Yags’ Point Forward - All New England EYBL I
In the latest edition of his personal blog, Mike Yagmin provides his All-New England team from session I of Nike's EYBL after checking out the action firsthand in Brooklyn this weekend:
The 2016 Nike EYBL season kicked off this past weekend as their opening session brought some of the nation's best prospects to Brooklyn. New England was extremely well represented as players from area prep schools took the court for the BABC, New York Rens, PSA Cardinals, Albany City Rocks, New York Lightning and Expressions Elite, amongst others.
While a number of New England prospects raised their stock with fine performances, here are the players who caught my eye solely based off their production and play this weekend.
Player of the Session
Anthony Gaines, Albany City Rocks/New Hampton School
Gaines played the best basketball of his prep career thus far, attacking the glass with a relentless passion and producing from all three levels offensively. After averaging 15.3 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 steals and leading the City Rocks to a perfect 3-0 record over the weekend, Gaines should see his stock jump heading into the EYBL's Indy Session. Gaines used his explosive athleticism to clean the glass and finish above players with superior size, leaving scouts with the understanding that he simply "wants it more" than anyone else on the court. Gaines will certainly be followed closely by a bevy of coaches in Indy and picked up an offer from George Mason for his efforts in Brooklyn.
EYBL Brooklyn Session All-New England 1st Team
Tremont Waters, Expressions Elite/South Kent
It's no coincidence that Waters received offers from Duke and Kentucky after his play in Brooklyn over the weekend. Waters' ability to score has never been questioned, but scouts have always wanted to see him play more of a true point guard role during his prep career. Waters quieted anybody who doubted his ability to lead a team, while displaying elite change of direction, vision, and instincts, without sacrificing any of his own scoring ability at the same time. Waters hit 63.6% (7-11) of his 3's while shooting 57% from the floor overall and 92.3% from the line, en route to averages of 17 points, 5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. But the number and ability that may stick out even more for the 5'11" point guard were the 4.7 rebounds per game he also threw in. Waters has underrated explosion off the bounce and his nose for the ball allows him to be a truly elite rebounder for a player his size.
Hamidou Diallo, NY Rens/Putnam Science Academy
I'm convinced that Hamidou Diallo is an alien. But I'll also welcome any other hoops prospects from his planet because they're just so damn entertaining to watch. Diallo played at his usual hectic pace with complete disregard for the defender in front of him or even where his own body would end up for that matter. The result was some of the most spectacular plays of the weekend and a prospect package whose future is as bright as anyone in the country. The 6'5" wing averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.3 steals per game over the weekend but also displayed some of the handle and creativity that leads some college coaches to believe that he can eventually become a big point guard in the Russell Westbrook mold at some point down the road. While he'll have to put in a true Outlier's work ethic (and then some) in order for his game to reach those heights, the athleticism, length, and crude foundation is most certainly there. Diallo was followed by members of the UConn staff throughout the weekend and was offered by Duke and Kentucky in the days following the Brooklyn Session. It's safe to say he's one of the hottest prospects on the planet, even though he might be from another one!
Andrew Platek, Albany City Rocks/Northfield-Mt Hermon
Platek was as big of a reason for the City Rocks' 3-0 record as Gaines, averaging 14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in Brooklyn. But the number that jumped out at scouts after this weekend was Platek's ability to consistently bury shots from the perimeter. The 6'4" wing shot 10-16 from 3 and hit some daggers when his team needed them the most. Platek also resisted the urge to push the pace and instead resorted to always making the right play in transition, then getting behind opposing defenses when they least expected it. Platek has more than enough athleticism for the next level but his skills will always play up due to his intelligence, elite stroke, and ability to see plays developing in advance. Platek picked up an offer from DePaul this weekend and was followed closely by the Butler staff after picking up an offer during a visit to their campus last weekend.
Kimani Lawrence, Expressions Elite/New Hampton School
During last weekend's NERR HoopFest, Lawrence displayed an ability to hit the corner 3 at such a high rate that it made me rethink his future value at the next level. With coaches valuing the ability to hit from that area more than ever before and his strong athletic ability, which allows him to defend three or four positions on the floor, Lawrence can be viewed as an elite 3-and-D prospect down the road. He certainly didn't do anything to dispel that notion in Brooklyn, hitting 57% (4-7) of his 3's and averaging 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Lawrence took what the defense gave him this weekend and playing within the flow of the offense worked in his favor as he received an offer from Southern California after three solid performances.
Kristers Zoriks, Albany City Rocks/New Hampton
The third New England prospect who played a huge role in the City Rocks' success, Zoriks controlled the pace against teams loaded with high major prospects over the weekend. In a win over DeAndre Ayton, Brandon McCoy, Cassius Stanley (all top-10 national prospects in their respective classes), and Cal Supreme, Zoriks put together an 8-point, 5-assist performance as Albany won 69-59. Zoriks followed that up with a steady 5-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist performance against CIA Bounce. A steady point guard with a great build and good length, Zoriks looks the part of a combo guard who can deliver from distance after shooting 45.5% (5-11) from 3 in Brooklyn. Zoriks also picked up an offer from George Mason.
Hasahn French, PSA Cardinals/Commonwealth Academy
You won't find the same eye-popping stats next to French's name as his elite PSA teammates, Mohamed Bamba and Quade Green. Bamba finished as the Brooklyn Session's leading rebounder after registering 15 boards per game and earning 1st Team honors from D1Circuit.com. Green averaged 13.7 points and 10.3 assists per contest en route to Offensive Player of the Session honors. But if you looked on the floor while Bamba was clearing the boards high above the rim, you'd usually find French holding two opponents back with his elite strength and motor as if they were glued to the floor. If you tracked how Green routinely found PSA players open both inside and on the perimeter, it was usually due in part to a solid pick set by French or a quick decision French made while playing at the free throw line in PSA's offense. Meanwhile, the selfless and humble French celebrated as if he himself scored the point, grabbed the board, or dished out the assist. It was refreshing to watch from the sidelines but must have felt like a rock-laced snowball to the face for opposing coaches. French averaged 5 points and 5 boards a game yet walked away with new offers from Rutgers, Temple, and Marquette.
New England's Brooklyn Breakout
Marcos Santos-Silva, BABC/Vermont Academy
BABC coach Leo Papile predicted that Santos-Silva would become this year's Kevin Marfo, referring to the Worcester Academy forward who blew up last summer and committed to George Washington in the fall. After a 20-point/10-rebound performance that proved not to be a fluke, Santos-Silva received offers from DePaul and Boston College among others. Those offers come as no surprise since it's long been established that rebounding is the one skill that usually correlates well to the next level. Santos-Silva uses his wide base, great strength and underrated length to carve out space in the paint and corral boards by the bushel. Don't expect that to stop any time soon.
More New England Notes From Brooklyn
-Bishop Hendricken's Justin Mazzula showed off his all around skill set, averaging 5 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for BABC. The 6'3" point guard will have to cut down on turnovers after averaging 4 per game in the first weekend, but it will be interesting to see how he performs in Indy after adjusting to the EYBL's elite speed.
-St Andrew's big man Terrell Brown averaged 2.5 blocked shots per contest while effecting many more. After announcing that he'll post-grad late in the season, Brown should see an uptick in his recruitment as long as his game continues to develop.
-Redemption Christian point guard Chris Duarte shot well from beyond the arch (5-12, 42%) but finished 9-30 from the field overall. With an adjustment in his mid-range shot selection and a higher finishing rate around the rim, Duarte's numbers should improve in Indy and help his NY Lightning squad get into the win column.
-South Kent wing and Georgetown-commit Tyler Foster is running with the Virginia-based Boo Williams squad and averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game over the weekend.