oo Williams' elite girls AAU basketball team, and his annual Nike Invitational tournament, don't lack for talent.
The key is which teams can play cohesively for three days, under the watchful eyes of dozens of college coaches.
"We've got a good team, but we've got a lot of new players," Williams said earlier this week. "We've got to blend in and get that chemistry going."
Boo's team is one of the favorites in the elite, 16-and-under classification. A total of 212 teams will compete in 10 divisions at sites all over the Peninsula. Pool play begins Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday afternoon. Elimination play begins Saturday evening, and semifinals and finals will be held Sunday.
The locals are led by Elizabeth Williams, a 6-foot-3 junior from Princess Anne High, and Tennessee-bound forward Cierra Burdick from Charlotte, along with Duke commitments Ka'Lia Johnson from Thomas Dale near Richmond and Whitney Knight from Winston-Salem, N.C.
The team also features the Lake Taylor trio of Linda Stepney, Toia Giggetts and Crystal Leary that led the Titans (30-1) to the Group AAA state championship.
Elizabeth Williams is one of a handful of competitors here this weekend who played for the U.S. under-16 national team that won the FIBA Americas event.
The other top teams are expected to be the Florida Essence, based out of Tallahassee, the Philly Belles, Tennessee Flight and California Storm Team Taurasi.
Ten players to watch
C, 6-3. Hometown: Virginia Beach.
High school: Princess Anne. AAU team: Boo Williams AAU
Rated best center in Class of 2011 and either No. 1 or 2 overall. Gatorade state Player of the Year. Averaged 16.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game for 29-2 Princess Anne, despite being double- and triple-teamed. MVP of last summer's FIBA Americas under-16 championship.
Today, 5:55 p.m. vs. Arizona Warriors, BW Sportsplex, Court 3; Saturday, 10:50 a.m. vs. Utah Flight, BW Sportsplex, Court 2; Saturday, 3:05 p.m. vs. WPA Bruins, BW Sportsplex, Court 2.
G, 6-0. Hometown: Anaheim, Calif.
High school: Mater Dei. AAU team: Tennessee Flight.
Rated No. 1 or 2 in Class of 2011. Committed to Connecticut. Superior shooter, exceptional court sense and all-around game. Averaged 23.9 points, eight rebounds for state CIF-SS Division 2 champions. Helped U.S. under-16 team to gold medal last summer in FIBA Americas U-16 championships. Sports Illustrated dubbed her "the future" in a piece on teenage sports stars.
Today, 5:55 p.m. vs. MI Crossover, BW Sportsplex, Court 1; Saturday, 8 a.m. vs. DFW, BW Sportsplex, Court 2; Saturday, 1:40 p.m. vs. Cal Ballaz, BW Sportsplex, Court 2.
C-F, 6-3. Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
High school: Sickles. AAU team: Orlando Comets Red
Top-10 prospect in Class of 2011. Committed to Duke. Averaged 22.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.9 blocks per game. Fluid athlete, good footwork, decent shooter to 15 feet. Younger sister of North Carolina freshman John Henson.
Today, 5:55 p.m. vs. Philly Belles, BW Sportsplex, Court 4; Saturday, 10:50 a.m. vs. FBC Southeast Elite, BW Sportsplex, Court 3; Saturday, 3:05 p.m. vs. North Tartan, BW Sportsplex, Court 3.
G, 5-8. Hometown: Massapequa, N.Y. High school: Christ the King, Flushing, N.Y. AAU team: Philly Belles
Top-10 recruit in Class of 2011. Quick, speedy, excellent scorer. Terrific first step. Helped Christ The King (26-5) to Federation Class AA state title.
Today, 5:55 p.m. vs. Orlando Comets, BW Sportsplex, Court 4; Saturday, 10:50 a.m. vs. North Tartan, BW Sportsplex, Court 4; Saturday, 3:05 p.m. vs. FBC Southeast Elite, BW Sportsplex, Court 4.
F, 6-2. Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
High school: Butler. AAU team: Boo Williams AAU
Top-five prospect in Class of 2011. Committed to Tennessee. Good athlete. Excellent perimeter skills. Averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game for 4A state champs.
See Elizabeth Williams' schedule above.
C, 6-3. Hometown: Marion, Iowa.
High school: Linn-Mar. AAU team: Team Iowa
Top-10 prospect in Class of 2011. Averaged 19 points, 13.1 rebounds, 4.8 blocks, shot 65 percent from the field for 4A state champs. Played for U.S. under-16 national team last summer. Daughter of Greg Stokes, the No. 3 scorer in Iowa men's basketball history.
Today, 8:45 p.m. vs. Georgia Metros, BW Sportsplex, Court 3; Saturday, 12:15 p.m. vs. NY Heat, Heritage HS; Saturday, 5:55 p.m. vs. Cy-Fair, BW Sportsplex, Court 4.
F, 6-4. Hometown: London.
High school: Blair Academy (N.J). AAU team: Philly Belles
English import is top-five prospect in Class of 2011. Member of British under-18 girls national team. All-court player tall enough to post up and skilled enough to face up. Product of top-shelf girls basketball program in London that has working arrangement with Philly Belles stateside.
See Bria Smith's schedule above.
G, 5-9. Hometown: Newnan, Ga.
High school: Northgate. AAU team: Florida Essence.
Top-15 recruit in Class of 2011. Committed to Connecticut. Smooth left-hander can shoot from the perimeter and get to the basket. Becoming a solid defender. Same AAU program as current UConn player Tiffany Hayes.
Today, 5:55 p.m. vs. ODGL, BW Sportsplex, Court 2; Saturday, 8 a.m. vs. NE Crusaders, BW Sportsplex, Court 4; Saturday, 3:05 p.m. vs. Ring City Elite, BW Sportsplex, Court 4.
C, 6-5. Hometown: Columbus, Miss.
High school: New Hope. AAU team: Florida Essence
Top prospect in Class of 2012. Invited to tryouts for U.S. under-17 national team in June, along with handful of other players at Boo's tournament this weekend. Almost fully recovered from automobile accident last November that affected her vision and slowed her during prep season.
See Brianna Banks' schedule above.
C, 6-3. Hometown: Cicero, N.Y. High school: Cicero-North Syracuse. AAU team: Philly Belles
Top prospect in Class of 2012. Good skill set, both in the post and away from the basket. Good rebounder, effective shot-blocker. According to Syracuse Post-Standard, faster and more agile than she at first appears. Decent jump shot, good form.
See Bria Smith's schedule above.
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