Yanders Law Blue Elite (16u) - Homegrown, top-tier AAU squad

Today we spotlight the 16 & under Yanders Law Blue Elite team that is living up to their name and putting the AAU scene on notice.

The NY2LA Spring Warm Up over the weekend confirmed what many already knew: the Yanders Law program can claim many of the top sophomores not only in the state, but beyond. Yanders Law Blue Elite defeated the Green Bay Gunners, ET21 Buckeyes, Mac Irvin Fire EYBL, and Team Teague in the 16u platinum bracket.

Blue Elite fell to Meanstreets (another EYBL team), which went on to win the bracket. This Yanders Law squad is a team of guys from Southwest Missouri that have mostly been playing with each other for four or five years. Many of these other teams consist of new, recruited players from a wide area.

For Yanders Law Blue Elite to be able to hang with teams that have shoe deals or NBA players backing them is immensely impressive. With all the noise this team is making after just a couple weeks of practice together, a few of these guys are likely to be more heavily recruited themselves.

Every player on this team contributed in one way or another at the NY2LA Spring Warm Up. Scoring, defending, or being active from the sidelines are all important; we saw plenty of that this weekend. One player that has truly upped his game recently is Zach Howell, and it showed in Milwaukee.

“Zach has improved a ton” said Yanders Law founder and namesake, Rob Yanders. “He hit some huge shots this weekend and showed out.” Another player that was making things look easy against stiff competition was Anton Brookshire.

In a recap of early tournament action, the NY2LA website had this to say about Brookshire:

Brookshire really captains the ship for his team with his play and is efficient in his work. He picked up where he left off last summer with a solid opening game, getting to the hoop and finishing with good control, burying shots from both the mid and long levels and was otherwise operating as a facilitator for his teammates, pushing the ball up the floor and getting his guys scoring opportunities.
— NY2LAsports.com

One more player that has to be named is Isaac Haney. If you were paying attention to his season in Dora, you know that he has taken his game to another stratosphere. The kid can score with ease and had one of the prettiest shots in the whole tournament, regardless of age or association.

Things are just getting started for not only this team, but all of Yanders Law Basketball. To keep track of these guys, make sure to follow along on Twitter @YandersLaw and add them on Facebook.

Multiple athletes gearing up for state push

With their teams preparing for the biggest stages of high school ball, we reach out to a few of our Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement athletes to get their thoughts.

Isaac Haney, Zach Howell, and Kanon Gipson are easy for us to get a hold of. These young men are staples of The Basketball Movement facility - always coming in to get work. Even now at the height of the season, their desire to stay sharp keeps them coming back.

Hard work is a constant with contributors on good teams. It is no surprise that each of these young men are still playing despite districts coming to a close.

Isaac Haney

If you have been paying attention, it won’t surprise you to hear that All-District selection, Isaac Haney has taken his team to the final four in class 1. Dora has been dropping a lot of points on opponents - most of which have been supplied by Haney. “It feels like the hard work has paid off,” said Haney. “We just have to make sure we stay together and do what we’ve been doing; put an emphasis on teamwork, defend, and jump on people out of the gate.”

As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. Dora has been jumping out to big leads early and will look to continue to gain that advantage. If that doesn’t work out though, Isaac says they will be ready.

Zach Howell

Springfield Catholic (28-3) played strong right out of the gate this year. That put a target on their back, but it hasn’t mattered as they are preparing to kick off their class 3 final four appearance against St. Paul Lutheran. Two of Catholic’s losses came in the Tournament of Champions, which hosts some of the best teams in the nation. Freshman Zach Howell says that if the team locks in and plays the way they can, that they are poised to win it all.

Howell says that being on one of the few teams in the state left playing is a great feeling. Unlike most teams though, he feels that they essentially hold a home court advantage in the final four. “We have played at JQH about as much as we have played on our home court this year. We’ll be familiar with the court and space, which will be very helpful.”

After putting in so much time with The Basketball Movement, Zach says he is ready for anything.

Working with Rob can be applied to anything, but on the court I am prepared skill-wise and mentally. Rob says basketball is 90 percent mental and I agree. I’ll be ready.
— Zach Howell

Kanon Gipson

The other of Springfield Catholic’s three losses came to Logan-Rogersville and sharpshooter, Kanon Gipson of The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law. LR is now preparing for their sectional tilt and Gipson says he is determined to make sure his senior teammates don’t hang up their jerseys early.

“At this point any team can get you because they are there for a reason. You just have to give it your best shot,” said Kanon. “Our mentality has been the same all season”. Gipson still has the green light from deep and says that his main takeaway from The Basketball Movement will be stepping up his defense.

Here I’ve learned how to apply more pressure but also how to handle pressure. I’ve learned to deal with every obstacle.
— Gipson's takeaways from The Basketball Movement

Good luck again to these and all of our high school athletes that are getting to continue their push towards a state title. We will be watching and hoping for the best for each of you. For those of you that are prepping for the offseason - remember the number one facility for not only staying sharp, but improving your skills on and off the floor.