Commentary

Nike EYBL session three recap

Bigs Brandon Ashley and Nerlens Noel steal the show at Nike EYBL in California

Originally Published: May 31, 2011
By Joel Francisco and John Stovall | ESPN Recruiting

TORRANCE, Calif. -- Although there wasn't a true MVP this weekend from the third session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), the games were outstanding and the talent was exceptional. Team Takeover ended this session undefeated and should be the No.1 seed for the Nike Peach Jam in July.

Standout players

[+] EnlargeAshley
Kelly Kline Brandon Ashley is the No. 2-ranked power forward in the 2012 class and No. 6 overall prospect.

Brandon Ashley
(Oakland, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd)
2012, PF, 6-foot-8, 215 pounds
Team: Oakland Soldiers
College: Undecided
The overall talent of Ashley has never been in question, but a lack of effort at times has always hindered his potential. However, this weekend he was dominant at both ends of the floor and had a number of high-level finishes -- both in transition and off offensive rebounds. His ball skills and his touch out to 17 feet have improved and due to his length and blossoming skills, his potential is immense.

Arnaud Moto
(Alexandria, Va./Episcopal)
2012, SF, 6-6, 215 pounds
Team: Team Takeover
College: Undecided
Team Takeover plays with savvy, toughness, continuity and Moto is their catalyst at both ends. He is a physical specimen with an ideal combination of length and explosiveness for the wing position. He competes on every possession and is always in attack mode, scoring in a variety of ways. Due to his long arms, strength and athletic prowess he can also guard multiple positions and should be a defensive stalwart at the next level.

Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty)
2013, PF, 6-7, 210 pounds | Team: Oakland Soldiers
College: Undecided
When it comes to effort and bounce, there are few prospects who can compete with Gordon. He is a terror on the offensive glass and he has the skills and savvy to make plays at the rim or deliver a nifty assist. His jump shot needs polish as does his triple threat game (ability to face up his defender, utilize the jab step or pump fake to shoot, drive or pass), but he is definitely one of the elite prospects in the country.

Khadeem Lattin (Houston, Texas/Westbury Christian)
2014, C, 6-9, 205 pounds | Team: Houston Select
College: Undecided
Lattin is a very long, thin post player who is very athletic and runs very well. He is raw offensively, but does have good touch and can score out to about 12 feet. He is an active rebounder but his lack of strength does hinder him at times. He is also a very good shot-blocker and has the ability to take away the rim on defense. Lattin is raw right now, but has a tremendous upside. He will be a household name on the grassroots circuit before he graduates high school.

Kelly Oubre (Fort Bend, Texas/Bush)
2014, SF/SG, 6-5, 180 pounds | Team: Houston Hoops
College: Undecided
Oubre is a very skilled lefty wing who can make plays. He is very good with the ball in his hands, either scoring or creating for a teammate. He has very good skills for a player his size and age. He is already a prototypical wing with range to 22 feet and the ability to slash to the basket. Oubre has good length and good size. All of those attributes add up to a dynamic prospect. Look for big things from Oubre in the future.

Melvin Swift (Houston, Texas/Yates)
2014, PF/SF, 6-7, 205 pounds | Team: Houston Select
College: Undecided
The winning should continue at Yates High School with players like Swift around. He is a very good power forward right now with the potential to develop into a small forward down the road. He has a solid skill set. He is a good ballhandler for his size and is pretty comfortable dribbling in space. He can create some off the dribble and has a very effective floater in the lane already. Swift is a very intriguing prospect and should be an impact player in the 2014 class very soon.

Marcus Paige (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar)
2012, PG, 6-1, 160 pounds | Team: All Iowa Attack
College: North Carolina
All Iowa Attack has quite the backcourt tandem in Paige and fellow ESPNU 100 PG Mike Gesell (Sioux City, Neb./South Sioux City). Paige is a slick lefty with a college-ready feel for the game. The game comes easy to him and his decision making is impeccable most of the time. He needs strength and isn't overly quick, but he changes speeds very well and always appears to be a play ahead of his competition. Whether its dropping in a floater, knocking down a jump shot or advancing the ball quickly in transition, Paige appears to be the No. 1 point guard prospect for his class.

[+] EnlargeNoel Nerlens
Kelly KlineNerlens Noel is the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2013 class.

Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton School)
2013, C, 6-9, 215 pounds | Team: BABC
College: Undecided
Noel may have been the most promising prospect in the event. His shot blocking ability is simply awe-inspiring. He has impeccable timing and agility at both ends of the floor. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he is one of the better passing big men in the country and he put together a couple of impressive face-up moves to get to the rim as well.

Surprise players

Jake Layman (Wrentham, Mass./King Phillip)
2012, PF, 6-8, 190 pounds | Team: BABC
College: Undecided
Layman put an exclamation point on his outstanding weekend with a monster baseline throw down on Julius Randle (Dallas, Texas/Prestonwood Christian Academy), the No. 1 prospect in the 2013 class. The willowy, wing-type has great length, very long arms and deceptive quickness. He moves well without the ball and has a feathery 3-point touch. Notre Dame and Providence are his only offers, but others should jump in line as the month of July progresses.

Jalen Jackson (West Memphis, Ark./West Memphis)
2012, SG, 6-4, 190 pounds | Team: Arkansas Wings
College: Undecided
Teammate Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills) gets most of the attention, and rightfully so, but Jackson is a fine player in his own right. Jackson has the ability to break down opponents and get into the lane thanks to his excellent vision. He can knock down the 3-point shot off the dribble and his pull-up game is quite good as well. If he can conjure up the mental toughness to want to be the best every time he steps on the court, his future is bright.

Isaiah Miles (Owings Mills, Md./Glenelg Country)
2012, PF, 6-7, 205 pounds | Team: Baltimore Elite
College: Undecided
All Miles did most of the weekend is knock down 3-point shots with his effortless stroke. He gets his shot off very well off the catch and is simply deadly from the top of the key. He finished well in transition and had a few thunderous dunks as well. He needs to improve his ball skills to open up his driving game, but at this stage he projects to being that prototypical pick-and-pop 4-man.

Brian Bridgewater (Baton Rouge, La./Episcopal)
2013, PF, 6-5, 230 pounds | Team: Houston Hoops
College: Undecided
Bridgewater is an undersized power forward, but he may have the broadest shoulders in high school basketball. He doesn't possess that ideal lengthy frame, but when it comes to strength, bulk and explosiveness he is peerless. He powered his way through most defenders all weekend and even elevated over the top of them with some thunderous tip-jams. He plays with a junk yard dog mentality, but he also has a great feel for the game, especially when operating in the paint area and rebounding. In addition, he even stepped out and displayed a soft touch out to 17 feet.

Jahmel Taylor (Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon)
2013, PG, 5-11, 170 pounds | Team: Double Pump Elite
College: Undecided
Taylor is a scoring point guard who has some great physical tools. He is athletic, explosive and has a strong body who assists him in getting into the lane at will. He is a streaky shooter who has range to 20 feet. He has the ability to be a very good defender with his strength, quickness and tenacity. Taylor is built like a high-major football cornerback, thinks score first right now and will need to improve his decision making as he continues to develop.

Chinoso Obokoh (Rochester, N.Y./Bishop Kearney)
2013, C, 6-9, 220 pounds | Team: Albany City Rocks
College: Undecided
Obokoh is a young, raw post player who is just starting to become an impactful basketball player. Offensively, he is very raw and scores exclusively in the paint on put-backs, put-ins and dump-off passes. It is on the defensive end that he is devastating. We saw him play two full games and he had at least 20 blocks total. He has solid length and very good timing. Obokoh is also a good rebounder and could become one of the up-and-coming players in the 2013 class.

Player to watch

Rondae Jefferson (Chester, Pa./Chester)
2013, SF, 6-7, 190 pounds | Team: Team Final
College: Undecided
Jefferson was one of the more impressive performers all weekend. The lengthy lefty has a terrific frame with long arms and his energy level at both ends is contagious. He loves to attack off the dribble, possesses some point forward skills and compares favorably to a Jalen Rose type. He has a quick first step, is a pinpoint passer, defends and rebounds. If his jump shot (which is not completely broken) smoothens out he is a Top 20 talent or higher in his class.

Notes

• Cal Supreme defeated Seattle Rotary in the U-16 final, 69-66. Cal Supreme was led by 6-7 sophomore Jordan Bell (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), 6-2 sophomore Kris Yanku (Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft), and 5-9 freshman Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Los Angeles/Loyola). Seattle Rotary was led by 5-10 sophomore Marquise Davis (Seattle, Wash./Rainier Beach) and ultra-quick 5-8 sophomore Arell Hennings (Seattle, Wash./Franklin).

• Team Takeover continued its undefeated streak over the weekend due to talent, effort and team continuity. In addition to the aforementioned Moto, Takeover also has an elite SF in Jerami Grant (Hyattsville, Md./Dematha). Grant's frame is broad, long and his face-up skills are quite potent.

Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony) is a gifted passer with a tremendous feel, but he needs to smoothen out his perimeter shot and be a tougher rebounder in traffic.

• It's remarkable the progress 7-5 center Sim Bhullar (Toronto, Canada/Huntington Prep) has made. The Xavier commit has always had terrific hands and a soft touch, but now he is much more mobile and is dunking everything (with contact) around the rim.

• After a couple of inconsistent outings, Randle went to work against Noel. Randle has an explosive first step and most importantly played with great energy and physicality.

• Memphis YOMCA has an imposing 2012 frontline duo in 6-8 Shaq Goodwin (Decatur, Ga./SW Dekalb) and 6-8 Jarnell Stokes (Memphis/Central). Goodwin is a beast in the paint with a surprisingly-soft outside touch. He needs to polish his footwork (struggled scoring over length), but his energy level is terrific. Stokes is more polished (better footwork) than Goodwin and is a tremendous rebounder.

• There were a number of outstanding prospects from the Class of 2014 who played well including: 6-5 Theo Pinson (Oak Ridge, N.C./Oak Ridge Military Academy), 6-6 Andrew Wiggins (Toronto, Canada/Vaughn Secondary School), 6-5 Wayne Selden (Boston, Mass./The Tilton School), 6-6 Jalen Lindsey (Franklin, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian), 5-11 Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley), 6-4 Josh Level (High Point, N.C./Westchester Country Day) and 6-5 Justin Jackson (Houston/HCYA).

Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting. John Stovall, a recruiting coordinator, has worked as director of scouting for Prep Spotlight Scouting Service and magazine for 15 years.