Missouri high school champions

High school basketball has officially wrapped up in Missouri.

With the close of the class 4 and 5 championships over the weekend, 2018 high school basketball is in the books. Some local teams made a splash, while a few champions are from the complete other side of the state.

Below is a very quick overview, highlighting some area finishes and all of the respective state champs. Let's dive into the results, starting with class 1.

Class 1:

Boys: Walnut Grove was able to march all the way to the state championship after beating the undefeated North Andrew. They fell to second in the state, losing to Eminence.

Girls: Wheatland defeated Mountain Grove to advance to the final four, where they lost to Mound City with Craig. Mound City with Craig won the state championship while Wheatland won third.

Class 2:

Boys: Van-Far high school (about 60 mile NE of Columbia) took the class 2 championship by defeating Hayti. Hayti defeated the Purdy boys, who took 4th in state.

Girls: Neelyville defeated Skyline and then Mid-Buchanan (whose boys team took third) to claim the state title.

Class 3:

Boys: Mountain Grove defeated Springfield Catholic to advance to the final four, where they wound up finishing third. Hogan-Prep Academy won the championship.

Girls: A local champ! Strafford defeated Licking to earn a trip to the state championships. They defeated Whitfield before dominating California 77-36 to earn their state championship. Congrats, ladies!

Class 4:

Boys: Logan-Rogersville lost out on their final four dreams dropping their game to Grandview, who would go on to win the championship.

Girls: Carl Junction had to settle for second, losing out to Incarnate Word Academy in the championship game.

Class 5:

Boys: Parkview could not quite squeeze into the final four, losing out to Rock Bridge, who went on to take third. Webster Groves defeated Chaminade for the class 5 state title.

Girls: Kickapoo had the looks of a champion, defeating Nixa, Camdenton, and then St. Joseph's academy en route to the state championship. They were defeted there by Kirkwood, while St. Jo's took third.

Madness - The insanity continues in a memorable March

The men's NCAA tournament is off to an even more wild start than could have been predicted.

March Madness is in full swing, with as mad a March as there has been in recent memory. The Missouri Valley champions - the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers just keep rambling along with another pulse-pounding upset. Two days after Dante Ingram's buzzer-beating three to drop Miami, Clayton Custer rattled home a game-winning bucket with 3.6 on the clock to drop 3-seed Tennessee.

The Ramblers, now in the sweet 16, are a fantastic "Cinderella story". There are a lot of those stories underway this year, but somehow Loyola's upsets now seem mild in comparison with the biggest in history.

Introducing UMBC, which is not a bank or a TV station

For the first time in the era of the modern bracket, a 16-seed has defeated a 1-seed. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County stunned the nation Friday night with their win over the number one team, Virginia. They will now face 9-seed Kansas Sate, which promises to be a very entertaining game.

After knocking off Arizona, 13-seed Buffalo fell to Kentucky, taking a little hope away from some of these lower-seeded teams to continue their winning ways. 13-seed Marshall upset 4-seed Wichita State, and will now face 5-seed West Virginia.

Syracuse has been a surprise, but now faces a 3-seed Michigan State team that many believe has what it takes to go all the way. The Mizzou boys and girls teams both experienced early outs. The Sunday games are already underway and will likely to continue to yield some wild results.

On the ladies' side of things, 11-seed Buffalo had a nice upset just like there men's team, defeating the 6-seed South Florida team. Another 11-seed, CMU dropped 6-seed LSU. For the most part, things are falling into place as expected, at least in comparison to the men's bracket.

UConn dropped a whopping 140 points on 16-seed St. Francis (PA) in their first game, setting records for scoring in a period (55) and half (94). Not bad for a game with no overtime. UConn is looking for its 12th title - 5 coming in the last six years.

Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement for more tournament details.

Madness - Day one is in the books

March madness is officially underway with upsets, dominant displays, and a game-winning shot.

The Missouri Valley Conference may only have one representative in the tournament, but they kicked off the March madness in epic fashion. The 11-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers upset 6-seed Miami with a game-winning deep three at the buzzer by Donte Ingram. They will have another tough contest ahead, facing 3-seed Tennessee tomorrow in Dallas.

The other big upset of the day did not come by way of buzzer-beater. The 13-seed Buffalo Bulls thoroughly outplayed 4-seed Arizona for their entire game. Not a good look for potential top NBA pick Deandre Ayton of Arizona. The only other upset of the day was minor, with 9-seed Alabama defeating 8-seed Virginia Tech. Everyone else took care of business.

Looking ahead

Things kick off on the women's side of thing with a chance to see 1-seed Louisville in action at 11:00AM (CT). Another familiar team in the tourney, Baylor kicks their tournament off at 6:00PM (CT).

For the men, former Missouri Valley Conference team, Wichita State kicks things off as a 4-seed against Marshall this afternoon. Mizzou (8-seed) gets another chance to see Michael Porter Jr. in action against Florida State tonight.

Tune in for what will surely be another wild night of March madness and one of the most exciting times of the year for basketball. This is a great time to watch some of the best go at it and use their examples as ways to improve your own game. Step up this offseason with some tips from The Basketball Movement here.


What to do during the offseason

Maybe your team is not in the state championship, or NCAA Tournament, or well... playing at all right now. What should you do?

We are going to hit on the basics, but of course our biggest offseason recommendation is checking out everything offered at The Basketball Movement. The Movement provides training in every aspect of the game for every level of player.

That is the obvious answer, so we will break it down more in a bit. Here are the basics for how to use your time in the offseason.

#1 - Work on your skills

During the season, you probably work a lot on situations, plays, and team drills. During the offseason is the best time to improve as an individual. Particularly, this is a great time to work on your shot and your ball handling.

Individual ball handling can be practiced in the gym or driveway. You can work on your shot anywhere you can find a goal to achieve a quicker release or smoother stroke. Have a coach to guide you through? Even better. Where do you find such a person? I think you know.

#2 - Work on your body

For players that or old enough (consult parents, coaches, or even a doctor), the offseason is the best time to hit the weight room. You do not need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger on the court, just achieve your body's balance to be as strong as necessary.

It has been said that you cannot teach speed, but even if you have a limit, you likely have not hit it yet. Speed and agility training are very real (inquire to The Movement for details). Agility as well on conditioning are very important and there is always more time for a run during the offseason.

#3 - Refresh your mind

The offseason is also a great time to reflect on what you accomplished or consider the goals you were not able to obtain. Take note of areas where you would like to have been better, making sure you focus on those during the offseason as well as your strengths.

Also, have fun! After a long season it is important to take a little time off as well to clear your mind. Play another sport to remain active, or even rest to nurse any nagging injuries or give your body some time to relax. Then once you are ready to get back, get in touch with The Basketball Movement of course!

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.
— Muhhamad Ali

In case you had not noticed, a solution to a lot of these fixes has been sprinkled in a few times. At The Basketball Movement, you will find top-of-the-line equipment to help you build muscle and stay in shape. Not to mention staff dedicated to improving your agility, skills, and mind.

To become the best player you can be and make the most out of your offseason this year, make your way to the basketball mecca of the Midwest - The Basketball Movement.

It is time - Print off a bracket and get to it

The teams are seeded and the bracket is set, the NCAA tournament is nearly upon us.

Did the NCAA tournament selection committee get it right with the 2018 bracket? Not all teams can make it, and the ones that did may not be exactly where they should. Either way, the stage is set and there is nothing to do but fill in your bracket and see how things play out.

One takeaway is that one-seed Virginia will have a tough task if they have to play Kentucky followed immediately by Arizona. Both teams have heated up heading into the tourney. Conversley, ice-cold Oklahoma makes it in as a ten-seed, while their neighboring OSU did not make it at all.

Missouri remains a big question mark with the return of Michael Porter Jr. Kansas, Virginia, Xavier, and Villanova comprise the one-seeds. Missouri Valley Conference champs, Loyola (Chi) has earned an eleven-seed and will start off facing six-seed Miami (Fla).

Below is CBS Sports' full bracket. You can right-click the bracket to print the PDF file if you would like to fill in your predictions. If that option isn't working on your computer try this link.

There will be a lot of madness to keep track of, but The Basketball Movement will be coming at you with headlines and highlights in the coming weeks. Good luck filling in your brackets and cheering on your teams!

Never be ashamed of where you are from

Towns no one has heard of, cities where it is tough to stand out from the crowd; everyone is from somewhere. Embrace your journey.

Everyone has a story. Guys and girls from all over may share passions for things like basketball, but no one is quite the same as you. Embracing yourself as a person or player means you must own every part of your life. Never be ashamed of where you come from.

For better or for worse, you are the culmination of all of your experiences in life. Some of them were great experiences that you could see making you stronger right in front of your eyes. Some experiences really hurt at the time, but they still altered your path to make you the unique individual you are today.

Be the best version of yourself in anything that you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story.
— Stephen Curry

Look back at the toughest times that you have had in your life. In the end, they made you much stronger in many ways, right? The best parts of your story couldn't have happened without the early chapters.

On the court, you are not the only player that wants to win and dominate the competition. You will often have to bring your very best to achieve your goals. Your very best means drawing on experiences, hard work, and an understanding of what makes you uniquely you.

Embrace your personal history, even if there are things you would rather forget. You do not have to dwell on those things, but do not be afraid to think back and recognize the ways that it made you a stronger person. Even if you have been lucky enough to avoid major hardships, there are always experiences to reflect back on when striving to be great.

The Basketball Movement aims to push players and people at all levels to be the very best they can be. Do not be afraid to approach our coaches or anyone else with any tough times you are going through. Just remember, it is all another chapter in the story of your greatness.

Mizzou fans catch just a glimpse of Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. is back in action for the Missouri Tigers to "help where he can".

Michael Porter Jr. played about two minutes in Missouri's opener before aggravating a back injury that caused him to miss most of the season. In the second round of the SEC tourney, Mizzou fans got to see him finally back in action against Georgia this past Thursday.

It was an expectedly rusty outing for Porter Jr. - shooting 5-17 with 8 boards. His 12 misses tied the most by any Mizzou player this season. His brother Jontay Porter was a bright spot for the Tigers, finishing with 20 points and 8 boards in the loss.

Porter Jr.'s shot looked a bit short all night, while he still rebounded the ball well. Flashes of his trademark athleticism were limited, with Porter Jr. saying he felt around 65% physically.

Now out of the SEC tourney, Mizzou has until Sunday to know exactly where they will be headed next. With Michael Porter Jr. back in the rotation, they have become one of the most interesting teams in the tournament, boasting a 20-11 record without their would-be star.

His decision to come back has been met with both praise and criticism. Why not wait and get fully healthy for the NBA draft? Porter Jr. just wants to play basketball and help his team. That cannot hurt his draft stock too much, right?

Still looming in or around the first round of many NBA draft boards, Michael Porter Jr. is going to draw a lot of attention at the big dance. Mizzou fans are hoping that he is the X-factor on their team that has already exceeded expectations to this point.

We will have some tournament coverage for you basketball junkies in the coming weeks. Until then, keep on the lookout for a coming article that takes an in-depth look at The Basketball Movement's founder and owner @Robert_Yanders.


More players refuse to "Shut up and dribble"

Some NBA players are using their platform to bring awareness to mental health and the stigma surrounding "manning up".

Basketball is a fantastic sport. It is fun to watch, fun to play, and fun to write about (in my personal opinion). Recently NBA players Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have been using the game in an even more important way.

When top athletes speak, people listen, whether or not some individuals would like to admit it. When such prominent figures and role models open up about issues, big or personal, it impacts all sorts of demographics of listeners.

DeMar DeRozan, All-Star SG for the Toronto Raptors recently spoke out about his bouts with depression.

It’s one of them things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day. We all got feelings ... all of that. Sometimes ... it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.
— DeRozan

Cleveland Cavaliers PF Kevin Love drew some inspiration from DeRozan, opening up about panic attacks, mental health, and unfortunate stigmas of manhood in a self-written article for The Player's Tribune.

Love describes a panic attack he experienced during a game in which he ran off to the locker room. He goes on to say that he hid it from everyone because of lifelong pressure to be tough and hide any weaknesses as a man.

It is very important for players like DeRozan and Love to speak out about these kinds of issues. The more we can normalize discussions about these kinds of issues, the more individuals are likely to seek the help they need, much like Love has.

If you are struggling with issues, mental health or otherwise, never be embarrassed to approach family, a coach, a teammate, teacher, or friend with it. Open and honest discussion is an important step in being the best player and person you can be.

For more from the NBA and all of basketball, check out more of our blog posts such as SLAM top 100 NBA players and Focus on strengths.

NBA looks to eliminate the "one-and-done"

With NCAA teams under fire for rule violations related to amateurism and preferential treatment, the NBA seeks to pave a new path for elite players.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is currently looking into changes in the way the NBA interacts with top high school talent, according to a report by ESPN's Brian Windhorst. This is of course a large step, as the league is not currently allowed to do so, requiring players to be 19 or a year removed from high school before entering the league.

Nothing conclusive has come from the Commissioners office, though we will likely hear more in the coming months. These restructuring initiatives of course hinge on the recent scandals surrounding NCAA and youth basketball. 

Between the multitude of jobs around the league and the infrastructure provided by the G-League (formerly the D-League), paid positions or playing opportunities certainly abound. There are several options here besides just reducing the required age to 18 again.

We’re spending a lot of time on [youth basketball]. I think there is a big opportunity, on a global basis, focus on elite players in terms of better training, better fitness, so that they ultimately can be successful at the highest level.
— Adam Silver

The above is a quote from the Commissioner given over All-Star weekend, though talks have recently accelerated due to the FBI investigation of the NCAA.

The takeaways thus far are simply that the NBA, the top global basketball league, is taking close note of the happenings at every level of the sport. More will be coming on this, likely once the NCAA tourney has ended. Stay at The Basketball Movement for everything high school, NCAA, AND pro basketball for more.

See ESPN's full report here.



Missouri State parts ways with Coach Lusk

The MSU Bears men's team has finished what wound up being a disappointing season.

The writing was on the wall for Head Coach Paul Lusk, barring anything but a miraculous run to end the season. Recent contract negotiations had already hinted that the separation was eminent.

Lusk was the head coach for seven seasons with the Bears after coming over from Purdue. The Bears finished 3rd in the conference in his first season, which would be the highest finish of his tenure. He finishes with a 105-121 overall record as the leader for the Bears.

A Division I University invests a lot of money in a head coach and has decided to eat the salary for Lusk's final contract year and begin their search. Below is a quote from MSU President Clif Smart per ozarksportzone.com:

It is particularly important that our men’s basketball season is successful because it is our main revenue sport. I’ve had many conversations with the board of directors and have determined a new direction is necessary.
— Clif Smart, MSU President

The MSU Bears were loaded with talent this year, higlighted by star senior, Alize Johnson (1st team all Missouri Valley Conference). They were expected to be the top team in the MVC, but had a poor conference showing.

Missouri State finished 18-15 overall, but were only 7-11 in conference play. They won their play-in game against Valparaiso March 1st but fell to Southern Illinois in the first round of the MVC tourney. SIU lost the next game to Illinois State, who went on to fall to Loyola (CHI) in the championship game.

With Alize Johnson and Lusk out, the Bears will have a different look next year. Hopefully the Bears will be able to establish a winning culture and find a way to replicate the success of the Wichita States of the world (though Wichita is still not a state).

With March Madness nearly upon us, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement and follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement to stay on top the big news in the game.


Focus on strengths - Insulate weaknesses

You know what you are good at and you know what needs work. Which is more deserving of attention?

As a player, unless you are blinded by supreme confidence, you are aware that you are not perfect. Perhaps you have never been the best shooter or maybe you are an undersized post-player. You also know where you shine on the court or in the locker room.

With something like the sport of basketball, it is easy to get caught up in the areas that need improvement. This is not always a bad thing, there are always opportunities to elevate skill level, but do not forget also to focus on your strengths that set you apart.

Players like Shaquille O'neal and DeAndre Jordan have been mercilessly criticized for their free throw shooting woes. They are also heavily applauded - Shaq was an NBA MVP and DeAndre Jordan was 1st team all-NBA last year. You see where we are headed with this?

Focus on what sets you apart

Shaq was not a great free throw shooter, but it did not matter because he was so dominant in other facets of the game.

If you are a great shooter, keep working on shooting. Never fully ignore any one aspect of the sport, but stay sharp and keep improving even your best qualities. The all-time great shooters were not content with being decent. They still practiced shooting every single day. 

Even if you are hyper-focused on strengths, do not forget:

Insulate weaknesses to make sure you do not fall behind

Just because you are focused on what sets you apart does not mean you can ignore the other aspects of the game. You can become a great shooter, but coaches will be hesitant to play you if you never bothered to work on defense.

Not everyone can be fast. Stay in shape and keep your conditioning at the best level you can, but do not sweat it too much if you are struggling to improve foot speed. Focus instead on foot work and body positioning to insulate this weakness. Then, get right back to focusing on what sets you apart.

Great rebounders practice rebounding. Glue guys focus on defense and ball-movement. Shooters get up hundreds of shots. Be a well rounded player, but make sure your best skills are kept the sharpest for your team.

Make sure to keep up with more on the great game of basketball here at The Basketball Movement.

SLAM top 100 NBA players

SLAM Magazine has released a special issue highlighting who they believe to be the top 100 NBA players of all-time.

One of the best things about humans as that we are all wonderfully different. We look differently, act differently, and all have unique opinions. Opinions lead to debates and debates lead to lists like the recent SLAM Top 100.

SLAM is one of the premier outlets for NBA culture on down through prominent high school ballers.

How tall a task is it to rank every basketball player through all-time against each other? It is really impossible to judge the greatness of Steph Curry against "The Admiral" David Robinson. SLAM recently put themselves out there and produced what they believe to be the best possible evaluation.

Below is a complete list of their selections:

A few things jump out from this list, though different things likely jump out for different individuals. There are a lot of players on the list that many did not have the opportunity to watch when they were in the league. Was Dolph Schayes really better than Vince Carter? Pretty tough to say.

Michael Jordan at 1 is tough to dispute. Kobe at number 5 would likely draw plenty of arguments both ways, same for Bird at 10.

One thing that stands out to this blogger is how difficult it is to gauge active players - especially younger ones. Perhaps it is a little early to have Giannis Antetokounmpo ten spots higher that Carmelo Anthony. On the other hand, maybe James Harden should already have passed Tracy McGrady. See? Tough to judge.

Stephen Curry may be the toughest pick to gauge because he is already at 19 - ahead of Karl Malone, Dwyane Wade, John Stockton, Allen Iverson, and well, most people obviously.

What do you think? Any big snubs of note? Players too high or low? Please let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @BBall_Movement

To the fan: Basketball is just a game

A Cleveland Cavaliers fan was recently banned from Quicken Loans Arena for shouting racial slurs.

At its core, basketball is a game. One team tries to get the ball in their opponent's goal, while simultaneously trying to prevent their opponent from scoring in their own goal. There are nuances and rules, but at the base level, it is beautifully simple.

This is how fans should view the sport. It is fun to watch, simple to understand, and filled with players and teams to root for.

To a player, basketball can be more than just a game. Basketball can be an escape, a safe place, and a way of life. Even to a player though, it is at its core a really, really fun game.

Fans can get competitive too, sometimes more than they should. Rooting for your team is encouraged; rooting against your rivals is even alright. However, fans have to know where to draw the line.

Lines were crossed at a Cleveland Cavaliers game

Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs went to the line in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game and was met by jeering from an opposing fan. After an investigation by the Cavs, the racial taunting earned the fan a indefinite ban from the arena (to be reviewed after a year's time).

They found him? Wow. Yeah, it’s great that things like that are not happening again. If not, we’d be very hypocritical. ... It can’t be allowed. So it’s great that it happened. I don’t know how they found him, but it’s awesome.
— Mills' Spurs teammate, Manu Ginobili

Sports fans (and parents) are notorious for heckling other human beings. Unfortunately, competitiveness can get the better of decent people, but also can show an individual's true colors.

Players - basketball can be more than a game, so keep honing your craft and as LeBron James likes to say, "strive for greatness". Fans - remember that players are real people and are not machines built for your entertainment. Keep it classy and never shout at a player something you would not have the nerve to say right to their face.

Keep reading about all things hoops right here at The Basketball Movement blog.

Highlight factory - High school edition

As high school basketball winds down, let's take this opportunity to look back at some highlights that stood out this year.

We are in a time in which video sharing is at an all-time high, and high school basketball clips are not an exception. High school footage used to be rare, but we now have the benefit of getting to see all of the top plays from around the country.

Through various outlets such as ESPN, SLAM, and MaxPreps, we have the benefit of insight into some of the nations top playmakers. There are a few that have really stood out in the highlight world.

It is no secret that Zion Williamson of Spartansburg, South Carolina is destined for basketball greatness. The 17 year old is 6'7" and 272 pounds. That is a lot of mass to get up in the air as high as he does. Check out some highlights of the now three-time state champ and Duke commit below:

Another highlight reel star that we have seen emerge is Mac McClung, point guard for Gate City, Virginia. He recently passed Allen Iverson for the most points in Virginia state history.

At 6'2", McClung is a three star collegiate prospect (Georgetown commit) that is certainly not on the level of Williamson. He has still managed to grab headlines with some head-turning plays. Check out a few below:

Of course there are dozen of high school players at this point who are capable of putting up highlight reel footage with their basketball prowess. This is just a taste of what is out there and we could not be more excited about the continued elevated play of the young players around the world.

For some videos of of Basketball Movement players going at it, b-ball knowledge bombs, and more, check out The Movement on Youtube.

For more high school content and vids, stay right here at The Basketball Movement - High School.

NCAA investigation

Yahoo! Sports has revealed their findings having sifted through hundreds of pages of federal documents from the NCAA Investigation

We have been hearing for a while about the FBI probe that had been investigating schools around NCAA men's hoops for over a year. An article today by Yahoo! Sports details some of the findings.

As expected, amateurism violations abound with schools and agencies finding ways to pay their players under the table.

There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools.
— Yahoo! Sports

The article also outs the names of several players that had been receiving compensation, a few of which have already made their way into the NBA. These findings, while damning, are not surprising. With only one agency highlighted and 20 or so schools, they are only scratching the surface here.

The athletes in question are almost all receiving room and board, along with scholarships to fund their education. However, they are also the largest contributors to one of the biggest money-making organizations in sports.

These kids cannot even sell their own autograph, despite their hard work. The NCAA could not truly believe they could go on without someone, somewhere compensating these athletes.

This will be interesting to watch going forward. How many more schools, players, and agencies will be called out? Will the NCAA give up and start paying their largest money-makers? Will kids start going overseas or find other ways to get paid for their services after high school before they go pro?

Stay locked to The Basketball Movement for more news and updates. Anything above that was more opinion than fact, is solely that of blogger @WilHarrington

Never too cold or wet for the The Basketball Movement

Poor weather? No problem. Indoor court, outdoor court, no court - there is always a way to keep working on your game.

Life is always going to be handing you great excuses to not hone your craft. Bad weather, full schedule, no gym, the list goes on. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks or needed time off - life happens. Just remember that the players you are striving to be better than may not be doing the same.

Basketball is of course an indoor sport primarily. If the weather is good enough for you to get to a gym, you can practice to your heart's content. Not everyone has court access (you can at least check out the Movement's Saturday Open Clinic), but there are always things you can do.

Locked in the house with bad weather? Grab a basketball. No, we're not going to tell you to dribble around the house. Do some around the worlds to keep your handles and the feel of the ball fresh. Lay flat on your back and get some shots up. Not hitting the ceiling, just watching the rotation of the ball to check your release and flick of the wrist.

Sharpen your mind

Whether you are a player or even a coach, there is always studying to be done on the game. Watch game footage. You do not have to have tapes of opponents or anything like that. Watch some NBA. Watch some college hoops. Get on YouTube and watch some of the greats to learn footwork and where to be on D.

Visualization can be a big part of the game. The same way pros visualize the ball going in the hoop at the free throw line, you can put yourself in the shoes of the players you see on the screen. Keep your eye out for players that you think you can model your game after.

Not everyone can be Michael Jordan, but there are things to be learned from any player that has made it to college or the NBA. Work on your weaknesses, but also focus on your strengths to become elite.

If the weather has you cooped up, keep these things in mind. Also, check out The Basketball Movement on YouTube for the podcast and drills of the week for when you can get back out there.

For more motivation, news, and everything hoops, keep in locked to The Basketball Movement.

Max Preps top 25 high school teams

We are going to keep this simple. We have the updated Max Preps top 25 high school teams in the nation - take a look.

There are a couple of newcomers in Max Preps top high school rankings this time. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane Washington) and Plymouth Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, Washington) break into the top 25.

Brandon Roy, formerly an All-Star guard for the Portland Trailblazers has been coaching his head of in Seattle, Washington with Garfield High. He suffered his first loss as a coach, previously having won 51 straight. They still sit at 18 on the list.

The top five teams remain unchanged and look like locks for the GEICO National tournament. Below is the full top 25 list straight from MaxPreps.com

1. (last week 1) Montverde Academy (Fla.), (32-0)

2. (2) Sunrise Christian Academy Elite (Bel Aire, Kan.), (21-2)

3. (3) Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), (36-1)

4. (4) University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), (28-1)

5. (5) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), (26-0)

6. (7) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), (27-2)

7. (9) Shadow Mountain (Phoenix), (23-1)

8.  (10) McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), (25-2)

9.  (11) Simeon (Chicago), (25-3)

10.  (12) Guyer (Denton, Texas), (34-1)

11. (13) Memphis East (Tenn.), (17-3)

12. (14) Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), (27-4)

13. (15) Clarkston (Mich.), (14-1)

14. (18) La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.), (21-3)

15. (8) St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.), (25-2)

16. (22) Upson-Lee (Thomaston, Ga.), (27-0)

17. (19) Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia), (24-2)

18. (6) Garfield (Seattle), (24-1)

19. (20) Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.), (25-4)

20. (21) Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), (26-5)

21. (24) Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.), (20-1)

22. (25) South Bend Riley (South Bend, Ind.), (21-0)

23. (NR) Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.), (23-0)

24. (17) DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), (25-5)

25. (NR) Plymouth Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), (24-0)

Remember to keep an eye out for more high school basketball updates from The Basketball Movement.

Recap - NBA All-Star Weekend 2018

Another NBA All-Star weekend in the books, this time with some new formats and faces, which all worked for the most part.

Here at The Basketball Movement, we are all about everything basketball from the NBA on down. We previewed NBA All-Star Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights to let you know what to look for. The NBA changed a couple things, but overall it was a great spectacle of the sport as usual.

As always, one great takeaway from the weekend was the presence of basketball royalty. From coverage by Reggie Miller, Shaquille O'neal, and more to courtside appearances by Jerry West, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell, some of the greats were in attendance, including our own Rob Yanders.

The pageantry of the weekend is typically robust, but may have been a little too above-and-beyond with strange All-Star game intros and a national anthem that was shaky at best (sorry, Fergie).

Back to basketball...

The future of basketball is in good hands

The Basketball Movement tracks players from high school, to college, to the pros. We are very familiar with the pipeline that tells us how high the talent level is looking over the next few years. Some of this is already very apparent from what we saw from the young guys this weekend.

The Rising Stars U.S.A. vs. the World game featuring NBA rookie and sophomore players was a great show of the league's young talent. Joel Embiid participated though he was also a starter in the big Sunday night game. Rookie of the Year frontrunners Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell both quietly had efficient, well-rounded games.

The Sacramento Kings had a great showing with two of the top player in the game - Buddy Hield and the game's MVP, Bogdan Bogdanavic. It looks like their rebuild is coming along nicely. Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers and Jamal Murray of the Nuggets showed out too. The Celtics Jaylen Brown had the top stat line with 35 points and 10 boards.

The young talent did not stop on Friday, as they young guns were well represented over the next few events as well.

Skill and three-point competitions as good as ever

The skills competition did not have as many big names as we may have seen in the past, but was still highly entertaining. Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets took the title by beating the Bulls sharpshooting rookie, Laurie Markkanen in the final round.

Since introducing post players into the event, the bigs had been undefeated, winning the last two years. The guards took it back in this one, despite the presence of All-Stars Joel Ebiid, Andre Drummond, and Al Horford.

The three-point shootout featured a stacked field of long-range snipers and was set up to be gold from the start. Last year's winner Eric Gordon of the Rockets couldn't escape the first round, while 2016 winner Klay Thompson advanced easily to the finals.

Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns ousted the Warriors former champ in epic fashion, scoring a contest record 28 points on 20 of 25 shooting (of course money balls have not always been a thing). The three-point shot is alive and well in the NBA and we will only see shooting improve.

Oh, there was a slam dunk competition also

The 2016 slam dunk contest may have spoiled us. Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon's high-flying masterpiece was easily one of the all-time greats in dunk contest history. A couple years later, the contest was entertaining, but struggled to live up to the lofty standards.

The bottom two participants only got one round to show their stuff, which is unfortunate, because Dennis Smith Jr. may have had the top dunk of the evening with his reverse, between-the-legs 360.

Larry Nance Jr. used his fathers influence to great effect by putting on his uniform for a throwback dunk. Nance' "Double-Tap" dunk was one of the most memorable from the contest.

Rookie Donovan Mitchell was filling in for the injured Aaron Gordon and won the whole thing. His first "Rec League" dunk was fun, but he mostly leaned on nostalgia the rest of the way over innovation.

The Vince Carter slam was an exact replica of the 2000 Vinsanity reverse 360 windmill. Nance was more innovative, so it was arguably a cheap way to earn the championship round scores.


The Sunday night All-Star game was one of the best we have seen in years. The league ramped up the monetary incentives, though they were geared toward charity. The new format featured captain-picked squad for added intrigue.

The league wanted more defense/competitive basketball and the players certainly delivered. It was a down-to-the-wire contest with a defensive stop sealing the deal for team LeBron. Not even Stephen Curry could get a final shot off against a LeBron James/Kevin Durant double-team.

Highlights were frequent as usual, though the heightened defense also allowed fewer of the high-flying dunks fans might be used to. We saw well-rounded games from Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozen, Kyrie Irving, and Joel Embiid.

A lot of players seem to be developing beef with Embiid, who has still not played 82 games total in his career. This seems to speak volumes for how intimidating a force he is becoming in the NBA.

LeBron James was the undisputed MVP. His 29-10-8 line was the most impressive in the contest. In a game in which the best of the NBA came to play, King James still stood out as the top player. Will we ever see LeBron get old and slow down? Probably, but it does not look like it will be soon.

Here's to the final stretch of the season

Talent old and new was on full display and the NBA is looking as strong as ever. It will be exciting to see these stars head back to their teams and gear up for what is looking to be a dramatic final portion of the season.

Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement as we follow along here and on Twitter @BBall_Movement

All stats per ESPN.com

NBA All-Star Sunday Night

Ladies and gentlmen, the moment you have all been waiting for - the 2018 NBA All-Star game!

It has already been an exciting NBA All-Star weekend with plenty of young talent, memorable dunks, and dazzling skills.

Last night gave us skill competition champ Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, 3-point champ Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, and slam dunk master Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.

Did the best shooter win? Was Donovan Mitchell the rightful winner of the dunk contest or did he just cash in on nostalgia instead of innovation? We will go more in-depth tomorrow with a recap of the full weekend.

For now though, it is time to look ahead to tonight - the main event.

Sunday night's 67th annual NBA All-Star game

At a glance, one can quickly determine that team LeBron vs. team Stephen is a different format than in previous years. We have broken down the new format for you already here at The Movement.

The general change is that the top vote-getters in each conference are team captains that select their teams using players from either conference. Fan voted starters were selected first, then coach selected reserves.

Team LeBron has suffered four injuries that required NBA-chosen fill-in players. Team Stephen remains unchanged. LeBron has stated that reserve Russell Westbrook will replace the injured DeMarcus Cousins in his starting lineup.

The starters:

Team Lebron: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and *DeMarcus Cousins

Team Stephen: Steph Curry, DeMarr DeRozen, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Joel Embiid

The reserves:

Team LeBron: *Kristaps Porzingis, *Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, LaMarcus Aldridge, *John Wall, Victor Oladipo, Russell Westbrook, +Goran Dragic, +Andre Drummond, +Kemba Walker, and +Paul George

Team Stephen: Kyle Lowry, Karl-Anthony Towns, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Al Horford, Damian Lillard, and Jimmy Butler

* Injured - will not play

+ Replaced injured player

Things to watch for

Team LeBron seems to have some statistical advantages over Team Stephen, with higher total points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals over the course of the season. Team Stephen only leads in 3-point makes (stats per NBA.com)

That is not to say Team LeBron will walk all over them. No team that includes Curry, Harden, and more can be doubted. They will also have the chemistry of three Golden State teammates on their side.

The other Warrior, Kevin Durant, will be going against them while teaming up with old ally Russell Westbrook. LeBron and Kyrie Irving are another former tandem that will be joining forces. How these allies turned foes interact will be interesting to watch.

Check back to The Basketball Movement tomorrow for a recap of this game and the All-Star weekend as a whole.