EYBL: Vanderbilt, Fox hold serve in Houston
HOUSTON -- Nike kicked off the Houston stop of their Elite
Youth Basketball League Friday night at the MI3 Center. It was only fitting that
the EYBL leading and homestanding Houston Hoops team, led by the five-star
tandem of small forward Jarred Vanderbilt and point guard De'Aaron Fox, defended their home turf to move to 8-1 in league play. Class of 2017
offer as he led the Alabama Challenge to a win.
Hoops hold serve
Entering Friday night's matchup with Nike South Beach, the Houston Hoops were
tied for the best record in the EYBL at 7-1. In front of their hometown fans,
the Hoops used aggressive defense and a number of weapons on offense to move to
8-1 with an impressive 83-65 win.
Headlining the Hoops are Jarred Vanderbilt, the No. 4 player in the
class of 2017, and De'Aaron Fox, the No. 10 player in the class of
2016. Neither player disappointed; slashing wing Vanderbilt went for 13 points,
nine rebounds, six steals and two blocks while Fox added 19 points and three
assists from the point guard position.
After the game, Vanderbilt was actually upset. The 6-foot-7 five-star prospect
didn't feel that he had played that well on offense and was disappointed with
his seven turnovers. He may have missed on some finishes he usually converts and
did have some bad passes, but he also thoroughly dominated the game with his
ability to defend multiple positions and control the glass.
Vanderbilt has always been a good athlete, but he's taken his game to a new
level. He explodes to the rim off the bounce, changes directions quickly and,
when you factor in his ability to handle the ball, he's an elite prospect by any
measure. Vanderbilt holds offers from programs like Baylor,
new Longhorns coach Shaka Smart has made developing a relationship with
him a priority. Vanderbilt also said that he's started to hear from
"We have been out of town and the people here haven't seen us play, they've just
heard about us doing well," Vanderbilt said. "We are the number one team in the
league and to come home and show the hometown how we've played is a good
Through the first two sessions of the EYBL, Fox -- who also excels on the
defensive end of the floor -- has been content to run his team and be more of a
facilitator. Friday, he was looking for his offense. A long and slender floor
general with extreme quickness, Fox has also gotten much more explosive around
the rim and he made it a point to attack the tin.
Though he doesn't yet have the type of reputation that Vanderbilt and Fox do,
class of 2016 guard Carsen Edwards is quickly making a name for
himself. A natural scorer who can play the point or the two, Edwards exploded
for 23 point and six rebounds of his own while making an impressive six of his
eight three point attempts.
Petty leads Challenge
The Alabama Challenge suffered a big blow earlier this spring when they lost
five-star 2017 big man Austin Wiley. Enter 2017's No. 39 player
A smooth 6-foot-5 wing from Huntsville (Ala.) J.O. Johnson, Petty led the
Challenge to a hard fought win over D.C.-based Team Takeover.
Petty handled the ball, made very good decisions, came up with defensive stops
when he needed to and showed off his versatile offensive game. His jumper wasn't
falling with regularity, but Petty kept firing and mixed in enough clever drives
to finish with a team high 18 points and four rebounds.
Earlier this week, Petty was the recipient of an offer from Kentucky. Petty
noted that the offer caught his attention and that he's paid plenty of attention
to the Wildcats over the past few years. He also mentioned offers from
Arkansas. He'd like to start setting up some unofficial visits soon but
says that he is only focused on winning this weekend.
"I think that I played pretty well," said Petty. "I was just really trying to
play good defense and play the game hard on both ends. We all have to pick it up
with Austin out."
More Friday notes and news
of the most anticipated games of the night was the St. Louis Eagles' matchup
against Memphis-based Team Penny, especially when the nation's best point guard
Dennis Smith showed up with Team Penny. Smith spent most of the second
half on the bench with an injury while 2016's No. 3 player Jayson Tatum
scored 22 points and logged six rebounds while making all 10 of his free throws
to lead the Eagles to victory. In defeat, 2017's No. 29 player P.J. Washington was very solid scoring 16 points and grabbing two rebounds. The
power forward showed athleticism at the rim and nice touch on 15 footers from
dishing out five assists for the Spiece Indy Heat in a win over Expressions
Elite. Walker doesn't have ideal size at 5-foot-11, but he is a very heady floor
general and can really shoot from deep. His No. 148 ranking in the 2016
Rivals150 is probably a little too low.
It wasn't a
one man show for the Alabama Challenge and John Petty had plenty of help.
Rivals.com appreciated the work done by big man Garrison Brooks who
only scored eight points but grabbed 14 rebounds. He's a hard working and smart
big and part of what looks to be a very good class of 2017 in the state of
took a loss but five-star small forward V.J. King had a solid nigh
scoring 20 points, grabbing seven rebounds and handing out a pair of assists.
King's bread and butter move is the two dribble pull-up from between 12 and 17
feet and with him pushing 6-foot-7 it's awfully tough to guard on the high
Williams Summer Leauge team earned a hard fought win over the Mac Irvin Fire
thanks to the scoring of 6-foot-5 class of 2016 wing Deshawn Corprew
who had 24 points and six rebounds. Corprew hit on jumpers and made some tough
buckets near the rim but down the stretch it was class of 2017 shooting guard
Devante Carter who made the real difference.
Playing his first game in the EYBL after being out with a wrist injury, the
tough 6-foot-3 guard did most of his damage late to finish with 10 points, seven
rebounds and four assists. The three-star guard listed offers from Kansas
and Hofstra. Another 2017 prospect to keep an eye on for Boo Williams is thin
6-foot-10 post man Dajour Dickens. Dickens isn't yet super productive
on the 17U level, but he has shooting touch, good hands, gets on the glass and
screams long term upside. Dickens mentioned offers from Creighton,
first weekend with the Houston Hoops, class of 2017 combo guard Jay Jay Chandler is an intriguing prospect. A slasher with athleticism, he says
he's happy to play the one or the two and he's going to attack. Houston
is his first offer while others like Baylor, Oklahoma, Creighton,
the first two sessions, Seattle Rotary Select had been struggling for offense.
They got it on Friday night from 2017's No. 24 player Jaylen Nowell and
2016's No. 41 player Payton Pritchard. An athletic wing who can get on
the glass, Nowell scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds while going 9-of-12
from the field. Committed to Oklahoma, Pritchard -- who usually plays
on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit with Team Fast -- went for 24 points and four
rebounds of his own while moonlighting for Rotary. One of the nation's premier
shooters, Pritchard made 9-of-13 field goal attempts overall and six of his
eight three point attempts.
want to make sure that we mention the defensive effort of California Supreme in
their 87-62 thrashing of the Las Vegas Prospects. Supreme's aggressive pressure
defense produced one turnover after another and we could easily mention six of
seven of their players. As good as the defense was, it was hard not to noticed
the long range shooting of 6-foot-3 shooting guard Jonah Mathews. The
No. 91 player in 2016 (and younger brother of Cal's Jordan Mathews) was
good for 18 points and they all came on three pointers. Also impressive was
three-star shooting guard De'Anthony Melton. A 6-foot-3 athlete from
Encino (Calif.) Crespi, Melton contributed across the board with 11 points, 10
rebounds, five steals and three assists. Plain and simple, Melton is a nasty on
the ball defender who can also go to work in transition.