May 21, 2014

UA, Nike: What we learned

THE RIVALS150: Class of 2014 | 2015 | 2016 was in attendance as Nike and Under Armour each had all of their teams playing in events last weekend. Contributing analyst Dan McDonald was in Hampton, Va., for the third session of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League, while national basketball analyst Eric Bossi was in greater Houston checking out UA's league, the Association. Here's a look back at some of what we learned, starting with Allonzo Trier.

Trier in competition for fifth star

When we completed our most recent update to the 2015 Rivals150 in late March, we felt great about where we had everybody. But, after a little time some buyer's remorse starts to kick in and one player that we thought we didn't get aggressive enough with in terms of his ranking was Allonzo Trier.

Being ranked No. 38 nationally is no small thing, but the shooting guard from Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian was probably deserving of a higher ranking headed into the grassroots basketball season. With his play for Athlete's First in Nike's EYBL, Trier has proved that he shouldn't just be ranked higher, he should be ranked in five-star territory.

Trier isn't just putting up numbers, he is leading the entire EYBL in scoring -- by four points per game no less -- with his average of 28.5 points an outing. He has done so with relative efficiency too, shooting 47 percent from the field, just under 92 percent from the free throw line and 37 percent from three. Just as importantly, he has Athlete's First in second place in the C division of the EYBL with a 9-3 record. He will get his bump in the next set of rankings.

Team Charlotte's energy is real

Sometimes, you want to take a few days before you look back at something. We wanted to do that with our thoughts about Jeff McInnis Team Charlotte squad. Team Charlotte won the Under Armour Invitational, and while we were there watching we felt like we hadn't seen any team play harder during the entire spring. After taking a few days to let everything sink in, we still feel the same way.

Sure, 2015 wing RayJon Tucker is one of the spring's breakout players and freshman shooting guard Ty-Shon Alexander has a chance to be outstanding down the road. But, those two alone weren't enough to carry Team Charlotte in Houston. It was a combined team effort from a squad that competed on every possession, never got rattled in tough situations and played with toughness from the opening tip to final buzzer of the weekend.

A former NBA player, McInnis has a unique way of motivating his team. His blood runs hot on the sideline and his players respond to him by running through anybody who gets in their way of a win. They have a steady wave of athletic 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-6 players and they play together as a unit. We have seen other squads who really get after it during our springtime stops, but so far nobody has played with as much consistent intensity as we saw from Team Charlotte in Houston.

Bacon as good as advertised

We didn't feature him at all during the weekend coverage of the UA Invitational, but we probably should have. Class of 2015 swingman Dwayne Bacon certainly deserved some love for his play with the Showtime Ballers. So, a discussion about his play now is only fitting.

The No. 33 player in the junior class, Bacon is a 6-foot-6 wing with a good frame, good athleticism and scoring ability. What Bacon showed in Houston, though, is that he is probably a bit more skilled with the ball than he has been given credit for.

Bacon handles the ball well and is a slashing wing who puts tremendous pressure on the defense because of his ability to be an off-the-dribble playmaker. In particular, Bacon is really good operating along either baseline and he has just enough post game and jump-shooting ability to be a really tough matchup for opponents.

Bottom line, Bacon's game continues to grow from that of being a designated athlete to a guy who can play all around. He isn't quite as athletic as Andre Igoudala was at the same age, but there are some similarities to a young Igoudala in Bacon's game.

Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for You can click here to follow him on Twitter. is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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