The Baltimore region has consistently produced a collection of hoop phenoms over the years. The city most known for producing the hit television series, the Wire, is also known for producing NBA talents Carmelo Anthony, Muggsy Bogues, Rudy Gay, and many more. Current Denver Nugget, Will Barton is another of those prodigies that hails from B'Moore and, like many others before him, has chosen to give back by sponsoring local Under Armour Association Team Thrill. The squad is rapidly building a name in the area and is continuing to establish itself as a national brand. We had the chance to catch up with Coach Mookie and speak to him about his 2021 team and their upcoming season and chances on winning a World Championship.
HWI: What separates your organization from the myriad of other AAU programs across the country?
Coach Mookie: I think our commitment to developing kids at a young level [separates] us from most programs. By [developing our kids in house] it eliminates the headache of other programs stealing players; we seldom have to recruit. We are also very family oriented with sponsorship from both Under Armour and Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton.
HWI: What is the back story on how your organization was created?
Coach Mookie: Our organization started about 5-6 years ago. We were previously BMore's Finest and we had a ton of success at the elementary and middle school level. We became Team Thrill just last year. We were also featured on 60 minutes sports 1/5/16. We won the AAU National Championship at the 4h, 5th, and 7th grade level in 2016.
HWI: Who are some notable players who have worn your organizations uniform?
Coach Mookie: Because the program is young, most of our players are up and coming. Most notable of those players is Aquille Car (The Crime Stopper).
HWI: For your 2021 team, do you expect to have much of your roster in tact from last year, what if any gaps are you looking to fill before next summer?
Coach Mookie: Roster is 80% the same
HWI: Describe the team's 2016 summer season and point out any significant tournament victories or games that stand out in your mind.
Coach Mookie: We won the AAU National Championship at the 4th, 5th, and 7th grade level this past summer.
HWI: What is your team's philosophy on offense and defense?
Coach Mookie: No man left behind! Help the helper, no paint touches!
HWI: Who are some players to watch from your team next season?
Coach Mookie: Ahmad Harrison, Ryan Conway, Detwan Montague, Malik Missouri, Darrius Tilghman, Camden Blount [to name a few]
HWI: How many opportunities has your squad had to play west coast teams? How did you fair against those teams?
Coach Mookie: We won the AAU West Coast Nationals in 6th grade, we played the West Coast All Stars a few times.
HWI: What was your record last year?
Coach Mookie: 78-6
HWI: What style of play is your team know for?
Coach Mookie: We play tenacious, relentless, tough and gritty basketball.
HWI: Who are the top teams in your area for 2021 and in general?
Coach Mookie: Us, Team Takeover, and New World Unlimited
HWI: What would it mean for your team to compete for a World Championship next Summer?
Coach Mookie: It would mean back to back [championships]!