This year Tru Ballaz celebrated it's ten year anniversary. Maxwell "Bingo" Cole is the tournament director, and he has grown Tru Ballaz into the premier preseason tournament in The Bronx. Bingo says that the tournament continues to attract teams from NYC and surrounding areas, both public schools and private /catholic schools. With a steady stream of coaches at the ready, Bingo said the future is looking good and the best is still yet to come. Over the years, hundreds of New York City's top players have been able to gear up their game before the start of high school season.
The tournament consists of 24 teams with 12 making the playoffs. Games are played FDA III and Eagle Academy in The Bronx. This year the following teams made the playoffs: Mt. St. Michael, St. Raymond, All Hallows, Eagle, Stepinac, Wings, Iona Prep, TMA, Brooklyn Law, Cardinal Hayes, Monsignor Scanlan and Christ The King who suddenly dropped out due to travel conflicts.
The 2017 Tru Ballaz Playoffs kicked off on Tuesday, October 17, these are the players we noticed in the first and second round:
Josh Alexander 2018 6'8 center Iona Prep - good rebounder. Will give you second chance points on the offensive glass. Decent at passing the ball out of the post. Good in the post with when he gets deep position. Showing the potential to develop more perimeter abilities. Needs to be more aggressive post defender and not allowing the post entry pass.
Sal Koureissi2018 6'9 forward Iona Prep - emerging with the ability to shoot the 3pt shot. Decent rebounder. Runs the floor and he can get above the rim. Has some ability to put the ball on the deck but he needs to work more with his dribble if he is looking to step away from basketball and have more perimeter responsibilities.
Bryce Wills 2019 6'6 wing Iona Prep - solid player. Has triple threat ability. Good agility and athletism. Active defender. Has increased muscle and still developing which will add to his talent level. Can make plays and passes off the dribble. Needs to be a more vocal leader on the court.
Zedric Ferral2018 6'0 guard Iona Prep - good with his dribble drive. Good control with his dribble. See's the floor and can be effective with his passes. Will give a good effort on defense. Needs to be more aggressive with the mid range shot.
Romar Reid2018 6'0 guard Iona Prep - can hit open shots. Decent feel for the game. Makes good plays. Can handle the rock. Good energy on defense. Needs to be athletic at the basket.
Moumadou Nimaga2019 6'0 guard Wings Academy - plays hard. Not afraid and likes to attack the basket. Good with his dribble drive. Decent enough floater when driving the lane. Will defend you hard. Needs to develop his shooting ability and his ability to finish with his weak hand.
Omar Silverio 2018 6'2 guard St. Raymond HS - combo guard. Has 3pt shooting range. Good with his dribble. Effective with the pass. Good skill level. Needs to stay consistent.
Dallas Watson2018 6'2 guard St. Raymond HS - quality player. Has nice offensive moves. Good court awareness. Knows how to set up his teammates. Can be a scorer. Good on the fast break. Needs to active on his one on one defense.
Darius Lee2018 6'6 forward St. Raymond HS - can finish plays when he gets the ball at the basket. Effective rebounder. Moves well in the post. Knows how to catch the ball in some traffic. Needs to create more offense for himself.
Demarco Watson 2020 6'3 guard St. Raymond HS - good guard skills. Can handle the ball. Has the ability to pull up in the paint with a shot or floater. Average defender. Needs to work harder on 3pt shooting.
Ibrahim Whattara 2020 6'5 forward Mt. St. Michael HS - strong body. Aggressive player. Goes hard for rebounds. Plays hard on defense. Can finish at the rim. Needs to develop more on the perimeter.
Truth Harris 2019 5'11 guard Mt. St. Michael HS - good handle. Has some shake and bake moves. Will beat you off the dribble. He is always working to make plays. Can get to the basket. Needs to be a better shooter.
Michael Green 2019 5'9 guard Mt. St. Michael HS - good passer. Not afraid to dribble under pressure. Good ability to play fast and push the tempo. Needs to be a better shooter.
Danny DeCosta 2018 6'3 guard Monsignor Scanlan HS - shows versatility in his game. Can score when in rhythm. Has the strength to finish with contact. Doesn't mind being a rebounder. Needs to be a consistent 3pt shooter.
Matt Mayers 2020 6'7 forward Monsignor Scanlan HS - young player with good length. Has a good offensive mindset when he gets the ball. Gets decent position in the post. Decent footwork. Needs to be more aggressive so he can get more touches.
Rodney Bailey 2020 5'6 point guard Monsignor Scanlan HS - good speed. Can beat you in transition when he is pushing the ball. Plays hard. Has the ability to get into the lane. Needs to get his shot off over the bigger defenders.
Joe Toussaint2019 5'10 point guard Cardinal Hayes - one of the top guards in NYC, confident floor general who knows when to the push the pace and when to slow it up, quick and tight handle keeps defenders off balance, strong athletic finisher, tough perimeter defender, non stop motor on both ends. Needs to distribute more.
Tyrese Williams2018 6'2 shooting guard Cardinal Hayes -a tacks the basket strong, quick first step, good form and balance on his pull-up jumper. Needs to be a more consistent shooter from 3. Committed to Quinnipiac University
Adam Cisse2019 6'9 Center Cardinal Hayes - shows good footwork in the post, comfortable taking an outside shot, great emotion and energy on the court, decent rebounder. Needs to be more disciplined on defense and work on his outside shot.
TJ Reaves 2018 5'11 point guard Cardinal Hayes - good 3pt shooter, shifty handle, pesky perimeter defender, sneaky athleticism. Needs to gain muscle.
Joel Soriano 2019 6'10 center Archbishop Stepinac - rim protector allows no easy baskets down low, runs the floor very well for his size, good rebounder. Needs to be more aggressive on offense and gain weight.
RJ Davis2020 5'11 point guard Archbishop Stepinac - high IQ floor general gets everyone involved, throws sharp passes, good court vision loves to get the ball up court quickly, moves well without the ball, quick hands on defense. Needs to be a more consistent shooter.
Xavier Wilson2018 6'7 small forward Archbishop Stepinac - good rhythm on his jumper and can knock down 3’s, athletic finisher who invites contact on the drive. Needs to work on his handle.
Eduard Minaya 2019 5'11 guard Archbishop Stepinac - goes all out on defense, can get hot from three point range, hustles for loose balls. Needs to become more of a point guard.
AJ Griffin2021 6'3 wing Archbishop Stepinac - long arms and good discipline on defense, good handle will get better with more experience. Very raw offensively but shows good potential.
Malcolm Chimezie 2021 6'5 forward Archbishop Stepinac - garned Honorable Mention on this list of talented prospects.
IWorkhosted The Battle for New York at The College of Staten Island on October 11. Nearly 100 seniors participated, and this event was full of action. More than 30 college coaches came out and Recruit The Bronx was in the house. These are our top players from the night:
Larry Moreno 2018 5'11 point guard Brooklyn Law & Tech HS - lefty point guard that has speed and can score with his 3pt shooting and driving the ball to the basket. His play is aggressive and he has a confident cool about his game. Still needs to get stronger and add some weight for next level play along with being better with his weak hand dribble.
Devon Nicholson 2018 6'0 point guard St. Joseph By The Sea HS - good player. Makes good the decisions with the ball and keeps himself moving without the ball. Shows the ability to make the right plays. Good IQ and feel for the game. Good mid range shooter. Needs to be a little bit faster with the ball.
Keysean Faulkner Smith 2018 6'9 center Ralph McKee HS - his building block starts on defense. Can block shots and change your shot selection when driving into his defense lane. Runs the floor. Decent agility and footwork. Average rebounder. Needs to be more aggressive going to get the rebounds.
Keyshawn Miller 2018 6'2 guard Saunders Trade & Tech HS - good player. Has a little razzle and dazzle to his game. He can make plays for himself and his teammates. Willing passer. Needs to become a shooting threat.
Sean Brensnan2018 6'4 small forward Saunders Trade & Tech HS - solid player. Has athletic ability and can get above the rim when he needs to. Can shoot the ball when he hot. Not afraid to take shots on the perimeter and drive the ball. Can put the ball on the floor and lead the fast break. Need to be a better defender one on one.
Victor Olawoye 2018 6'0 point guard Elmont Memorial HS - good with the ball. Can make things happen with his dribble. Good court vision. Knows how to read the defense in pick n roll action. Decent with his pass but needs to make better entry passes into the post.
Carlos Lemus 2018 6'3 guard Upper Room Christian School - can be athletic. Can finish at the basket. Decent shooter. Good first off the dribble. Needs to shoot better off the screen.
Korey Williams2018 5'8 point guard La SalleAcademy - can handle the rock. Has the ability to put pressure on the defense with his dribble. Good energy on the court. Has a play makers skill set and level. Needs to show a commitment to keeping the man in front of him on defense.
Marcus Hammond 2018 6'0 point guard Cardozo HS - lefty point guard with good shooting and passing skills. Good court vision and awareness. Decent when he is under pressure and making the right decision. Needs to add muscle to his frame and be more effective with his weak hand
Sahdique Watkins 2018 6'0 combo guard Holy Cross HS - can handle the ball as a two way type of player either as a point /two guard combo and or two guard/wing combo. Average passer. Average shooter. Needs to get trimmer and toner.
- Nick Ovichnkoff 2018 guard Clarkstown North HS
- Cameron Otiti 2018 6'1 guard All Hallows HS
-Elijah Galloway 2018 6'5 forward Saunders Trade and Tech HS
- Tyler Small 2018 6'1 guard Holy Trinity HS
- Danny Dacosta 2018 6'3 guard Monsignor Scanlan HS
This is a league for varsity high school teams hosted by the Stamford YMCA. The weekly games are on Monday or Wednesday evenings, running from September 11 through November 22. For more information, contact Pierre Jasmine at (203) 219-7898 cell or