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The Circuit Top 25 Rankings: Vol. 1

By The Circuit, 04/23/21, 4:30PM EDT

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The Circuit's Top 25 Team Rankings have arrived, just in time for the biggest weekend thus far in grassroots basketball.

Check out the first iteration of the Top 25 below, and make sure to follow @TheCircuitHoops on twitter for the latest updates.

All teams within the rankings will have started their season after this weekend, and there are several high-level events are taking place; The Circuit League, Midwest Mania, Hoop Group's Pitt Jam Fest, The Grassroots Showcase pres. by HoopSeen, NY2LA & Ohio Basketball, and Prep Hoops Live.

No. 1: Team Final (PA)

Philadelphia's Nike EYBL representative takes the number one spot to open the season. On paper, Team Final is "scary" good. 2022 No. 2 recruit Jalen Duren leads the rotation, and he'll play the power-forward spot alongside fellow top 50 junior, 7-foot-2 big man Dereck Lively II. Juniors Justice Williams, Jameel Brown, and UConn-commit Corey Floyd Jr lead a super-talented backcourt - one that has played together for years. Team Final will kick off their season next weekend as they host "The Scrimmage" at their new practice facility in Delaware.

The Circuit Top 25

No. 3 Meanstreets (IL)

On paper, Meanstreets has the making of a top ten team. So far in 2021, they've lived up to their high expectations. The Chicago based Nike EYBL program is fresh off a 4-0 performance at the Prep Hoops Chicago Tip-Off, pushing their record to 7-0 on the season behind strong performances from Andre Casey, Cam Craft, and Jalen Washington. Head Coach Tai Streets always deploys a tough minded group defensively and this years version is no different. The X factor is Ty Rodgers. The junior has excelled along side his current running mate, and if he turns into a primary scorer, Meanstreets becomes a headache to stop. 

No. 4 Team Thad (TN)

COVID delayed Team Thad's debut as a Nike EYBL Program, but they have been building up plenty of momentum in the early spring prior to their official debut this spring. The Thadddeus Young sponsored is off to a 6-0 START behind a talented and deep rotation. Amar Knox is the catalyst, and juniors Justin Morgan and Solomon Washington have been pleasant suprises during the win streak. Morgan was instrumental in their double digit win over the Nightrydas hitting as he knocked down seven three pointers. Defensively they have looked like a cohesive unit and like all Team Thad teams of the past, they play extremely hard. 

No. 5: Team Charlotte (NC)

Year in and year out, Team Charlotte is a problem on the national level. The North Carolina UAA representative doesn't have any superstars on the roster, but their rotation is disciplined and plays extremely hard for head coach Jeff McInnis. Team Charlotte utilizes a deep rotation, including four members from Combine Academy, where McInnis is also the head coach. Sophomore Trey Green is the only underclassmen in the rotation, and he was in mid-season form last weekend against Jayden Epps as Team Charlotte knocked off Team Loaded VA in the Phenom Queen City championship game.

No. 6: E1T1 United (FL)

Similar to their 16U team, E1T1 United has a deep, talented roster with numerous high major recruits across the board. That has resulted in a 14-1 record thus far thanks the combined star power of AJ Brown, Dillon Mitchell, Emanuel Sharp, Ben Middlebrooks (Clemson commit), and Bruce Thornton. In just a couple of weeks, E1T1 holds wins over New World, Team Curry, BMaze Elite, Game Elite, Team Florida, Team Huncho, and Team Durant. Director Steve Reece has his most talented 17U unit in a couple of years and you can expect them to maintain a top ten spot throughout the spring. 

No. 7 New World (DC)

New World is off to a terrific start to the 2021 circuit season, currently sitting with a 7-1 record behind the strong play of talented guards Tyrell Ward and Devin Ceasar. Ward is a 6-foot-5 combo guard who plays with a certain toughness that is difficult for his opposition to match. Ceasar has been a playmaker thus far this spring, and when you factor in that this super-athletic rotation also has the services of 7-footer Favour Aire, they tend to lean towards being national contenders.

No. 8: Team Spartans (MA)

Team Spartans is the top-ranked independent team in the country, thanks to a close-knit rotation headlined by Donovan Clingan. The 7-foot-1 big man was an absolute force at Hoop Group’s Spring Jam Fest, earning MVP while delivering a 6-0 record. Matt Curtis is the best scorer on the roster, and the 6-foot-3 guard was recently offered by Rutgers. TJ Felder, Kalu Anya and Torran Bosworth all had strong weekends in their opener, but they’ll get a significant step up in competition at Pitt Jam Fest. This squad can compete with anyone in the country, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them run the table again next weekend.

No. 9: Team Loaded (VA)

Team Loaded VA takes a spot in this rankings, and Director Ty White has another roster with another stocked talented. Loaded dropped a barnburner to No. 5 Team Charlotte, but they were without the services of Maliq Brown. Jayden Epps, Tyler Nickel and Donald Hand Jr are all high-major talents, and after a couple of weekends, they should start to become a cohesive unit. When fully-healthy, this squad has a great chance to crack the top ten.

No. 10 Bates Fundamentals (MI)

Bates Fundamentals make their debut this weekend, and they’ll do it with the No. 1 player in the country Emoni Bates leading the way. Bates will look to pick up where he left off the last full season in 2019, one that saw him tear through the Nike E15 circuit. Bates is a generational talent, but he will need some help from the rest of their rotation, as Bates will be tested early and often by a ridiculously difficult schedule - one that includes No. 1 Team Final to kick off the season.

*OFFICIAL ROSTER BEING RELEASED SHORTLY*

No. 11 Vegas Elite (NV)

Guards win in grassroots basketball, and Vegas Elite has an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt. 5-Star junior Dior Johnson returned in style after a cancelled high school season, teaming up with top-40 junior guard PopPop Isaacs to help Vegas Elite to a 4-0 weekend record to start the season. Big man Max Allen made his program debut along with Johnson, and the Sierra Canyon (CA) product was highly productive around the rim in his first four games. This group is only going to get better as they get more comfortable playing with each other, but Johnson and Isaacs are a terrific start to any rotation.

No. 12 NJ Scholars

The NJ Scholars are making there debut at the 17U level, and they're doing so with a young albeit very talented line up. DJ Wagner - the number one Sophomore in America - is every bit of his lofty ranking. At 6-foot-4, Wagner plays at a controlled speed that is rarely seen at the high school level - perhaps last seen by his father Dajuan Wagner - the last player to score 100 points in a high school game. Wagner and his array of offensive talent will be assisted by a talented supporting cast including fellow sophomores Mackenzie Mgbako and 7-footer Aaron Bradshaw. The Scholars make their debut this weekend at the Hoop Group: Pitt Jam Fest, and it should be a good litmus test for the young squad.

No. 13 Phenom University (WI)

Top to bottom, Antonio Curro has one of the most talented rotations in the country. Milwaukee's Nike EYBL representative is off to a 7-0 start, led by high major prospect Seth Trimble. In there 7-0 start, Phenom has displayed impressive on court chemistry which has resulted in a scary proposition for the opposition. Their start has been spearheaded by the rise of juniors John Lovelace and Danilo Jovanovich. Curro's bunch comes at you in waves, and there aren't many teams in the country that they can't compete with.  

No. 14 Nightrydas Elite (FL)

Simply put, the Nightrydas deploy a lot of talent in 2021. Montverde Academy product Malik Reneau headlines a deep lineup, one that features Jett Howard - the son of Juwan Howard - and a handful of other high-major recruits. Junior Jazian Gortman is one of the most exciting point guards in the country, and his presence should make everyone a little bit better. Barry Dunning - one of the best players in Alabama - operates on the wing alongside Howard and new addition Jaylen Martin. There's a lot to like about this Nightrydas squad, and they'll be making an appearance at The Circuit League I in Dallas this weekend.

No. 15: Southern Assault (TX)

Head coach Von Thomas and company kicked off the regular season in style, turning in a 5-0 performance at GASO's Own The State event. Junior 5-star Keyonte George led the way, helping Assault knock off EYBL contenders ProSkills and Drive Nation. Colin Smith is a terrific second option for Southern Assault, and junior Khaden Bennett and Quion Williams have come on strong alongside George in the backcourt as junior CJ Ford is out with a torn meniscus.  Big man Yohan Traore rounds out a complete rotation, and while they dropped a game last weekend, they have a lineup that figures to contend for an adidas 3SSB championship. 

No. 16: Team Durant (MD)

Team Durant slots in at number 16, led by recent HS National Champion Dariq Whitehead. The 6-foot-6 combo-guard figures to be the feature piece for Durant, and with weapons like Judah Mintz and Rodney Rice at his side, Team Durant should have no problem putting the ball in the bucket. They added forward Khalif Crawley to the mix this season, and the 6-foot-9 high-major prospect will play big minutes in the frontcourt. Don’t be surprised if they pull a player or two up from their 16U squad - currently ranked No. 1 in the country.

No. 17 Team Thrill (MD)

Team Thrill is headed into the grassroots season with a very talented roster. 2022 5-star Jarace Walker provides Team Thrill with a bonafide star, as he has great athleticism and a strong upper body that can dominate the opposition. Fellow IMG teammate Noah Batchelor (247 No. 99) is an elite shooter who can get his guys involved.  Louis Hutchinson is the third product of IMG Academy on the squad, and the three should have strong team chemistry. Last but definitely not least is their point guard Christian Winborne. The 6-foot-3 guard is great at creating his own shot and has great speed with the ball in his hands.  Team Thrill is coming off a 2-1 record last weekend in their first official games at their own TTYS Spring Showcase, with one of the wins coming over local rival and EYBL powerhouse Team Takeover. 

No. 18 Team Breakdown (FL)

Coming out of Florida UAA based Team Breakdown is led by highly-ranked twin brothers Matt and Ryan Bewley. The Bewley brothers are a super-tandem, and they operate with the freedom that allows them to do what they're good at - run the floor and make plays. So far this spring, Team Breakdown holds a 7-1 record, with their only loss coming to No. 7 New World. They may be a tad young, but this Breakdown squad is immensely talented at the top and should have a productive supporting cast.

No. 19 We All Can Go (TN)

Recently joining the 3SSB Circuit, We All Can Go will do just that; go. Led by 5-Star Chris Livingston, coming off a monstrous high school season in which he averaged 31.6 PPG, 15.4 RPG, 5.9 APG, and 5.1 SPG - We All Can Go will play at a break-neck pace from tip to buzzer. Livingston, who shot nearly 50 percent from three as a junior, is joined by fellow top-100 recruit and LSU commit Devin Ree. The 6-foot-8 Ree, who hails from Mississippi, is a talented swingman that loves to get up and down the floor. The rest of their roster isn't finalized, but these two young should be the start of a rotation that can compete with the. nation's best.

No. 20 Team Trae Young (OK)

On paper, Team Trae Young has one of the more talented rosters in the country. Recent Vanderbilt pledges Noah Shelby and Lee Dort operate the pick-and-roll as the point guard and big man respectively, and Noah is a knock down shooter from anywhere on the court. His ability to handle the ball and get right into his shot is near perfect. Lee Dort mans the paint, and when he plays well, he's blocking shots and gobbling up rebounds. TTY has a great supporting cast, led by 5-Star Sophomore Ja'Kobe Walter. The McKinney (TX) product is a pure scorer, and a capable defender 1-4. The rotation includes four other players ranked by 247, making them one of the best teams in the 3SSB circuit.

No. 21 3D Empire (TX)

Led by 4-star dual-athlete Anthony Black and Stanford commit Ryan Agarwal, 3D Empire has built an impressive early-season resume as one of the most competitive independent teams in the country. 3D sits with a 12-2 record including wins over shoe circuit teams, and with the star power of Black and Agarwal and the emerging presence of guard Cam Amboree, they've proven they can compete with anyone in the country. 

No. 22: Team Teague (IN)

Led by sharp-shooting left-handed Illinois-commit Reggie Bass, Team Teague had a huge season-opening event at the Phenom Tournament of Champions, putting up a 4-0 record including a win over EYBL powerhouse and 24th-ranked Team CP3. They also took down CC Elite 66-64, and narrowly edged out Team Loaded NC 70-69. Team Teague - sponsored by NBA player Jeff Teague - will play on the NY2LA circuit this spring, and picking up close, out-of-circuit wins will only bolster what figures to be a gaudy resume by season's end. They will compete in this weekend's Grassroots Showcase in Kentucky.

No. 23 Team CP3 (NC)

Year after year, Team CP3 is loaded with talent. This year is no different, as CP3 is led by 5-star IMG product Jaden Bradley. Bradley runs the show for this past-paced group, alongside Montverde Academy rising senior guard Jalen Hood-Schifino. Both are heady point guards who make their teammates batter. 6-foot-9 forward De'Ante Green has a much-improved outside game, but needs to force down low. CP3 dropped a game last weekend to No. 23 Team Teague, but once they gel, they will likely rise up the Top 25 ranks.

No. 24 NY Jayhawks

The NY Jayhawks have yet to tip off their season, but the 2021 version of their squad has the makings to be one of the best squads in New York. Seton Hall commit Jaquan Harris is a talented scorer and one of the best players in the state, while Blair Thompson and Josh Rivera are talented counterparts which should help coach Jay David's squad win a lot of games this spring and summer. The Jayhawks kick off their 2021 season with a matchup this Saturday against fellow adidas rep MASS Rivals.

No. 25 New Heights Lightning (NYC)

The recently re-named New Heights Lightning have one of the best backcourts on the east coast, featuring 4-star Villanova commit Mark Armstrong and 4-star guard Jaquan Sanders. The Lightning lost an overtime barn-burner to fellow top-25 foe Vegas Elite, but they displayed the same tough, fast-pace game-playing traits like most Lightning teams of the past. 7-foot junior Silas Sunday is the x-factor for this group. If he can man the effectively man the middle without getting into foul trouble, head coach Shandue McNeill has one of his most complete groups in years.

No. 2: MOKAN Elite (MO)

MOKAN Elite is used to being in the top 10 rankings, and the 2021 season is no different. Junior Kentucky commit Skyy Clark will be the floor general, and he is surrounded by a ton of talent. Damien Mayo, Larry Hughes Jr, and Willie Lightfoot will run alongside Clark in the backcourt, while Aidan Shaw and Jasen Green will operate on the wing. The big men is where MOKAN gets special, as 6-foot-11 juniors Felix Okpara and Tarris Reed will man the middle. Expect MOKAN to find a lot of success in 2021, starting with their appearance at the first Circuit League event in Dallas (April 23-25).

On The Fringe:

  • The City Rocks (NY)
  • NY Renaissance (NY)
  • D1 Minnesota
  • High Major AZ
  • Seattle Rotary Style (WA)
  • Lakeshow (CA)
  • PSA Cardinals (NY)
  • Indy Heat Gym Rats (IN)
  • Brad Beal Elite (MO)
  • District BC (DC)

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