The 8 Tournament Recap

The Annual Jordan Brand “8” Tournament in Las Vegas brought out some of the best talent in the country. The event was even bigger this year, with two brackets of eight teams. Team Takeover, the AAU program based out of D.C., came out as the winner of the main bracket with respective wins over Team Final, Bradley Beal Elite, and Oakland Soldiers.

Takeover led for most of the game in their matchup with Team Final. The Philadelphia-based AAU program featured two of the best players in the country in Lou King and Cam Reddish, but they couldn’t keep up with the balanced attack of TTO led by Jalen Smith, Myles Dread, and Xavier Johnson. Team Takeover defeated Team Final by a final score of 85-70.

Team Takeover faced a familiar opponent in Bradley Beal Elite, who defeated TTO out in LA on the EYBL before losing to them in the Final Four of Peach Jam. Darius Garland, considered by many to be one of the best point guards in the country, had the hot hand early for his team. TTO managed to hold a two point lead heading into halftime, and began defending Garland more aggressively. Xavier Johnson and Anthony Harris were the two guards who primarily defended Garland, and each did a commendable job. Team Takeover controlled the pace in the second half, and defeated Bradley Beal Elite by a final score of 80-62.

In the much anticipated championship, Team Takeover faced Oakland Soldiers, the team who defeated them a few weeks back in the Peach Jam Finals. The first half, and most of the game was nip and tuck. Both teams played a relatively poor first half, but Team Takeover it up in the second. After trailing by 3 at the end of the first half, TTO opened up on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Once again led by Myles Dread, Jalen Smith, and Xavier Johnson, with contributions from Brandon Slater, Bryce Golden, Anthony Harris, Tre Wood and Miles Latimer, they were able to avenge their earlier loss and come out with a victory in the championship. Team Takeover won the game by a final score of 78-72, and began their well deserved celebration.

Xavier Johnson: HG Insider Player Spotlight

Xavier Johnson

Bishop O’Connell’s Xavier Johnson has come a long way in the last 12 months. The Team Takeover product is considered one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country, and this is not an accident. Ask any of his coaches, and they all will mention his incredibly strong work ethic.

Johnson earned the starting lead guard role at The Ei8ht, and played an integral role in his team’s run to the championship. Whether it was harassing top ranked PG Darius Garland, or using his explosiveness to push the ball up the and create for others, Johnson was up to any task. As he’s demonstrated before, Johnson was simply impossible to keep out of the lane, and very crafty when finishing around the basket.

“I am a point guard that has a lot of winning attributes. I play hard. Play good defense. I can score and facilitate.”

High Major Division One coaches have taken notice of Johnson’s ability. Josh Pastner, Greg McDermott, and Patrick Ewing are a few of the faces regularly seen at his games. South Florida, and UMass have also recently offered.

In the much anticipated rematch with Oakland Soldiers, Johnson came out very aggressive. He was one of four players on his team in double figures with 16 points, and also dished out 7 assists. Johnson played solid defense, and played a significant role on both ends of the floor.

This time last summer, Johnson held just two offers, from Manhattan and Towson. He’s seen his recruitment grow exponentially in recent months, and has solidified himself as a high major point guard, and one of the best in the country. With a decision looming, don’t be surprised to see Johnson to make an immediate impact wherever he goes.

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