Travel team profile: All For One

One of the better travel programs in Massachusetts that focuses on ages before high school has been All For One. Run by Mike Downing and his wife Brenda, the program has had a run of success that includes four state titles and five NEAAU Super Regional titles as they enter their 12th year. They have also produced notable players such as Rene Castro, Tom Pileski and Kenny Reed.

They run the program around academics, as they keep up on what all of their players are doing in school. Downing doesn’t hesitate to sit a player when there are issues; in fact, one player is currently practicing but not playing in tournaments because of academics. 19 of the 22 players on the two teams are honor roll students, and several currently or will attend ISL schools, a reflection of the academic background of much of the program.

This year, the program will feature teams in the seventh and eighth grades only. While they have had teams in high school age groups before, this is where they have specialized and where the staff is focusing on.

Jay Symonds, an eighth grader at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School, also plays wide receiver on the gridiron. He and Abdul Teslin, who goes to the Mission Hill School and is likely off to New Mission next year, are two prospects to watch. Tesslin stands 6’3″ and has an impressive body for his age, but his ability to run the floor will set him apart from others his age right now. David Mitchell, a 6’1″ wing from Boston who attends Belmont Hill, and Will Greer, a 5’10” guard from Cohasset who attends Roxbury Latin, also lead the way on this group.

Noah Downing, the younger son of the directors, is also one to keep an eye on as the seventh grader is off to Thayer Academy next year. He’s also joined in that class by impressive guard Jaylen Echevarria, a diminutive who currently attends KIPP Academy in Lynn.

Downing always challenges his teams, and this year is no different. Easter weekend was their first not playing thus far this spring, with previous weekends featuring the George “Trigger” Burke Invitational run by BABC and events run by Zero Gravity. They will later go to state AAU and NEAAU Super Regionals, the Maryland Invitational, GymRat Challenge, Hoopville Spring Finale and YBOA Nationals at the end of June into July.

All For One may only have two teams this year, but they have some talent and Downing has been able to win with some talent before. As they get more playing experience, they should be dangerous, and off the court they will continue their success as well. Ultimately, the players will be prepared for the high school years both on and off the court.

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