AAU basketball has grown to an extremely high level of quality over the past twenty years. Often, a young player finds his best opportunity to showcase his skills during the Spring and Summer AAU season against top notch competition. This is especially true for up and coming Rhode Island players, who play their high school ball in what is generally thought of as a lower-end interscholastic league.

Rhode Island players are fortunate to have a top-notch AAU youth program in the Rhode Island Breakers. The Breakers have been in existence for over ten years and boast some talented alumni: Demetris Nichols, Abdi Lidonde, Ray Cross, TJ Sorrentine, Toby Britton, Gouty Gaye, Lamar Barrett, Jeff Xavier, and James Sorrentine all played for the Breakers. The program features 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old, 15 year old, and 16 year old squads. But the team that has college coaches flocking with anticipation to their games is the 17-and up team.

Coached by Dave Vitale and Ray Cross, Sr., the father of Providence College walk-on Ray Cross, the 17 year old squad features exciting talent that will be targeted by many of the area's coaches.

Once again, the Breakers will take on a national schedule, filled with outstanding challenges and competition. "The GymRatchallenge in Albany is a big one. We won it last year. (Joe) Mazzulla was the MVP and (Jimmy) Baron made the all tournament team. It has about 200 teams in 3 divisons. Probably the biggest win in our organization's 10- plus year history," said Coach Vitale.

A couple of players merit special attention for Friar fans.

Rakim Sanders is a strong, 6-3 sophomore who starred this past season for prep powerhouse St. Andrew's, playing alongside future Friar Jonathan Kale. Sanders has explosive athletic ability, can stroke it from three point range and is still growing. Right now, he projects as a two-guard in college, but could easily be a swingman-type player. Sanders has expressed strong interest in Providence, and the Friars are in turn, very interested in this young star in the making. This will be Sanders' first year with the Breakers.

Joey Mazzulla led the Hendricken Hawks to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League state championship this past season and will surely be a First Team All-State selection when the awards are handed out. A pure point guard, Mazzulla specializes in driving to the hoop and dishing to teammates for easy baskets. When called upon, Mazzulla can also score and shoot from the outside, although this is one aspect of his game that needs more consistency. The Friars are very involved with Mazzulla, whose dad played for Bryant College, as is Xavier, West Virginia, and URI, among others.

Sanders and Mazzulla will be ably assisted by several other talented players. DJ Carcieri is a tough defender who played alongside Mazzulla on Hendricken's state championship team. The frontcourt should be competitive with , a tough rebounder and inside scorer from St. Andrew's, Brian Rouse, a rugged post player from Toll Gate High, and Ryan Thompson, a 6-7 anchor on Cranston West's state semifinal squad.

The season is shaping up as a special one for the Breakers, and don't be surprised to see a few more of their players land college scholarships.

2005 RI Breakers Roster
12 DJ Carcieri, Bishop Hendricken, Warwick, RI, Sr., 6-0, 175
14 Joe Mazzulla, Bishop Hendricken, Warwick, RI, Jr., 6-2, 175
40 Rakim Sanders, St. Andrew's, Barrington, RI, So., 6-3, 190
31 Brandon Forbes, Marianapolis Prep, Thompson, CT, Jr., 6-0, 170
Kashif Montgomery, Central Falls, Central Falls, RI, Jr., 6-4, 190
50 Joe Ogdubella, St. Andrew's, Barrington, RI, Jr., 6-4, 180
55 Ryan Thompson, Cranston West, Cranston, RI, Jr., 6-7, 190
35 Brian Rouse, Toll Gate, Warwick, RI, Jr., 6-5, 200
25 Mark Alexander, Marianapolis Prep, Thompson, CT, Jr., 6-1, 165
(Roster is up to date as of March 20, 2005)

2005 RI Breakers Schedule March 18-20 at CCRI Warwick, George Tedino Memorial
April 1-3 at Teaneck NJ, TIM Thomas Playaz, Meadowlands*
April 8-10 at Providence, Hoop Group Jam Fest*
April 16-18, at Washington DC, Charlie Weber (Live D 1 )*
April 22- at CCRI Warwick, BREAKOUT*
April 29-May 2 at Brewster NY, Westchester Elite Basketball*
May 6-8 at Providence, Commotion by the Ocean
May 20-22 at Albany NY, King of the Mountain
May 27-29 at Albany NY, Gym Rat Challenge*
June 3-5, Breaker Challenge
June 10-12 at Bronx NY, Rumble in the Bronx*
June 17-19 at Farfield Ct, Ct Young Gunz*
June 21-25 at Providence, PC Team , Marianapolis players*
July 5-9 at Camp , Eastern, ABCD, etc., Live Div. 1*
July 13-17 at West Virgina, Hoop Group, Live Div. 1*
July 21-25 at Las Vegas NV, Vision Sports "Main Event", Live Div 1*
Live Div. 1 means that coaches are allowed to attend
* means that scouting services will be in attendance

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