In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Matt McKay outlines the 3SSB Championships weekend by recapping the three title games and sharing some additional takeaways after spending three days in Omaha:
After four days to recover following an action-packed first live weekend in Birmingham, 3SSB was back in action in Omaha to crown the circuit’s 17U, 16U and 15U champions. Games were held at the Iowa West Fieldhouse, just across the river from downtown Omaha.For those not in the building or able to catch the livestream, here’s our synopsis:
3SSB Championships Review
15U Champions: Atlanta Celtics
Big man Jayden Williams is the top prospect on this team, but there were plenty of high-level prospects on the floor for the Atlanta Celtics. Throughout the weekend, their backcourt set the tone early and often, led by Langston Boyd and Mike Matthews. The two guards essentially formed a brick wall at the point of attack and Micah Smith’s nonstop motor, length and versatility jumped off the page, as well. The Celtics marched into the 15U championship game after a convincing victory over a talent-laden Arkansas Hawks squad in the semi-finals and secured the 15U crown by fending off Cooper Koch and Indiana Elite by the score of 66-49.
16U Champions: Indiana Elite
After facing an early double-digit deficit to K-Low Elite, Coach Michael Fox’s Indiana Elite team pulled off one of the largest momentum swings in recent memory and won the 16U title by a final score of 77-49, thanks to a balanced effort by Amire Robinson, Evan Ipsaro, Luke Almodovar, and JQ Roberts. Indiana Elite now sits at an astonishing 40-0 as they head to Las Vegas this weekend to conclude their 2021 AAU season.
17U Champions: Dream Vision
What a performance by a short-handed Dream Vision squad. Missing their best player (2022 big man Yohan Traore) and primarily sticking with a six-man rotation, the SoCal-based program pulled together, pushed the pace, shot the leather off the ball, and simply couldn’t be stopped in Omaha. The final score of the championship game read 74-58, but it never felt that close. EAB Tennessee, led by ‘24 Somto Cyril and ‘23 Colin Porter, played terrific all weekend, but Dream Vision was firing on all cylinders. Milos Uzan consistently gets his teammates great shots and has the ability to make everyone around him better — and he picked a great weekend to do it: Scotty Washington couldn’t miss from 3, ‘21 Maxwell Lewis got into the paint at will, and MVP Lamar Washington kept the defense on its heels every time he had the ball in his hands.
It was a deep 3SSB field from top to bottom with plenty of high-level prospects in each bracket. Of the many individuals who left Omaha with more recruiting momentum than when they arrived, we focused on highlighting the following players (listed alphabetically):
Somtochukwu “Somto” Cyril
EAB Tennessee | 6’10 Big | 2024
If you walked into an NBA arena and saw Somto Cyril sitting on an NBA bench, you wouldn’t think twice. To evaluate him as a rising high school sophomore is a bit mind-bending. Despite “playing up” two years, the 2021 3SSB Defensive Player of the Summer looked like mid-90s Dikembe Mutombo while patrolling the paint, where he defines the “defensive anchor” archetype. His sheer size, physical maturity, strength, incredible length, and eagerness to affect shots is a very rare and valuable combination of traits. He’s quite raw on offense, but has pretty good hands, a nose for the ball as a rebounder, and a decent awareness of who he is as a player — that combination allows him to thrive in an opportunistic offensive role, feasting on offensive rebounds and catching lobs. Cyril’s development will be fascinating to watch over the next few years and it’s hard to imagine a very long list of bigs who are more impactful in the 2024 class.
Get to know Somto -
Began playing basketball: 2018
Favorite all-time player: Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and Hakeem Olajuwon
Go-to pregame meal: Chick-fil-A
Five-year goal: “My five-year goal is to make it to the NBA.”
Grassroots Elite Canada | 6’7 Forward | 2022
To keep the 90s player references going, Romad Dean is the Bahamian version of Dennis Rodman when it comes to rebounding prowess and overall motor. I’m not a big car guy, but if there’s a motor better than a Hemi, Dean has it on the basketball court. He’ll get winded from time to time, but it doesn’t seem to matter. He truly pursues 99% of rebounds when he’s in the game, whether they’re in his area, or not. Most rebounds he doesn’t snatch, he gets a finger or two on. He’s not a freak athlete, but a very functional one, which manifests itself positively on the defensive end, where he’s become an impactful weakside shot blocker and a pesky, quick-handed help defender. His ball handling is a work in progress and his range shooting has room for improvement, but he had the gym buzzing due to his unique blend of energy, rebounding, slashing, and toughness. There’s not a roster in America that can’t use a guy like Dean.
Get to know Romad -
Began playing basketball: “I started playing basketball when I was 12 and started to take it seriously when I turned 14.”
Favorite all-time player: LeBron James
Go-to pregame meal: “I don’t really have a go-to pre-game meal but I’ll have a snack like some fruits or a nutrient bar.”
Five-year goal: “Five years from now I would like to be in the NBA, have my goals accomplished like making my parents proud and getting a college degree.”
OSA Crusaders | 6’5 Guard | 2022
Though Dix entered the weekend with a nice list of low to high-major offers, he cemented his legitimacy to be considered a Power 5 prospect with his play in Omaha. The local product brings terrific positional size to the backcourt at 6’5+ and seemed comfortable playing 1-through-3 for the Crusaders, depending on who he was sharing the court with. He showed more than just straight-line handling with some glimpses of self-creation as a playmaker. He had no issues getting his shot off, had plenty of success from range and clearly projects as a three-point shooting threat. As impressive as he was on offense, Dix made his mark on the defensive end, as well. Whether he was, or not, he looked healthy after getting banged up a bit the previous weekend in Birmingham and displayed lateral agility and active hands while guarding the ball. Iowa seems to currently lead his list of suitors, but after his play throughout 3SSB, the list of coaches vying for his services has undoubtedly grown.
Get to know Joshua -
Began playing basketball: 3 years old
Favorite all-time player: LeBron James
Go-to pregame meal: Qdoba
Five-year goal: “In five years, my goal is to graduate college and be playing professional basketball.”
Team Trae Young | 6’5 Guard | 2022
Our group has been fortunate enough to catch Griffen live several times throughout the spring and early summer and he’s consistently been a standout, but in Omaha he was on another level. Simply put, Griffen has become one of the most polished scorers in the 3SSB pool of players. He’s a big guard with an elusive handle, advanced footwork, ambidextrous finishing ability and shooting range out to the college 3 line. He has several high-level teammates (Vandy-bound Lee Dort and Noah Shelby, Ja’Kobe Walter, Shawn Jones, etc.), but consistently showed not only the ability to carry a heavy offensive burden, but to do it with efficiency. He doesn’t need any help generating offense and gets into the paint on a regular basis. He also has as a knack for attracting contact and getting to the line while on the attack. He has room to grow as a defender and could better use his lanky frame on the ball and in passing lanes, but if this past weekend was any indication of what’s to come, he’ll wind up significantly higher than the #68 (current 247Sports Composite Ranking) recruit in the country.
Get to know Rylan -