5 boys' hoop players compete in top AAU tournament in Las Vegas
Five of Wilbraham & Monson Academy's boys' basketball players competed with their respective AAU teams late in July at the adidas Super 64 Tournament in Las Vegas.
D.J. Baptiste '15 and Kamali Bey '13 participated, as did WMA newcomers Luis Montero '15, Arkel Ager '16 and Karim Kanter '14.
“I saw real growth in Djery, and Luis was phenomenal. To be that inexperienced and play that well . . . he hit the ground running,” said WMA Coach Chris Sparks, who made the trip to the other side of the country for the July 25-29 event. “I only saw Kamali two games. Arkel showed a lot of promise. He's young but when he got in there he did a really nice job. And Karim was terrific. He's playing with the U20 national team for Turkey. He came for the tournament and then left for Turkey to play with the national team.”
D.J. and Luis played in the 16-and-under division for East Coast Elite, which went 5-1. D.J. played center, while Luis ran the point.
“We did pretty good,” D.J. said. “We lost in the second round by one point. We lost only one game and that was it.
“I played pretty good. I grabbed rebounds, blocked shots, and made friends by dunking the ball. That's basically what I do. I have a lot of stuff to work on, like my shooting and my jump shot so it was good for me to see my weaknesses and the stuff I need to work on in the gym.”
Kamali's Connecticut Basketball Club 16U team went 2-3. Kamali got a lot of action at point guard, which isn't his natural position.
“Our team was pretty tired,” Kamali said. “We were in Philadelphia for a tournament, and the week before that we were in Indiana so I think we were pretty tired.
“I played alright, but I could have played better. With the dynamics of the team, things should have gone differently. But it happens.”
Karim played for East Coast Elite, while Arkel suited up for the Connecticut Basketball Club.