HAMPTON, Va. - The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) is in session for the second straight weekend, this time at the Boo Williams Sportsplex. The first day of action at the third EYBL session saw Stephen Zimmerman, De'Aaron Fox and others play at a high level.
Strong day for Soldiers frontcourt
When a team's frontcourt features the second and fourth ranked players, it's no surprise when they dominate the competition. In an afternoon matchup with an undersized All-Ohio Red team, the Oakland Soliders frontcourt of Ivan Rabb (No. 2) and Stephen Zimmerman (No. 4), with the help of recent USC commit Chimezie Metu (No. 46) controlled the paint on both ends of the court.
Zimmerman displayed his all-around game on his way to posting a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Comfortable playing inside around the basket or on the perimeter off the pick-and-pop, the five-star prospect showed three-point range and a knack for making the right pass. At the moment, he's focused on eight schools: Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, UCLA and UNLV.
While not posting a stat line like Zimmerman, Rabb still made some plays that showed people why he's such a hot commodity amongst college coaches. The 6-foot-9 power forward is hard to guard on the block with his ability to play with his back to the basket and finish in traffic.
Playing behind two of the top five players in the country, there isn't a ton of playing time left for Metu. That didn't stop the USC commit from taking advantage of the playing time he did receive. The near seven-footer plays with a ton of energy and oozes potential. On one occasion, Metu caught the ball on the right wing, took a couple dribbles right before going with an impressive spin move to the basket. It's quite clear Metu's best days are ahead of him.
Fox finishes off Stars
In a closely contested game from start to finish between the Georgia Stars and Houston Hoops, it was the play of 2016 shooting guard De'Aaron Fox that propelled Houston Hoops to the victory. To put it simply, Fox was fantastic when it mattered most.
At about 6-foot-3, the five-star prospect in the 2016 class is wired to score. In the win over the Georgia Stars, it was mostly Fox's mid-range game that was on display. He uses a combination of ball moves and quickness that allows him to get in the paint whenever he wants to slice up a defense. Once in the paint, he's not only a threat to score, but he's a willing passer.
Connecticut commit Prince Ali continues to play at a high level for the Southern Stampede. In a Saturday morning win over Team Penny, the four-star prospect pumped in 19 points before fouling out. When he's connecting from 3-point range like he was on Saturday, he's very hard to guard.
Ty Hudson's recruitment has taken off in the last month. Most recently, he added offers from Clemson and Tennessee to go along with previous offers from Xavier, Houston, Western Kentucky and UAB. Hudson played clutch basketball down the stretch for the Southern Stampede in their Saturday morning victory, finishing with an impressive stat line of 23 points, six assists, and six rebounds.
It doesn't take long to see why Dedric Lawson sits at sixth in the 2016 Rivals150. At 6-foot-8 and around 200 pounds, it's hard to find a weakness in his game. His range extends out to the three-point line, he makes plays off the dribble, and he's comfortable playing on the block. He finished with 21 points and eight rebounds in a tough loss to the Southern Stampede.
The Georgia Stars backcourt of Malik Beasley and Will Jackson played very well in leading the Stars to their first EYBL victory on Saturday morning. Beasley continues to post double figures in the scoring column, while Jackson, a UConn commit, bounced back from a rough start in EYBL and had his best game yet with 13 points.
Over-shadowed by the play of the Oakland Soldiers, All-Ohio Red forward Esa Ahmad quietly made some impressive plays. At 6-foot-8, he's more than happy to play around the rim, but he's also very comfortable playing on the perimeter now too. It's easy to see why he's been collecting high-major offers throughout his junior season.
Houston Hoops freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt is one to keep an eye down the road. The 6-foot-7 forward is at his best playing in transition and finishing at the rim with his soft touch. It will be fun to see how he develops as he has the potential to be one of the best forwards in the 2017 class.