Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nike EYBL from Lexington: Harvey finishes strong

THE RIVALS150: 2015 | 2016
Less than 90 minutes down Interstate 64 from Louisville, Ky., and the Under Armour Association event, Nike was holding Session II of the EYBL regular season in Lexington. was on hand to take in as much of the action as we could, here's what we saw.

Harvey got off to a slow start Saturday but finished strong.
Dimencio Vaughn was a warrior for the NY Lightning. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder battled for nine rebounds to go along with his 29 points, five steals and two assists. There was no quit in his game or slowdown in his motor, Vaughn played all 32 minutes as if there was a battery in his back providing energy. Vaughn can score at the basket and knock down shots with either hand. As a result, he is quite difficult to defend.

Sophomore small forward Jordan Tucker struggled with foul trouble in the morning session but, when he was on the floor, the No. 26 ranked prospect in the 2017 class showed off his skill set. Tucker has good size, can shoot it with range and put it on the deck to create his own shot which has a quick release and good extension. As Tucker improves his ability to get to the rim to score and improves his defense, he could see himself achieve five-star status.

D.J. Harvey, started slowly but really stepped up on the defensive end battling for rebounds, blocking shots and getting steals while teammate V.J. King was getting buckets. Harvey's defense initiated his offense against Team Texas and the five-star sophomore finished with 13 points for the game. Kansas, Connecticut, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Arizona, Duke, Kentucky were some of the schools Harvey said have been in touch with his coaches.

Jarred Vanderbilt started off slowly missing some easy baskets around the rim in his first game of the day but the No. 4 ranked player in the 2017 class absolutely did work on the glass. An explosive jumper, Vanderbilt grabs some rebounds by simply jumping higher than opponents, but he also showed his boxing out skills and has a go-get-it mentality when shots go up. For the day, the 6-foot-8, 195-pound prospect had 31 points and 28 boards.

In the days before EYBL teams arrived in Lexington, there was a report that Each One Teach One (E1T1) point guard Lamonte Turner may reclassify from the 2016 class to his original 2015 class. He told us that he's been considering because he'll have all of his school work done this year but he has not reached a decision yet. The Alabama native received a school visit last week from Crimson Tide assistant coach Antoine Pettway and has been educating himself about new Alabama head coach Avery Johnson who was courtside to see Turner on Saturday. Turner finished with a double-double of 11 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

E1T1 teammate Jonathan Isaac continues to impress. The four-star prospect has been playing through the pain of a strained Achilles tendon. Showing his mental toughness, as well as elite shooting ability, Isaac connected on half of his shots (including 4-of-9 beyond the arc) against The Family. The No. 45 ranked player in the 2016 class added three rebounds, two assists and two steals in the game.

Isaac continues to impress despite battling an Achilles injury.
Two weekends ago City Rocks shooting guard Kevin Huerter had his coming out party at Boo Williams and on this day the 6-foot-5 junior continued to play at a high level. Huerter is a deadly marksman off the catch but he is not just a shooter that runs off screens to get open. He can score off the bounce, is a good decision maker and made plays for teammates. Huerter is also active defensively and will get into you. Maryland and Marquette made home visits recently while Creighton, Michigan, Davidson and Villanova stopped by his high school to meet with him.

Anchored by Udoka Azubuike, arguably the most powerful big man in the 2016 class, the Georgia Stars has one of the biggest front lines in the EYBL. But in a match up against the King James Shooting Stars sophomore center Wendell Carter stood out, both for what he did and what he didn't do during his playing time. The 6-foot-10, 250 pound Carter runs and catches very well. He showed an advanced skill set, including creating his own jump shot off the bounce. On occasion he doesn't do a great job of sealing off his man in the low post but, generally speaking, he does present a good target for entry passes. In a game that was quite physical and chippy, Carter didn't allow that to get him out of his game -- including one instance where he was hit in the face -- he just went about his business while getting 21 points, seven rebounds, blocking two shots and getting two steals. Carter listed offers from Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Florida State plus interest from Duke.

For his part, Azubuike had a pedestrian game but showed his power on one dunk when the basket support started to collapse. The five-star center told us that he has been working out with former Clemson standout Grayson Marshall to help improve his skill work and free throw shooting.

Asante Gist is a leader on both sides of the court and demonstrated an ability to keep his teammates happy by setting them up for easy scores. Gist has a quick first step, which allows him to get into the paint anytime. His shot wasn't falling against Las Vegas Prospects but he scored at the rim, dished six assists and had just one turnover in 30 minutes. He told us that USF, Rhode Island, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Maryland and Creighton are the programs he hears from the most.

Nike South Beach point guard Dylan Frye is elevating is stock in his first year in the EYBL. Listed at 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, Frye shows more toughness than some players 20 pounds bigger. He is a reliable jump shooter, good ball handler and passer and showed good anticipation and quickness on the defensive end. Frye told us he has offers from High Point and is receiving interest from Pennsylvania.

In a game that probably should have been scheduled for the main court to accommodate more spectators, Malik Monk and Jayson Tatum met up in a game that attracted quite a few local fans of the Big Blue Nation. Neither had very efficient games, scoring most of their points at the free throw line, but they each impacted the game without scoring as you would expect from elite talent.

Monday, April 13, 2015

EYBL Hampton: Winston Among Stars


HAMPTON, Va. -- Play suffered on the final day of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League as a full weekend of action began to wear down the players. used Sunday to bounce around the gym and get final weekend looks at top players such as point guard Cassius Winston of The Family.
Cassius Winston showed a complete game against the St. Louis Eagles.
Notes from Sunday at the Hampton EYBL When the rankings for the class of 2016 were updated last week, point guard Cassius Winston moved up to No. 24 nationally. Based on his play in Hampton with Detroit-based The Family, the move looks to have been a smart one. Sunday morning against the St. Louis Eagles, Winston did a little bit of everything in a 30-point, five-assist outing. He drilled threes, he got into the lane for scores and created for his teammates. Winston didn't have quite enough in the tank to take out a very good Eagles team, but he had one of the best performances of the entire weekend. Both Michigan and Michigan State are working overtime to keep him in state for college. One of the more anticipated matchups of the weekend was between 2016's No. 7 player Malik Monk's Arkansas Wings and the No. 2 player in 2017 Michael Porter's MoKan Elite squad. Because Monk is a shooting guard and Porter is a small forward there weren't many times that they were matched up. Monk hit some early three-point shots and the game was tied at halftime. But, during the second half MoKan neutralized Monk and ran away to a comfortable win. An elite wing talent, Porter was solid while scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. For the Wings, three-star combo forward Eric Curry had some good moments. He's strong in the open floor, can help out on the glass and has some offensive touch. Another player who made a big jump in the recent rankings update for the class of 2016 was 6-foot-9 power forward Mamadi Diakite, who moved from the 70s up to No. 38. The thin and athletic big from the Blue Ridge School is still adjusting to playing with Team Takeover and hasn't had much of a chance to practice with them, but he showed signs of how good he can be over the course of the weekend. He has exceptional quickness laterally and off the floor, and even though he is slim and needs weight, he will fight for position. Diakite's hands are good, he can play above the rim on both ends and he has touch to the free-throw line. What he doesn't have yet is consistency but thinking long term, Diakite looks like he's going to back up that big jump.
Indiana and Villanova are among top programs chasing Lamar Stevens.
It's hard not to appreciate the way four-star forward Lamar Stevens of Philadelphia-based Team Final goes about his business. Against Boo Williams on Sunday, Stevens was relentless in his attacks on the rim. He finished tough hoops at the rim and got to the free-throw line in a 23-point, 10-rebound outing. Villanova, Indiana, Temple and Xavier are among those that have offered. The No. 53 player in the class of 2017, Stevens Team Final teammate Lonnie Walker is a good-looking wing prospect. Walker is an explosive athlete who is wired to score and just needs polish. He didn't play his best on Sunday, but four-star point guard Tony Carr remains a very interesting prospect. He is tough with the dribble and can play on or off the ball. A recent growth spurt has the No. 77 player in 2015 pushing 6-foot-5. Frankly, 6-foot-10 big man Dajour Dickens of Boo Williams doesn't look quite ready for the 17U level of the EYBL. He lacks strength and it looks like he's a bit unsure of himself. However, that doesn't change the fact that he is a good prospect. Dickens is too tall, too fluid athletically and too young to not think he has a bright future ahead of him. If we were betting, we'd wager that he'll be an effective post player and high-major target this time next year. A high school teammate of the previously mentioned Diakite at Blue Ridge, 6-foot-5 wing Scott Spencer had a very nice weekend for himself. He is an opportunistic scorer who makes just enough jumpers to keep defenders honest but will also work the glass, find open runs to the rim in transition and score here and there off the drive. He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds in a win over team final. One of the very best 2018 prospects over the weekend is Cameron Reddish of Team Final's 16U team. A wing with impressive physical tools, Redish is pushing 6-foot-6 with long arms and plenty of athleticism. He looks to be a capable shooter, driver, passer and defender, and is a prospect with plenty of publicity ahead. Finally, three players on Team Takeover's well balanced and talented 16U squad caught's attention on Sunday. Freshman point guard Rasir Bolton, looked a little bit allergic to defense early on but he is quite skilled offensively. He shoots well from deep and was very alert and accurate when it came to finding his open shooters on drives into the lane. Four-star small forward Myles Douglas already ranks No. 56 in the class of 2017 and he played the part. Douglas is strong, 6-foot-5 and is one of those glue wings that does a little bit of everything while not showing any glaring deficiencies in his game. Also, 6-foot-8 power forward Stefon Fisher has a strong build and some game. He can drive against bigs, has good hands and he looks comfortable facing from the free-throw line or posting on either