HAMPTON, Va. – The third session of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League served to illustrate a point that has already been well-served throughout the spring:
The EYBL has a virtual monopoly on the best of the “bigs” in the national high school Class of 2017.
Six players who stand at least 6-foot-10 and or go right at 7-foot, DeAndre Ayton, Wendell Carter, Jaren Jackson, Brandon McCoy, Nicholas Richards and Mitchell Robinson, were consistently exceptional and often spectacular over the weekend in the Boo Williams Sports Complex.
And one of 2017’s very best in that size – and talent – range wasn’t even on the court Friday, Saturday and Sunday as Mohamed Bamba (Westtown, PA, Westtown School) served as the event’s tallest unofficial “cheerleader” and “assistant coach” as the PSA Cardinals won each of their four games to improve to 10-1 on the season going into the fourth and final spring session in Suwanee, GA, on Memorial Weekend.
Bamba had his new “roles” because he was in a walking boot after suffering a high sprain of his left ankle before the weekend.
Ayton’s California Supreme squad split its four games, losing the first of those (vs. Houston Hoops Friday night) when he suffered a blow to his upper lip and nose in the first half that led to him missing the rest of the contest and gaining stitches to close the wounds later.
But, when on the court, he continued to show his stunning array of all-around skill while averaging 20.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 blocked shots.
Guard Brad Davison had a marvelous weekend as Minnesota-based Howard Pulley remained the EYBL’s only unbeaten at 11-0.
His performance in the overtime win over California Supreme Saturday night was one of the two-best I witnessed at the event.
With standout 2018 point guard Tre Jones sidelined with a broken right thumb, Davison was on the ball much more than normal and responded in the kind of fashion that should help elevate the recruiting interest in him immensely by going for 37 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals.
He also hit three free throws with less than a second on the clock for the 92-91 victory.
But the best one-game and overall performances for the weekend were turned in by another guard, Trae Young.
Even with 6-9 Michael Porter Jr. suffering an ankle injury that kept him sideline the later part of the team’s first game on Saturday afternoon and all of the second one later that night, Young was able to help MOKAN Elite go unbeaten to improve to 10-1.
Young averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists on the weekend, saving the best for his team’s 93-74 over the Phoenix Phamily Sunday morning: 36 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals while playing against squad that includes one of the west’s best 2017 point guards (Remy Martin of Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth, CA) and the nation’s top-ranked 2018 prospect (Marvin Bagley III, who also attends Sierra Canyon).
Young scored pretty much at will throughout the contest while continuing to demonstrate why he’s one of the best scorers, passers and leaders in the nation.
Young, who attends North High in Norman, OK, gets my nod as the weekend’s top performer. And he continued to position himself as a possible strong contender for 2017 National Player of the Year honors.
My Top 25+1 for the EYBL Session III follows.
Note: I only included players from among the teams I watched at least a half of game of over the weekend. Some of the teams that didn’t fit that criteria include Team Penny and the Georgia Stars.
TOP Player: Trae Young (MOKAN Elite/2017/6-2/Norman, OK, North)
The Next 25 (alpha listing)
DeAndre Ayton (Cal Supreme/2017/7-0/Phoenix Hillcrest)
Marvin Bagley III (Phoenix Phamily/2018/6-9/Chatsworth, CA, Sierra Canyon)
Matt Coleman (Boo Williams Elite/2017/6-2/Mouth of Wilson, VA/Oak Hill)
Brian “Tugs” Bowen (MeanStreets/2017/6-7/La Porte, IN, La Lumiere)
Troy Brown (Las Vegas Prospects/2017/6-6/Las Vegas Centennial)
Wendell Carter (CP3/2017/6-10/Atlanta Pace Academy)
Brad Davison (Howard Pulley/2017/6-2/Maple Grove, MN, Maple Grove)
Anthony Gaines (Albany City Rocks/2017/6-4/New Hampton, NH, School)
Jordan Goodwin (St. Louis Eagles/2017/6-3/Belleville, IL, Althoff)
Quade Green (PSA Cardinals/2017/6-1/Philadelphia Neumann Goretti)
Jaren Jackson (Spiece Indy Heat/2017/6-10/Indianapolis Park Tudor)
Kevin Knox (E1T1/2017/6-8/Tampa, FL, Catholic)
Brandon McCoy (Cal Supreme/2017/7-0/San Diego Cathedral Catholic)
Charles O’Bannon Jr. (Las Vegas Prospects/2017/6-5/Las Vegas Bishop Gorman)
Michael Porter Jr. (MOKAN Elite/2017/6-9/Columbia, MO, Tolton Catholic)
Billy Preston (Houston Hoops/2017/6-9/Dallas Advanced Prep International)
Nicholas Richards (Expressions Elite/2017/7-0/Elizabeth, NJ, The Patrick School)
Justin Roberts (Spiece Indy Heat/2017/6-0/Indianapolis Pike)
Mitchell Robinson (Pro Skills/2017/7-0/Chalmette, LA, Chalmette)
Colin Sexton (Southern Stampede/2017/6-2/Mableton, GA, Pebblebrook)
Xavier Tillman (Spiece Indy Heat/2017/6-8/Grand Rapids, MI, Christian)
Gary Trent Jr. (Howard Pulley/2017/6-5/Apple Valley, MN, Apple Valley)
Jordan Tucker (New York Rens/2017/6-7/White Plains, NY, Stepinac)
Jarred Vanderbilt (Houston Hoops/6-8/2017/Houston Victory Prep)
Lonnie Walker (Team Final/2017/6-5/Reading, PA, Reading)