Each turned in terrific summers and the Stars earned the nod as top team because they won the only head to head meeting of the two giants of the AAU circuit.
TheInsidersHoops.com Final Traveling Team Top 25 Poll
1. Georgia Stars (Atlanta, Ga.) *1
Notes: The Stars began the season with a bang, winning titles at Boo Williams and Kingwood, and then they ended it with a title at the AAU Nationals. Louis Williams (Georgia) can make a case for Player of the Year honors in the spring and summer. Williams averaged 22.2 points at the Nike Peach Jam.
2. Spiece Indy Heat (Indianapolis, Ind.) *2
Notes: It wasn't an easy decision between the Georgia Stars and Spiece, which won the adidas Classic, the Tournament of Champions and also the Big Time in Las Vegas. The difference came down to a championship game setback to the top-ranked Georgia Stars all the way back in April at Kingwood. Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daquan Cook will get another chance, though, as the trio returns next season.
3. Illinois Warriors (Oak Forest, Ill.) *8
Notes: Other than a dreadful 0-3 performance at Kingwood, the Warriors were impressive nearly every time out. Julian Wright & Co. advanced to the semis at Spiece and in Bloomington, Ind., got to the quarterfinals at the Memorial Day Classic and ended up winning the Peach Jam and the title in Kansas City to end the summer. Point guard Justin Dentmon was a key pickup for Larry Butler's group.
4. YOMCA (Memphis, Tenn.) *7
Notes: It looked like it was going to be a long year after YOMCA lost all three of its games at Boo Williams, but they advanced to the semifinals at Kingwood, won the Memorial Day Classic and lost to the top-ranked Georgia Stars at the AAU Nationals. Shawne Williams (Memphis) provided a big boost and J.P. Prince stepped up his play.
5. New Orleans Jazz (New Orleans, La.) *3
Notes: The Jazz, led by Tasmin Mitchell and D.J. Augustin, had a terrific summer – winning the Texas Classic and advancing to the title game at the Tournament of Champions and also at the Best of Summer, where they lost to DC Assault.
6. New York Gauchos (Bronx, N.Y.) *6
Notes: The Gauchos weren't quite as good as a year ago when they won three titles with Russell Robinson, Sundiata Gaines and Ronald Ramon, but they still did their share of winning. It started with a title at the Spring Fling and continued with a quarterfinal appearance at Kingwood. Lavance Fields, Jessie Sapp and Curtis Kelly helped lead the Gauchos to a title-game appearance at the Memorial Day Classic.
7. Rotary Select (Seattle, Wash.) *4
Notes: The boys from Seattle got off to a torrid start, winning the Pump ‘N Run Spring tournament and reaching the title game at Spiece before having to leave early to catch a flight. They lost in the Sweet 16 at the adidas Super 64 and got knocked off by eventual champion DC Assault in the semis of the Best of Summer. Terrence and Marcus Williams made these guys a formidable group.
8. D.C. Assault (Washington, D.C.) *11
Notes: It looked as though it would go downhill after Jeff Green left the team after qualifying to play at Georgetown, but a semifinal appearance at Kingwood was no fluke. They went 5-1 at the adidas Super 64 and then won the Best of the Summer, knocking off the New Orleans Jazz in the championship game.
9. Meanstreets (Chicago, Ill.) *10
Notes: A lot of people overlooked Tai Streets' kids – and they made them pay. They made the quarterfinals at Kingwood, lost to Spiece Indy Heat in the title game at the adidas May Classic, went 6-1 at the Tournament of Champions, won the Mullen tournament in Kansas City and then finished 7-2 at the AAU Nationals. Marquette-bound guard Jerel McNeal was the team's most consistent player, but he had plenty of help from guys like Donnell Lyons and Brandon Ewing.
10. Friends of Hoop (Seattle, Wash.) *9
Notes: Martell Webster returned from a foot injury, but the star of this team was clearly Jon Brockman, who came to play every single game. FOH lost in the semifinals of the Memorial Day Classic and ended up taking the title at the Main Event in Las Vegas. Neither Brockman nor junior big man Spencer Hawes played at the Best of Summer, where Friends of Hoop went 4-1.
11. Dallas Mustangs Blue (Dallas, Tex.) *12
Notes: The Mustangs had one of the top guard tandems in the country with Byron Eaton and Austin Jackson. They won the Howard Pulley tournament, took home a title in St. Louis and advanced to the semifinals at the Big Time before losing to Spiece.
12. EBO (Fresno, Calif.) *NR
Notes: This young group peaked at the right time, beating the Atlanta Celtics to win the adidas Super 64 out in Las Vegas. Derrick Jasper and Travon Willis finished with 16 and Brook Lopez added 14 in the title game. Plus, they were big time at the Showtime Nationals.
13. Illinois Wolves (Downers Grove, Ill.) *14
Notes: The Wolves, led by North Carolina-bound guard Bobby Frasor and his backcourt mates, Bryan Mullins and Sead Odzic, went to the quarterfinals at Kingwood and had to leave for Orlando after making the quarterfinals of the Big Time. They finished fifth in Orlando at the AAU Nationals after losing to the Georgia Stars.
14. SRAP (Syracuse, N.Y.) *5
Notes: When Greg Paulus and Andray Blatche were clicking, this group was as good as anyone. However, the Duke-bound Paulus left the team to get some rest before football practice and the team struggled at the Best of Summer. SRAP won at Charlie Weber in the spring, took home the title at Five-Star in Boston and went to the semifinals at the Tournament of Champions.
15. Boo Williams (Hampton, Va.) *19
Notes: Boo had one of the deepest teams in the country and ended up getting to the semifinals of the AAU National before bowing out to the Georgia Stars, They also went 5-2 at the Showcase and lost in the semifinals of the Peach Jam.
16. Southern California All-Stars (Los Angeles, Calif.) *NR
Notes: The All-Stars, behind Marcus Johnson and Bryan Harvey, closed out the summer in style with a title at the Reebok Summer Classic. Harvey had 23 points in the title game victory against the Dallas Mustangs.
17. New Jersey All-Stars (N.J.) *NR
Notes: Andrew Bynum was the big name, but it was a pair of Rutgers-bound players – guard Anthony Farmer and forward Jaron Griffin – who helped lead them to the title at the Super Showcase. Griffin had 26 and Farmer added 16 in a semifinal win against the Georgia Stars.
18. Team Breakdown (Fla.) *NR
Notes: Edwin Rios scored the most points in the history of the Big Time in leading Team Breakdown to a title-game loss to Spiece Indy Heat. These guys also finished 4-1 at the Reebok Summer Classic.
19. Playaz Basketball Club (Paterson, N.J.) *17
Notes: The Playaz had an up-and-down summer, but they finished the summer strong with a semifinal appearance in the Super 64 in Las Vegas. Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson Jr. will return to make this one of the top teams again next year.
20. Team Texas (Dallas, Tex.) *18
Notes: C.J. Miles & Co. probably should have done even better, but these guys did enough to earn a spot in the Top 25. Miles averaged 17.8 points per game at the Peach Jam, where Team Texas went 4-1 before losing to BABC.
21. Martin Bros. (Waterloo, Iowa) *NR
Notes: Once again, the Martin Brothers found a way to surprise people with a title-game loss to the New Jersey All-Stars in Orlando at the Super Showcase. With few recognizable names, the boys from Iowa are among the best coached in America.
22. New Heights (New York, N.Y.) *NR
Notes: Lance Thomas was a star all summer, leading this group to a title-game appearance at the Rumble in the Bronx and also a quarterfinal appearance at the Big Time.
23. New York Panthers (New York City, N.Y.) *23
Notes: The Panthers started slow, but the addition of Rob Thomas really made a difference. Gary Charles' squad got to the final four of the Reebok Summer Classic to close out the summer and also had a semifinal berth at the TOC.
24. BABC (Boston, Mass.) *NR
Notes: It was a roller-coaster summer for Leo Papile's crew, but Jeff Adrien stepped up big at the Peach Jam, where BABC advanced to the title game before losing to the Illinois Warriors.
No. 25 Illinois Fire (Chicago, Ill.)
Notes: The Fire struggled at the adidas May Classic, losing to Cincinnati Blue and All-Ohio Red, but rebounded to win their first four games at the Tournament of Champions before losing to the New York Panthers, 82-77, in overtime of the quarterfinals.
13. Metro Hawks (Bronx, N.Y.) *13
Notes: The former Riverside Church, which was led by Jonathan Mitchell and Tyrell Biggs, advanced to the semifinals of the Spring Fling and the quarters of the Memorial Day Classic. However, an 0-5 performance at the Peach Jam knocks them out of the Top 25.
No. 16 Alabama Lasers (Huntsville, Ala.)
Notes: The Lasers were led by Richard Hendrix, who will choose between Alabama and North Carolina.
No. 20 Texas Blue Chips (Texas)
Notes: The Blue Chips made an early splash onto the scene at the Pearland Classic and the Kingwood, but then inactivity kept them out of the final poll.
No. 21 D.C. Blue Devils (Washington, D.C.)
Notes: The D.C. Blue Devils went 2-2 down at the Memorial Day Classic in New Orleans and went 3-2 at the Peach Jam. They were right on the verge of making the final poll, but they'll have to wait until next year, when they return Kevin Durant, Tywon Lawson & Co.
No. 22 Portland Legends (Portland, Ore.)
Notes: The Legends had a quality summer, but their youth showed at times. Look for Kevin Love and Kyle Singler to have them among the elite next year.
No. 24 The Family (Detroit, Mich.)
Notes: Chris Douglas-Roberts & Co. did a solid job all summer, but The Family came up just shy of making the elite 25
No. 25 Houston Hoops (Houston, Texas)
Notes: The Hoops had plenty of talent, but didn't show the consistency to earn a spot among the nation's elite 25 teams. Nic Wise stepped up big-time towards the end of the July.
Honorable Mention: Southeast Elite (Huntsville, Ala.); Arizona Magic Blue (Phoenix, Ariz.); Arizona Cagers (Ariz.); Arkansas Wings (Ark.); Belmont Shore (Long Beach, Calif.); Pump ‘N Run (Chatsworth, Calif.); H-Squad (Calif.); California Elite (Calif.); Inland (Calif.); Oakland Slam ‘N Jam (Calif.); NorCal Elite (Calif.); Fairfield County Stars (Conn.); Delaware Sharpshooters (Milford, Del.); Tallahassee Wildcats (Tallahassee, Fla.); Miami Tropics (Miami, Fla.); Team Florida (Clearwater, Fla.); Atlanta Celtics Black (Atlanta, Ga.); World Wide Renegades (Ga.); Smyrna Stars (Ga.); Team Georgia Elite (Ga.); Blessed IJN (Fort Wayne, Ind.); KC Pump ‘N Run (Kan.); Louisiana Select (La.); Cecil Kirk (Md.); Baltimore Select (Md.); New England Playaz (Springfield, Mass.); BABC (Boston, Mass.); Howard Pulley Panthers (Minneapolis, Minn.); Michigan Hurricanes (Mich.); Team Minnesota (Minn.); Magnolia Stars (Miss.); St. Louis Eagles (St. Louis, Mo.); New Jersey Panthers (N.J.); New York Ravens (Bronx, N.Y.); Albany City Rocks (N.Y.); Westchester Hawks (N.Y.); N.C. Gaters (N.C.); D-One Greyhounds (Ohio); All-Ohio Red (Ohio); Cleveland Basketball Club (Ohio); Portland Elite (Ore.); Philly MJC (Pa.); Athletes First (Okla.); Rhode Island Breakers (R.I.); South Carolina Ravens (Columbia, S.C.); Tennessee Travelers (Newport, Tenn.); Memphis Bulldogs (Tenn.); Mid-State Ballerz (Tenn.); Houston Elite (Houston, Texas); Houston Select (Texas); Utah Pump N Run (Utah); Utah Vipers (Utah); Squires (Va.); Wisconsin Playground Warriors (Milwaukee, Wisc.); Fox Valley Skillz (Wis.); Wisconsin DTA (Wis.); Friends of Hoop (Wisc.)