Carolina Stars Elite – Our #1 team in the country and the defending National Champs have picked up where they left off winning the biggest tournament of the season thus far the MIT over Presidents Day weekend beating the Triad Hornets, Team Thrill and NY RENs in the process. It was the coming out party for new addition forward Snook Peterken who averaged almost 15 pts a game. He teams with 2 of the top 5 Guards in all of 4th grade all on the same team in Q Williams, Dionte Neal to go along with 2 of the best big men in the country in Cam’ron Jones and Johnniyus Sharp. With 5 of the top 40 players in their class all on one team this team is poised for a repeat of their dominating 2016 John Lucas Championship when their closest game was 22 pts.
Prediction: Apparently being the returning champs has it’s advantages, while they do have a tough Pro Skills team in their pool as first place pool finish leads to a much easier rode to the finals than the other side. I think the Stars take advantage of this and punch their ticket to the finals.
DCA -Solid team with loads of talent. Capable of beating anyone in any tournament they enter. Finished 5th in AAU nationals losing to the Rens 25 to 24 in the Quarters. Only lost to the Stars, RENS and Team Loaded all season. Led by a group of dynamic guards including top 5 2026 guard Kevin Savage along with 2025 standouts Tylis Jordan, Mario Allen and Akai Fleming to go along with Top 5 Bigman Mansur McClain and forward Cameron Stephens. This is their first National tournament of the year and it comes on the heels of a $1000 win in the $5K Series in Atlanta.
Prediction: This is probably the deepest team in the field and even though they are on the toughest side of the Bracket we predict they make it to the finals.
SA Future - Ranked as high as #9 by some services the Future boast one of the top trios in the entire class of 2025 in Kingston Flemings, Camden Cowgill and Elijah Favela. Kingston and Camden and two of the best guards in the country and are usually going to be far more advanced than all but the most elite 4th graders. Elijah is a guard trapped in a big man’s body, he can put it on the floor, pass it and shoot it with the best of them. They have gotten the season off to a great start winning the Hype Sports Winter Jam beating Houston Hoops, RM5, Below The Rim and Pro Skills in the process.
Prediction: We see the Future getting to the final 4 with and appearance in the finals not out of the question. With the keep players not having to pull double duty playing up in 5th grade this team should be at their best and rested.
California Stars – One of the top tops on the west coast return to the city that put them on the map. Last year they traveled to Houston and shocked the world by winning the Nightrydas Invitational beating SA Future on a buzzer beater. Led by one of the top player in 2025 in Lino Marks a high motor super quick PG as well as nationally ranked SG Moses Wright a physical guard that can finish with contact and shoot the 3, PG Bobby White a player who does everything well and Timmy Anderson a high energy PG who can score at all 3 levels (All 4 are ranked in the top 30 by Coast2Coast). Their big man is Mark Lewis who can play the 3 to 5. They are as talented as any team in the field, the only question is are they tested.
Prediction: The Cali Stars will likely face a tough Pro Skills team in their first Bracket game and if they win that we will see a rematch between the Stars and SA Future with the winner heading to the Final 4. We predict it’s the Future but it could easily go either way.
Baltimore Thrill- Made the final 4 of the John Lucas last year. Won the AGame Super Shootout beating The Rens, New World, Philli Triple Threat and Team Loaded to win the Title. Beat Indy Hoosiers in pool play at the King James. #30 Omar Smith is one of the top guards in the class and he teams with #3 Kam Carter part 1 of the two headed PG monster he teams with part 2 #0 Turk Brown they are both excellent passers and ball hawks on defense. #23 KC Collins is a scoring machine who reminds of a young AI and is counted on to score in bunches. Already this year the Thrill won the Charm City Classic defeating Team Takeover in the finals! Already this year they have won the Prep Phenom MLK Classic and make it to the final 4 of the MIT over Presidents weekend.
Prediction: This could be rough weekend for Team Thrill. They are in one of the toughest pools with the Triad Hornets and Texas Pro Gray and they are in the ultimate damned if they do damned is the don’t scenario. Win their pool and that sets up and early bracket match up against the Carolina Stars, finish second and they face an early bracket match up against DCA. Unfortunately, that means no final 4 prediction for Team Thrill for the first time this year. I have no doubt the will be happy to prove us wrong.
Triad Hornets – This is the most dangerous team that no one knows about, YET. An unholy alliance between the Triad Hornets and The Bull City Thunder has produced what I expect to be is one of the most dangerous teams on the circuit this year. They are led by #32 Noah Lewis an offensive nightmare who can kill you from the 3 pt line and get to the paint and #5 Nick Keith the team’s leading scorer who can become a huge problem when he catches fire. #23 Nasir Newkirk is their big but has the speed of a guard. #25 JP Gilchrist and #35 Bilah Omar are multisport athlete who round out their starting 5, but the strength of this team is also their deep bench. With wins already this year against the Carolina Stars, NC Best and Team Durant this is a team that no one wants to see in their pool or on their side of the bracket.
Prediction: Their pool play match up with Team Thrill looks to be the most exciting game of Saturday and as mentioned in our Thrill write up they are in the ultimate damned if they do damned is the don’t scenario. Win their pool and that sets up and early bracket match up against the Carolina Stars, finish second and they face an early bracket match up against DCA.
Pro Skills 2025 – This team had an impressive 8th place finish in AAU Nationals last year beating Maryland’s Finest and Team Durant. This has been one of the hottest team of the season thus far making it to the finals of the Hype Sports Winter Jam before losing to SA Future and the finals of the Nightrydas Invitational where the lost to Below The Rim in the Finals. Will this be the tournament where they close the deal???
Prediction: Unfortunately, it looks like the Pro Skills run of tournament finals will be coming to an end. A tough pool and tough bracket placement will most likely make for a short Sunday of the Pro Skills.
RM5/Mo Williams – An off shoot of the former Gulf Coast Blue Chips this was a perineal top 20 program now looking to make a new name for themselves. GCBC made the finals of the Lucas last year and have made it to the Final 4 of the Winter Jam and Nightrydas Invitational.
Prediction: This one is pretty easy, beat the Westside Warriors and win their pool- punch your ticket to the Final 4. Lose and end up in the bracket of death where their stay will be short.
Westside Warriors - A trio of guards could take this team to the next level. Led by one of the top 2026 guards on the country Mel Mel Thomas and 2025 studs Klaba P and Chris Suber, if this team gets hot they could be dangerous.
Prediction: This one is pretty easy, beat RM5 and win their pool- punch your ticket to the Final 4. Lose and end up in the bracket of death where their stay will be short.