Yags’ Point Forward - What the Stats Say
The Adidas Gauntlet, Under Armour Association and Nike EYBL are proving grounds for elite prospects across the country. But what has set them apart from "AAU" tournaments in the past is their commitment to statistics. It's awesome. Whether you need to back up your opinion as a scout or make your case as a player, the numbers are there. They never tell the entire story but they don't hurt when you're looking for some answers to specific questions.
With that in mind, here's a look at some of the numbers from local 17U programs that have come out of the aforementioned leagues after their first two sessions of the season.
Led by rising junior point guard and Cushing Academy product Makai Ashton-Langford, Rivals is 7-1 and tied for the top spot in the circuit. But what really jumps out when you delve deeper into the box score is their depth and unselfishness, as ten players average between 10 and 21 minutes per game.
Ashton-Langford has exemplified both the unselfishness and productivity of the group, averaging 13 points, 4 assists and 3.5 rebounds in a little over 21 minutes per game. He has been efficient from the field, shooting 49% overall but has struggled from both the foul line (21-35 for 55%) and from the perimeter (3-15, 20%). His explosive playmaking ability has always given college coaches a reason to clamor for his services, understanding that a player's jump shot will improve with hard work, repetition and time. Ashton-Langford’s commitment on the defensive end may not show up in the box score, but it’s also one of the biggest reasons why he’s such a hot commodity. It doesn't take a statistician to understand why Ashton-Langford has received heavy interest from UConn, Louisville, and Providence throughout the season or why North Carolina and other blue bloods are also starting to get into the mix. His skill set and mindset are both unique.
Ashton-Langford's running mate at Cushing, Wabissa Bede, has also been a key to Rivals' success. Despite some shooting numbers that will undoubtedly improve with more games played (35% FG, 29% 3pt), Bede has given Rivals sound all-around production with 6.3 points, 3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 19 minutes per game and has been a key contributor to their 7-1 record. Bede recently received an offer from DePaul.
Azar Swain gives Yale's coaching staff more reasons to be excited every time he takes the court. Swain has been Rivals' leading scorer thus far, scoring 14 points in a little over 19 minutes per game while hitting 36% of his shots from beyond the arch. The majority of his shots (69 out of 91) have come from deep, with Swain burying 25 3's through Rivals' first eight games. By keeping the defense on their toes as a constant deep threat, Swain has been able to shoot 55% (12-22) inside the arch. Swain's most impressive number though comes in the rebounding column. The 6-foot Rivers product has averaged an impressive 6 rebounds per game to go along with 2 assists.
One thing the box score doesn't allow us to see is a player's potential. Rivals big man Makhtar Gueye is a perfect example of this. A 6'10" athlete from Winchendon who is oozing with upside, Gueye has averaged a pedestrian 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds over 19.5 minutes on the court but his vast potential, eye-popping measurables, and natural bounce has led to a ton of new interest from college coaches. Gueye has recently received offers from UConn, Marquette, Rutgers, DePaul, and Creighton.
Cushing prospects Jarrod Simmons and Greg Kuakumensah, Brimmer & May sophomore AJ Reeves, St. Andrew's Aaron Wheeler, Classical (RI) wing David Duke, and Bradford Christian's Monytung Maker round out the loaded Rivals rotation and are double-double threats on any given day.
New England Playaz
It doesn't take very long to realize that the Playaz own a 6-2 record despite receiving less-than-expected production from two of the most important players on their roster. But that also speaks to their resilience as a team and the ability of other guys to step up when called upon.
Northfield-Mt Hermon products Kellen Grady, who still isn’t fully healthy, and Nate Laszewski haven't shot the ball at their normal deadeye rate, combining to average only 12 points per game while shooting 32% from the field. While I can personally guarantee that number will rise dramatically over the course of the Gauntlet season, both players have to be relieved that their mini-slumps have occurred without hurting their teams' W-L record. It also helps that three of the Playaz who have picked up their slack happen to also be their teammates at NMH.
Jerome Desrosiers is thriving in his role with the Playaz, averaging 12.3 points, 6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game through the first two sessions. Desrosiers is also shooting a scorching 92% (23-25) from the FT line and converting 59% of his field goals. Tomas Murphy has also been über-efficient, scoring 9.6 points a game on 54% shooting and 92% (11-12) from the line. The 6'8" Murphy has also averaged 4.4 rebounds during his 22 minutes on the floor. 6'5" junior-to-be Chuck Hannah is perfecting his Glue Guy role, playing 25 minutes a game while averaging a little over 6 points and 6 rebounds, while hitting 58% of his shots.
Commonwealth Academy sniper Shyheim Hicks gives opposing defenses another perimeter threat to worry about, averaging 10 points a game while hitting 43% (15-35) of his 3's.
While they have the offensive firepower to match up against anybody, the Playaz are continuing to win thanks to a stifling defense. They currently rank 2nd in the Gauntlet in Points Allowed, giving up just over 54 points per game.
UNDER ARMOUR ASSOCIATION
Connecticut Basketball Club
CBC is lone 17U team from New England in the Under Armour Association. After a winless opening weekend, Jared Simmons and Mike McGuirl led CBC to a 3-1 record in the second session. Simmons is the CBC’s leading scorer at 12.3 points and is shooting 48% (22-46) from beyond the arch. His 22 triples currently rank 3rd in the circuit. Simons recently received his first D1 offer from Rider after his performance last weekend.
McGuirl has continued to perfect his role as a do-it-all hybrid on the perimeter, a role that helped lead his East Catholic squad to a CIAC state title this season. McGuirl is averaging a little over 10 ppg while hitting 43% (13-30) of his 3’s and leading an undersized squad in rebounding at 3 per game. McGuirl currently holds offers from in-state programs Sacred Heart and Hartford with more offers sure to be extended.
Weaver’s Jacee Martin is currently tied for 14th in the Association in Assists with 3 per game. The next session on the Under Armour circuit begins on May 28th in Los Angeles, CA.
The most glaring numbers on BABC’s stat sheet are those next to Terrell Brown’s name. The St Andrew’s big man has made huge strides of late and his numbers reflect that. Brown averaged 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks during the Brooklyn and Indy Sessions. He’s given BABC a true post presence and a rim protector on defense. Brown ranks 4th in the EYBL in Blocks through the first two sessions.
Marcus Santos-Silva has been the most pleasant surprise and one of the most improved prospects in New England over the last 8 months. The 6’7” big-bodied bruiser has averaged 8 points and 7 boards while carving out space against larger opponents in the post. His efforts have resulted in recent offers from DePaul and Siena.
After an up-and-down opening weekend, point guard Justin Mazzulla seems to have made an adjustment. Mazzulla is averaging 5 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds a contest while showing the ability to be the primary ball handler in an offense. He currently ranks 3rd in the EYBL in Assists behind Quade Green , who’s jaw-dropping 11 dimes per game almost lap the field, and Trae Young (6.3).
The numbers have supported Corey Romich’s reputation as a long distance sniper, as the 6’4” wing is hitting 35% (16-46) of his 3’s and scoring a little over 8 points per game. His 16 treys are good for 14th in the EYBL.
BABC (4-3) has been winning with defense as well. Outside of a 1-point win over Wings Elite, none of BABC’s games have been decided by fewer than 13 points. In their four wins, they’ve allowed less than 50 points per game, which is pretty damn good considering the pace of play and the level of athletes on the court.
The numbers confirm what coaching staffs from Kentucky, Duke, UConn, and Creighton have been telling us through their scholarship offers: Tremont Waters is one of the elite Point Guards in America. Waters kicked off the EYBL season by hitting 7 of his first 11 3-pt FGs while leading his team to a 2-1 record during the Brooklyn session. His shooting came back down to earth a little bit in Indy, but his ability to run a team of elite prospects has remained clear as day. Waters is averaging 14 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game while hitting 37% (13-36) of his 3’s and 96% (21-22) of his free throws. Waters ranks 8th in Assists and 2nd in Steals
Kimani Lawrence has raised his personal stock and has also forced a change in his own scouting report with his consistent ability to hit from beyond the arch. Lawrence is nailing 47% (9-19) of his 3’s, many of which have come in the corners, a trend that started at the Northeast Hoops Festival in early April. His improved all-around game has helped him average 13 points, 6.7 boards, and 1.3 blocks. Southern Cal coach Andy Enfield took notice and extended a scholarship offer to Lawrence last week.
Jermaine Samuels Jr. took a little while to get going but his numbers improved drastically during the Indy Session. Samuels Jr. averaged 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and over 2 assists per game in the second session, including a 10/11 performance against the Phoenix Family. Jordan Hardwick also put together his best EYBL game against a Phoenix Family squad featuring Marvin Bagley III and Cody Riley, elite national prospects in ’18 and ’17 respectively. Hardwick scored 7 points and hauled in 8 boards in a 69-65 win for Expressions, who are currently 4-3.
Other New England Products in the EYBL
-The Albany City Rocks are getting great production out of four rising New England products. NMH’s Andrew Platek has been the best shooter in the circuit through 7 games. Platek has hit an EYBL-leading 54% (20-37) of his 3’s, while stuffing the stat sheet with 14.6 points, 4.9 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. His 20 triples are god for 2nd-most in the EYBL. Platek is also hitting 50% (16-32) of his 2’s and has proven that efficient production is being valued more at every level. Platek has visited Butler and Harvard so far and recently received an offer from the University of North Carolina.
-The City Rocks (5-2) are also getting outstanding production from Anthony Gaines (16.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2 steals) who has reached double digits in the rebounding column in every game except one, when he grabbed 9 in a 64-63 win against Nike South Beach. The 6’4” pogo stick currently ranks 6th on the circuit in boards. Kristers Zoriks (6 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds) has been the City Rocks’ steady hand at the point as well. Both players were recently offered by George Mason and Northeastern.
-Putnam Science and NY Rens star Hamidou Diallo put together one of the best performances of the Indy Session in the Rens opener against the Oakland Soldiers. Diallo hit 12-18 from the field and went 9-15 at the line en route to a 33-point, 12-rebound (6 offensive), 2-assist, 2-steal performance. The best part was that none of his numbers came in garbage time and the Rens needed everything Diallo could give them, ultimately winning 86-85. Diallo (20.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) is currently tied for 4th in the EYBL in Scoring and 8th on the circuit in Steals. Kentucky and Duke recently recognized his other-worldly talents with scholarship offers.
-Diallo’s Rens teammate Jordan Nwora will be attending Vermont Academy next season. Nwora is averaging 14.7 points and 7.3 boards for the Rens. 6’8” players who can hit 41% (19-46) of their 3’s and grab boards at his rate tend to have some competition for their services nowadays. Nwora’s 19 treys are 3rd most in the EYBL. He recently received offers from UConn, Florida and Florida State among others.
-The PSA Cardinals have the EYBL’s leader in rebounds (Mohamed Bamba, 13.9 per) and assists (Green, 11 per) on their roster. But a perfect example of what the box score can’t tell you is the importance of Hasahn French and Walter Whyte to their squad. Both happily do anything their team needs in order to win and have been rewarded for it. French (4 points, 5.3 boards) has received offers from high major programs Marquette and Arizona State, with others certain to follow. Whyte (4.4 points, 2.2 boards) is a defensive stalwart for PSA and has recently picked up as many as seven new scholarship offers.