By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
After months of traveling Prolific Prep returned home to face Wings Academy of Phoenix, Arizona — they would win their first game back in Napa 92-68.
“It feels great,” junior Alimamy Koroma said of the first home game after months of traveling, and playing in The Grind Session tournaments. “I don’t know when last I was here (in Napa) on a Saturday, it feels great. I don’t think I’ve had a home cooked meal on Saturday for a while, so I enjoyed that today, it feels great to be back in Napa playing in front of them fans, you know put on a show.”
For most of the game it seemed as though the Crew (16-7) was just going through the motions.
“Part of it is it’s tough because you’re playing against a team that’s fouling on just about every possession, and they’re just not going to call them all, because otherwise the game would go forever, so I mean we wanna make it a pretty game, we wanna make it like a energetic game, sometimes that’s difficult to do depending on how the other team’s playing,” Prolific Prep coach Billy McKnight said of the Crew’s sluggish evening. “Tonight I actually thought our guys who actually get the bulk of the playing time they did a pretty darn good job, and then the second half I wanted to get a lot of guys playing time, and those guys come in and they get their crack at it, so it’s a great opportunity, these games are great opportunities for guys who normally don’t get time to get out there.”
It was another rest night for Jordan Brown on the evening, Brown has been dealing with injury for while. The injury has since allowed junior wing Koroma a chance to get a lot more time in the lineup, and valuable experience. On the evening koroma had eight points all while bringing down 14 rebounds.
“It feels great, it feels great,” Koroma explained of the trust McKnight has in him with Brown out. “At first it was a struggle to get minutes, but I trusted the process, I trusted coach Billy, because he’s a great coach, and when my number was called I stepped up, that’s what life is about you know, you’ve got to prepare for it like situations, and when the time comes you’ve got to prove to coach Billy that you should play, and you belong out there. I mean I’m enjoying every moment of it.”
“Jordan hasn’t played for the last couple weeks, because we’ve been resting him,” McKnight explained of why Brown has been out. “Ali has been getting a ton of time, because he’s actually a very good defender, and he can guard smaller guys, so sometimes when we’re playing against teams with four guard lineups, he’s great because we can out him in there and he can guard a guard, but he’s really come a long way in just his knowledge of how to play. Really happy with him.”
On the night the Crew was led by sophomore point guard Namari Burnett who had 27 points, and four rebounds. University of California Santa Barbara bound Sekou Toure added 20 points with eight rebounds on the night, also having a good night was University of Buffalo signee Jeenathon Williams who scored 18 points, while grabbing six rebounds.
“Namari sat, because of his broken hand he was out six weeks for that, so we he had to sit and he had to watch a lot of games, and actually I think it was extremely beneficial for him, because he could get a different perspective on how we wanted to play, and he could sit next to the coaches and understand without trying to do too much on the court, without having to figure it out on the court he could kinda get a better feel for what we were trying to do while watching,” McKnight explained of how Burnett has grown since the beginning of the season. “Even though we were playing him earlier in the year he was really trying to figure out how the whole thing was going to fit together, and i think he has a much clearer idea now of how he’s going to get his shots, and what we’re looking for in different circumstances, so I’m really happy with Namari’s progress as well, and his future is unbelievably bright.”
Up next for Prolific Prolific is two games in The Grind Session’s Crush in the Valley event next weekend. On Saturday the Crew will play Aspire Academy of Arizona at 7 P.M., and on Sunday at 3 P.M. they’ll face Hillcrest Prep. All games of the event will be played at American Canyon High School.
“We’re playing against Hillcrest, and Aspire and both of those teams have top five players in the country in their respective classes,” McKnight added on the high level of talent coming next weekend for the Crush in the Valley. “Anytime we can bring that kind of basketball talent into California it’s pretty special, and we’re excited to be able to play against that talent at home, because normally we’re doing all that on the road, it’s tough to get really good teams to come out here and play us, so to be able to play in The Grind Session and have those teams come out, we’re looking forward to it, we’re definitely looking forward to it, and I think the people in the Napa Valley will wanna come out and see it, because seeing those types of players it’s a whole different level.”
“We’re looking forward to that (Crush in the Valley),” Koroma added on next weekend’s big event. “We beat two top 25 teams, and now we’re hungry for more. Hillcrest, and Aspire they’re both good teams, we just wanna beat them and get out there, because people are doubting us, but we know what we can do, so we’re going to go out there and blow them out and onto the next one.”