April 7, 2011

Martin Bros/Attack ready for EYBL

The name might be a little different this year, but talent on the roster is still very deep. The new name is All Iowa Attack/Martin Brothers and they recently qualified for the prestigious Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) and will be traveling to the first event on that circuit this weekend in Hampton, VA.

"I don't know many teams that were with Nike that had that relationship lapse that have gotten back into it with them. They are the biggest brand name in basketball and we had to qualify to get into this league. It really means something for our program and we get to play in some very prestigious events this spring and summer," said Coach Hank Huddleson.

The last time Huddleson took his team to the Boo Williams event, now known at EYBL #1, was back in 2008. This year his 17 year old team is generally recognized as one of the better AAU teams in that age ground and they are looking forward to competing against some of the top teams in the country this weekend.

"We faced a tough qualifier recently in Indiana and we were one of two teams that made it into the field at that event," he said. "We feel like we can play with some of the top teams in the country and look forward to having that opportunity starting this weekend."

The EYBL is broken up into four divisions of ten teams from all around the country competing in three events this spring with the championship being held in July at the Peach Jam. All Iowa Attack/Martin Brothers will be in either Division C or D at the first event and will play five games starting Friday and ending on Sunday.

The All Iowa Attack/Martin Brothers 17's team is led by point guard Marcus Paige, who has verbally committed to North Carolina. The Linn Mar prep star is recognized as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com and Huddleson feels he is improved this year.

"Marcus is stronger, physically, than he was last year," he said. "He has really worked on his overall game and those things that were deficiencies, and there weren't many, aren't as noticeable this year. He is as good of a guard as I have ever had."

Paige's running mate in the backcourt once again this year is 6-foot guard Mike Gesell from South Sioux City, NE. While Paige gets more of the national publicity, Gesell should get plenty of his own this year.

"Last year Mike was banged up in July and I think that hurt his overall performance," Huddleson said. "He's healthy right now and is being recruited by a lot of schools. I think Iowa and Creighton are his top two schools right now. Stanford is recruiting him and I know Nebraska has offered and they are in on him as well."

Huddleson also said that while they haven't offered, Kansas, Illinois, and Minnesota are showing strong interest in Gesell.

The third of the high major prospect trio on the All Iowa Attack/Martin Brothers 17's team is Adam Woodbury from Sioux City East High School. The 7-footer has draw plenty of attention on the recruiting trail as his game continues to develop.

"Adam is getting better and getting stronger. He continues to develop his post game and get better facing the basket," he said. "He still has Iowa at or near the top of his list of schools and a lot of other schools are keeping an eye on him in the recruiting process."

One player on the All Iowa Attack/Martin Brothers roster that appears on the cusp of blowing up on the recruiting trail is Kale Abrahamson from West Des Moines Valley. In the past year he has added a couple of inches to his now 6-foot-7 frame and started to fill out physically thanks to his hard work in the weight room.

"I think it's fair to say he could be the guy who starts getting more and more attention," he said. "He has shown the most growth of the guys on this team in the past two years. He has good size, high skill level, and he can shoot it."

Huddleson says he recently picked up an offer from Wake Forest and several high major schools are showing more and more interest. He thinks that Iowa might be interested in him, but a big factor might be that their recruiting needs at his position might already have been met in the 2011 class.

Mading Thok is an intriguing 6-foot-11 prospect who played with Woodbury at Sioux City East this past season and Iowa has shown a bit of interest in him in the Class of 2012.

"I thought that he played pretty well for us the past couple of weekends. He is a work in progress offensively, but what he lacks in refined skills at this point, he makes up for in length."

Huddleson says that Thok has recently visited Ball State and Nebraska. New Mexico is also showing some interest. Thus far Ball State is his only scholarship offer.

One under the radar player that has drawn a bit of attention recently, including from Rivals.com national basketball recruiting expert Eric Bossi is Daniel Jansen from MOC Floyd Valley High School.

"He plays really hard and really played well for us," he said. "He is skilled for his size, can shoot it, and really run. The question with him is will he be a face-up four or a post type guy."

Huddleson says he has an offer from Albany, but that is a while ago. He said that not a lot of people have seen him because he plays at a small school. That will certainly change this spring and summer with the exposure he will get playing on a high profile team.

One other player of interest who will be on the 17's team this spring is Akoy Agau, a 6-foot-8 wing prospect from the Class of 2013. Agau already has an offer from Iowa and several other schools.

"We moved him up this spring and Peter Jok is also on our roster, but he might not play with us at all the events. Akoy will help us because of his athletic ability and he gives us another scoring option."


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