Edmond, OK – The 12U division from the Sooner State Showdown featured 12 teams and an immense amount of talent. All 12 teams in this division played at an extremely high level and could have even competed in a higher age group at most tournaments. Here is a list of six of the best defenders from the 12U division.
Joseph Graves 6’0″ F PWP (featured image) – Joseph Grave’s presence alone made PWP’s defense exceptionally better than when he was off the court. Standing at 6 feet with a huge frame, Graves towers over his opponents and is absolutely immovable in the post. He is a great shot blocker and he has the ability to shut down other bigs due to his ability to not give up any easy buckets and block shots. Graves anchored the defense for PWP and plays with intensity and passion.
Keylan Jones 5’9″ G Texas Summitt – Keylan Jones was a monster defensively for the entire tournament and led his team to a championship win. He plays the passing lanes exceptionally well as he deflects or steals most passes that comes his way. The way that he tracked the ball in the air and would rise up to get a hand on it or even get both hands on it and come down with it reminded me of an experienced NFL defensive back. One other thing that also intrigued me about Jones is his ability to play tight on-ball defense and rattle his opponents while staying calm and collected himself.
John Lungeni G Texas Summitt – The elite guard duo of Jones and Lungeni yet again landed on another list as both of these guards play the game the right way and put their team in a position to win every single game they played in. Lungeni played excellent on-ball defense all weekend long and made life hard for opposing ball-handlers as he would limit air space and occasionally come away with an on-ball steal. His ability to hound ball handlers often turned into a steal for one of his teammates because of a bad pass and got his team running in transition.
Jaylen Phillips 5’10” F Texas Summitt – The fact that three Texas Summitt players made the best defenders list should tell you all you need to know about this team. They play hard until the final buzzer and their defense allows them to get out on big runs and put games out of reach. Jaylen Phillips was an excellent low-post defender for his team as he is tall and strong and wouldn’t let anyone body him in the low post. He also showcased his ability to block shots without fouling. Texas Summitt even had a possession that Phillips blocked multiple shots in the same possession.
David Lunn 5’10” F JB White Elite – All aspects of David Lunn’s game are dominant and his defense was exceptional at the Sooner State Showdown. His presence intimidated his opponents and he blocked some shots and didn’t give up anything easy. He is also exceptionally athletic and he used his athleticism to disrupt passing lanes.
Memphis Duffie 5’3″ G PWP – PWP’s defensive duo of Joseph Graves and Memphis Duffie was extraordinarily intriguing as they had a big man that locked down the paint and a guard that locked down the perimeter. That guard for PWP was Duffie. Duffie played tight on-ball defense and made things easier for his teammates as whoever he was guarding would sometimes panic and make the wrong play. He has good quickness and rarely got beat off the dribble.