Winter sports are long in the record books. High school basketball courts are now being used for volleyball. However, some of South Jersey's best seniors-to-be are still honing their craft on the hardwood.
Rememebr all the attention guys like Brendan Crawford, Demola Onifade, and Courtney Cubbage from Camden Catholic got this winter? Three talanted guys who controlled the boards and paint for the Irish.
How about brothers Nick and Robert DePersia, Haddonfield's dynamic duo who ran the offense and shot the 3-ball from everywhere on the court? Or Luke Laverick who controlled the boards for the Bulldawgs with his teamates?
Paulsboro's tough team leaders, Theodore Holloway and Brandon Hamilton, who created headlines on their own at both ends of the court.
Joel Roberts, from Cherry Hill West who lead his team to victory over rival Cherry Hill East in front of the Countrymen?
These extremlely talanted players are joined by Chester's Adeolu Adesina and Maurice Henry to form an elite AAU travel team - Team Speed - that will play in tournaments from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and as far away as Las Vegas.
The team is coached by well known criminal defense attorney Robert E. DePersia. DePersia who has played basketball since childhood and into college not only spends four to five nights a week training the team, he also graciously finances a lot of the team activities personally.
Team Speed's season started on April 11, 2014, at Hoop Group Jam Fest in Manheim, Pa. The tournament, which is used by many recruiting services as well as Division 2 and Division 3 coaches as a recruiting event, was flush with coaches evaluating players.
The event format was the same as the NCAA tournament. The top 64 U17 teams were seeded 1 through 64 and broken into four regions. South Jersey's Team Speed was seeded #2 in the Midwest region. The fact that Team Speed was seeded so high is a testiment to the South Jersey talant represented on this squad.
In the first game, Team Speed had a commanding win over New York 80-52. Leading the way were point guard Rob DePersia (15 points, 9 assists), guard Theo Holloway (16 points), guard Nick DePersia (15 points) and center Maurice Henry (9 points, 11 rebounds).
In the second round, Team Speed faced local rival Raritan Roundballers from South Jersey. Team Speed won a close match 37-35 with Luke Laverick and Brendan Crawford (two 3-point field goals) controlling the boards.
In the sweet 16 round Team Speed faced Maryland's HC Ball and came out on top 65-57. Nick DePersia led the way with 25 points, including six 3-pointers. Inside play was controlled by center Gabe Adesina and center Maurice Henry.
In the round of eight Team Speed faced Baltimore Elite, the nation's No. 5-ranked team. Baltimore Elite came out hard and took a commanding 34-14 halftime lead.
Team Speed regrouped and through a total team effort was able to get the game to a 48-48 tie and force overtime with 30 seconds left in the game. In the end Baltimore Elite came out with the victory and went on to win the tournament.
Team Speed's play at the event represented South Jersey well. The entire team is getting serious looks from several college coaches.
Team Speed is playing this weekend at the Under Armour Hoop Group Jam Fest in Pittsburgh, Pa., and facing tough competition once again, competing in the 17U Platinum bracket. The Pittsburgh event is the ONLY NCAA Division 1 live recruiting period this spring.
The squad lost its opening round game and dropped into the losers' bracket and will play Saturday morning at 10:10 a.m. Another loss would put Team Speed into one final game at 5:20 p.m. Saturday. A victory would push Team Speed to a 6:30 p.m. game Saturday.
For more info on Team Speed's progress this weekend, visit the tournament page at: http://hoopgroup.com/team-tournaments/grassroots-events/jam-fests/pittsburgh-jam-fest/