After a furious semi-final of all-night action, the finalists for the Midnight Madness 2015 ‘Who’s Got Next?’ championship game are ‘in the books’. 20 of the best players aged under 20 from across Britain are now just one step away from British basketball’s biggest prize of the summer, a spot on the MM Travel Team and the chance to be crowned ‘King Of Summer’!
The Midnight All-Stars will be led by arguably the best U20 point guard in Britain, Jules Dang-Akodo, who returns to the finals for the second year in a row to defend his title. Dang-Akodo is joined by first time finalists Rohan Henry and Charles Yassi-Pepin. Henry turned heads throughout the semi-final round with a slew of quick-fire drives to the basket where he finished with spectacular regularity. Yassi-Pepin is a no-nonsene rebounding phenom who commanded the block like a boss during the qualifier and semi-final rounds – he’ll be looking to complete his run of good form with a place in the winners circle. Shaquille Walters is a name that needs to be on every recruiters radar, a long-limbed, agile guard who can play multiple positions on the perimeter – his games oozes ‘Next Level’.
Cleve Charles and Tyler Johnson come into the finals firmly believing this is their year of destiny after both getting into the final round the hard way. Charles had to bounce back from an agonising loss in Manchester where a single missed free-throw denied him of his Golden Ticket pass through to the semi’s – only to redeem himself in London. While Johnson travelled the country in pursuit of the illusive ticket, finally making it through to the semi-finals at the last attempt in ‘Last Chance Show & Prove’ in Nottingham. To add to his ‘underdog’ status, locked into a tie for the last finals spot, he calmly sank the ‘do or die’ free throw to claim his place on the hallowed grounds.
For the Madness U20 All-Stars, silky smooth Josh Palmer teams up with high-flying duo Kevaun McKenzie and Jay Jarrett. Palmer has consistently been one of the premier guards of the summer, playing with a maturity that belies his age. He plays with a cool, calm demeanour and keeps the ball on a string – which is a good thing, as when the ball is in his hands, good things happen. Jarrett is a current reigning MM champion who has spent the past season out in the states and will be keen to show everyone just how much he’s improved over the past 12 months. A 6’7 leaper, full of potential, Jarrett plays with a competitive edge that continues to find ways to win. McKenzie played well in the semi’s, leading all scorers in his division and is focused in on carrying over his strong play into the finals. Rangy, athletic and well-respected amongst his peers, McKenzie is US college-bound and plans on leaving everyone with something to remember him by in the finals showcase.
Dan Akin is having a ‘breakout’ summer after strong showings at the Deng Top 50 and throughout the MM 2015 campaign. Another 6’7 athlete who isn’t afraid to put a defender in the rim, Akin has quickly made a name for himself through his energetic play, impact on the glass and ability to finish in transition. Sharp shooting Reece Turner has the ability and potential to break a game wide open with his shooting ability and has developed a stronger slash and finish game since last summer. Rossano Dias is another tough, competitive guard from the Hackney Community College program and will not back down or be intimidated by the pedigree of Dang-Akodo, or anyone else he goes up against on Friday night. Emmanuel Kabengele will play hard from start to finish and brings some welcome toughness and hustle to the party.
The full U20 finals rosters:
|MIDNIGHT U20 ALL-STARS||MADNESS U20 ALL-STARS|
|Guard||6’1||Jules||Dang – Akodo||Guard||6’0||Joshua||Palmer|
|Big||6’6||Charles||Yassi – Pepin||Big||6’7||Dan||Akin|
*TICKETS FOR THE FINALS ARE AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED RUN AT A Y-PLAN SPONSORED 50% DISCOUNT – GET YOURS TODAY BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: