"It's All About The Game"

Selected Metro Challenge 60 players






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Some of the best in DC-Bmore were on tap.


March 29, 2016 - Last Saturday many of the top players in DC-Bmore convened at DeMatha Catholic HS (MD) for this year’s Metro Challenge 60. The event, developed/managed by Separation Sports Management, has become a must do confab.

“It was a lot of talent here today” said Wise HS (MD), Class of 2017 forward Daron Barnes afterward, “from the DMV area. There was talent every which way – wings, guards, bigs. It just shows the talent that we have”.

Following are brief reports on Barnes and four others who participated.

Daron Barnes – 6’5”, 210 pound Class of 2017 forward, Wise HS (MD) – A strong, rugged driver from mid-range, Barnes can also pull up from mid-range. Rebounds and plays with force.

For college Barnes must extend his shooting range, in addition to working on his stop and pop shot.

Daron Barnes on the move.

Towson, James Madison, Manhattan, Sam Houston State, Monmouth and Delaware have all offered scholarships, while Barnes also indicated “Schools like Maryland, Xavier, Cincinnati, George Washington, George Mason, Pittsburgh” are showing interest.

Demetrius Mims – 6’4”+, 185 pound Class of 2018 swingman, Poly (MD) – Long and athletic, Mims can dunk a number of ways. Is also smart and unselfish.

Is a decent jump shooter – it’s improved – but is not presently ‘knock down’. When asked about it Mims noted “I know what I have to do”, which includes “I don’t use my legs all the time…flick my wrist the wrong way” as well as “sometimes I shoot off balance”.

That along with lifting weights will be addressed this spring/summer. Of pushing iron, Mims said “It’s going to help my driving a lot”.

VCU and St. John’s have offered. G’Town, Maryland, Temple, UNLV and Kansas have shown interest, according to him.

Demetrious Mims is one to watch.

Brandon Slater – 6’5”, 175 pound Class of 2018 guard/forward, Paul VI (VA) – Slater has been known as a left-handed energy guy, one who can lock up offensive players, finish and increasingly hit the open shot. He’s clearly been working on his game.

Add dimer to the mix; Slater as of late has been finding teammates on the break and in half court situations, sometimes in spectacular fashion. When asked about this penchant, he shared “Dishing the ball, that’s my favorite thing to do. I just like finding people. It’s more fun when you get everybody involved, everybody’s smiling”.

Slater understands he must also become more confident with his right hand dribbling, in addition to get stronger.

Georgetown has reached out, as have West Virginia, Temple and newbie UConn.

Bryce Golden – 6’7”, 220 pound Class of 2018 forward, St. James (MD) – To close this year’s Metro 60, Golden put on a rim punishing show in DeMatha’s old gym. Backboards were rattling.

“Slater and Prentiss (Hubb) were feeding me so, I know every time they’re going to find me, they’re going to find me in the right spots – once I see an open lane I just go up like that” said Golden of his dunk-fest.

His ability to slam is not in question. What Golden is focusing on are his shooting and dribbling skills.

“I’m hoping to improve that this summer, working with Coach Shop (St. James assistant coach Don Shopland). I think I can get a lot better with them and even my new team, Takeover. They have a lot of guys who know what they are doing, so I’m sure I can get better”.

Of soon playing for Team Takeover on Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, Golden shared “I’m excited. Better competition, better all-around stuff like that. Bigger coaches coming to watch me. So I’m excited, and can’t wait to get started”.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t value and respect his previous organization, Virginia Elite, and it’s director, Thomas Gasden.

“I owe the world to Coach Gasden for real” he said. “He’s really helped me out. I’ve known Coach Gasden since I was in seventh grade, a little kid. And even though I’m not playing with him anymore, I’m still grateful for everything he did for me with recruiting and skills and stuff like that”.

Presently Grant indicated Richmond – where his brother Grant will enroll and play this fall – Wofford, JMU, High Point and GW have all tendered scholarship offers. Florida and Alabama have expressed “a little bit of interest, and before the past St. James season UNC sent mail.

This summer he hopes more schools will be in the mix.

Kaleaf Tate – 6’2”, 170 pound Class of 2017 guard, Cesar Chavez (DC) – Tate, a tough, skilled shooter has been in something of a shooting slump for several months; jumpers that routinely swished through have rimmed out.

Kaleaf Tate, a top competitor, has been well coached.

Tate recognized his new shooting issue, saying “The shots I used to knock down, aren’t falling”. It’s not that he can’t make jumpers, they just haven’t dropped as readily. His prescription for improvement is “Just go to the gym, getting shots up, practice on my form”.

To Tate’s credit, he may be a shooter who’s in a slump, but hasn’t let that define his game. Kaleaf is too much of a competitor.

“Well, if the shot’s not falling, drive to the basket, get the foul and make your free throws” have been Kaleaf’s adjustment, along with focusing on making plays for others and securing 50-50’s.

Defensively Tate can be a more consistent on-ball defender, of which he shared “I have to work on that a little more, sliding my feet and staying in front of my man”.

He’s also been strength training, as “College coaches say I have to lift weights to be a D-1 player”.

Tate’s development on and off the floor has been greatly influenced by Chavez HC Malcolm Battle and his staff.

Kaleaf said of those professionals and others in the program “Coach Battle has been a good coach to me, and the other staff, assistant coaches and my teammates. They push me to be a better leader on the court and off the court".

Virginia Union has offered Tate, while Howard, Mt. St. Mary’s, Robert Morris and UNCG have expressed interest. A post-grad year is being strongly considered.

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