OTR Hoops: Featured Players from Summer Battleground Session I – May 11, 2024

Here I breakdown 3 teams and feature 12 players who stood out most in the 8th grade division at Summer Battleground Session 1.

By: Bilal Benjamin

Nightrydas Elite

Nightrydas 2028’s basketball team made a significant impact during Battleground Summer Session 1, particularly in their impressive victory against the Georgia Stars EYBL. The standout performance of their point guard, Josiah Gillard, played a pivotal role in securing this crucial win. Gillard’s leadership on the court was a key contribution for Nightrydas Elite.

One of the strengths of Nightrydas 2028 lies in their formidable front line, consisting of players who stand tall at 6’5″ and above. Branden Sharpe, Cayden Gaskins (2029), Laron Mack, and Ethan Mott possess the versatility to handle the ball effectively, initiate plays, and execute powerful finishes in transition. This combination of size, skill, and athleticism makes them a force on the court, capable of dominating both offensively and defensively.

As a top 5 team in the class of 2028, Nightrydas 2028 has garnered well-deserved recognition for their cohesive teamwork. Their coaches demand the little things from them. That’s what makes this team special.

FEA Select

FEA Select, dominated the Battleground Summer Session 1 with a flawless 4-0 record. Led by the talented Ahmad Graves, impacted the game with his scoring and exceptional slashing skills. Jeremiah Jennings, the team’s versatile athletic wing, has shown remarkable improvement over the course of the season, contributing significantly to FEA Select’s success. Chase Hill is another key player for FEA Select, possesses a combination of shooting and playmaking ability. Lastly, Ryan Atwater’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to secure victories for the team has been instrumental in FEA Select’s transformation since the beginning of the travel season. Their collective efforts have propelled FEA Select to the status of the most improved team I’ve watched this season.


The Georgia Stars EYBL 2028 squad comprises a group of exceptionally talented young basketball players who I expect to be highly sought after by D1 programs throughout their high school careers. With one of the most talented guards in the class in Brielen Craft at the forefront, the Stars have positioned themselves to be a force for years to come. Craft has a top tier skill set that allows his teammates to feed off a thrive from. He’s improved his playmaking ability and has one of the best jumpers in all of 2028. His backcourt mate Jaden McCullough has a nice frame for a guard which allows him to absorb contact and make plays in the process. He gets downhill with ease and opens the game for the Stars. Their man in the middle Peter Julius is dominant in the interior. He controls the glass and has improved his footwork, along with his overall offensive production. In addition to that 3 headed monster, the Stars have a hidden gem in Trayvon Pannell. This kid can do it all. He’s extremely agile and plays both ends of the floor with passion. This Georgia Stars 2028 squad has a roster of promising young prospects with a bright future ahead.