3D Empire Champions of Circuit League!!!!!!!!
I was in Las Vegas from August 5th-8th for the Circuit League Championship sponsored by Pangos. One of the reasons for going was to see 3D Empire out of Grapevine, TX for the first time in person. I had seen them online along with highlights. I had also heard about Class of 2022 talents Anthony Black and Stanford commit Ryan Agrawal, but had not heard much about the rest of the players. I knew about them being independent with no shoe sponsor. I've seen other good independent teams here in Illinois like Y and R, RWA, and Fundamental U. This team is the best I've seen in awhile. Coach Shawn Ward has done a great job using the strengths of this team, and setting them up to play fast, fast, and even faster. They did lose in pool play to Belmont Shore and Southwest Elite but did not lose again. They have scoring balance, move the ball, have a five out offense. 3D spreads the floor with players who can all dribble, pass, and shoot. Don't have much size but they make up for it with hustle, sending five players to the defensive boards, pressure ball handlers, good help side defense in the post, and push the ball on makes and misses. They can hit the three from all five spots on the floor and got on a roll shooting Saturday and Sunday. 3D took off in the knockout round beating Team Build-Up(CA), Circuit All-Stars, Vegas Elite, and Texas Circuit All-Stars(forfeit) to win the title. They also won the national title for Independent teams in Indianapolis in July. 3D is one of the best independent teams I've seen in a few years. These young men have been playing together for a long time, some back to the 5th grade. You can tell watching them play, they are so connected as a team. If they had a couple of big men inside they could compete with most shoe company teams. A lot of division one talent on the roster. Here are some of them. All are Class of 2022 unless otherwise noted:
Anthony Black, Coppell(TX)- 6'7" combo guard is a do it all player. My opinion he's the best two way guard in the country. His instincts I believe come from him being a 4 star recruit in football as a wide receiver. He knows how to read the passing lanes, has quick hands, and rebounds well for a guard, and is a good shot blocker especially from help side defense. Good on the ball defender. He can guard five positions on the court in high school, and I believe he'll be able to guard four on the next level. Good instincts to be an elite defender. Now to the offensive end, he has an explosive first step off the bounce. Black can finish at the rim with hanging lay-ups, finishing through contact, dunking on a defender with explosive hops in the air. He's a good enough three point shooter to keep defenses honest, and has good vision to find teammates for open three point shots, and lay-ups. He's very good in transition on both ends of the court with his speed and quickness. Plays in control as he did not get a charging call going to the basket all weekend. He's going to drop a school list soon, but seems like Baylor, Texas, and Gonzaga are on his short list. Top 10 player in the Class of 2022.
Ryan Agrawal, Coppell(TX)- Stanford commit is a 6'7" wing is a do it all offensive force. Flame thrower for a three point shot, good at the mid range post area with a nice step back jump shot. He can get into the lane and uses his good vision to find cutters, and open three point shooters. He is very good at getting into passing lanes for steals and rebounds well for a wing player. Long arms help in this area as well as his ability to read the floor with good instincts. This goes for the offensive end as well. Agrawal seems to always know where everyone on both teams are on the court. Stanford is getting a steal as I believe he's a Top 100 player in Class of 2022.
Zane Hicke, Marcus, Flower Mound(TX)- 6'6" wing is a big time hustler on both ends of the court. Hits the glass as well as run the court, defend wing positions and gets in the opponents shooting space very well without fouling. Great finisher at the rim as he'll dunk on an unsuspecting opponent. He'll hit a few threes as well. Big time high jump prospect.
Camron Amboree, Shadow Creek(TX)- 6'2" point guard who can run a team as well as hit threes. Big time sniper from outside as a stand still three point shooter. He can also get to the basket and finish with either hand. Had a couple of great performances on Thursday and Saturday. Can defend either guard position. Very competitive and never backs down from whom he's guarding. He holds offers from Mount St Marys, Ohio, McNeese State, Cal State Fullerton, and Oral Roberts.
Terrence Ramirez, Grapevine,( TX)- Texas Arlington commit is a 6'1" point guard who can shoot it from three at a high clip. Good penetrator and finisher at the basket with either hand. Gets up into guards on the defensive end of the court. Good passer off the penetration in either the full court or half court.
Gehrig Normand, Birdville(TX)- 6'5" Class of 2023 two guard can shoot the three and go to the hole and dunk on you(WATCH YOUR HEAD). Can hit the stand still three as well as off the bounce. He can also run some point guard as he made some great passes this weekend. Athletic wing who rebounds well from the guard position and can push it off the dribble on the fast break. Has offers from Oral Roberts, Rice, and Texas Rio Grand Valley. He should be the star of 3D Empire next season.
Devank Rane, Coppell(TX)- 5'7" point guard showed he could hit the three from the corners and top of the key. He hit 6 threes vs Team Build-Up(CA) and multiple threes in a couple of games on Saturday and Sunday. Big time sniper that hit more than a few deep threes from NBA range over the weekend. Not sure where his recruitment stands but would be a very good small college player.
I look for great success from this group of players and will be following their college careers going forward. One of the funnest teams to watch.