AAU Preview: NY Gauchos

Our introduction of the nation's top traveling teams wouldn't be complete without referencing one of last season's most successful programs. The New York Gauchos continue our coverage of elite traveling teams.

Paul Brown's New York Gauchos of a year ago set a pretty high standard for the program. Led by the "Three Amigos" which consisted of Russell Robinson, Sundiatta Gaines and Ronald Ramon, the Gauchos captured three major traveling team championships last spring and summer.

The 2003 team won the Kingwood Classic, Peach Jam and Super Showcase. Repeating is the goal and you can bet this year's squad will come to understand the program's accomplishments well.

"I always tell them that nobody compares to last year's team," coach Paul Brown said. "I use it as motivation. They'll hear me say it over again."

Like every successful squad out of the Big Apple, the Gauchos will be built for speed and transition. They'll press, run and then run some more. It's their style.

"We're going to play up tempo that's for sure. We like to push the ball and we're going to get in transition. I know teams will sit back in a zone and see if we can shoot. It'll be our strategy against theirs."

The headliner of show is likely to be up and coming 2006 star forward Curtis Kelly. The Rice H.S. standout has a chance to be an elite player in his class. He's long, athletic and built for this style. He's going to receive a lot of attention as a rising junior.

"We've got two lefties on the blocks in Mike Davis (Pittsburgh commit) and Curtis Kelly," Brown said. "They're just long, athletic forwards that fit our system perfectly. We'll run them to death."

Brown thinks point guard Levance Fields is going to make a big time splash on the national scene. His name isn't well known just yet, but there's a reason for the delay.

"Levance is, to me, he's like a cross between Khalid El-Amin and Pearl Washington. He's got that stocky body type and sees the floor so well. He was hurt last year so a lot of people didn't know him. We won the Super Showcase 16's and 17's and a lot of people don't know that Levance was the MVP of the 16's"

The Gauchos have an excellent stable of young talent in the sophomore class so don't be surprised if guys like Edgar Sosa make cameo appearances throughout the season with this team.

"The Gauchos are ready to roll," says Brown.

New York Gauchos (Bronx, N.Y.)

Coach/Director Paul Brown

Affiliaton Nike

Top Prospect Curtis Kelly

Projected Starters PF Curtis Kelly (6-8, 195, SOPH), PG Levance Fields (6-1, 180, JR), PF Mike Davis (6-9, 215 JR), SF Saquan Stone (6-5, 205, JR), SG Jessie Sapp (6-3, 185, JR).

Others PF Jeff McDermott (6-8, JR), PF Lawrence Williams (6-8, JR), PG/SG Jerrell Mills (6-2, JR), SG Nyan Boateng (6-4, 175 JR).

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