EYBL Indianapolis: Ayton, Anthony headline plethora of talent
WESTFIELD, Ind. – Over the past few years, Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League has developed into an absolute grassroots basketball monster. On Saturday, 19 of the nation's top 25 players in the class of 2017 were in attendance at Jonathan Byrd's Grand Park Fieldhouse in the suburbs of Indianapolis. Led by the nation's top junior, DeAndre Ayton, California Supreme rolled out a loaded frontcourt and team while perhaps the two best teams in the country, the PSA Cardinals and MoKan Elite, waged an intense battle in front of a throng of high-level college coaches.
CAL SUPREME PLAYS BIG
There are times when 2017's No. 1 player, DeAndre Ayton, can look a bit bored. But, when he's fully engaged like he was on Saturday, the show can be spectacular. Head coaches from Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and many more certainly saw that. The 7-footer racked up 48 points and 29 rebounds during two dominating performances for Cal Supreme as they ran the Mac Irvin Fire and Each 1 Teach 1 – featuring top 10 wing Kevin Knox, who had 18 and 11 in a loss – off the floor in a pair of lopsided wins.
What's most scary is that Ayton is paired with another top 10 big man in near 7-footer Brandon McCoy, who might possibly be under-ranked at No. 9 nationally. In an equally dominant day, McCoy added 45 points and 21 rebounds of his own.
Not shy on the offensive end, McCoy is an aggressive big man who listed offers from the entire Pac-12, Michigan State, Louisville, San Diego State, Nevada and Maryland among others. A high energy kid who bubbles with personality, what's scary is that McCoy says he's not close to firing on all cylinders.
"It's going pretty good," said McCoy. "We started out slow in Brooklyn but we've really picked it up this weekend. Personally, I'd give myself about a six out of 10.
"I know that I'm always going to compete but I need to make more shots and be more consistent. I'm not that shy big guy who won't shoot and I am confident that I can score. I'm not a ball hog but I am confident."
PSA CARDINALS AND MOKAN WAGE HIGH LEVEL DUEL
When the PSA Cardinals and MoKan Elite took the floor for Saturday's nightcap, the two teams put a combined total of 13 players ranked in either the 2017 Rivals150 or 2018 top 75 on the floor. With all of that talent on the floor the two teams didn't disappoint with PSA pulling out a hard-fought overtime win. What did surprise was freshman point guard Cole Anthony – the son of longtime NBA floor general Greg Anthony – led the way with a sparkling 19-point performance.
Blessed with 6-foot-2 size, athleticism, skill and savvy far beyond his years, Anthony fought through foul trouble and impressed on both ends while adding to the growing school of thought that 2019 could be the next loaded class in high school basketball.
For MoKan, 2017's No. 2 player Michael Porter was impressive with 17 points and 11 rebounds while five-star point guard Trae Young had 19 points but only shot 7-of-21 from the floor as he struggled with his usually reliable jump shot. Class of 2018's No. 20 player Carte'Are Gordon added 10 points and six rebounds.
On the PSA side of things, 2017's No. 3 player Mohamed Bamba went for 11 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Point guard Quade Green – ranked too low at No. 50 in 2017 – has put himself into the McDonald's All-American conversation after an impressive 15-point, 12-assist and five-rebound effort that continues a great EYBL run. Four-star shooting guard Brandon Randolph carried the load offensively with 14 first half points and finished with 21.
Name a big-time program and they were represented in the coaching crowd.
MORE EYBL NOTES
A five-star center who ranks No.19 in 2017, 7-footer Nicholas Richards doesn't put up huge numbers for Expressions Elite. He just plays terrific positional defense, gets physical and scores whenever he gets fed the ball. While he'd love more touches, he also jokes that he doesn't want to give away the tricks of his trade too early. Kentucky has offered and so have Syracuse, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA and more while Duke is watching closely.
By EYBL standards, the Albany City Rocks lack for big names with only wing Hameir Wright (No. 117) ranking in the 2017 Rivals150. However, the Rocks have run up a 5-1 record and are one of the most dangerous teams in the league because of their depth, balanced play and underrated talent. The 6-foot-6 Wright easily lived up to his billing leading the way with 16 points and nine rebounds in a morning win over Meanstreets. Wright said his most recent offers have come from Villanova and Syracuse while SMU, Cincinnati and Dayton have all been coming hard. North Carolina recently called while Kansas State, Kansas and Notre Dame have all been in touch and they all watched on Saturday.
Class of 2018 point guard Brandon Williams is no fool. The four-star point guard is currently unranked but that will change soon because of his size and skill. What is so good about Williams is that he realizes that he's surrounded by a pair of likely future NBA big men in DeAndre Ayton and Brandon McCoy along with Rivals150 wings Jordan Schakel and Ethan Thompson along with big time freshman shooting guard Cassius Stanley. Williams plays tough defense, gets those guys where they need to be and lets the rest take care of itself.
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl was smiling from ear to ear watching his future point guard Davion Mitchell. A bigger version of Kansas floor general Frank Mason, who ranks No. 34 in 2017, Mitchell was impressive while putting up 29 points and handing out 17 assists throughout the course of the day. He's a physical competitor with athleticism. Fast rising four-star forward Chuma Okeke, who is too low at No. 61 in 2017, was equally impressive putting up 33 points and 17 rebounds on 13-of-15 shooting. Pretty much everybody in the Southeast wants him and Kansas just threw its hat into the ring.
The Houston Hoops needed a win badly over Meanstreets in their second Saturday game and their newest addition Billy Preston came up big. The No. 6 player in 2017, the 6-foot-9 forward did it all in a 19-point and seven-rebound effort where he showed off athleticism, a next level basketball body and athleticism.