The annual Generation Next Basketball Association hit the hardwood this past spring and summer and the middle school providing grounds did not disappoint as quality teams took to the court chasing championship hardware at the 5th-8th grade levels.  The final horn sounded at the 8th grade division with the Young Bullz delivering a powerful statement and hoisting the team trophy, but a number of solid prospects from other teams and programs made their presence felt in the process.  Here’s a quick look at our All-GNBA teams for the 8th grade division where Ian Brown of Mid-Pro South secured MVP honors…

Ian Thomas – 2026 - Combo Guard – Mid Pro South
– A strong, physical and shifty guard, Thomas checks all the boxes. A pure playmaker, he can score from the perimeter but is probably his best using his strong frame and getting downhill. Over the course of the GNBA, Thomas showcased the ability to find open teammates when teams keyed in on him. Defensively, he has the strength to guard bigger post players and the quickness to chase around smaller guards. 

Kenan Pekovic – 2026 – Small Forward – Illinois Central Elite – Pekovic is a talented forward with some size and a nice versatile game. He’s a skilled scorer that was getting it done from all three levels. The 2026 prospect has a smooth jumper and shoots it well off the dribble. He also moves very well with the ball in his hands when he is getting to his spots.

Jaxson Davis – 2027 - Hybrid Guard – Flight Athletics – Davis and his team played up in the 2026 division the entire GNBA and more than held their own. Davis plays aggressive on both ends of the floor and gets his teammates involved on the offensive end. He attacks the basket and finishes well at the rim. A smooth lefty that will only get better as his shot from deep continues to improve.

Yusef Gray Jr. – 2026 – Combo Guard – Phenom University – Gray is an energetic playmaking guard. He proved to be incredibly tough to stay in front and can score the ball very well off the dribble while attacking the basket. He pairs his quickness along with good shifty moves to easily beat his man off the dribble. A high IQ guard with a good all-around game, Gray plays with an edge that a lot of prospects his age don’t compete with.

Derrick Jackson – 2026 - Point Guard – Young Bullz – Jackson is a point guard that is a very effective player with the ball in his hands that made everyone around him better throughout the GNBA Championships. He moves extremely well with the ball with his tight handle. He can literally be a 1 man press breaker and then will get into the paint and create great looks for his teammates. Jackson led his team to the GNBA championships.
Thian Riak – 2026 - Dual Forward – Phenom University
– The lengthy 6'4" forward was one of the top forwards of the GNBA season. He scored at ease, rebounded the ball well and defended all positions on the floor. He plays very smooth and doesn’t need to the ball to make an impact. As the summer went on, Riak impressed me with his ability to handle the ball. His shot blocking ability is off the charts for his age and he is already playing above the rim. As his body fills out, Riak will be a name to watch out for in the future.

Jake Veley – 2027- Combo Guard – 24:UP – Veley was impressive all GNBA. He is not the flashiest player but the just does what is needed to produce. There were games where we exploded offensively and games where he used his 6-4ish frame to create havoc defensively. Veley was a key piece to the team as they made a run to the GNBA Finals championship game. 

Vaughn Karvala – 2026 - Small Forward – MTXE – What caught my attention about Karvala was how athletic he was in warmups. He is much more than just an athlete. Karvala is a smooth wing that plays well with or without the ball. Knocked down some big shots over the weekend. Intriguing prospect who may just be scratching the surface of how good he can be.

Tevin Schultz – 2026 – Power Forward – Martin Brothers – Already standing 6’7”, Schultz was a force inside all GNBA. He used his size and strength to score easy buckets for his team and displayed some solid post moves. A solid, physical big, Schultz uses his frame to attack the glass, set solid screens and make opposing players think twice about attacking the basket.

Tyree Brister – 2027 – Point Guard – Mid Pro South – Brister plays hard on both ends of the floor. He is constantly applying pressure by attacking defenders and making the right play rather that is scoring or distributing to the open teammate. He has the mentality and ability to press up on opposing guards, making them work extremely hard on offense. Brister’s motor is always on go and that energy flows down to his teammates. He is the engine that makes his Mid Pro South team accelerate.