GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- Covering EYBL events won't be easy this spring and summer for most reporters. And they will create dilemmas for fans heading to watch, too.
The events are always loaded, but this year, EYBL is stacked. At any given time, on any given court, there could be as many as five McDonald's All-Americans squaring off, making it tough to stick to one court for any lengthy period.
Still, Rivals.com spent three days scouring the gym in Southern California and we did our best to watch a good chunk of the stars. Here's what we learned from seeing it all at the event.
The rankings are right
Six players in the Rivals top 10 rankings competed at EYBL, and they proved their worth.
The No. 2-ranked player, five-star guard Emmanuel Mudiay, was brilliant for most of the weekend. A 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard, Mudiay showed no problems playing the point. At his size, with his shooting and scoring ability, it was a matchup nightmare. His turnovers were a bit high throughout the three-day event, but his ceiling looked endless.
The No. 3 player, five-star guard Tyus Jones, was stellar. The best point guard in the gym, and in the 2014 class, he had head coaches from Michigan State, Duke, Kansas and many more flocking to his games repeatedly. He didn't disappoint them, either. His best show came Sunday afternoon in a 38-point, six-assist game.
The No. 5 player, five-star forward Cliff Alexander, was clearly the best post in the gym. After his game Friday night, and his morning Saturday, he looked like he could have a case for the No. 1 overall player. But fatigue slowed him and he looked to run out of gas late in the event. Still, he scored at will when he was in the paint and his teammates fed him the ball.
The No. 6 player, five-star guard Rashad Vaughn, actually might have a legitimate case for being underrated. Vaughn is a powerful dunker who also was strong from deep this weekend. He could make a serious argument that he was not only the best scorer in the gym at EYBL but maybe the best pure scorer in his class.
The No. 9 player, five-star forward Chris McCullough, showed the most skills in a player his size this weekend. At 6-foot-10, he could do so much with the basketball, proving that well in an 8-for-9, 19-point performance Sunday morning.
The last of the top 10, No. 10-ranked five-star forward Justise Winslow, rounded out the Rivals rankings by putting on a show. A great leaper who scored from all three levels, Winslow was clearly priority No. 1 for bluebloods UCLA, Duke and Arizona, who were at every one of his games.
The No. 1 overall player, Jahlil Okafor, sat out the weekend with an ankle injury. No. 4 Trey Lyles was out with a knee injury.
Houston up, Oakland down
After winning the Peach Jam last year, the Oakland Soldiers knew they were going to take a hit, losing four-star guards Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson, as well as five-star potential pros Aaron Gordon and Jabari Bird. But even they couldn't have expected this in weekend No. 1.
Despite valiant efforts from five-stars Ivan Rabb and Stanley Johnson, the Soldiers plodded to a disappointing 1-3 record. They blew leads, and in the final game of the weekend they were even down by as many as 20.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Houston Hoops reloaded nicely in 2013. Despite losing five-star guard Keith Frazier, the Hoops, led by Winslow, Justin Jackson, Kelly Oubre and more, were dominant. In their lone game Sunday against five-star Malik Newman and the Jackson Tigers, the Hoops won by 32. After a 4-0 start, the Hoops look to be the EYBL favorite.
2015 showing out as well
While the 2014 five-stars proved their worth, a pair of 2015 five-stars did as well.
Making Rabb the No. 1 overall player in his class wasn't easy, but he showed he belonged. Some considered him the best rebounding big man in the tournament, and he showed the ability to score effortlessly with both hands.
Skal Labissiere, playing for Team Penny, was another five-star 2015 big man who shined. Going toe-to-toe with Alexander in the final game of the event Sunday, the near 7-footer showed why Kentucky is pursuing him aggressively. Incredibly long and athletic, he could make a push for Rabb's No. 1 spot.