Nike EYBL Day 2 recap
Nerlens Noel's improvement on the offensive end highlighted Day 2
HAMPTON, Va. -- It was another great day of basketball at Day 2 of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) held at the Boo Williams Sportsplex. The competition started early and finished late with a couple of games going into multiple overtimes. We have been able to learn a lot from evaluating most of the top players in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 classes in this great environment. We are just getting started in the spring evaluation period and it is always interesting to see which players answer the challenge and elevate their games when the moment calls for it.
Nerlens Noel (Tilton, Mass./Tilton School)
2013, C, 6-foot-11, 205 pounds | Team: BABC
Against a junior tandem of Alex Poythress and Tony Parker (Lithonia, Ga./Miller Grove), Noel was tested at both ends. He made it difficult for either to score inside -- Parker did display a hook late -- and blocked a high number of shots. We knew he could impact games defensively, but his offensive arsenal has grown. He has a solid face-up midrange game and an advanced post-up game. He has been as impressive as anyone here through two days. He plays for BABC and Leo Papile, a longtime NBA scout, and the mentorship has worked wonders for Noel.
Alex Poythress (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast)
2012, PF, 6-8, 215 pounds | Team: Georgia Stars
The name of the game is improvement and Poythress has done that since we last saw him. His athleticism is noticeably better and he's got an ability to make perimeter shots. Poythress also owns the unique ability to play in the lane, while having the confidence and talent to take to the perimeter as needed.
Shaq Goodwin (Decatur, Ga./SW DeKalb)
2012, PF, 6-8, 215 pounds | Team: YOMCA
We were aggressive with Goodwin's rating in our Super 60 and the move appears to have paid off. His ball skills have improved and he's always been a guy who could score in the lane. His skill set in the paint caught up with his athleticism this year and he is a factor on the glass and running the floor.
Paul White (Chicago/Whitney Young)
2014, SF, 6-8, 205 pounds | Team: Ferrari 15's
White is one of the very best players in the 2014 class. In a playoff game in the 15 & under division, he was having an average game then proceeded to score 10 of his team's last 12 points and lead the team to victory versus All Ohio Red. White is very versatile for his size: He can post and score or handle the ball in space and score off the dribble. He is a solid midrange shooter and has range to 19 feet. White is a tremendous talent with a huge upside and he has the ability to do practically everything on the court.
Julius Randle (McKinney, Texas/Prestonwood)
2013, PF, 6-8, 245 pounds | Team: Team Texas Titans
Randle shrugged off a tough first-day performance and showed why he is currently considered the No. 1 rated player in the 2013 class. The skilled power player's game reminds us a little of a cross between an Antoine Walker and Chris Webber-type skill set because he is physically dominant yet possesses unique perimeter skills for a player his age and size. He knocks down 3s, attacks off the dribble and rebounds in the trenches. It is scary to think that he still has upside.
Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony's)
2012, SF/PG, 6-8, 220 pounds | Team: Playaz Basketball Club
Anderson is one of the best "basketball players" in the class. Because of his combination of size and perimeter skill it is hard to decide on Anderson's position on the floor. He has a Jalen Rose-type game in that he is a big point-forward who plays at his own pace and sees the next play before it happens. He laid low in the weeds in the first half against Team Texas Titans as they ran out to a 17-point lead, but then led his team back to an outstanding comeback win with scoring and playmaking ability that is rare for a young player.
Richard Longrus (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd)
2012, SF, 6-5, 185 pounds | Team: Oakland Soldiers
On a team laced with star power he's the glue guy. Longrus is strong and confident now out to midrange. He's a deceptively good leaper and athlete in the lane. However, it's his ability to consistently impact the game with hustle plays and energy that is a factor. A great student, Longrus' basketball intellect is noticeable.
Brandon Watkins (Atlanta/Grady)
2013, PF/C, 6-9, 210 pounds | Team: Georgia Stars 16's
He is a big who can score on the post and rebound. Watkins is a little raw offensively, but he has a good idea of how to score in the paint. Watkins is a solid athlete with a very good upside. He is a force inside with his strong body and solid motor. He is a good rebounder and will be a SEC priority very shortly.
Three to watch
D'Angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Central)
2014, SG/PG, 6-3, 180 pounds | Team: All Ohio Red 15's
Russell is a lefty combo guard. He is an excellent scorer who can both shoot with range to 20 feet or put the ball on the floor and create scoring opportunities for himself and others. He is an excellent passer with terrific court vision. He has good size and has a great feel for scoring the basketball. Russell is a player who will be heard from loudly in the future.
Stephen Clark (Oklahoma City, Okla./Douglass)
2013, PG, 5-9, 160 pounds | Team: Athletes First
Clark is an extremely quick point guard with the ability to see the floor. He cannot be pressed with his tight handle and speed and he plays the penetration-and-kick game like a veteran. He has a nice stroke and can knock down open jumpers from behind the arc with ease. He is smooth, efficient and effective; he knows how to play the game and he defends the ball with passion.
Devon Hall (Virginia Beach, Va./Cape Henry)
2014, PG, 6-4, 180 pounds | Team: Boo Williams
The lefty will be a reclassed member of the 2014 contingent. His game is about tempo and dropping dimes. He's got it on a string a la Kendall Marshall and his bounce passes remind us of the UNC standout. A communicator with outstanding size (6-4) at the point, Hall isn't a big name on the circuit yet but as the future point man for Boo Williams, he's about to become one.
• DaJuan Coleman (Jamesville, N.Y./Jamesville Dewitt) is in good shape and has been dominant. When his team throws him the ball down on the box it has been either a score or a trip to the free throw line. Andre Drummond (Middletown, Conn./St Thomas More) -- ESPNU's No. 1 rated 2012 player -- better be working because Coleman is coming on strong.
• Steve Walker (Chicago/Simeon) is raising his status with his play in session one of the Nike EYBL. The 6-5 marksman showed his ability to impact a game with his shooting range. His shot selection was sometimes a problem, but he can get on a run.
• Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills) is already considered one of 2012's best, but his play this weekend could see him rise up the ranks even more. He can get it to the rim on anyone and plays with an air of confidence that elite players possess.
• Willie Wiley (Springfield, Ill./Springfield) is exactly the kind of undersized, mid-major power forward who winds up giving teams fits in the NCAA tournament.
• Sophomore Cameron Williams (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph) created a buzz for himself when he went for 37 in a morning game and continued to amass points throughout the weekend.
Mike LaPlante, Paul Biancardi, Dave Telep and John Stovall contributed to this piece.