One of the bigger joys of covering teams and events for the Phenom Hoop Report is reporting about “players/teams under the radar.” More importantly, we think it is necessary to give mention to the countless AAU teams that are doing things the “old fashion way” by playing with a roster of local standouts. Too often today, AAU has gotten about which team has the shoe contact and shoe money as they use the money/power to recruit the top players from their state and region. That being said, we constantly hear about the non-structure of AAU and not enough credit is given to the coaches that personally have a vested interest in helping provide a platform for their local players to get seen and hopefully play themselves into a college scholarship. Local or grass root AAU programs usually don’t have the money or resources to play in the bigger tournaments, but it is refreshing to see the dedication from the coaches and players to player with a purpose and desire. The Phenom Hoop Report quote of “playing hard should be the norm rather than the exception” is a perfect illustration of today’s feature AAU team in Raleigh Capitals.
Our story today is about the local Raleigh Capitals. We first watched the Raleigh Capitals at the Reebok Showdown back in May at the Gateway YWCA. While they were competitive, they were missing a very valuable member of their team in Chris Corchiani. During the last July “live period,” the Raleigh Capitals traveled to Orlando, Florida to play in the 17U AAU Nationals. While the Raleigh Capitals started slowly by going 1-2 in pool play, they rebounded nicely and finished 3-1 in the Classic Bracket. This turnaround of events speaks volume about the character of the coaches and players. Too often, many teams simply give up after not qualifying for the championship bracket, but the Capitals proved they were about playing hard with heart, desire and determination. Below is their pool play and classic game summary.
L 46-52 BSAElite
L 74-64 Texas Pro
W 64-21 NJC Elite
W 74-51 NE Cyclones
W 64-53 Florida Gold
W 87-64 Se AL Birmingham Ice Xpress
L 80-61 E1T1
Head Coach Brent Nolan stated the “Raleigh Capitals had a slow start in pool play losing to pretty evenly matched teams.” From the box score, they lost 52-46 to BSA Elite and 74-64 to Texas Pro. In the game against BSA, 6’3 WG Jacob Barret of Rocky Mount Prep was the team’s leading scorer with 20 points while 6’1 SG Patrick Domville of Cardinal Gibbons HS lead the team in scoring with 19 points against Texas Pro including five 3 pointers. Coach Nolan stated “Domville is a lights out shooter who does great academically and is probably looking to go to a more prestigious academic school at the D2/D3 level or walk on at the D1 level.
6’6 southpaw combo forward Stephen Vassor put in a double-double in their win against NJC with 17 points and 13 rebounds. We wrote the following about Vassor at the Reebok Showdown back in May. “Vassor is a physically mature athletic PF that had a productive tournament. His sheer physical strength is his greatest attribute and he used his power in the low post effectively, but also showcased the ability to step out and knock down 3 point shots. His pure athletic ability should garnish him plenty of D1 interest. We really liked his hustle, passion and ability to compete on both ends of the court. While he was undersized guarding bigger players in the post area, he did not back down from the challenge. Coach Mike Palmer of the Raleigh Capitals stated the following, “ Vassor is a tremendous athlete and challenged other teams at the rim on both ends. He also has 3 point range and is a kid with a really high ceiling,” and we agree wholeheartedly with his assessment. Without question, lower tier D1 schools should definitely be monitoring the process of Steven Vassor.”
In bracket play, Coach Nolan was impressed with the play of 5’11 PG Chris Corchiani Jr. of Raleigh Broughton High School. Chris Corchiani Jr. has a tremendous blood line and his father was a legendary player at NC State and was part of the famous duo of “Fire and Ice.” Coach Nolan stated Chris Jr. is a “big time competitor which shouldn’t surprise you. He plays in the same backcourt of Davonte Graham at Broughton who has multiple D1 scholarships.” Against the NE Cyclones Chris had 16 points and 8 assists, but had a monster game of 25 points and 7 assists against a very talented Birmingham Ice Express team. Chris Jr. is an alum of the NC Phenom 150 camp and we would agree with the assessment from Coach Noland. In our opinion, Chris Jr. is the ultimate team player who is excellent in running the show for his AAU and high school team. He has excellent fundamentals and basketball IQ. He plays extremely hard and has a burning desire to win and his effort on the court exhibits this mindset. In our opinion, he is a solid D2 player that has an opportunity to play at a high academic D1 school or could make an excellent invited “walk on” at a high D1 school.
Coach Noland also stated Zach Palmer has a huge basketball IQ and is a “lights out shooter” who is a solid D2/D3 player. Jacob Barret may be possibility transferring and reclassing and has a high ceiling according to Coach Nolan. “He can shoot the 3 and attack the rim ferociously. He also is a great perimeter defender and is a definite D1 athlete.”
For more information about the Raleigh Capitals, you can email Coach Brent Nolan at email@example.com