The Holiday Series presents by Coast II Coast Preps / powered by the Kentucky Basketball Commission is coming up beginning in January. Manimal Elite is looking to take multiple crowns and have a solid team who will be a contender. Lets take a look just who Manimal Elite is.
Manimal Elite is named after the Manimal himself, New Jersey Nets forward, Kenneth Faried. Faried who played his college days at Morehead State in Kentucky, sponsors a KY based travel basketball program which plays on the Adidas Gold Gauntlet for high school divisions. Considered one of if not the best program in Kentucky, Manimal Elite got stronger this off season with the addition of Blue Rain to their program, which is now their 2024 team. Manimal Elite 2024 and Blue Rain 2025 will be at all three events of the Holiday Series upcoming.
The Manimal Elite 2024 team, formerly Blue Rain was a first year program in 2018 based out of Central Kentucky. A first year program, if you played anywhere in Kentucky, Indiana or Ohio you were bound to have seen them at some point this past season. It seems they played every weekend, sometimes two age divisions per weekend. Playing every weekend from March through August, sometimes doubling up divisions, Blue Rain ammassed over 110 wins on the season and appeared in 25 championship games.
Blue Rain won the following tournament championships.
Battle of the Bridges
Tony Delk Tournament of Champions
Ohio Players National Championship
BW3 Super Regionals Championship
En route to their multiple championships or runner-up finishes, they knocked off some of the best teams in the midwest. They had wins over the St. Louis Bulls, Sedulous Basketball Academy, Motor City Bad Boys, Cincy Lakers, Apex Basketball Club, Motor City Thunder, Indiana Faith Elite and more.
NOTABLE PLAYERS IN 2018 FOR BLUE RAIN
Trey Gillett – All State performer in middle school for Southern Middle in Lexington. A physcial guard, who attacks the paint, locks dowon on defense and rebounds all over the court in and out of his area. One of the most physical guards in the state. Relentless drive
Elijah Thompson – Thompson is versatile, he can play the one through the five pending on the lineup on court with him and the coaches need. The southpaw can shoot the three from deep and has a solid all around game.
Cooper Wasson – Point guard, true definition of the position. Pushes the ball in transition and defends the other teams transition 84 feet. Knocks down his open shot catch and shoot or off ball screens. Wasson has the ball on a string.
Caleb Burnett – Knows his role, runs to the corners in transtition and if open he doesn't miss. Drive either way and finish with either hand.
Garrett Wilson – 6-0 center that finishes well around the rim. Strong defensive presence blocking shots, great rebounder and runs the floor exceptionally well for a big man.
Ty Miller – Natural work horse. One of the best rebounders in his grade. Physical, strong, and goes hard on defense.
Other bench players include Austin Stone, CJ Hinton, Daniel Joseph from the 2018 Blue Rain team.
WHATS MANIMAL ELITE LOOK LIKE?
With Blue Rain now under Manimal Elite name, they have added four of the better 2024 players in Kentucky to their roster to help them prepare for a national schedule. In addition to the Holiday Series in Lexington, they will be playing in the Midwest Circuit, which was a hit in its inaugural year this past spring / summer.
Manimal Elite has added to the roster:
Julian Bunton - considered one of the better players in the grade in the state and receives national attention
We look forward to seeing how the new additions gel with the current core of players and can't wait to see them upcoming in 2019 on the circuit. Will they be good enough for a national ranking? The pieces are there to make a push.
Blue Rain from 2018