By David Cordova
In this day and age, there are many AAU programs that showcase their players, but aside from giving them exposure, the question that is never asked is: “Where is the development? There are players that have plenty of talent, but never work on their craft, which can hinder them whether they’re trying to take their talents to the next level and beyond.
However, there is one program in the tri-state area that focuses on developing talented players to their maximum potential, which turns them into athletes that are ready for Division I-level basketball or college basketball, period.
The program in question is the Northeast Basketball Club, which is a New Jersey-based outlet which focuses on training and skill development on the basketball level. “The mission is to help them get as much exposure as possible,” said Trevor Harris, a trainer and founder of the NEBC. “It’s more of a laid-back scenario where we normally don’t ask for a full-time commitment because we know there’s a lot of things going on in the area and the kids have a lot of events that they get invited to, but at the same time, we like to build team morale and get kids to come out and compete seriously, but at the same time be able to engage with a lot of the other guys that are from the area as well.”
The program, which started in 2014, has been paramount to a lot of players’ development. “We started off doing skill development and training and dabbled with AAU for a couple of years,” says Harris. “But now we’re focusing on skill development again & elite-level competition in New York and Jersey as well.”
In their short period of existence, the NEBC has made their mark in plenty of tournaments around New York City, and they are known for holding their own in the summer leagues. “We love coming out to IS8, always a great time. My man Mousey (Tri-State Classic), always holds it down, he always does a great tournament whether it’s in the spring at Abbo or in the summer. We’re going to be pulling up to Dyckman this summer and we’re excited about that as well, those are pretty much the three main ones that we focus on throughout the spring and summer.”
Although the program hasn’t been around long, the amount of players that it has produced is still astonishing. The names include:
- Shakur Juiston – Former Paterson Eastside (NJ) star who recently won NJCAA Player of the Year and a national championship on the junior-college level at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas. He averaged 10.9 points and eight rebounds per game this season at Hutchinson. He will be playing at UNLV this fall.
- Paul Jorgensen – Former star at Don Bosco Prep (NJ), who played for two years at George Washington University. He sat out a year due to the NCAA transfer rule, but will be playing at Butler University in the fall.
- Ty Jerome – Former star at Iona Prep (NY), who averaged 4.3 points per game as a freshman at the University of Virginia. Next season, he will have a much larger role with the Cavaliers.
- Jahvon Quinerly – The No. 22-ranked player in the Class of 2018 by ESPN out of Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. In his junior season, he averaged 20.4 points, 5.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year in the state of New Jersey.
- Luther Muhammad – Another promising prospect out of Hudson Catholic High School. He averaged 15.8 points and 3.1 assists per game for the Hawks this season and holds eleven offers from Division I schools.
- Tremont Waters – The No. 32-ranked player in the Class of 2017 by ESPN out of Notre Dame-West Haven in West Haven, Connecticut. In his senior season, he averaged 25.3 points, 4.6 assists and 4.6 assists and was named Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Connecticut. He is deciding on where to commit to college this fall.
- Nicholas Richards – The No. 16-ranked player in the Class of 2017 by ESPN out of the Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey. The McDonald’s All-American averaged 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He will be playing for the University of Kentucky in the fall.
The names above are just a few players that have been part of the program’s success. Since the program was established, there have been 35 to 40 players that have gone on to college that have played on the Division I, II and III levels.
“Obviously, the main goal is to get these guys a free education,” says Harris. “Any way we can help them, not just basketball-wise, but when it comes to mentoring or anything we can do off the floor as well, our main purpose is to build those relationships and get those guys set and ready to be good young men as they go off on their own to college.”
When asked about playing in IS8, where they won a championship back in the fall edition in October, Harris says, “It’s great. IS8 is the place to be, just like the back of the jersey says, ‘Bring Your Game, Not Your Name.’ We enjoy coming out here, it’s a little bit of a trek coming from Jersey, but it’s always worth it. Pete [Edwards] does a great job] getting good competition for us to play against and it’s very exciting.”
On winning the IS8 title back in October: “Winning the championship in the fall was very big for us, you know, we brought out a lot of great talent, competed against a lot of great competition, it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, we worked hard every single game and we earned that championship that’s certainly not given.”
This spring, the NEBC is back in IS8 and have been one of the top teams in the spring league. As they enter the playoffs, they are poised to get back to the title game on June 3rd. “Very excited about the start to the spring, you know, obviously we like to compete, but the main goal is to win and we feel very confident and coming out next Sunday and having a good showing at the start of the playoffs.” says Harris.
As the NEBC continues to grow, there will be more players in the metropolitan area that will come out prepared for the next level, thanks to their tutelage. They have a new project in the works called Northeast Run, in which alumni will come back and workout with the current high schoolers and get them in a closed-door environment in which there will be plenty of competition.
For now the mission for the future of the NEBC is simple, “Continuing to work with these kids, we’ve been lucky enough to have a nice platform of guys who have really started us off the first few years, we want to continue to grow.”
Highlights of Northeast Basketball Club:
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of Northeast Basketball Club.
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.