While the high school basketball season is still a long ways off, a group of Napa and Vintage players are playing AAU ball together under the leadership of coach Tony Prescott.

The North Bay Basketball Academy’s 16-and-under squad, featuring Napa High’s Brock Bowers, Jack Giguiere and Brayden Greenlee and Vintage High’s Logan Nothmann, Everett Mitchell and Josh McCormick, recently finished its summer season with a six-game trip to Las Vegas.

“Vegas is our biggest tournament. We go to it every year,” said Nothmann. “We probably had our most successful tournament there this past season. We ended up winning the second division, going 5-1. It’s a totally fun road trip going to Vegas with all the guys.”

The annual Las Vegas tournament attracts teams from as far away as France, Brazil and Australia.

“We started up about six years ago, just trying to give kids a chance to play basketball outside of Napa,” explained Prescott. “If you look at baseball and football, there are a lot of opportunities, but for basketball it’s all localized and we just play against each other. We don’t really have the talent pool to make each other better.”

Prescott said the NBBA program started in Marin and grew to include Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Napa.

“It’s kind of a different angle for AAU basketball. It’s not really a league,” he said. “We’ll take the kids and play six tournaments in the spring and six in the fall. We play in Marin, San Francisco, Sacramento, Walnut Creek and Rocklin.”

Bowers’ mother, DeAnna Earsley-Bowers, said she and the other parents are especially grateful to Prescott and his program.

“Never before has there been such a combination of high school athletes that have stayed together for so many years on a club team,” she said. “Tony was able to do this without issues with player ego or parent problems. He set the expectation and the families followed it.”

Greenlee agreed it’s the long-term bond the players have formed and the fact they are all from the same area that makes the team out of the ordinary.

“It’s really fun,” he said. “I’ve been playing on this team since fifth grade. A lot of teams we play pull kids from all over. That’s part of what makes our team so special, is we’re all from the same area.”

“Playing together for so long, we all know each other’s moves,” Nothmann added with a laugh. “But that doesn’t mean we can stop them.”

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