’98 Chicago Bulls, ’02 Los Angeles Lakers, ’15 New Jersey Roadrunners. Ok, that may be a little farfetched, but you won’t find a hotter team right now than the Roadrunners 15u team. The New Jersey based AAU program has competed in, and won, three straight Hoop Group Showdown tournaments. In a division that includes recognized and talented programs such as the NY Gauchos, NJ Shoreshots and Force, PSA Cardinals (NY) and McHoops Blue Chips (PA), three straight championships is worth recognizing.
The run of success for the Roadrunners started back in April when they topped New Heights at the Spring Showdown. The grind it out victory set the tone for the rest of their Showdown games; they won three championships by less than five points in each game. Blow outs were not a common occurrence, and they found themselves in constant battles with their opponents.
Wins that go down to the final minutes are typically not the recipe for success when it comes to winning multiple championships. Usually there are a few easy games along the way. The Roadrunners club was able to overcome this thanks to their deep bench. The club plays a lot of players, which is a major plus during tournaments that often require a quick turn around, and multiple games per day. That means tournament MVPs like Casmir Ochiaka, Jahid Jenkins and Calistus Anychio were kept fresh for crunch time, another big plus for the Roadrunners.
Over 20 NBA players have had the Roadrunners name run across their chest, and even more have gone on to play in college. Some of the more recent alums include Kyrie Irving, Randy Foye, Jay Williams and Al Harrington. They have established themselves as one of the best organizations in New Jersey in helping players achieve their basketball dreams. From the looks of it, they are not slowing down anytime soon.
Casmir, who was the first Roadrunner to be named MVP, is a big power forward who has shown the ability to be a force in the paint. At the guard spot, Jahid Jenkins (pictured left) has been sensational of late, controlling the flow of the game and making winning plays in big moments. And last but not least, Calistus is a center who has shown great improvement in his game over the past three tournaments. He has great size and is beginning to add the skill, which spells trouble for opponents.
A few bounces that go the other way, a three-point that falls instead of rimming out, and the Roadrunners could be on a less favorable streak. That just comes with the territory when you have multiple grind it out victories. Fortunately, their depth has proved to be unmatched and late game coaching has this team firing on all cylinders. Let’s see how long they keep the momentum rolling.