Yags’ Point Forward - EYBL I Recap
There’s something to be said about knowing what you do and doing what you know. Leo Papile has a group of young men who stuck to that script over the weekend in Hampton, VA and experienced a ton of success as a result.
The BABC set the tone immediately in their EYBL season opener, hitting Team United (NC) with a trapping press right from the jump. Not only did it create a few easy buckets but it also took any nerves that players might have had from playing in front of dozens of high-major college coaches and threw them directly out the window. Talent and toughness took over for the rest of the weekend.
Dimon Carrigan was day one’s breakout star, measuring in with a 7’3” wingspan during pregame and using that length to block 6 shots to go along with 7 points and 6 rebounds in a 72-50 win.
After getting into foul trouble early, Cole Swider took full advantage of his second half playing time and finished with 17 points in just 20 minutes. More importantly, Swider got acclimated to his surroundings and rode that confidence into Saturday. That’s when he put on one of the most efficient scoring performances the EYBL has ever seen.
Playing against a Team Takeover squad that features a handful of prospects who already hold offers from programs in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and beyond, The BABC quickly established control of the paint and never relented. Carrigan sent back 6 more shots, scored 10 points and grabbed 11 boards in just 15 minutes of work due to a minor leg injury that initially looked a hell of a lot worse than it really was. Offensively, Swider took care of the rest.
After rattling off a few open treys early, Takeover made Swider battle for air space in halfcourt sets and hit him with multiple physical defenders wherever he went. Swider adjusted accordingly by simply getting to his spot before the defense could find him and finding his rhythm within the chaos. 6’2” Jakigh Dottin ripped away rebounds and either quickly hit his 6’8” sniper in transition or got the ball up the floor to Shandon Brown, who did more of the same.
When it was all said and done, Swider would finish with 37 points by shooting 13-17 from the field, hitting 7-9 from beyond the arch and drilling 4-5 from the line in a 67-60 win. Swider’s willingness to mix it up inside for rebounds (finished with 6 rebounds & 2 blocks) almost overshadowed the fact that he didn’t force a single bad shot and single-handedly dictated the game’s flow. It also had a positive effect on his teammates moving forward.
Dottin, who opened with a 19-point/7-rebound/4-assist/3-steal outburst in The BABC’s opener, finished with 7 rebounds and 8 assists and has clearly carved out his role on this year’s squad in the process. He further cemented it with a passionate 25-point/11-rebound/3-assist performance in a 79-73 loss to Simi Shittu and CIA Bounce, which may have been The BABC’s defining game despite the outcome.
Playing their 3rd game of the weekend in less than 24-hours, a flurry of whistles forced most of The BABC’s frontcourt rotation to the bench when Swider was hit with his 5th foul with just under 4-minutes left and CIA’s lead at 20-points. The BABC simply refused to die and instead mounted a spirited comeback that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Brown and Maurice Works dove for loose balls, wreaked havoc and created a handful of turnovers that led to Dottin layups, cutting the lead to 3 with under 30-seconds left. Exhaustion would eventually set in but not before everyone in attendance got to see what The BABC was truly made of. The effort created enough positive momentum necessary to carry them into Sunday and helped them cap the weekend with a 71-56 win over Team Melo.
Over the course of a 3-1 weekend in Hampton, Swider solidified his reputation as one of the nation’s elite shooters and picked up offers from Indiana, Florida and Texas for his efforts. The 6’8” wing will almost certainly garner attention from college basketball’s blue blood programs for the remainder of the grassroots season and deservedly so. Swider owns the type of unique skillset that will allow him to play at the highest level of college basketball in the future. His teammates will also benefit.
Carrigan emerged as a high-major Wingspan Big Man during the EYBL’s opening weekend as well, earning an offer from the University of Houston on and quickly setting the tone for his future recruitment. Carrigan quickly added an offer from Towson on Monday night.
Brown, playing with his typical pitbull aggression and intensity, collected new offers from Oklahoma State, UMass, Quinnipiac, George Washington and William & Mary over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Dottin set a record pace by averaging 16.8-points, 7.5-rebounds and 4.5-assists in the first EYBL session. No player in the history of the EYBL has EVER maintained those numbers over the course of an entire season.
With Swider as their elite offensive weapon, Brown as their fearlessly rock solid ball-handler, Works as their roaming wild-card, Dottin as their jack-of-all-trades, Carrigan as their elite rim protector and versatile, unselfish guys like Caden Dumas and Martin Mann rounding out their rotation, The BABC is going to be a formidable opponent for teams in the Nike EYBL all season.
At 3-1, Expressions Is Ready To Bounce Back?
Whenever you go 3-1 during an EYBL Session without playing your best basketball, you take your W’s with a smile on your face, get on the bus and tell the chauffeur to drive it like he stole it! Through just one session, there are already some teams who are demoralized after entering the season with high hopes and nobody wants to hear how a 3-1 team is disappointed with their overall performance. But that’s the exact spot Todd Quarles’ Expressions team finds itself in after the Hampton Session.
As the heart of their rotation watched from the bench for huge chunks of the game due to foul trouble, Expressions collectively felt as though they allowed their opening game to slip away against a very good Team Penny squad. Seven players collected 3-or-more fouls in the opener, with Marcus Zegarowski and Joey Kasperzyk each fouling out, yet they were still in the game until the end before losing 80-72. They went 3-0 the rest of the weekend.
Zegarowski broke out of his mini shooting slump in Game 2 against Team United, dropping an uber-efficient 20 points on 5-8 from the field, 4-4 from 3 and 6-6 from the stripe. Dana Tate bounced back with an inspired performance, scoring 13 points, grabbing 8 boards and dropping 5 dimes in Expressions’ 73-58 win. They would come back in the evening and defeat a tough Seattle Rotary team 65-60 behind Jordan Hardwick’s 11-point, 9-rebound effort in which he went 5-5 from the field and blocked 3 shots.
Hardwick averaged 9 points, 4.5 boards and 1.2 blocks while draining 69% (11-16) of his shots, 73% (11-16) of his free throws and even hitting 3-4 shots from 3 in just 16 minutes per game.
In their weekend finale, Expressions put together a session-changing comeback in the last minute to beat Simi Shittu and his previously-undefeated CIA Bounce squad. Led by Joey Kasperzyk’s refuse-to-lose attack mentality, Expressions was able to turn a 67-60 deficit into a 68-67 win in the last 45 seconds. Noah Fernandes’ came up with a clutch steal and dagger foul line jumper with a little over 0:13 left put Expressions ahead to stay. The ensuing defensive stand allowed Expressions to escape with a victory and a ton of momentum heading into the EYBL’s Indianapolis Session.
Kasperzyk was a model of consistency in Hampton, scoring between 8-and-11 points in every game while grabbing exactly 3 rebounds in each contest. As boring as that sounds, Kasperzyk’s buckets and ability to make the right play at the right time over and over again injected life into his team when things could’ve easily gone the other way.
Tate showed college coaches why he’s going to be worth every bit of a mid- to high-major scholarship next fall. He finished the weekend averaging 14.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 53% (20-38) from the field, 43% (3-7) from distance and 80% (8-10) from the line.
The scariest part of Expressions’ 3-1 record is the fact that they won despite Marcus and Max Zegarowski playing nowhere close to what their track record and skill level suggest. Both have earned enough prospect credibility within New England that you would be hard pressed to find someone form our region who would bank on those struggles to continue. They work too hard and they’re just too tough for that to happen.
With a 3-1 record and a roster filled with players who are carrying huge chips on their shoulders heading into the second EYBL session, Expressions is prepared to make a statement in Indianapolis this weekend.
New England News, Notes & Offers From Hampton, VA
CIA Bounce’s Simi Shittu had one of the weekend’s best games with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists in a win against The BABC. Shittu finished the weekend tied for 3rd in the EYBL in rebounding at 12.5 boards per game to go along with 18.8 points and 3.5 assists…..PSA Cardinals 6’6” wing Jose Perez was a nice grab by Putnam Science this spring. Perez is a calming influence who also plays his heart out and is always around the ball. Perez scores 5.5 points, grabs 2 rebound and dishes out 2 assists in a little over 15 minutes on the floor…..Cormac Ryan continued to raise his stock with the NY RENS after a 21-point, 3-assist performance against Cam Reddish, a top-5 recruit nationally in 2018, and Team Final on Saturday. Ryan, a 6’5” PG/Wing, filled the stat sheet all weekend en route to averaging 16.5 points, 3 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.8 assists…..Anthony Nelson led the NY Lightning with 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2 steals per game. Nelson, a 6’4” lefty wing, earned offers from UMass and Towson after his performance…..PSA Cardinals 6’9” big Arashma Parks picked up an offer from Hofstra over the weekend.....6’10 big Nate Roberts is running with Team Melo and grabbing 4.5 boards in a little over 18 minutes per game…..It’s too early in the season to think about stat leaders but Dimon Carrigan is leading the Nike circuit with 4 blocks a game.
New England's Sneaker Circuit Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
1. Cole Swider, BABC (EYBL) 21.8
2. Sidney Wilson, New Heights (UAA) 19.7
3. Simi Shittu, CIA Bounce (EYBL) 18.8
4. Jared Simmons, CT Basketball Club (UAA) 18.0
5t. Alex Rivera, Rivals (Adidas) 16.8
5t. Jakigh Dottin, BABC (EYBL) 16.8
7t. Cormac Ryan, RENS (EYBL) 16.5
7t. AJ Reeves, Rivals (Adidas) 16.5
9t. Dana Tate, Expressions (EYBL) 14.8
9t. Anthony Nelson, Lightning (EYBL) 14.8
11. Akok Akok, Rivals (Adidas) 14.3
12. Eric Ayala, We-R1 (UAA) 13.3
13. Filip Petrusev, CT Basketball Club (UAA) 13.0
14. Marcus Zegarowski, Expressions (EYBL) 11.8
15. David Duke, Rivals (Adidas) 10.5
Rebounds Per Game
1. Simi Shittu, CIA Bounce (EYBL) 12.5
2. Cole Swider, BABC (EYBL) 8.5
3. Filip Petrusev, CT Basketball Club (UAA) 8.0
4. Eric Ayala, We-R1 (UAA) 7.7
5. Jakigh Dottin, BABC (EYBL) 7.5
6t. Sidney Wilson, New Heights (UAA) 7.3
6t. Dimon Carrigan, BABC (EYBL) 7.3
8. Philmon Gebrewhit, Expressions (EYBL) 5.8
9. Dana Tate, Expressions (EYBL) 5.3
10. Chris Doherty, NE Playaz (Adidas) 5.0
Assists Per Game
1. Jaecee Martin, CT Basketball Club (UAA) 6.3
2. Jakigh Dottin, BABC (EYBL) 4.5
3t. Shandon Brown, BABC (EYBL) 4.0
3t. Jimmy Yfantopulos, Rivals (Adidas) 4.0
5. Simi Shittu, CIA Bounce (EYBL) 3.5
Blocks Per Game
1. Akok Akok, Rivals (Adidas) 5.5
2. Dimon Carrigan, BABC (EYBL) 4.0
3. Filip Petrusev, CT Basketball Club (UAA) 3.0
4. Simi Shittu, CIA Bounce (EYBL) 1.8
5. Sid Wilson, New Heights (UAA) 1.7
3-Point Field Goal %
1. Cole Swider, BABC (EYBL) 75% (12-16)
2. AJ Reeves, Rivals (Adidas) 57% (8-14)
3. Akok Akok, Rivals (Adidas) 55% (12-22)
4. Nate Laszewski, NE Playaz (Adidas) 50% (5-10)
5. Jared Simmons, CT Basketball Club (UAA) 46% (12-26)
6. Alex Rivera, Rivals (Adidas ) 45% (19-42)