"It's All About The Game"

Team Melo is stepping up






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Charm City travel team has new management, sponsorship and focus.

January 25, 2015 - Dewayne Wise has much experience in Baltimore hoops, including trainning kids and being Recruiting Coordinator/Consultant to the B'More Finest Under Armor organization. That four year stint has ended, with a new opportunity having arisen - he's with Team Melo's Carmelo Anthony Jordan Brand travel team outfit.

"My present role with Melo is similar to when I was with B'More Finest, but has expanded, as I will be working side by side with Director Kurk Lee and Melo Management" explained Wise recently. He continued, noting "The goal is real simple; this year I want to help build a respected product, one presenting talented teams at each age group". He also plans to supply Melo Management "with new ideas and resources that will give the program stability".

Wise continued, opining "This year will be Melo AAU's most competitive, as well as challenging because we have been privileged to compete with all Nike programs associated with EYBL"

That would be Nike's coveted Elite Youth Basketball League, without a doubt one of the most talent-laden, national travel team leagues in the land. Though Team Melo will not have a 17u (EYBL's age group) offering this spring/summer - the organization will have teams in 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade classifications - the 16u's and others will travel to and participate in tournaments held concurrently at EYBL sites this spring/summer. If earned over the summer, the tenth grade team can make its way to Peach Jam - the EYBL Finals - which has a 16u division where the top 16 teams compete for a championship.

Young squads have already seen action.

"Our 8th grade team (14u), headed by Kurk Lee is now 5-2 after Session #2" of Nike's Made Hoops League he shared, while the 13u guys (7th grade guys) will compete in the Melo Pro Classic this month in NYC.

Team Melo will not be confined to spring/summer play.

The i95EliteChallenge All Star Game pitting high schoolers from DC and Baltimore will happen this spring under the Jordan Brand banner. Next December, expect the 1st Annual Melo High School Invitational, a Baltimore event with invited schools such as Oak Hill Academy (former school of program starter, Baltimore legend and NBA star Carmelo Anthony), Poly, Lake Clifton, Findlay Prep, Capitol Christian, Gilman, Clinton Christian and Salisbury School.

TM is much more than simply Wise.

Kurk Lee, a former 1985 Baltimore Player of the Year who starred at nationally ranked Dunbar directs the program and its 8th grade team. Wise indicated Lee "brings a tough nosed old school approach to the program...Having an opportunity to work with him has been great thus far because we bring something different to the table" which is "mutual respect" for each other's abilities.

TM's 15th crew is headed by Hakim Hibbert, a renowned and brother of former DeMatha and Texas A&M star Najii Hibbert. Wise said of him "Hakim boasted the area's top 14u team last year" a squad "expected to be even stronger with a few additions".

The 16u team "will be led by Jarrod Rucker, per Wise. Rucker has previous EYBL experience with Baltimore Elite, while also being a former All Metro player with the Baltimore Catholic League's Cardinal Gibbons.

Personally, Wise admitted this season will be "my first year not working" with his cousin, Charm City hoops great Mark Karcher who coaches with B'More Finest Under Armor - the two are close - and labeled it "my most challenging".

It looks like Team Melo and Wise are up for it.

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