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May 31, 2013
Superior Athletes' 2015 trio getting looks
Apart from being talented basketball players, there's something else behind the recent success of Superior Athletes' trio of 2015 stars.
In fact, the Superior Athletes' "Big Three" have a connection that leads back to their days as sixth graders. It's been five years since Small, Hemsley and Thompson, Jr. first played together as middle schoolers, and it's clear that they have developed a great sense for the strengths and weaknesses of each other's games.
Small knows that when coming off of a pick and roll, Thompson, Jr. will be spotted up somewhere behind the 3-point line, and Hemsley will be following him to the hoop looking for a dish off or an offensive rebound for a put back.
When Thompson, Jr. drives baseline, as he so often does, he's looking for both Small and Hemsley to be cutting to the basket for an easy layup. And if Hemsley isn't busy throwing down highlight reel dunks, he'll be sure to find his good childhood friends for easy buckets.
When each 2015 prospect was asked how the spring AAU season was going for them, they deferred taking credit themselves, and rather, spoke to how great it is to play with one another, and how easy it makes the game for all parties involved.
Superior Athletes had a successful run in the Magic Memorial Tournament in Corona (Calif.) last weekend, going 5-1 and reaching the semifinals before losing to the eventual champions Compton Magic Elite. Small, Hemsley and Thompson, Jr. were key cogs in their team's success.
Hemsley, who is most noted for his explosive athleticism and ability to attack the rim, said that he's hoping to show coaches a different part of his game heading into the summer.
"I want to show that I'm a good defensive player," he said. "I can also find the open man a lot better than I did last summer."
Small said that he's working on a little bit of everything heading into the next live period in July.
"I'm working on my all around game," he said. "I'm getting my teammates involved, working on my shooting and trying to help my team win."
Thompson, Jr. is one of the more savvy players on the Superior Athletes roster and said that while he's most known for being a sharpshooter, he's hoping viewers start to see other parts of his game.
"If my shot isn't falling, I can up-fake and hit the floater really well," he said. "I'm trying to become a better on-ball defender and stay in front of my man."
While Small, Hemsley and Thompson, Jr. are all being recruited by a number of Division I schools, Superior Athletes also has a pair of under-the-radar 2014 recruits in lanky 6-foot-5 forward Ron Freeman of Gardena (Calif.) Serra and Small's Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View teammate, 6-foot-5 Dillon Reise.
Freeman helped lead his Serra High team to a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 4AA championship, and his solid play has carried over into the spring AAU season.
Freeman is nothing short of a high-fly act, who looks to finish at or above the rim at all times. The springy forward is also an adept passer in the lane, and can hit mid-range jumpers with consistency.
Reise had a strong junior campaign for Ocean View, averaging 15 points and nine rebounds on the season and had his breakout game back in February in a 89-87 loss to Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco where he scored 24 points on 7 of 13 shooting, all seven shots coming from 3-point range.
The deep shooting touch has continued into the spring, and Reise has continued to show his knack for the ball, grabbing rebounds, steals and blocking shots to help Superior Athletes as it continues to rack up the wins.
Superior Athletes will take the floor again in the Double Pump Tip-off in Anaheim (Calif.) which runs from July 10-14.