The Take Away: EYBL Brooklyn
Red Hook, a neighborhood in the NYC borough of Brooklyn played host to the first Nike Elite Youth Basketball session. The location is the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, built in 2006 that consists of 200,000 square feet of flexible terminal space that is normally used for Cruise Lines and a beautiful backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, the Hudson
River and the Statue of Liberty. During the weekend of April 15th Nike turned this open space into an amazing forum for top players all across the country to come and battle it out. The interior was decked out in signs and posters of former EYBL standouts and Nike athletes. There were four courts where teams battled it out and surrounding each court were tons of division 1 coaches. These players had the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of coaches such as John Calipari (UK), Roy Williams (UNC), Jeff Chapel (Duke), Avery Johnson (Alabama), Kevin Olie (UCONN), Jay Wright (Villanova), and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For some of the games, even in the coaches section, it was standing room only, as everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the next best player to come out of this prestigious circuit. Here are some take aways from some of the games:
Hamidou Diallo is the REAL DEAL…Hamidou Diallo was easily one of, if not the top player in session 1 of the EYBL. Exploding on the scene, the 6’7 shooting guard staked his claim as one of the most formidable players in the country in his class. Diallo showed he can do it all! In possession of size, speed, and wingspan the characteristic that stands out the most is his drive. Diallo has a high motor that keeps him involved in every play. Whether it helps side defense or the first one up the court on a fast break, he’s there. As an added bonus he can handle the ball like a point guard, so he’s able to break down the defender and get to the rim. Diallo’s game is a mixture of finesse, a touch of flashy, and top off with ferocity. He’s deceptively quick and has elite athleticism. This usually translates into him either getting to the rim and craftily finishing with a soft touch or a vicious dunk (probably on someone) that shakes the gym and makes the crowd go crazy! Diallo is most effective in the open floor and the defender(s) are isolated with no help. However, he’s just as efficient when he goes to the basket and the defense collapses because he’s still able to finish. Diallo is reminiscent of throwback players because he exudes a certain toughness that you don’t see in too many players this day and age. His play during the EYBL Brooklyn session earned him two offers: Duke University and the University of Kentucky. To get a taste of Diallo’s dynamics check out his highlights from Ball Is Life here.
Tyger Campbell is for real…
There have been questions regarding “We All Can Go’s” C/O 2019 5’11 Tyger Campbell and the hype surrounding him. Is he as good as the highlight videos make him look? Is he overrated? Is this just his 15mins of fame and will he eventually burn out? Well after watching him against “Each 1 Teach 1” it can be confirmed, THE HYPE IS REAL! For his age and size, Campbell is not only a top notch point guard, he’s a natural leader. His primary mission when he’s on the court is to make sure his teammates get touches and everyone gets involved. He’s always in control and able to navigate through the defense and find the best opportunity possible. When he decides to take matters into his own hands, he does so with accuracy and precision. Campbell has a smooth jumper that gives the appearance of going in every time he shoots it, whether he makes it or not. Although he wouldn’t be classified as a “shooter” it would be in the defenses best interest not to leave him open. Campbell does a good job commanding the court as well. He didn’t buckle under the pressure defense of bigger/stronger guards, nor were they able to push him around. He got to his spots and executed.
Team CP3 has serious guard play…
In watching “CP3” (NC) against “Mac Irwin (IL),” you really get a sense for how quick and aggressive their guard play is. With a C/O 2017 backcourt of Lavar Batts (6’2), Jalen Spicer (5’10) and Devontae Shuler (6’3) you’re bound to see speed, flare, hustle, defense and flat-out effort. Batts has elite level acceleration that makes it hard for any defender to stay in front of him, especially when he’s going “down hill.” He’s also quick with the basketball, allowing him to change direction quickly to throw off defenders. Batts does well playing the passing lanes, using his speed and anticipation to jump screens and intercept passes. As he progresses he’ll need to utilize his right side as much as he uses his left to confuse the defense.
Spicer is a “zippy” guard that gives anyone who tries to defend him problems. While undersized, he makes up for it and then some with heart and fearlessness. Spicer doesn’t hesitate to guard his man. He moves well laterally and has fast hands that are used to his advantage to pick pockets and get strips. While spicer never showed any problem getting past his defender, he’ll need to work on adjusting as he tries to finish amongst the big men in the paint waiting on him. Shuler is the high energy player that can provide a spark for his team at a moments notice. Coming off the bench for CP3, he’s able to impact the game immediately with tenacity and aggressiveness. Right away he was able to cause a turnover and convert it into easy fast break points! Once Shuler learns how to better read and react on the court, there is no telling how much better his game will get!JP Moorman is the “X” factor type player for CP3. In most situations his 6’7 stature and coordination causes mismatches on both ends of the floor. Moorman has a diverse set of skills that make it tough to guard him. He never stands still, always on the move either running off of screens or screening away. If his defender doesn’t pay close attention, Moorman sneaks in a backdoor cut usually resulting in an easy lay-in. He’s athletic and physical enough to absorb contact and play above the rim. He’s also a consistent mid-ranger shooter, that can also knock down the 3 ball. So it’s easy to understand that if you put a forward on him that’s around his size, he’ll get around them. If you put a smaller guard on him, Moorman will shoot over him, hence creating a matchup nightmare. With his substantial attributes and smart play he’s equally impressive on the defensive end.
Kevin Knox makes his case for top player…
The star of the game award goes to “Each 1 Teach 1’s” (TN) Kevin Knox. The C/O 2017 6’8 wing was locked in the entire game! Matched up for majority of the game with University of Kentucky recruit John Petty, it was clear that he was on a mission. Knox definitely pulled out all of the stops as there was nothing he couldn’t do on the court. Starting off with his defense, he not only showed that he has the ability to cover ground quickly and help defend the basket, but he can lock down the perimeter. When he was guarding the ball he used good timing and his long limbs to contest and block jumpers. He was quick and long enough to stop dribble penetration and if the man got by him Knox was able to recover and disrupt the shot. On the offensive end there is nothing that he can’t do! He’s consistent from the 3 point line, he has a smooth mid-range, and he’s efficient getting to the basket. While Knox is consistent with his ability to beat his man off the dribble, he’ll need to add more to his arsenal if he’s going to continue to play at the wing position. He does have a hesitation that catches the defender off guard, but as the defense catches on, he’ll need to switch it up. Regardless, he’s still a 5 star player and one of the most highly recruited in his class. Check out Knox dominate in the Hoops Diamonds highlight mix here!
Bamba PSA Cardinals vs. Cal Supreme
To hear the stories is one thing, but to see “PSA Cardinals” 6’11, C/O 2017 Mohamed Bamba in action is on a completely different level. With his size and wingspan, Bamba is so effective on both ends of the court. In addition, he’s extremely nimble and coordinated for his size, which allows him to dominant on offense and defense. Bamba is a force in the paint, so much so that well coached teams are sure to double him when he’s trying to post up. Most times those kind of attempts prove to be feeble because once he catches the ball down low he has the agility to get past the double team for the easy dunk or simply extend and shoot over the defenders. Bamba is the ultimate rim protector as he used his length and timing to block anything close to the rim. In addition, he doesn’t just dominate over players that are half his size, he also prevails over equally sized opponents. In the game against “Cal Supreme” (CA), Bamba had to go up against a 7 footer in Brandon McCoy and a 7’1 DeAndre Ayton. In this game Bamba put all of his skills on display, leading his team to victory over one of the more highly anticipated teams in the Nike circuit. Lastly, Bamba showed that he is multi-dimensional, as there were a number of possessions where he pushed the ball up the court on a fastbreak! Bamba provides exceptional rim protection on the defensive end. If he’s not sending shots into the stands, he’s altering them and making the probability of making an easy shot really difficult. Already highly regarded as one of the top big men in the country, the possibilities for him are limitless!