Day 1 match-up against P7 Elite (TN), despite his team’s overtime loss. A talented ball-handler, Willmore’s pace and feel are advanced for the eighth-grade level, and he is an excellent passer. His vision off the bounce led to several easy baskets for teammates and he’s also a disciplined defender on the other end of the floor. He doesn’t appear quite ready to take over a game at this stage but he was also one of the primary reasons his club was able to compete and keep their game versus P7 Elite (TN) within reach.
Stay tuned for more from Prep Hoops Next!