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The ACES Elite Classic host 5th Annual All-American Games

Short N Sweet Ent

Photo Credit: 2bmediallc

On May 22nd, 2024 hundreds of basketball fanatics walked into the legendary Bronx Gauchos gym to witness an evening packed with unbelievable talent. This year marks the 5th annual ACES Elite Classic where the top-ranked players, boys and girls, participate in All-American games.

Founder Brian Kortovich stated, “It’s elite but it didn’t always start elite. We started from rock bottom but when you build something that’s rooted organically in grassroots basketball all the way up to the professional league, people feel that. Our DNA is HustleAndHeart. Everybody from the janitor to the doctor to Lebron James has hustle as heart. So I think that universal storytelling attracts everyone to the brand’s platform and this is our annual All-American Game. The fact that we can get 6, 7, and 8 McDonald All-Americans on the court right now, that speaks for itself. We’re humble and honored here at the 2024 Classic”.

The Aces Elite Classic is where you want to showcase your talent before getting to that next level. Trusted brands such as Google Pixel, Nike Jordan Brand, and Snipes USA help support everyone involved to make this evening successful and if you couldn’t make it in person to the games, you could watch it on the NBA App.    


This year ACES partnered up with the 3X Olympic Gold Medalist and 4X WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes as one of the official hosts of both games. As Swoopes walked into the gym, fans jumped off the bleachers and lined up for an opportunity to take pictures with her.  After so many years of playing, it was amazing to see that not only is Swoopes one of the greatest basketball players to touch the court but she is also a role model for the next generation of players. Swoopes stated, “If I could title this chapter of her life I would name it “Peace”. I think I would title it peace because I’m just at peace with everything I’m doing in my life. I’m happy and blessed. Peace because I am able to continue to be apart of the game and doing something that I love always brings me peace”.


Host, Bianca Peart and Joshua Thompson set the tone well before the tip-off of both games. They were fun, engaging, and interacted with everyone in the building extremely well making us feel welcomed. The Aces Elite Classic is so important to the basketball world and this is the perfect time and place to show off your skills.

Peart stated, “The ACES Elite Classic is so important because it’s the foundation of our future. There are so many opportunities to highlight talented high school players from all across the country and not that many people are doing it”. Thompson stated, “This tournament is huge not only because New York City needed this but the basketball world needs this. We have the top talented players who are in high school and who are coming out of high school competing at a high level. It’s entertaining but more than anything they get the opportunity to showcase their skills. People get a chance to come out and see them up close and personal. This is special - it’s unique”.        


This year the rosters for Team Hustle and Team Heart were stacked with talented players who were ready to show off their talents and with Larry King Agee on the mic you know these games are about to be full of entertainment. On the girls’ side they had players such as, Angelina Hodgens, Maidson Howard, Mia & Mya Pauldo, Zahara King, Kate Koval, Mikayla Blakes, and Kayleigh Heekel who showed up and showed out on the court. From the first whistle, they immediately showed why they deserved their spot on the team. At the end of the game, it was Team Hustle, coached by Marque Poole, who took home the Win. Madison Howard from Team Hustle received the MVP Award and Zahara King received the Sportsmanship Award.


Even after Team Heart lost you could tell how humble each player was for this opportunity. The Pauldo twins, Mya & Mia, stated how they felt after the game.


“I’m not going to lie, I’m mad that we lost. We were supposed to get that dub but overall I had fun. We competed and we always do – kill”. Mya


“I just love the environment in New York, especially in the Gauchos gym. Every time I step foot on that court I kill. The energy in here is different”. Mia


On the boy’s side they had players such as, Ian Jackson, Elijah Moore, Eli Ellis, Tahaad Pettiford, Valdez Edgecombe, Jalil Bethea, Elliot Cadeau, and Kiyan Anthony hit the court. Some players had well over 40+ points on both teams. Team Hustle, coached by Coach Bo, walked away with the W and bragging rights for an entire year. Tahaad Pettiford, from Team Hustle, received the MVP Award, and Kiyan Anthony, from Team Heart, received the Sportsmanship Award.


Female basketball player, Niki Avery was in attendance and stated, “We embody street ball. It’s only right that we come here and show love to the youth and we love it”.


DJ Ria, who is also a host and emcee, was in attendance and stated, “Brian we are here to support you and your movement. Thank you for giving this platform to this younger generation to elevate the game”. 

As the night came to an end, the founder of ACES, Briain Kortovich jumped onto the mic to give an amazing tribute for Corey “Homicide” Williams a legend in the game of basketball, who passed away a few weeks ago. Everyone took a moment of silence to show their respect for his legacy. He will be remembered for his dedication, passion, and impact that he had for the game.

This will not be the last time that we see these young and talented players hit the court. Many players are committed to attending schools such as Miami, Baylor, Notre Dame, UNC, Vanderbilt, USC, and UCONN. All of these players have a bright future and I know that we can’t wait to support them as their career starts to develop.


Next year the ACES Elite Classic will be bigger and better so sit back, enjoy the show, and be ready for next year.  

All Photographs were taken by : 2bmediallc

Written By: Shauntay Hallett

Until next post... Coach Tay     


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