Ron Bailey, Publisher
DC Premier is primed for big season.
April 8, 2016 - A visit to DC Premier’s
16u/17u joint practice this week revealed both teams are preparing for
a successful 2016, Under Armour Association travel team campaign. Following
is just a snapshot of what was learned.
New addition happy to be in fold
Upon walking into Episcopal School’s well apportioned gym, the first
thing that jumped out was Nate Watson’s presence. A 6’9”,
250 pound Class of 2017 center, Watson this spring previously suited up
for Team Melo, even competing with them in a
scrimmage versus The District.
This practice was Watson’s first with DCP. As relayed by Twitter’s
@RonBailey19 and @HoyaNation,
the move is permanent; he’s running with Premier on the UAA Circuit
“It was good” said Watson of his first work with DCP. “The
team is playing together, and helping each other out”. As such he’s
excited for the upcoming season.
Another thing that was obvious was Watson’s increased explosion.
Previously he was a strong finishing guy who didn’t really play
above the rim. Now Nate finishes much more athletically, mixing well with
his excellent hands and general aggressiveness around the cup.
Where does this increased ability to get off the ground stem from?
The Mitchell Twins, Makhi (right) and Makhel
(left) are back on the hardwood together.
“Coach (Joe) Wootten has been working with me”
laughed Watson, after admitting he’s much better off the ground
than before. Those sessions with his head coach at Bishop O’Connell
(VA), revealed Nate, include weight room work in which leg strength is
focused upon. Watson’s weight load has understandably increased,
including squatting “315 pounds three times”.
Duo is again doing it
Class of 2019 Bishop McNamara (MD) twins Makhi and Makhel
Mitchell are again on the court together, after a freshman high school
year in which Makhel suffered several setbacks, forcing him to play minimally.
Both are happy to be on the court together once again.
“It feels good” noted Makhel, while Makhi simply said with
a smile on his face “The Twin Towers are back”.
Makhi, a 6’8”, 240 pound forward did what he’s known
to do – score/operate from midrange in, rebound and provide a presence.
Makhel, a center standing 6’9” and 250 pounds was surprisingly
mobile considering his previous leg injury, and didn’t seem to tire
as much as could be expected. He shared afterward workouts have occurred
and “I’m coming along in the process of coming back”.
DCP’s 16u unit will be a force when both are online and fully available.
In some organizations players with multiple D1 offers and widespread interest
may be cut some slack. DCP’s 17u coach, Torey Farrington doesn’t
run that type of squad.
“If your point guard isn’t working the hardest and focusing”
said Farrington, “It’s better to address it now than in NY”,
referencing the UAA’s first leg, occurring next weekend.
A.J. Wilson, here scoring over Nate Watson
(left) and Makhi Mitchell.
The player he referenced was ’18 lead guard Prentiss
Hubb. Farrington stopped the scrimmage portion of practice and made Hubb
“Coach did that to show everyone he’s not playing around”
said Hubb in understanding fashion.
Back from prep school
A.J. Wilson is back with DCP, this time the organization’s 17u crew,
after a year at Elevate Academy. Of attending and playing for that Florida
prep school, Wilson noted “It was a great learning experience”
being exposed to “the college game”.
Schools have noticed, as “Hofstra, Quinnipiac, New Mexico State”
have offered, while UCF and Maryland have shown interest.
During practice he showed why, continuing to display athletic ability
that allows him to protect the rim and finish easily. Wilson, a 6’7”,
190 pound forward also seems more comfortable away from the rim.
Does he think his DCP unit will be successful this season?
“We’ve definitely been put in a great position” he affirmatively
answered. “We have a lot of skilled players”.
Both Farrington and 16u head coach Butch Cherry are bullish on the upcoming
“We’re going to be good” said Cherry, one of the best
DMV travel team coaches in the last twenty years. “This is one of
the highest I.Q. teams I’ve had!” Ever being the coach, he
then pivoted, adding “We just have to produce”.
Farrington, a talented coach in his own right, one that readily steps
on the floor and demonstrates what is being taught, indicated of his 16u
crew “I think we have a really good team”. The fact his guys
“don’t mind sharing” and “work together”
informs that opinion.
Both get to est those beliefs when each team takes the New
24 (District Heights, MD) floor this weekend for Big Shots action, followed
by next weeks foray to New York for Under Armour Association action.