Over this past weekend, I had the chance to assist with showcasing some of the top talent from the 252 and surrounding area codes. The #252Invitational brought some of the top teams and talent from the east side of the state to Snow Hill, NC, where they battle for the illustrious first title in event history. Over the next couple of days I will be dropping selections for top performers/all tournament teams.
2026 5’8 Tobia Moye, AG Cox MS, Warriors Life Elite
Warriors Life Elite 2026 squad is one of, if not the best, middle school squad in the 252. At the #252Invitational they were their usually dominate self in large part because of the play of Tobia Moye. Moye walked away MVP of the 14U pool using a strong opening game where he dominated off the dribble and got to his spots at will. Followed up by a tough game against Team Premier where he hit the go ahead 3 in the closing seconds to give his team the eventual 3 point win. Moye averaged 12 points on the weekend.
2026 6’2 Jordan James, EB Aycock MS, Warriors Life Elite
The MVP award could have easily been won by 3 players from the Warriors Life Elite organization. Jordan James controlled the boards and manned the middle for the undefeated squad. James did his fair share of scoring in a variety of ways as well, knocking down 2 three pointers and leading his team in the blocks and rebounds categories. Jordan averaged 19 points on the weekend.
2026 5’11 Chaise Smith, Chocowinity MS, Warriors Life Elite
If it wasn’t for the late game heroics of his teammates Smith probably would have walked away unanimous MVP of the event. Chaise opened the event with a solid 11 point 7 assist performance against a tough Team Trezz squad, followed by a 19 point 5 assist performance against Team Premier in the championship. All weekend the young guard showed a high level knack for getting everyone involved with 6 assist per game on the weekend. Smith also averaged 15 points per game and even threw down a few dunks.
2026 5’10 Amarion “Bug” Williams, Farmville MS, Team Premier
Williams came into the #252Invitational with a name that rung bells in the 252, and he definitely lived up to the hype. Amarion led the 14U division in scoring after a crazy 29 point performance against Team Trezz and a 28 point performance in the championship. The 57 points scored on the weekend came in about as many was as you can imagine, from step back jumpers, to floaters, to tough drives into tougher finishes and even a couple catch and shoot 3s. Long story short the kid can score the ball.
2026 5’10 Tyreek Copper, Contentnea-Savannah MS, Team Premier
Seeing Tyreek Cooper playing his age group is somewhat weird. Usually when you see him he’s playing up and running the show for the Premier 2025 squad. At the #252Invitational Copper controlled the pace of the game and really got his teammates involved by making the right read time in and time out. Tyreek still walked away from the event averaging 14 points per game.
2027 5’11 Keyshawn Herring, Rochelle MS, Team Premier
Playing up a whole age group Keyshawn Herring looked the par of his peers. The young 7th grader finished 3rd on his team in scoring averaging about 13 points in the two outings. He scored in multiple ways including 4 made 3 pointers and some very athletic finishes. If I had to ranks the top 7th graders in the 252 Herring would definitely be close to the top of the list.
2026 6’3 Josiah Johnson Freeman, Northside Christian, Team Trezz
Johnson-Freeman had the top scoring performance of the weekend with a 31 point showing against eventual champs Warriors Life Elite. That performance alone included two 3 point makes, multiple tough finishes and a 7 for 9 on free throw attempts. That game alone would’ve probably gave Josiah the nod for top standouts on the weekend but he wasn’t done there. He chipped in 17 points in his opening game against Team Premier and was easily one of the top prospects in his division.
2026 6’3 Justin Bridgers, Patilo MS, Team Trezz
Justin Bridgers came in as a prospect we had all saw multiple times before the event. He came in as a 6’3 sniper from the outside with the ability to put it on your head in transition. After a slow game one he came to life in game two knocking down three 3 pointers and finishing a dunk in transition. Bridgers averaged 11 points on the weekend.
2026 6’0 Deirich Williams, Greene County MS, Team Trezz
Watching the kids walk into the gym if I had to pick a guy that would have the most dunks on the weekend in the 14U pool I probably wouldn’t have picked Williams. So yes, I would’ve been wrong. Deitrich, the home town kid, was easily one of the more athletic kids in attendance. The lanky southpaw had an impressive outing where he had 15 points, that included a pair of catch and shoot 3s as well as two transition dunks. Deitrich Williams finished the event averaging 11 points per contest and had a 14U division leading 3 dunks.