With the first session of the Nike EYBL in Hampton, Virginia, starting today at 6:00 p.m. (EST), it’s time to take a look at what to watch for and what teams could potentially dominate.
Team Texas Titans (TX) vs. CIA Bounce (CAN)
In the opening night of games, one of the top prospects in the class of 2013, Julius Randle (Team Texas Titans), will be going up against a pair of seven-foot brothers in Sim and Tanveer Bhullar (CIA Bounce) who are 7’5”, and 7’3”, respectively. Randle is clearly more talented than either brother but it will be interesting to see how he handles their length. I expect him to take them out of the lane and utilize his mid-range game whether its driving to the basket or hitting the jumper. The more interesting match-up will be how well he defends them on the defensive end since they will simply try to shoot over him.
CP3 All-Stars (NC)
This team features two of the best guards in the class of 2012 in #9 overall Rodney Purvis (Louisville) and #42 overall Braxton Ogbueze (Florida). These two are a duo that will be tough to handle since both can play either guard position and both are good slashers that consistently get to the basket. They are also quick and athletic and have the ability to create scoring opportunities for their teammates. Expect this backcourt to do very well in this event although they will be competing against the Houston Hoops who has an even better backcourt in #14 overall Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) and #19 overall L.J. Rose (Undecided).
Houston Hoops (TX)
This team has the best backcourt in the event between Sulaimon, Rose, and #36 overall point guard J-Mychal Reese (Undecided). This robust backcourt ensures the squad will usually have elite guards who are fresh despite having to play day after day after day and gives them great versatility since Rose and Reese play the point in different styles and Sulaimon is versatile himself and can do a variety of things. Sulaimon is an athletic, big-time scorer who can score by hitting the outside shot, pulling up for the mid-range jumper, or taking it all the way to the hoop. Rose and Reese differ since Rose since a big, strong, pure point guard who has good floor vision and passing abilities whereas Reese is more of a scorer who is athletic and needs to add muscle to his wiry frame. It will be fun to watch this trio who will likely dominate their competition this weekend.
New Jersey Playaz (NJ)
The NJ Playaz has a pair of top-31 power forwards in #22 Kyle Anderson (Undecided) and #31 Ricardo Gathers (Undecided). Although both play power forward, Kyle Anderson is very versatile since he has the court vision and passing abilities of a point guard and the post-play of a big small forward. Also, the two play different styles so they are more than capable of playing together at the same time. Gathers is one of the most powerful players in the class regardless of position and is very athletic for a power forward. He is an extremely good finisher and is very quick for his size. His quickness also allows him to get by defenders easily and get easy buckets since no one will stop him when he’s attacking the rim. Look for these two to create one of the best frontcourts in the event and to challenge other big men defensively.
The best of the best
Two of the top four prospects in the class of 2012 will be participating in the EYBL this weekend in center DaJuan Coleman (City Rocks) and power forward Brandon Ashley (Drew Gooden Soldiers). Unlike most high school big men in the country, Coleman has the strength and post-scoring ability that is already good enough for the college ranks. He has good hands and footwork that a big man needs and is surprisingly athletic for 280 lbs. His shot-blocking ability is also solid for size and length and he has good arc and touch on his hook shots as well. On the other hand, Ashley is very versatile and can score in multiple ways whether it’s a short jumper, post-up move, or drive to the basket. He also runs the floor very well and is a good shot-blocker due to his length. Ashley is a smart and savvy basketball player too which not only benefits his team but his teammates as well.