Yag’s Point Forward - EYBL April Recap
With the first two sessions of the sneaker circuits’ 2018 campaign now in the books, it’s time to take a look at which prospects made the biggest impact and who we should be keeping an eye on as we head into the summer months.
Here’s a team-by-team New England breakdown of how things went in Dallas and Indianapolis, along with other individual prospect performances for those playing for teams outside the region:
EXPRESSIONS: Todd Quarles’ has quietly assembled a squad with the potential to make a lot of noise on the Nike circuit before it’s all said and done. The inside-outside combo of Noah Fernandes and Tre Mitchell has been as consistent as they’ve been dominant, giving Expressions a pair of players that every opponent is forced to focus on when making their game-plan.
Fernandes is averaging 14.8 points while knocking down over 35% of his 3’s to go along with 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. The 6’ point guard has been electric at times, shouldering the offensive load when things become stagnant and, as the lone veteran with EYBL experience, embracing his role as the leader of this year’s team. Fernandes, who recently announced his intentions to join Mtchell at Woodstock next season, picked up offers from Buffalo and Rhode Island after each session while members of the Old Dominion staff were a presence at all of his games.
Mitchell, having gained offers from UConn, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Xavier over the last month, has asserted himself well in the EYBL’s opening sessions but there is still some improvements to be made. After 8 games, Mitchell is averaging 11.1 points while leading Expressions with 7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. His shooting mechanics are better than his slashes suggest (47.8% FG/61.8% FT/25% 3pt) and his percentages should rise as the sample size grows.
Joe Pridgen and Preston Santos give Expressions two low-maintenance, high-energy athletes who are willing to scrap and do the dirty work necessary to help their team win games. Pridgen and Santos have combined to average 16.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while hitting 54% of their field goal attempts. Pridgen, a 6’6” man-child who doesn’t back down from anyone in the paint, was exceptional in a win over the PSA Cardinals, scoring 18 points on 6-7 FG/3-5 FT/1-1 3pt while hauling in 5 boards and dropping off 4 dimes in the process. Meanwhile, Santos picked up his teammates in the first session against a tough MEBO-Hood squad, finishing with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals in a 62-52 win. Santos also picked up an offer from Buffalo after the Indy session.
Don’t be surprised if 6’6” wunderkind Terrence Clarke starts to take on more responsibility when the EYBL season picks up again in mid-May. Clarke, one of the top prospects in the national class of 2021, stepped up in a big way when he was asked to defend top-5 prospect Cole Anthony. He used his size-&-length to disrupt Anthony, holding the circuit’s leading scorer (24ppg) to 16 points on 5-16 FG and forcing him into 7 turnovers. Clarke’s offensive arsenal is a work in progress, especially against the nation’s best, but his ability to create offense for himself and others (averaging 1.7 assists) should earn him extended minutes moving forward.
THE BABC: While they may lack the high-profile prospect that the program has featured in the past, Leo Papile’s expectations remain high and a Peach Jam berth remains one of the standards. After a 3-5 start to the season, this group will have some work to do but the talent and potential for a 2nd half run is there.
Syracuse-commit Brycen Goodine has been handed the reins offensively and is experiencing everything that comes along with that responsibility. Goodine’s true shooting percentage is hovering around 41% thanks to the fact that 53 of his 126 field goal attempts have come from beyond the arch. He’s averaging 15.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists through the first two sessions. His efficiency will have to improve if The BABC is going to reach their full potential but Papile definitely has a reliable offensive weapon that he can depend on in crunch time.
Mitch Doherty has built a cult following among D1 coaches who have fallen in love with his uncanny ability to find slashing teammates for open buckets while admiring the way he operates within small windows to create offense for himself. Doherty had a solid opening session but really turned it up in Indy, averaging 14.5 points, 5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals on the weekend. His 24-point, 5-rebound, 8-assist performance against CIA Bounce had coaches frantically flipping through their packets to remind themselves to check-in with Doherty at a later date.
6’7” wingspan big man Darion Jordan-Thomas also answered the bell in Indy, averaging 11 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals to give The BABC a legitimate post presence to pair with Doherty. DJT’s 16-point, 13-board output against CIA Bounce gave Papile a barometer of what the bouncey big man is capable of doing when he’s truly engaged.
Goodine, Doherty and DJT have carved out their definitive roles within the system but The BABC still needs more from the rest of the supporting cast. That said, Papile was happy with the steps that were taken by his core group of players during the Indianapolis Session.
Now that Matt Cross and Quest Harris have experienced their EYBL baptism by fire, they’ll be expected to produce at a higher level during the next few sessions. As long as they play somewhere near their potential, this BABC squad will be a force to be reckon with down the stretch.
OTHER NEW ENGLAND PROSPECTS: A trio of NE’s top prospects are playing big roles for the PSA Cardinals. MacDuffie’s Ismael Massoud is averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting over 35% from 3. Massoud, a 6’8” wing with a world of potential, is also knocking down 81.8% (18-22 FT) of his free throws. Massoud’s 16-point, 6-rebound, 3-assist, 2-steal performance against the Bluff City Legends (formerly Team Penny) has been the highlight of his EYBL season….After shooting 75% from the field for Northfield-Mt. Hermon during the prep season, Max Lorca is back to his uber-efficient ways. The long 6’9” athlete is converting on 67.9% (19-28 FG) of his field goal attempts with PSA….Richie Springs, a 6’8” MacDuffie-product and one of the top 2020 prospects in the nation, has made the most of his minutes during the first two sessions. Springs averaged close to 5 points and 3 rebounds during the second session, giving PSA a reason to be excited about the type of production he can provide for the rest of the 2018 season and beyond.
New Hampton’s Mika Adams-Woods gives the Albany City Rocks a hard-nosed perimeter defender, matching the toughness and intensity that Isaiah Stewart provides in the post. Together they form one of the EYBL’s best defensive duos. Adams-Woods is also averaging 8.8 points, 3 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while hitting 54% of his shot attempts…Symir Torrence, who frequently mans the other wing for the City Rocks, is also filling up the stat sheet. The 6’3” Vermont Academy-product is scoring 5.1 points, grabbing 3 board and dropping 4 assists per game through the first two sessions….Adams-Woods has put up all of his EYBL season-highs of 20 points (vs. RENS), 6 rebounds (vs. NY Lightning) and 4 assists (vs. RENS) against other NY-based teams. Torrence has averaged 7.5 assists to go along with 4 points and 3 rebounds against those NY teams.
Led by Isaiah Stewart’s (@Dreamville_33) monster 15-point, 15-rebound, 4-assist performance and Mika Adams-Woods’ (@_egb23) 20pt/4ast efficiency lesson, @TheCityRocks finished the EYBL’s Dallas session w/ a 77-53 win over the NY RENS (3-1)..... pic.twitter.com/4WbbbbUxMy— Mike Yagmin (@MikeYagmiNERR) April 23, 2018
Brewster’s Joel Brown has been sensational for CIA Bounce thus far. The 6’2” floor general went off against heated Canadian rival UPlay and put together one of the best individual performances of the young EYBL season. His 32-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double sent a message that was heard throughout the circuit. Brown now heads into the Atlanta Session averaging 15.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2 steals per game….After breaking his wrist on a freak play during a preseason scrimmage, Cairo McCrory is getting his first extended piece of healthy action with the NY Lightning this spring. The 6’5” wing is a pivotal part of a rotation for a squad that is off to a 6-2 start in the EYBL….Terrence Shannon Jr., a 6’7” wing for the Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire, announced his plans to attend Woodstock Academy last month. It’s allowed him to focus on the task at hand which, in turn, has yielded some successful results. Shannon Jr. is averaging 14.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
The NY RENS also have a distinct local flavor with three New England products playing key roles in their rotation. Tyler Bertram, one of the nation’s best shooters, is showcasing his dead-eye marksmanship in his first EYBL action and has connected on 37.8% (17-45 3pt) of his 3’s over the first 8 games. Bertram is averaging 7.8 points and hitting 87.5% of his free throws….Kareem Reid, a key member of Putnam Science’s National Championship team, played a high-energy/instant-offense role against Rose City in Dallas. Playing their 3rd game in less than 24 hours took its toll on the RENS stars last Saturday night but Reid was relatively fresh and ready to deliver. The 6’9” big/wing was wildly efficient in his 10 minutes on the floor, scoring 8 points (4-5 FG), ripping down 6 boards, blocking 2 shots and adding 2 steals in a 66-59 win….Nate Tabor, a 6’5” PG/Wing in the class of 2020, has seen his fearless, versatile style pay immediate dividends in the first two sessions. Tabor is averaging 7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists while sharing primary ball-handler duties with Jalen Lecque, a top-5 prospect (IMHO) in the national class of 2019.
NEW ENGLAND EYBL LEADERS
POINTS PER GAME
1. Brycen Goodine, St. Andrew's/BABC, 15.9
2. Joel Brown, Brewster/CIA Bounce, 15.1
3. Noah Fernandes, Woodstock/Expressions, 14.8
4. Mitch Doherty, Worcester/BABC, 12.1
5. Tre Mitchell, Woodstock/Expressions, 11.1
REBOUNDS PER GAME
1. Tre Mitchell, Woodstock/Expressions, 7.1
2. Dorion Jordan-Thomas, Proctor/BABC, 6.5
3. Joe Pridgen, Governors/Expressions, 5.9
4. Nate Tabor, Sacred Heart/NY Rens, 5.2
5t. Ismael Massoud, MacDuffie/PSA, 5.1
5t. Joel Brown, Brewster/CIA Bounce, 5.1
ASSISTS PER GAME
1. Joel Brown, Brewster/CIA Bounce, 5.5
2. Symir Torrence, Vermont/City Rocks 3.9
3t. Brycen Goodine, St. Andrew's/BABC, 3.8
3t. Nate Tabor, Sacred Heart/NY Rens, 3.8
5. Mitch Doherty, Worcester/BABC, 3.4