Bluegrass Ballers

Posted: July 22, 2011 by Raashaan Myers in Kentucky Basketball, Louisville Basketball

The Louisville Magic AAU program has made a quick rise to the top of the 15 and under division. A combination of great coaching and elite talent has lead to quick success. Now they head out to Sin City and try to deliver another title or two to end the summer. Here is a look inside the program at the guys that make this machine work.

Deangelo Russell – Guard 6’3” 165 pounds Central HS

( All Photos by: Sam Hunter)

Russell is the highest rated prospect on the Magic roster and it is not hard to see why. Blessed with a sweet lefty stroke and incredible maturity for his age Deangelo is an assassin on the court. Using a deft handle and above average passing skills Russell has the ability to play on the ball as well as at the two. Already understanding the local media Deangelo says he does not cheer for either UofL or UK not picking sides in the rivaly. To this point he didn’t mention a list of schools recruiting him though Indiana, Purdue, UofL, and UK were all seen tracking him last week.

Thoughts on playing with very talented teammates: “It brings out the best in you every game. You never know whose night it is going to be so you have to bring it every game.”

On team chemistry: “We are around each other all the time. Even when we are not playing games we are hanging out so we have great chemistry.”

Strengths: “I try to do a little bit of everything. I try to be the leader and guard the best player on the other team. I feel I am a combo guard and since we have some true point guards on the team I can work off the ball too. I can move without the ball and get myself open instead of brining the ball up and running the offense.”

Need to work on: “I want to work on getting more athletic.”

On all the attention he is getting: “It is good right now and I look at it as a blessing. It is fun right now.”

Quentin Snider – PG 6’1” 160 pounds Ballard HS

Quentin gets things started for the relentless Magic attack. Possessing a lightning quick handle and a deadly outside shot Snider is perfectly suited for an up tempo offense. Snider has an extremely mature approach to the game as well as an excellent basketball IQ which makes him efficient and tough to contain. Continued work on defensive principles as well as strength development will help take his game to the next level. Snider is a big time Louisville fan and he already holds an offer from Tennessee Tech as well as interest from Oklahoma State, Xavier, and Louisville.

On the style of play: “It is a fun team to play for. We like to run up and down it is like playing on a playground team.”

On Coach Ellis Myles tough love: “He is just trying to make us better and get the best out of us.”

Strengths: “My biggest strengths are my assists and getting my team involved.”

Needs to work on: “I want to work on my defense and getting more rebounds.”

Trey Grundy – SF 6’6” 185 pounds Henry Clay HS

Trey is probably the best athlete on the Magic roster with great length and non-stop motor to boot. Grundy runs the floor very well and is good with his handle. While the perimeter shot is still a work in progress Trey has good court vision and can make plays off the bounce. He is a tireless rebounder and defender that gets a ton of extra possessions for his team off steals and hustle plays. A UK fan growing up Trey already is getting a ton of interest from Xavier, Purdue, Tennessee, Louisville, as well as interest from Ohio State, South Carolina, and Alabama.

On the team’s mission this AAU season: “We just want to show everybody that we are one of the best teams in Kentucky and one of the best teams in the nation. We don’t feel we are getting the respect we should so we are going out there to prove everyone wrong and show that we are the best.”

On joining forces with the best in the state: “We have been playing against each for a long time so we know what each other can do. This is the first time that we have all come together but we all know each other really well.”

Strengths: “I can guard anyone from a one to a five and I can stop someone defensively but I can also score as well.”

Needs to work on: “I want to work on my 3 point shot and I need to get in the weight room and get stronger.”

Jordan Green – SG/SF 6’4” 180 pounds Henry Clay HS

The name of the game for Jordan is versatility. He can both set up the offense handling the ball as well as finish off a slam in transition. He is a long and agile wing that is continuing to develop his guard skills while continuing to make better use of his considerable potential.  A lifelong Kentucky fan Green has heard from several schools including Tennessee, Xavier, and Purdue so far.

Thoughts on the team: “We work hard, we do everything up tempo, and we like to get out and run.”

Strengths: “My rebounding ability everybody can score so I try to bring something different to the team.”

Needs to improve: “Ball handing though I think I am getting better every day.”

Craig Owens – SF 6’2” 205 pounds Trinity HS

Craig is the type of guy that gets you to the winner’s circle. His greatest attribute is what he brings in toughness and intensity on the court. An outstanding defender and fearless rebounder for his size Owens competes with guys 6 to 8 inches taller. He is developing his long range shot and with continued work on his ball handling will only improve his overall game. A lifelong Louisville fan Owens has received interest from Marquette, Virginia, and Alabama among others.

On playing with the Magic: “I love playing for my team.  I really like this team because we all grew up together and we know each other.”

Strengths: “I think I bring the heart and toughness to the team. And on defense I want to go out there and shut down the best player on each team.”

Needs to work on: “I am working on my ball handling and my shooting. I am not going to be a big man so I need to transition to the guard spot.”

Brandon Hatton – SG 6’2” 185 pounds Dixie Heights HS

To watch Brandon on the court it does not take long to see what he brings to the table. The kid gets buckets and he does is in different ways and can score in bunches. A deft touch from both midrange as well as from the arc Hatton is crafty with his handle to help create space to get off his shot. He can score on the spot up as well as off the dribble and is working on his play making and passing skills. From the state of Kentucky he actually prefers Tobacco Road as he is a big time UNC fan. Brandon so far has gotten interest from Tennessee, Texas, Xavier, Florida State, and some others.

On joining the Magic: “This was the first time that we have all be playing together and it is kind of like an all-star team. We all have played against each other growing up and now finally we are getting to play together.”

Strengths: “Seeing the floor and my shooting.”

Needs to work on: “Getting faster and my jumping ability.”

Christian Cunningham – PG 6’0” 165 pounds Scott County HS

Cunningham is a steadying force for the Magic. He shows a good deal of maturity and has some explosiveness off the bounce in full court situations. He makes good decisions with the ball in his hands and has a good basketball IQ for a young prospect. Christian so far has heard from Tennessee and Manhattan as well as mail for Memphis. He is from a house divided as his mother is a UofL fan and his father a UK fan so he does not pull for either.

Thoughts on what drives the team: “We are a really energetic group and we have a lot of hype guys on the team and we feed off that and coach Ellis.”

Thoughts on team chemistry: “We have a lot of good players on the team. We are real close and we are always together ever since we were little. So we just keep everything together.”

Strengths: “I think I settle the team down and can get a bucket if the team needs one.  I find teammates and try to set them up to score.”

Needs to work on: “I want to get my three point shot a little bit better and work on my dribble pull up.”

Justin Miller – PF/C 6’5” 220 pounds Ohio County HS

Justin is a young prospect who will be starting his freshman year at Ohio County this year. He has good size and works very hard but is still a work in progress due to his youth.  He has soft hands and plays with good aptitude on the block which is where he does his damage. As he continues to get in better shape and work on the little things Miller will improve as a player.

On his role with the team: “I try to play hard while I am in there. I don’t get in much but I am only 14 so I just try to play hard.”

Strengths: “Rebounding. I make good post moves on the block, I pass well for a big man, and I hustle when I am on the floor.”

Needs to work on: “I want to work on getting in better shape and get stronger too.”

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