New Mexico is not normally thought of as a hotbed for hoops, however, the emergence of programs like JB White and the Albuquerque basketball club, have provided a platform to showcase the state’s hoop talent. This weekend, I was in Albuquerque checking out some of that talent, as ABC put on their Back 2 School event, which featured programs from around the Southwest. The beauty of this game is that every year, new players emerge. In this article, we take a look at some young players who had success in their first taste of big-time competition.
Melo Mason 5’1 SG ABC 2030 (featured image right side) – Big-time slasher. Mason was one of the tallest players on the court, and whenever he wanted to he could get to the hole. He liked to drive right, but I was impressed with his ability to use his left hand as well as his advanced 1,2’s, and Euro’s when reaching resistance at the rim.
Ryan Mora 5’8 NM Fierce 2026 – Mora is a young player with a good stroke. Currently, he’s a floor spacer that requires a defender to stay attached at all times. He made several catch and shoot 3’s in the game I watched, showing good shot prep, along with the ability to shoot it naturally from the H.S 3.
Kingzton Bamforth 4’7 PG ABC 2030 – One of the most entertaining players I saw this Weekend. Bamforth was not shy about letting it go, playing with the confidence of a seasoned shooter. He made several 3’s in the Championship game, however, I was most impressed with his handle. He showed some nice COD’s including a good snatch-back cross-over, and a between the legs dribble that he used to free himself from defenders.
Uriah Apoduca 4’5 PG NM Slam 2030 – This little guy just wouldn’t miss. Apoduca stole the show in the 2030 Championship game, burying an array of corner 3’s. He let it fly with confidence and even managed to mix it up on the inside for offensive rebounds and putbacks helping NM Slam take home the crown.
Jude Duran 5’0 SG NM Fierce 2026 – Duran was another floor spacer for the Fierce. Playing alongside 6’3 Hunter Aime, Duran was able to stretch the floor with his shooting, opening up the inside for his big man. He knocked down several 3’s in catch-and-shoot situations.
Marquise Collins SG West Texas 2026 – There was so much talent on West Texas, but at times Collins was one of their most productive players. The lighting quick wing was able to attack downhill and get buckets in transition helping WT to the 8th-grade title.