Ten things learned from Nike EYBL
HAMPTON, Va. -- The Nike EYBL Hampton is the first major national measuring stick of the spring AAU season. Laced with talent, the event formerly known as the "Boo Williams" was the first in Nike's three-event series of Elite Youth Basketball League weekends.
Events like this offer tremendous perspective in addition to being valuable evaluation settings. It's hard to crunch down a weekend into 10 categories but here's a sampling of the intelligence we gathered.
The continuing evolution of Anderson
In my time as a talent evaluator, I've listed one person, over the course of his career, as a point guard, small forward and power forward. That prospect is Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony). The 6-foot-7 member of the high school national champs is the Playaz best player. In addition to that, he's the single most difficult prospect in America to define position-wise. At the end of the day, his résumé reads winner and his natural gift is his vision on the floor and passing skills. It's about time we ceased pigeonholing him into a position and credited him for being a facilitator, winner and valuable piece of a high-major program. Put good players around him, he'll make them better. He's the owner of a super attitude, big wattage smile and the kind of guy you bring into your program and determine the best way to use him based on your current personnel.
Point guard play takes a hit
There was a number of high-level point guards at the EYBL Hampton, always is. However, we knew going into the weekend that this calss was thin at point guard. To see many of Nike's premier traveling team programs without adequate leadership at the point was merely an eye-opener. Here's the deal: kids who are rated as elite mid-major point guards will sign high-major scholarships in the fall out of necessity from the BCS leagues. Long term that means the position will not be strong in the college game.
Battle for No. 1 in 2013?
The battle for the top spot in 2013 looks a lot like the Masters leader board over the weekend. There are more contenders than we previously thought. Forward Julius Randle (McKinney, Tex./Prestonwood) isn't going anywhere in the race. A rocky beginning at the EYBL was quickly erased as the weekend went on and his game grew stronger; he's a major contender for the spot. Nerlens Noel (Tilton, Mass./Tilton School) has gotten taller and is the best defensive player in the class. Offensively, the light has come on in a big way. Another strong candidate is Jabari Parker (Chicago, Ill./Simeon) though he wasn't at the EYBL. But as long as we're conversing about the top spot, he must be mentioned.
Wayne Selden ... wow!
It would be difficult to make a better initial impression than the one Wayne Selden (Boston, Mass./Tilton) made on us. He wrecked the U-15 division with his physical body and scoring prowess. The only hitch in his game is that he's physically ahead of the curve when compared to his peers. He's a dominant scorer and elite prospect. Theo Pinson (Greensboro, N.C./Oak Ridge) was the other freshman that made a similar impression. BABC's program with Noel (2013) and Selden (2014) has the most stocked cupboard we've seen so far.
Fringe high-majors to watch
The great thing about spring AAU ball is that it sets the stage for the summer evaluation period. Plenty of guys assert themselves each weekend and enter the conversation as movers and shakers. Not all make the jump, but we stumbled onto a few guys with the potential to be BCS signees. Darrick Wood (Washington, D.C./NIA Prep) can score and that translates. Forward Kyle Washington (St. Louis Park, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret) looks like a fawn in the paint and by summer's end he may have his high-major legs under him. Point guard Anthony Beane (Normal, Ill/Normal) has too tricky a handle and strong body to overlook, plus he's a coach's son and power forward Georges Niang (Methuen, Mass./Tilton) doesn't have high-major size but he's got big-time heart and toughness. Ditto for big wing shooter Jodan Price (Southfield, Mich./Country Day).
Here come the Canadians
The Canadian invasion was sparked three years ago by Grassroots Canada. The next wave of big-timers belongs to CIA Bounce. It showed up at the EYBL sporting a roster of high-major players from different classes. 2014's Andrew Wiggins (Toronto, Ont./Vaughn) is the top talent but Sim Bhullar (Toronto, Ontario/Huntington Prep), all 7-foot-5 and 355 pounds of him, is the biggest player in the country. There are at least 11 potential Division I players on the roster.
Tough tandems inside
This is a near impossible question to answer but worth debating. The Georgia Stars sport a frontline of Tony Parker (Lithonia, Ga./Miller Grove) and Alex Poythress (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast). Memphis YOMCA has Shaq Goodwin (Decatur, Ga./SW DeKalb) and Jarnell Stokes (Memphis, Tenn./Central). All four bigs played well last weekend. Goodwin and Poythress demonstrated the most improvement. Stokes and Parker played at least to their reputations and maybe beyond. Which frontline is better? We'll need time to figure that one out.
Goodwin is the real deal
Elite players are under the microscope every time they step on the floor. Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills) found that out Friday night when he got upstaged by 2013 wing Jabari Bird (Richmond, Calif./Salesian). "Come see me again," Goodwin said after the game. Well, I took his advice and Goodwin delivered. He put a subpar performance in the rearview mirror and regrouped. Off the dribble, to the rim, Goodwin is one of the best in his class at putting points on the board.
Wes Unseld. Kevin Love. DaJuan Coleman?
This is a bad sign for the rest of the country: DaJuan Coleman (DeWitt, N.Y./Jamesville-Dewitt) is in great shape. Keep in mind, three-day events aren't center friendly but since Coleman's body became a priority, he was able to go longer and harder. He's a load to deal with for high school bigs. We also caught him on multiple occasions lofting Kevin Love/Wes Unseld length of the court outlet passes.
Anyone who watched VCU shoot its way to the Final Four now fully understands the value of a 3-point sniper. The top ones we saw last weekend included Myles Davis (Plainfield, N.J./Notre Dame Prep), sophomore Matthew Jones (DeSoto, Tex./DeSoto), sophomore Austin Rudder (Nixa, Kan./Nixa), Kellen Dunham (Pendelton, Ind./Heights), Josh Fortune (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan), Isaiah Zierden (Brooklynpark, Minn./BSM) and sophomore Stephen Clark (Oklahoma City, Okla./Douglas).
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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