Basketball stars display talents on top AAU circuits



Noam Jacobovitz

After posting the most successful season in Wilson basketball history with DCIAA and DCSAA championships to boast, Wilson boys basketball team members now find themselves playing across the country against the best in the nation for their respective American Athletic Union (AAU) teams.
Many members of the Wilson basketball team are playing for the top teams in the area that are not only sponsored by brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas, but also play every weekend at different locations around the country. AAU provides a circuit for the best to compete against the best. Last season’s star players Dimingus Stevens, Ayinde Hikim, Ricky Lindo, and Jay Heath are featured alongside twin transfers Makhi and Makhel Mitchell.
Junior Jay Heath is playing for Team Melo (MD) in the Nike Elite Young Basketball League (EYBL). Heath is a major contributor on Carmelo Anthony’s AAU team, based in Baltimore. Heath chose to play with Team Melo because he believes, “the Nike circuit is the best circuit in the nation.” Heath has led Team Melo in scoring at 16.3 points per game, which has led to offers from George Mason University, Boston College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. “It’s a big responsibility. I feel like I can do it. We have a lot of mature guys to help me out,” Heath said about being the star scorer and a leader of the team. Heath added that, “Every game is a good game and there are usually no blowouts,” in such a competitive AAU circuit like the Nike EYBL.
After transferring to Wilson over a month ago, the Mitchell twins have been playing with famed DC Premier in the Under Armour Association (UAA). They are both starting for DC Premier in the 17U division. “It is important to play in a top notch circuit [like the UAA] so a player can get looks from college coaches and play against top players and top notch competition,” said Makhi Mitchell.
Although they have already both committed to playing at the University of Maryland, they still embrace the tough competition and enjoy playing with DC Premier. “They always find the right group of guys to play on the circuit,” they said.
Ayinde Hikim is set to graduate in June but he is playing AAU for another season since he will be doing a prep year before college which will allow him to have more time to impress coaches with the skills that made him First Team All-Met. Hikim plays alongside fellow senior Ricky Lindo and the Mitchell twins on DC Premier. “It gives me a chance to compete with the top players across the country,” Hikim said about playing in the UAA. Hikim is now playing in front of numerous NCAA Division I coaches almost every weekend. “I like that they trust and believe in me. Also they help me develop as a young man on and off the court,” Hikim said.
Sophomore Dimingus Stevens is playing with Team Takeover 16U in the Nike EYBL. This is one of the top programs in the Nike circuit, consistently producing high-level D1 talent. NBA players such as Josh Hart, Victor Oladipo, and Jerian Grant have come out of Team Takeover.
Senior Ricky Lindo is also doing a prep year next year, so he is able to play another season of AAU. “You get everybody’s best game every time you play,” Lindo said regarding playing on a competitive circuit like UAA. Because competition is so intense, college coaches are attracted constantly to the games and players like Lindo get great opportunities to impress them. A nice thing about playing on a sponsored team like DC Premier is the gear, Lindo remarked. He also enjoys “the chance to play for my city.”