INDIANAPOLIS - Sunday afternoon, the first ever Nike EYBL Qualifier wrapped up. After the weekend's festivities, Kansas City-based MoKan Elite and the Iowa-based Martin Brothers Attack had earned invitations to Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League, which kicks off with the Boo Williams Invitational in two weeks. Class of 2013 wing Semi Ojeleye punched MoKan Elite's ticket with a late three while Marcus Paige was one of several steady performers for Martin Brothers.
Rivals.com wasn't in town for Sunday's final action because of McDonald's All-American game activities. However, we were able to take in Saturday's action and make some observations.
EYBL Qualifier notables
Willie Cauley, C, MoKan Elite- A fluid, 6-foot-10 big man, Cauley has an awful lot to work with. He runs the floor, alters or changes a ton of shots and is an outstanding passer when doubled. His offense is coming along but there are times where he's a little timid. For stretches, though, Cauley dominated action on both ends of the floor and is a kid with significant potential.
Marcus Paige, PG, Martin Brothers Attack- The slim North Carolina pledge was the same reliable and steady floor general that he's always been. He pushed his team and ran when the opportunities were there, knocked home jumpers and showed a little more burst along the baseline. His base is a bit narrow so adding strength will be of extreme importance before his arrival in Chapel Hill.
Chris Thomas, SG, Colorado Hawks- When he wants to, the physical scorer can flat dominate opponents. Not only is he strong, but he's very quick, has deep range and is crafty as a scorer. At times, Thomas can let his emotions take him out of the game. But, he's a high level basket producer and maturing.
Brice Johnson, PF, Carolina Ravens- While he is very thin, Johnson is a smooth run and jump athlete with skill in the low post. He made jump shots from either block, spun into the lane and used the glass and hit the glass. While not a shot blocker, he will contest and alter shots in the lane. Has to concentrate on adding strength and avoiding silly fouls that limit his time on the floor.
Semi Ojeleye, SF, MoKan Elite- Physically, the 6-foot-5 sophomore wing from Ottowa (Kan.) High is a beast. Ojeleye already has a college ready body, is a good athlete and can power to the basket. Spot up jumpers out to the three point line aren't bad shots for him. He plays hard, but there's another level he can get to.
Marqwell Jackson and Byron Zeigler, SF, Detroit Stars- While neither Jackson - a 6-foot-4 freshman - nor Zeigler - a 6-foot-5 sophomore - put up huge numbers, they showed flashes of potential. Jackson can handle the ball well, has good instincts and is a fine athlete. Zeigler has a little more pop going to the rim off of the dribble but is also an excellent shooter with a crisp stroke.
Fred Thomas, SG, Southern Phenoms- When the Rivals150 for the class of 2012 gets re-shuffled, it's a safe bet that Thomas will make the cut. A lengthy 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Thomas has deep range, a quick release and confidence in his big time shooting stroke. Though not a real creator off of the dribble, the Jackson (Miss.) Jim Hill product can be an entertaining transition finisher thanks to his quickness off of the floor.
Travon Williams, SG, Baylor Fusion- An athletic 6-foot-2 shooting guard, Williams made a big impression on anybody who watched him. A streak shooter, he combines an electric first step, deep range and the athleticism and strength to finish around the rim. Similar in many ways to Missouri shooting guard Marcus Denmon at the same age.
More Qualifier notes and observations
Akoy Agau isn't yet a finished product, but the 6-foot-8 class of 2013 four man showed flashes for the Martin Brothers Attack. Long and lean with wiry strength, he elevated for some slams around the hoop while also hitting some face-up jumpers. His activity on the glass on both ends was encouraging. ,,,, Another Martin Brothers player who impressed was solidly built big man Daniel Jansen. A 6-foot-8 junior, Jansen isn't a speed merchant but he plays physically and he's an excellent 12-17 foot jump shooter. … Sophomore Vince Hunter from Detroit (Mich.) Consortium Prep looked good in stretches. A pretty athletic 6-foot-6 combo forward, he did some nice things with his athleticism and activity around the bucket. … Four-star big man Gavin Ware is working his way back into shape after injury. That didn't stop him from having some nice moments. A potential college space-eater with some skill, he is pretty efficient around the rim. …
The Colorado Hawks featured a pair of intriguing big men in Marcus Holt and Wesley Gordon. Holt is a skinny and athletic power forward who can really run and is quick off the floor. His skill level isn't bad either and he's got soft touch around the basket. Gordon, who has already committed to Colorado, has a sturdy base, long arms and quick reactions. He hunts down rebounds in and out of his area, runs the floor and shows promise as a 10 foot and in scorer. … MoKan junior wing Shavon Shields had some nice moments. The 6-foot-4 Shields is a good shooter, moves well away from the ball and avoids making negative plays. … Carolina Ravens wing Travis Hammond will likely get recruited from the mid major to high major level. He's a physical 6-foot-5 wing who can shoot jumpers and plays with some passion. …
Mid majors are going to be hot on the trail of Baylor Fusion wing Paul McRoberts this summer. A solidly built 6-foot-4 small forward, he's a transition playmaker who can knock home a few spot up jumpers and make things happen via the dribble. …