This is a little déjà vu when talking Chicago LockDown AAU hoops.
Roughly 12 months ago the City/Suburban Hoops Report sang the praises of this group in this very blog. A year later LockDown is deserving of a little more praise, now playing at the 16U level.
After making a name for itself a year ago on the club circuit, Chicago LockDown has continued its winning ways.
This spring, LockDown has put together an impressive club basketball results résumé, including a title run at the Derby Classic in Louisville, where it knocked off the Illinois Celtics and beat both MoKan Elite and Mac Irvin Fire to win the title. LockDown shared a title at the Hoosier Jam Fest in Indianapolis and finished second this past weekend at the Spiece Run-N-Slam event in Fort Wayne.
While individual players still remain the focus and the highlight of club basketball in the spring and summer, it's refreshing to see a little old school basketball played -- unselfishness, teamwork, an offensive system, intangibles -- and some success come with it.
LockDown has Division I talent, for sure, but we're not talking big-named, high-major talent or Division I prospects up and down the roster. Yet the wins and tournament runs keep coming.
Led by the sophomore trio of Matt Rafferty, a 6-7 forward from Hinsdale Central, St. Viator point guard Mark Falotico and Lyons Township guard Harrison Niego, LockDown has some impressive pieces. Those three are all among the Hoops Report's Top 25 prospects in the Class of 2015.
This team plays hard, together and has multiple players capable of stretching a defense and knocking down shots from beyond the three-point line. This past weekend, with Niego sidelined with an injury on Saturday, Niles Notre Dame's Joe Mooney, Neuqua Valley's Connor Raridon and Nazareth Academy's 6-5 George Keirnan constantly stepped up.
Plus, St. Viator head coach Mike Howland, who has helped lead the Lions to 46 wins and two regional titles the past two years, coaches the 16U LockDown team. That's an advantage many travel teams don't have.
Most importantly, in the world of disgruntled players scattered on various AAU rosters by this time of the year, Chicago LockDown appears to truly enjoy themselves, playing loose and having fun.
Coach Mike Glennon training Shane Larkin from University of Miami
Mike Glennon Requested to Prepared Future Draft Choices for NBA Conbine
The Chicago LockDown's Skills Trainer, Mike Glennon, was asked to prepare future draft choices for the NBA Combine scheduled to take place in Chicago.
In the two-day intensive training sessions, Coach Glennon worked out a number of players. The two players Coach Glennon felt showed the most promise is Shane Larkin (Miami), who many NBA sources consider the best point guard in the country and University of Memphis' shooting guard, Adonis Thomas. At the training sessions, NBA TV filmed in preparation for an upcoming documentary.
Coach Glennon trains all teh teams with the Chicago LockDown. The 16U and 15U Chicago LockDown consist of a number of the top players in the state of Illinois.
2013 Derby Classic 16U Champions (College Showcase) in Louisville, KY (April 26th-28) Path to the Championship: IL Celtics, MoKan Elite, and Mac Ivrin Fire.
2013 Hoosier Jam Fest 16U Champions in Indianapolis, IN (April 19th-21st)
14U Coach Jimmy Fields featured on the cover of the May issue of AAU Magazine
The Spiece Fieldhouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana hosted this year's Run-N-Slam which was loaded the country's top teams. There were 64 teams participating at each level.
LockDown 16U finished 2nd in one of the most competitive fields to date. The LockDown 16U faced the Peoria Irish, Louisville Magic, LeBron James Shooting Stars, and MBA Select to name a few. Upon reaching the championship game and playing without Harrison Niego (injury), the 16U LockDown lost to Indiana Elite 73-65.
Coach Maley's 15U placed 2nd in pool play and came one defense spot short of reaching the sweet sixteen.
The 14U LockDown arrived in Fort Wayne shorthanded and struggled as a result.
Zion Morgan (Class of 2016) A top ten player in the state of Illinois.
Check out the 16U LockDown in action at the Derby Basketball Classic in Louisville, KY. In the GOLD Championship bracket, the LockDown beat the Illinois Celtics and the Nike sponsored MoKan Elite. The championship game the Chicago LockDown beat the Mac Irvin Fire (NIke) 50-48.
Chicago LockDown is a travel basketball program serving players from 2nd grade through high school.
Our 15U (freshman) and 16U (sophomore) teams compete at the national level giving LockDown players maximum college exposure. While practicing twice a week, our coaches and skill trainers focus on advanced player development. Coaches Jimmy Maley (15U) and Mike Howland (16U) have both been sited among the top young high school coaches in the state of Illinois. Maley and Howland are recognized as NCAA Certified Coaches.