The Cassidy Awards: EYBL in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. – The first two days of the 2022 Nike EYBL season are in the books, and prospects from all over the country have had the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of hundreds of college coaches and media members. Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy was hand for the first two days of the event in Central Florida and notes some of the weekend’s most impressive performances in the form of awards below.
Cassidy's Takeaways: EYBL in Orlando
2023 Rankings: Rivals150
2024 Rankings: Top 40
STOCK UP: Isaiah Coleman
Coleman was the alpha on the floor during a Saturday afternoon game that saw him knock down a 3-pointer to force overtime before scoring the game-winning layup at the end of the extra period. Currently ranked as the No. 62 player in the 2023 class, Coleman played better than that number in the contest, as he willed his Team Melo squad to victory with 30-point effort that saw him score in almost every imaginable way. Coleman comes equipped with decent length and solid ball-handling skills in addition to his scoring prowess. He’ll need to become a better defender, but the tools to do so are present.
Recruitment: Coleman has a few offers to his name but says the only school that has been in recent contact is Connecticut. Huskies coaches were also seated courtside for his impressive Saturday-afternoon performance.
WELL ROUNDED: Ron Holland
Holland has spent the past year working on becoming a bigger threat from three-point range. He went 2-for-4 from deep in a 20-point effort for Drive nation on Friday night but continues to look more comfortable pulling up than he did as a sophomore. Holland is still not a sniper by any means, but he’s evolving. The trajectory is encouraging to say the least. He’ll always be a slasher first, and there’s a reason why he’s known as one of the best when it comes to taking defenders off the bounce and scoring at the rack. Holland’s defensive versatility is also striking, as he successfully defended smaller guards as well as larger forwards in his team’s season–opening victory.
Recruitment: Holland is preparing to visit UCLA next month and says the Bruins are recruiting him hardest, Kentucky is thought to be mulling an offer and could make an impact when it makes things official. Oregon and Houston are also likely to receive visits.
BREAKOUT: Zayden High
JL3 Elite forward Zayden High arrived in Orlando absent from the national rankings and has been working to change that since he stepped off the plane. High raised eyebrows on Saturday morning by using his 6-foot-8 frame to stretch the floor and knock down multiple 3-pointers. High is an above average shooter for a prospect of his size but, at the same time, isn’t afraid to mix it up underneath. He went 10-for-17 from the floor against a loaded Team CP3 squad on Saturday morning, finishing the contest with 31 points that came in a wide variety of ways. High is likely to add a star when things update later this spring. High is also likely to see his offer list grow exponentially. Virginia and other high-major programs were seen watching his games in Orlando.
UNDER RECRUITED: Tahaad Pettiford
A poised point guard that comes with a level of poise beyond his young age, Pettiford impressed with a team-high 15 points playing for the New Heights Lightning on Saturday afternoon. Pettiford is a threat from long range and knocked down three 3-pointers in the contest but it’s his court vision and passing that makes his long-term future promising. Pettiford isn’t the longest guard in his class at just 6-foot, but he shined playing up with the 17U squad this weekend. He’ll need to add weight to become the kind of defender he wants to be, but his basketball IQ and shooting ability make him every bit a top-40 prospect. His lack of elite length will hold him back a bit, sure, but It seems odd that he only holds offers from a handful of regional programs.
SOPHOMORE STANDOUT: Isaiah Elohim
Elohim was playing 16U in an auxiliary gym on Friday night, but seeing him in action was worth the walk over. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard was clearly the best prospect on the floor when his Paul George Elite team took on NJ Scholar Athletes, and the 20-point effort he turned in was something to behold due to its efficiency. Elohim got what he wanted offensively while staying within the offense to the tune of a 10-for-14 shooting performance that also included five rebounds. His offensive game right now is that of a slasher that handles the ball incredibly well and finishes at the rack. He only attempted two 3-pointers on Friday (making one), so the jury is still out on him as a long-range shooter, but the rest of his scoring prowess feels effortless. What was most impressive, however, was the energy he brings to the defensive end. Even on a day where his team lost by 19 points, he was engaged and vocal as a defender.
BACKING IT UP: G.G. Jackson
Backing up a No. 1 ranking is a tall task, but Jackson did just that on Saturday, as he willed his CP3 team to a narrow victory over JL3 Elite with a 15-point 15-rebound performance that showed off his high-level motor and ability to use his upper body to his advantage. The five-star forward grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the contest and was the difference-maker down the stretch. Jackson’s rare combination of size, skill and motor make him a safe bet to stay on top of the Rivals150 for the time being. He’s becoming a better passer and a more motivated defender. His work on the offensive glass on Saturday represented a step forward in what has been an area of weakness in the past.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Sean Stewart
Stewart made himself easy to find on Saturday morning, as the Duke commit was a force on both ends from whistle to whistle on Saturday morning. He led his Florida Rebels team to an easy victory during the 9:30 am window while showing his ability to dominate in the paint as well knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. The Duke-bound junior went for 20 points and 11 rebounds and looked like a much more versatile scorer than he did at this time last year. He also showed the ability to stay in front of smaller guards on the perimeter on the occasion that he switched on to one. Stewart continues to progress from both a skill and an athleticism standpoint and could slide up a bit in the rankings because of it.
Recruitment: Stewart is committed to Duke.
BOX SCORE STUFFER: Yves Missi
Missi put up wildly impressive numbers on Friday. And while it must be noted that the 6-foot-10 sophomore was significantly taller than anyone on the floor during his 16U game, his skill set certainly looks translatable. Missi moves well laterally for a young prospect of his size and seems comfortable with his fame, which allows him to show impressive body control under the basket while finishing and racking up rebounds.. The class of 2024 prospect finished Friday’s game with 20 points and 16 rebounds of one of the weekend’s most dominant statistical efforts. A high-effort defender, Missi blocked four shots in the contest and changed a dozen more.
Recruitment: Missi holds early offers from UCLA and St. John’s. He will likely see a long list of high-major programs join the chase in the year ahead.