Rain or shine we still ball! That seemed to be the theme Sunday May,19th. As we gathered together for 13th Annual Venice Beach League Combine/Draft.
Early as 9a.m. with rain still drizzling from above, hoopers from around the country arrived for their chance to put their skills to the test and try out to land a spot on a VBL roster.
For some it was their first time attending the combine and some were returning for a shot at redemption. Devonte “Slim” McCulley-Boyer, a 6’8 wingman from Long Beach,CA whom was a first time attendee stated “It would be great to make the VBL because I have been out for a while, so to comeback and get an opportunity like this would be a blessing”. Then on the other side we had ballers like Jordan Carter aka Baby Klay Thompson, whom participated in the VBL last year with the “Undrafted Team” who finished with what he described as a disappointing season, came out because he is looking to hopefully get drafted by a team where he could build chemistry and be a contributing piece.
Smith played in leagues in China, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nicaragua before coming to the blue courts of Venice Beach. The big man impressed the combine coaches with his post moves and ability to finish around the rim. His thunderous dunks pair well with his go-to move the drop step. He was drafted second by Project Dream but looks to be one of the more talented players in this year’s draft.
The shifty guard from Federal Way, Washington proved he could hang with the best of Venice during the King of the Hill drills. Sanchez dominated the competition easily making his way to the basket with his quick first step. He displayed his go-to move for the final bucket of the drill as he dribbled the ball between his legs and sidestepped before rising up on for a one-footed jumper. He takes his talents to Greenlight adding more talent to an already stacked roster.
Tyrone “T.J” Jones
One of the most athletic guards in this draft T.J stunned the entire crowd during the Vertical Leap test. While everyone else was slamming stickers on the bottom of the box of the backboard, T.J reached up for the skies and placed a sticker a foot or two above the box, right under the VBL Draft decal. He was drafted sixth by Play for Eternity (P4E).
The 5’8 guard dazzled the crowd with his mid-range deadeye, shooting for at least 70 percent from the field with all mid-range shots. Known by the coaches as the small guy with the red cap, Mayfield was a consistent standout for the entire day from the conditioning drills all the way to the scrimmage.
Future Mood shocked everyone when they drafted the relatively unknown Almquist with the first pick of the draft. The guard showed his grit and grime during the King of the Hill drills as he never backed down. Many of the draftees thought they could push him off and get an easy bucket but Almquist proved them wrong bouncing back on defense and putting the clamps on them. While he may look unassuming to the naked eye, don’t sleep on the number one pick.