*Original Photo Credit: Image Plotter
|MM MEN’S FINALS NIGHT OVERALL LEADERBOARD 2015|
|MM MEN’S FINALS NIGHT LEADERBOARD BY POSTION: GUARDS|
|MM MEN’S FINALS NIGHT LEADERBOARD BY POSTION: WINGS|
|MM MEN’S FINALS NIGHT LEADERBOARD BY POSTION: BIGS|
David Ajumobi (6’5″, SF, East London) emerged victorious as the top player in the men’s division final game at the Copper Box Arena, capping the end to a hugely successful summer for the powerful wing player from East London. Ajumobi also earned the overall division MVP and was crowned ‘King Of The Summer’ for his clutch play across all MM qualifier, semi and final rounds. Ajumobi has been a dominant player at the National League division 1 level for a number of years and proved he has what it takes to play with and against the best, standing tall in perhaps one of the most talented Midnight Madness divisions witnessed in recent years.
Strong, athletic and able to score the ball in multiple ways, Ajumobi is arguably the best British player in Britain playing outside of the BBL. With range to out beyond the arc, a vicious mid-range game and the strength and footwork to finish in the paint – he’s a matchup problem for defenders of all sizes and proved too hard to guard all summer.
Ajumobi is joined in the winners circle by Matthew Bryan-Amaning (6’9″, PF, South London), still, pound-for-pound, the most dominant big in the Midnight Madness competition. This year, Bryan-Amaning showed his MVP-pedigree by absolutely dominating the paint, proving unstoppable on the block with a variety of moves which (fresh for 2015) invariably finished with power finishes at the basket as opposed to former years where he may have opted for the fadeaway. MBA’s game feels more mature, more proficient and every bit the dominant big his huge potential has always hinted he’d become. When playing with confidence and taking advantage of his long frame, agile footwork and soft hands around the cup – it’s easy to see why this British star has a ceiling that has many believing he could be appearing on a NBA roster sometime soon.
Elvisi Dusha (6’0″, PG, West London) secured a well-deserved place on the travel team with superlative play from the point guard position. A pass-first creator, Dusha got into a nice rhythm in the finals and began to find teammates all over the court for easy scores. Smooth handle with excellent court-vision, Dusha visibly moved forward from ‘up and coming’ to ‘one of the best’ in British point guard status, displaying an advanced ability to control tempo and attack out of pick and roll/pop half court sets. There is a thick crop of GB PG’s coming through and all-too-often Dusha’s name is left out of the conversation – the mercurial guard used MM throughout the summer to firmly put himself back in the centre of the discussion.
Bode Adeluola (5’10, PG, East London) plays with the type of confidence you love to see in a point guard. He’s good and he knows it. With the ability to create his own shot whenever he wants it, Adeluola has already proven he can light it up once he gets going. However, more impressive this summer has been his marked improvement in being able to make his teammates better by getting them easy looks and creating scoring channels for them to play through. His handle remains untouchable and nobody has figured out a way to keep him out of the lane, which he took advantage of early and often, throughout the finals. Good luck to any single coverage defense trying to stop this offensive juggernaught this season…#problems.
Rounding out the top 5 is Arturo Noha (6’2″, SG, Coventry), a tough, veteran guard who plays hard, plays to win and light up defenses from downtown. Offensively, you won’t get anything easily against Noha – he’s physically strong and has a good basketball IQ. Offensively he plays winning basketball, moves the ball well, keeps good spacing and seems to be the guy who always hits the ‘dagger’ 3 on over-stretched defenses. The guy is always in the right place at the right time and stands up to be counted. Though coaches and fans may not be familiar with his name, those serious about winning need to become familiar with his game. He’s a winner.
Walid Mumuni (6’6, SF, West London) is one of the most versatile players currently playing in National League Division 1, with unquestionable ability to play at the BBL level. A multi-skilled wing defender, Mumuni shores up a lot of holes on both sides of the ball. He can handle the ball when called upon to do so and makes plays in the clutch, whether the need is to score, stop or deliver the basketball – Mumuni has a knack for finding a way to get it done. Long limbed and agile with a ‘utility belt’ type game – Mumuni is an astute pick up for any team who are serious about winning and looking to strengthen their depth charts.
Jason Tucker (6’4, SG, Northampton) is a gun-slinger high on confidence who has been fun to watch all summer long. If Midnight Madness is about giving under-exposed players an opportunity to show the world they are ready for prime time – ‘JT’ may have played the role better than anyone this summer. He’s scored on defenders of all shapes, sizes and pedigrees throughout the tournament and has proven he can shoot from well beyond the arc. Best of all, he’s hungry and plays with a competitive chip on his shoulder that’s fuelled his success and booked his ticket to Paris next summer.
Babs Somoye (6’8″, PF, West London) is a true wide-body who proved to be too much, too often for the under-sized pivots on the opposing Madness All-Stars. Soft hands around the basket compliment his big frame and solid footwork, which enabled him to establish deep position in the paint, receive a variety of passes and finish at the basket without wasted motion. A ‘throwback’ power forward who does his damage on the block, you won’t find Somoye flirting with 3’s or venturing out of his comfort zone – and that’s a good thing. All too often, players at his position seem determined to take the ‘power’ out of the forward position and shy away from physical play – so it’s refreshing to find a player who seems to enjoy rolling up his sleeves, banging bodies and establishing a deep post presence around which a high-percentage offense can be run.
Tayo Ogedengbe (6’6″, SF, Surrey) is a multi-year winner at Midnight Madness with the skills to back up the awards. An uber-athletic wing who is one of the best British scorers in the BBL (career 16ppg credentials), Ogedengbe can play above the rim but also has the ability to step out and make a jumper out to 3. He’s at his best when locked in on the glass, getting out in transition and depended upon to lead the attack – all of which he is able to do in bunches. In the right situation, Ogedengbe is ready to lead a team to success in the BBL and he’ll get his chance to do so this season as the ‘franchise’ guy at the all-new Surrey Scorchers. In tying up another MM title, ‘T-O’ played a conservative game, by his standards, but made 66% of his shots from the field, including a 3 pointer en route to helping lead the Midnight All-Stars to the win.
Ed Lucas (6’3″, PG, South London) distributed the ball well (4 assists) and looked classy throughout the finals. Lucas plays on balance, has quick first step and a proficient set of offensive skills that indicate he has several more levels he can elevate to, should the need arise. He has a potent pull-up jumper and can create his own shot in the mid-range, or drive the ball to the basket with success. Lucas is a bonafide talent and will do well wherever and whenever he plays.
*The top 5 players by position will now move on to represent the UK on the Midnight Madness Travel team in September, joining the top5 players on the U20’s – while the entire top 10 listed above earn a place on one of the the Paris Quai 54 squads next June, pending player availability.