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The 2nd year of the Nike EYBL Finals got underway today at the Peach Jam in Augusta, Georgia. The top 24 teams qualified from a league that consisted of 40 at the start of the travel season and now the pressure is not only on as teams vie for the league title, but at the same time players are trying to win head coaches over in hopes of gaining scholarships to some big name universities. Throughout the week Courtcred.com will be looking very hard at those prospects who have been putting in work throughout the league to see who folds and who doesn’t. Here are some of the players that we followed on Day 1 of the finals.
Ricardo Ledo 6’5 Sr. SG Albany City Rocks
Ledo started the 2nd half of his game against CP3 with a deep three to tie the game. Just like his opponent Purvis he tried to get it going off the bounce. In one on one situations Ledo is hard to slow down so CP3 made sure they slid defenders over when he was on move. He has all the moves to make defenders dance and that he did which caused him to find himself at the line a lot. He began to force shots as CP3 went on a bit of a run, but he was the primary offense for an Albany team that couldn’t find the basket today.
Rodney Purvis 6’4 Sr. SG CP3
Just as Ledo came out aggressive in the 2nd half of their match up so did he. He played with the ball in his hands the entire time and made things happen with his dribble penetration. As usual Purvis was in high gear pushing the tempo every chance he got which allowed his teammates to get open looks if they ran with him. In the halfcourt set Purvis used his court vision while on the move to spark multiple runs by getting in the lane, elevating and dumping off passes at the last minute. As the summer has gone on Purvis has found the medium between scoring and distributing and in return it has resulted in wins for his team. He wants to play the point position in college and his 10 assists in the morning session only helped his case.
Eric Johnson 6’0 So. PG CP3
The freshman guard was huge off the bench with his deep balls. He is a natural PG, but played a lot off the ball next to Purvis. It felt as if he canned every open look he had, when he did maneuver with the ball in hand he executed the high ball screen well and he used a low dribble to split defenders and traps. Look for Johnson and fellow Sophomore Theo Pinson to be big time recruits coming out of the South in the future.
Brice Johnson 6’9 PF CP3
The slim 6’9 post gave up about 50lbs to Dejuan Coleman, but he used all of his length to be a factor today. Johnson finished everything he caught around the rim and he came away with rebounds that he normally would not have gotten earlier in the summer. Johnson has a huge upside. As he continues to extend his range and get stronger, he will have more of an impact on the game. Once he stated that as far as school went he wanted to stay close to home, now we are hearing that Johnson is willing to pack up and leave town.
Josh Fortune 6’5 Sr. SG Boo Williams
Fortune is one of those players that doesn’t get much ink, but he can more than hold his own against the so called elite prospects. Against league favorite Oakland Soldiers Fortune was lights out from the perimeter with 24 1st half points,16 of them coming from three point land. His eye popping numbers stood out in the first half, but he threw up a goose egg in the second half that certainly played a role in why his team struggled to come up with a win. He is a player that is very aware of his surroundings therefore he is good when it comes to being in the correct defensive positions and he’s not bad on the ball either, consistency will be the key to his success going further into his career at Providence.
Dominic Artis 6’0 Sr. PG Oakland Soldiers
Over the last couple of months Artis has seen his recruitment heat up considerably. Once considered a shoot first guard, he still will look to get his off but has become more conscious when it has come to play making. One of the best at pulling up off the dribble, Artis likes to lull defenders into standing up with his dribble just a bit where he can then blow by them or get into that free throw line area and elevate for two. He lit up the score board in his game against Boo Williams, sinking jumpers when it counted and his play carried over into the evening session. At 6’1 Artis has the scoring pop, confidence, and toughness to play at any level.
Brandon Ashley 6’8 Sr. PF Oakland Soldiers
The highly recruited big man was sort of quite in his opening game, or so it seemed. He stayed around the basket scoring off put backs and when he slid over to receive dump off passes. His offense came within the flow of the game and before you new it Ashley was sitting on a double double. His versatility and perimeter skills are such an asset to his team as they used him to relieve pressure when bein pressed and defensively he played at the top of a 1-2-2 extended zone making it hard for guards to make cross court passes over the top of him.
Rasheed Sualimon vs Archie Goodwin
Since he has already committed to Duke, Sualimon is out on the floor playing with out the added pressure of having schools put him under a microscope. A streaky shooter, he caught fire in spurts during the second half. He really made his mark by getting down and guarding Goodwin, making him work for his buckets. Goodwin playing with a protective brace on his wrist got off to a quick start with 7 points out the gate, but cooled off shortly after. He didn’t score a ton of points, but at times his bursts to the cup were unstoppable. The edge went to Sualimon as he benefited from the passing of point man LJ Rose, where Goodwin on the other hand had to try and create all of his own opportunities.
Nick King 6’7 Jr. SF Memphis YOMCA
King bullied his way to buckets in the paint all game long. The lefty has one gear and its always turned up to the max. The same way he can put up points, he can rebound the ball in a similar manner. King has very strong hands so there’s no taking the ball away from him once he has it in his grasp. He has a tendency to go hard left and can sometimes pick up charging fouls, but at the end of the day you have to recognize his motor. He made good entry passes to the post from the wing and the high post area, when he chose to switch with the other post and hit the block King was simply to much for smaller defenders.
Johnathan Williams III 6’9 Jr. YOMCA
A member of the USA Junior team that recently won gold in Argentina, Williams put a second half together that allowed coaches to see his full potential. At 6’9 Williams can handle the ball better than most guards, making him very dangerous when he cleans the glass because he can not only start the break with a bust out dribble, but he can make plays with his handle while in transition. While his perimeter skills make him such a match up problem, he doesn’t abandon the fact that he’s a big man. He out quicked opposing big men when facing up, or chose which shoulder to operate over after using a couple of back down dribbles.
Savon Goodman 6’6 Sr. F NJ Playaz
Once he was considered a power forward and although he can gaurd the four spot Goodman has been becoming a bit more fluid working on the perimeter. He started the game by scoring a few baskets right under the hoop, pinning his man deep in the lane. He attacks the rim hard every chance he gets usually resulting in a ferocious dunk. He liked the baseline today,where he can catch and go around slower guys for reverse lay ins. Goodman will be an immediate impact player when he reaches Villanova, he will bring toughness and a defensive mentality needed to compete in the Big East.
Julian Harrell 6’5 Sr Wing Cal Supreme
Good size wing with an old school game. One coach sitting next to me described him as the old guy at the park that just keeps scoring. Harrell took his time in every thing he did on the floor. He was great at reading screens, calmly shooting the ball when defenders went under and turning the corner when defenders were caught on his hip, loves to shield defenders off with a spin dribble. Not a super athlete, but he possesses a great feel and understanding of the game.
**Point guard play is huge on any level when the game of basketball is concerned. Good point guards control tempo, they manage the game and their teammates, and they make sure that the ball gets to where it needs to be. Houston Hoops point guard LJ Rose did just that and managed to make an impact in his game against the Arkansas Wings without scoring a single point. Rose’s stat line read 0pts, 11ast, 4reb, & 2stl in 27 minutes.
**When it comes to filling up the stat sheet one player automatically comes to mind. 6’8 point forward Kyle Anderson of the NJ Playaz is a stat stuffer and today he came close to recording a triple double with 27pts, 14reb, & 7ast.
Other Top Performances
- Jordan Price The Family: 25pts, 5reb, 1ast, 6-10 3pt
- Brandon Ashley Oakland Soldiers: 24pts, 11reb
- Justin Anderson Boo Williams: 23pts, 8reb, 3ast, 1stl
- Rodney Purvis CP3: 17pts, 10ast, 6reb, 1stl
- Ricardo Ledo Albany City Rocks: 29pts, 8reb, 3ast
- Rasheed Sulaimon Houston Hoops: 24pts, 4reb, 4ast
- Kenny Kaminski All Ohio Red: 30pts, 7reb, 2blk, 1stl
- Aaron Gordon Oakland Soldiers: 19pts, 12reb, 2ast
- Kayel Locke Baltimore Elite: 23pts, 12reb
- Patrick Holloway Team Takeover: 22pts, 6reb, 3ast