Brenden Padilla of BearsTruth.com and Coast2CoastRecruiting.com contributed to this report.
Performances of the Day
The big man from Prestonwood was even better today than when we saw him yesterday. What sets him apart from most players at his age is how polished he is, for example he was 15 of 16 at the free throw in one of their games today. That’s extremely impressive for a big man. He had 27 points in their second game of the day. One thing we noticed is that he flashes the ball around a lot and seems to actually want to bring the ball up the court. One time he got the board, shook a defender by crossing over behind his back at midcourt and then took the ball in to the rim. For a 6-9 guy with a wide body, it’s just not something you see often.
The 6-7 win man from Troy, MI has a wide variety of skills that he’s been flashing this weekend, but his versatility is what makes him a deadly player. He can finish near the basket, but he isn’t afraid to step out and hit shots either. Young said that he’s been hearing a lot from a number of schools, but Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan State are the teams that have been after him the hardest.
The CIA Bounce out of Canada entered the day as the only undefeated in the EYBL, and left it the same way. They’re led by the overall #1 in 2014 Andrew Wiggins. This was my first chance to see Wiggins in person, and the 6-7 Canadian didn’t disappoint. You have to like confident players, and he certainly fits that mold. Though he talked about how good the competition is, when I asked him where he thought he stood with everyone else out there he said simply, “I think I’m the best.” Right now Wiggins says he’s wide open in recruiting and hasn’t personally talked to any coaches lately. He said he doesn’t worry about the recruiting process right now, and is just letting his coach worry about it because he has so much time left. In the first game of the day against Speice 31 and 15, and then followed it up with 19 points in his second outing.
Though he’s not currently ranked, we both agree that Jackson-Cartwright is a player to watch. If he were 6-0 tall, you would have already heard of him, but at 5-9 he still gets the job done for the Cali Supreme. He’s got great vision, and he’s good at leading players to open spaces and he’s lightning quick on the ball. He’s also working on his on-ball defense because that’s going to have to be a big part of his game. He had 16 boards and three assists in his game hitting four threes, and in the second game he had 15 points and, perhaps more impressively, 5 rebounds. He’s hearing from UCLA, UCONN, and Arizona, along with a host of other west coast schools, but those are the three he mentioned. He plans on visiting Arizona in June.
The “one that got away” for everybody in Texas, Duke commit Matt Jones had a stellar day alongside his Titans teammate Randle. Unlike Randle, who plays to the crowd and is flashy with the ball, Jones just gets it done. It’s fitting he chose Duke, because he doesn’t “show out,” but even with the national top five Randle on the court, there’s time where Jones is the best player out there. He’s a phenomenal shooter who scored 22 (with six threes) and 17 in his two games today. He’s easy to overlook, especially with the sideshow that is the Texas Titans playing in their hometown, but he alone is worth the price of admission.
This is a player to keep an eye on, though it’s pretty easy because he’s gigantic, but Thon Maker is actually an eighth grader in New Orleans, who had to be specially cleared to play in the EYBL. That’s why he didn’t participate in the first two events. Maker is every bit of 7-0, has incredible touch for a player of his size and especially of his age. He isn’t afraid to bring the ball up the court, he can finish around the rim with either hand, and he even pulled up a couple of jumpers. Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina and Duke were his favorite teams growing up. Maker has a 7-5 wingspan. His teammate, Malik Newman of Callaway HS in Jackson dropped 30 in their first game of the day. He’s a talented 2015 guard with a solid all around game. The recruiting process has barely begun for Newman, who said his favorite schools are “wherever John Calipari is, UCONN, Syracuse and Ohio State.”
News and Notes
The Indy Speice Heat have several players that schools are watching closely in the 2014 class. One is Trevon Blueitt, who impressed me by saying that his favorite part of this tournament was that the elite players expose your weaknesses and show you how you need to get better. The 6-5 guard was most recently offered by Kansas State, and said “Florida. all of the Big 10 schools, Butler and Notre Dame” have been recruiting him the hardest. He said he’ll eliminate some schools after the summer.
Jaquan Lyle is another of the young Speice players that has lit the circuit on fire already this year. At 6-5, Lyle still has the ability to put the ball on the floor, and he’s strong for a junior guard. He’s been in contact with “Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona, Georgetown, a whole bunch of schools.” He hasn’t started eliminating schools, but Michigan State, Louisville and Ohio State have been recruiting him the hardest.
Speice’s Trey Lyles, 2014 Indiana commit, said he is working on his guard skills this summer. Lyles already has a deadly offensive arsenal inside the arc. When asked who he compares his game to he said “Tim Duncan with more athleticism.”
One player that you can’t help but notice when he’s on the court is the power forward from Baton Rouge Episcopal, Brian Bridgewater (Houston Hoops.) Even though he’s recently picked up football offers from LSU and Arkansas, the 6-6 forward says he would like to focus on basketball only to start his career, and that Arizona is the team currently leading for his services and recruiting him the hardest. He also mentioned that he has a basketball offer from Texas A&M, but hasn’t spoken to the Aggies recently. Bridgewater said that if basketball doesn’t work out, he would switch to football after a year or two.
Some of the younger Houston Hoops are players to watch. 2014 forward Justise Winslow is an athletic forward who uses his quickness to get past his man and finishing at the rim. He is also a great passer for a forward. Winslow has been hearing from Arizona, Florida, Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan State, and North Carolina. Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas are now expressing interest. Justise hopes to visit Duke this summer.
Another Houston Hoops contributor today was Justin Jackson. Jackson is a shooting guard who has great touch. Jackson had 19 points today in the Hoops win over Albany City Rocks. Jackson is talking to Duke, North Carolina, Washington, Texas, and Georgetown.
Team Takeover went 2-0 on Saturday. 2013 big man Beejay Anya guarded the paint. Anya has a 7’9 wingspan and he excels at blocking and altering shots. Offensively, Beejay is working on diversifying his game still. He holds offers from Syracuse, Kansas, Ohio St, Indiana, Florida, UCLA, Florida State, Maryland and Georgetown. Anya also has interest from Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina. He hopes to have a decision before his high school season.
MoKan Elite’s 2013 Semi Ojuleye has a list that consist of “Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon, Baylor, Stanford, Stanford, UCLA, and Illinois.” Semi will visit Duke said he has recently started hearing from Duke and will visit there at the end of the month.
Nick King for Bluff City is a 6’7 forward who is very versatile, he had 16 points and 7 boards. Nick is working on his right hand this summer. He said “everybody knows I can go left, so I’m working on going right.” Young is looking at “Georgetown, Texas, Memphis, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri and Vanderbilt.”
Another Bluff City member to keep an eye on is 2013 forward Johnathan Williams who put up 17 in a game tongiht. Williams is a forward who can play insider out forward. He is looking at “Memphis, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville, Auburn, Mississippi State, Georgetown, and Texas.” He describes his game like Lamar Odom because he plays inside and outside and can bring the ball up the court.
One player that certainly hasn't had his best weekend is Jabari Parker, who has struggled with his shot in the first two days of the weekend. He told us after his game today that it's something he's working on, but that he feels the real key is getting better at getting to the free throw line to get his shot in rhythm. He's been overshadowed his teammate Okafor this weekend. Parker said that right now he's no focused on recruiting, and that nobody has really stood out to him recently. He also said that he doesn't have any visits scheduled any time soon.
Simeon guard Kendrick Nunn was again impressive today, and even though his numbers may not be great, he's shown a level of athleticism that many didn't know he possessed coming into the event. Nunn has been on the receiving end of more alley oops than I've seen from someone under 6-5 since I've been covering the game. He's just a tremendous athlete. Right now, he's no narrowing his college choices. Telling me after his second game of the day that's open to anyone at this time, and that nobody has really stood out to him.
Derrick Griffin's performance today wasn't enough to put in the "top performers" list, but every time I start to think that he needs to focus on his future on the gridiron he'll have a game like he did tonight. Griffin absolutely dominated the second game of the day for the Houston Hoops. He hammered home a couple of dunks, had several blocks and even showed some of his rarely seen ability in the midrange. There were even some people talking in the gym today about how the Houston Defenders (not an EYBL team) haven't looked same this season despite featuring the nationally ranked Harrison Twins. He 21 points and 11 boards in their second game
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