[HAMPTON, VA] Nike kicked off their 2017 Elite Youth Basketball League season in the great city of Hampton, Virginia at the beautiful Boo Williams Complex this past weekend. The biggest names in high school basketball were in attendance being watched by every division one college basketball coach you could think of.
Since this was the first session of the year, it brought out the big names. Legendary coaches such as Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Bill Self, John Calipari, and Tom Izzo were all on location searching for the next kid to bring to their program. The kids didn't think too much of it, even though this had the feel of a job interview. Even past EYBL standouts such as PJ Washington (Team Penny) and Matt Coleman (Boo Williams) were in attendance, along with future NBA lottery pick, Markelle Fultz.
Forty teams competed on eight different courts hoping to start the EYBL season on a good note. Five teams finished the weekend a perfect 4-0, Mokan (KS), Meanstreets (IL), PSA Cardinals (NYC), City Rocks (NY), and the home team Boo Williams. Boo Williams had a much better start compared to a year ago when they went 0-4 during the Hampton session. Keldon Johnson led the team throughout the weekend, opening the session with a 34-point performance against Nike South Beach. The babyface 6'6 guard is second in scoring behind Marvin Bagley, averaging 25.2 points per game.
Marvin Bagley had a great session individually, averaging a league-leading 25.5 points a game. He also contributed 13.8 rebounds per game, which also leads the league. Despite Bagley's dominant performances, Nike Phamily went 0-4 throughout the weekend (one of seven teams).
"We started off with two losses, so that's never a good thing," Bagley said after the team's second loss. "We just gotta get the over the hump and come back and play better."
Bagley felt good about being the top player within the circuit (also considered top player in the class of 2018), but he wants to win.
"We gotta focus on the things we need to do to get better as a team," he said. "We have to sit down and talk, then fix it to get over this little hump, and [then] we'll be back on track. I have faith in them, myself, and the coaches that we'll figure this thing out."
Going forward, Nike Phamily will need more production on the offensive end from other players, no one else averaging more than 8 points.
Cal Supreme finished 3-1, the only loss coming to Howard Pulley, but still one of the best teams in the field. Supreme has two sons of former NBA athletes, Bol Bol (son of Manute Bol) and Shareef O'Neal (son of Shaquille O'Neal) and both players had a great weekend. Bol Bol may have been the most impressive player throughout the weekend, showing off his perimeter skills as a 7'1 forward. ESPN has him ranked 41st in the class of 2018, but that could change if he continues to have a great EYBL season.
"I like this circuit better than the one I was in before," he said about playing in the EYBL. "It's a lot of talent and more coaches here."
Bol finished the weekend averaging 14 points, 8 boards, and 3 blocks per contest. O'Neal led the team in scoring, averaging 15 points and 6 boards. O'Neal already announced that he verbally committed to Arizona, still enjoyed having the opportunity to play in front of coaching legends like Krzyzewski.
"When I saw him, I was kinda excited," O'Neal said about playing in front coach K. "I don't know if I ever played in front of him before, that was my first time seeing him at one of my games...it was fun to play in front of him and the other coaches."
Coach K watched the Howard Pulley-Cal Supreme game, and he would watch the every Howard Pulley game. A betting man would tell you that he was there to watch Tre Jones, the younger brother of Tyus Jones who won a National Championship at Duke his freshman year in 2015. Tre Jones led Howard Pulley to a 76-60 win over Cal Supreme with his 30 points, 8 dimes, 7 boards, and 2 steals. The unranked guard was one of the best players throughout the entire weekend. He averaged 18 points and a league-leading 9.8 dimes. Tre looks to be the next stud point guard to come out of Howard Pulley program, who had Gary Trent Jr. last year, and his older brother, Tyus, a couple years prior.
Last year, Pulley went through three straight sessions before losing their first game. The boys from Minnesota play a great style of basketball, which often creeps up on other teams. They fell short of the Peach Jam title last year, but it will be interesting if Tre can lead them there this season.
Emmitt Williams also had a great session, showing his dominance on both ends of the floor. Williams averaged 18 points and 12.5 boards the weekend, looking to raise his stock in the class of 2018 rankings. Against Team Penny on the final day, he scored 26 points and hauled in 22 boards while shooting 71% from the floor. It's not many that can match his energy or tenacity on the floor. He played angry the entire session.
Ayo Dosunmu of Mac Irvin Fire (IL) was very impressive, averaging 25 points a contest. Dosunmu is considered the best player in the state of Illinois according to ESPN, and so far he has proven. His best game came against Playground Elite (WI) where he scored 32 points while shooting 64% from the field.
The next session will begin this weekend in Indianapolis.
All stats courtesy of D1circuit.com