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EYBL – BOO WILLIAMS: PREP SCHOOL PROSPECTS SHINE ON AAU TRAIL
BY PAT STEVENS
HAMPTON, Va. – The first major national event of the travel hoops season took place this past weekend with the first session of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League getting underway in it’s annual spot of long-time coach Boo Williams’ backyard.
Several prep school players were in action with their 17-under division teams, as BABC went 5-0 with Tilton (N.H.) teammates Georges Niang, Nerlens Noel, Goodluck Okonoboh and Wayne Selden (who mostly played 15U where they reached the championship game).
The Playaz also went undefeated with its backcourt shared by Myles Davis (Notre Dame Prep) and Darrick Wood (NIA Prep).
Albany City Rocks featured New Hampton (N.H.) teammates Zach Auguste and Olivier Hanlan along with Ricardo Ledo (Notre Dame Prep, MA), who averaged just under 24 points per game for the weekend.
Other prep school players included Mike Tobey (Hotchkiss/NY Gauchos/Virginia commit) and Sam Cassell Jr. (Notre Dame Prep/Baltimore Elite).
We managed to catch a pair of games in between session of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament while in town last weekend…
BABC 86, CIA Bounce 68
The game’s high scorers weren’t any of the above mentioned as 5-9 sophomore Jaylen Brantley (Wilbraham & Monson, MA) had 33 points for BABC and 6-6 freshman Andrew Wiggins (Vaughan, CANADA) had 28 points for CIA Bounce, but the Tilton crew did have its impact on the game.
Noel came out showing some energy, blocking a shot by 6-6 WF Anthony Bennett (Findlay Prep, NV) on one possession, then moments later stealing a pass at halfcourt during a press and taking it uncontested to the rim with two dribbles for a dunk.
Niang would have his first shot attempt blocked by Bennett, but Noel blocked a Wiggins shot on the other end. Niang adjusted on his next attempt, this time up against 7-foot-4 Sim Bhullar (Huntington Prep, WV) and scoring with a left-handed hook after a shot fake on the big guy. He’d come back on the other end and take a charge on the 7-footer, leading to the game’s first timeout at 12:10 and BABC up 9-4.
The two kept the pressure on nicely when Noel grabbed an offensive rebounded and quickly fed Niang for a score inside. Around the seven minute mark and BABC up 20-12, Noel picked up his second foul and would finish the half on the bench with Okonoboh replacing him.
Brantley would soon hit his third three-pointer of the half after a pair of offensive rebounds by Niang and Okonoboh (who was limited with an injury).
From there, Niang really stepped up to close the half. Again he went to the left hook, then tried a right although it missed. He’d follow a few players later with a putback after a reverse layup miss by Okonoboh that was contested by Bhullar.
Stefan Jankovic (Huntington Prep, WV) picked it up for CIA Bounce, going to the basket for a quick seven points at the end of the half. But Niang matched him with seven of his own, hitting an 18-footer, a reverse layup, finishing a pick-and-roll while drawing contact and converting at the free throw line to keep BABC up, 36-22.
Niang would start the second half on the bench as Noel would anchor things with Brantley continuing his hot shooting and both Rene Castro (Beaver Country Day, MA) and Dominique Bull (Tilton/Rhode Island commit) defending and keeping the offense steady.
Wiggins would start to attack for CIA Bounce and Negus Webster-Chan (Huntington Prep, WV/Louisville commit) brought increased energy as they eventually cut the lead down to ten, 73-63 with four minutes left.
BABC would hang on, however, and Noel capped it with a block and two consecutive contests on would-be dunks by Wiggins and Bennett in the final minute.
Niang finished with 14 points and five boards. Noel had 11 points, three blocks, three steals and two boards. Okonoboh played just the short spell for Noel at the close of the first half. Castro had 13 points and three steals and Jake Layman (King Phillip Regional, MA) had 11 points off the bench. Selden, who talked about his recent offer from Kentucky, did not play here as he was mainly playing in the 15U division, but did play with the 17U team Friday night in a 20-point win over Alabama Challenge. He quickly had a few highlights at the rim there during the short stint of action he saw in the second half. The 15U team did reach their division’s championship but lost on a buzzer beater to Mean Streets (IL), 56-55.
Webster-Chan finished with two points and five rebounds while freshman Kevin Zabo, another prep schooler at St. Mark’s (MA), added a point and an assist in 12 minutes.
Albany City Rocks 53, MoKan Elite 48
Ledo scored a game-high 28 points with 20 coming in the second half to push City Rocks to a victory here in a back-and-forth contest throughout.
It was a quick start for him as he knocked down his first two three-pointers and had some freedom to make plays where he would then find teammates for a pair of hoops, forcing a timeout by MoKan.
Hanlan and Auguste connected for a basket as well and then Auguste showed flashes with a nice stretch of play. He would block a shot then get down the floor for an attempted finish at the rim that drew a foul. At the free throw line, he missed both but followed his own miss after the second and scored on a putback – some impressive hustle.
Auguste finished a Ledo reverse layup miss and the City Rocks went into the half up 28-25, with Ledo having scored eight and Auguste seven.
Ledo began to go to the rim more and would get hot from distance in the second half, missing his first triple attempt but then following up an Auguste miss at the rim with a tip-in.
Three key offensive rebounds by Auguste combined with likely All-American DaJuan Coleman (Jamesville-Dewitt, NY) asserting himself and an eight-point string by Ledo put City Rocks up 49-43 with five minutes remaining, putting them at just enough of an advantage to close it out.
Ledo’s 28 came on 9-16 FG/4-8 3PT/4-5 FT to go with seven rebounds and two steals. Coleman scored 12 and grabbed 11 rebounds while Auguste finished with five points and seven boards.
-Ricardo Ledo, who was committed to Providence for about a month this past season, updated his list with Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports. He listed Texas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Providence, Connecticut, UCLA and West Virginia as his main suitors, later adding Louisville and Virginia Tech to the group.
-Nerlens Noel has not begun to form any sort of formal list, but did mention to Rivals.com offers from Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Providence having offered scholarships, along with Kentucky just last week.
-Myles Davis says he is open in his recruitment, but the list provided Rivals.com at the event continues to contain Xavier, Pitt, Villanova and Georgetown, along with Virginia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina.
-Darrick Wood is open in his recruitment, telling NBE “No one sticks out right now. I’m waiting for that one school who has everything I’m looking for. I’m anxious to see who it will be.”
Currently his list has schools such as Rutgers, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Connecticut, Central Florida, Miami and UNLV, with him singling out a trio of BIG EAST schools for their efforts in recruiting him to this point.
-Georges Niang has seen his recruitment on an uptick as he continues to produce, no matter what the competition is he faces.
“I’m hearing from a lot of high major programs right now,” replied Niang to a message asking what colleges he is hearing from in his recruitment. “I have offers from Iowa, Iowa State, George Mason, Northeastern, Siena, Providence, Rhode Island [and] UMass. I have been hearing from Alabama, Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Charlotte [and] Texas A&M.”
Niang indicated he likes all the schools on his list, but will try to cut the list down at least some in the near future. He is looking to make a decision either before school in the fall or prior to the season as he will sign in the early signing period next fall.
For more on Niang, see our feature story from yesterday on him HERE.
Sam Cassell Jr. is in the class of 2012 officially now. Playing with Baltimore Elite, the Notre Dame Prep guard had a strong weekend and his recruitment has progressed more firmly into the high-major level of programs. He told NBE that South Florida, Florida State, Maryland, Richmond, Oregon State, Clemson, TCU, Morgan State and UNLV are currently on his list.
“All have offered besides Maryland,” Cassell told NBE.
-Stefan Jankovic still has a group of schools that he considers his leaders.
Ricardo Ledo (6-7 WF/Notre Dame Prep, MA/Albany City Rocks)
75-71 W vs. Southern Kings (GA) – 29 points on 11-20 FG/2-7 3PT/5-8 3PT, two assists and two rebounds
77-73 L vs. CP3 All Stars (NC) – 12 points on 5-11 FG/2-5 3PT, four rebounds, four assists and two steals
53-48 W vs. MoKan Elite (MO/KA) – 28 points on 9-16 FG/4-8 3PT/4-5 FT, seven rebounds and two steals
94-91 L vs. Alabama Challenge – 29 points on 8-18 FG/3-10 FT/10-13 FT, ten rebounds, three assists and 1 steal
72-67 L vs. All Iowa Attack – 21 points on 9-26 FG/3-11 FG and nine rebounds
Olivier Hanlan (6-0 PG/New Hampton, NH/Albany City Rocks)
75-71 W vs. Southern Kings (GA) – 5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
77-73 L vs. CP3 All Stars (NC) – 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
53-48 W vs. MoKan Elite (MO/KA) – 2 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
94-91 L vs. Alabama Challenge – 18 points, 2 steals, 1 assist
72-67 L vs. All Iowa Attack – 2 points and 2 rebounds
Zach Auguste (6-8 PF/New Hampton, NH/Albany City Rocks)
75-71 W vs. Southern Kings (GA) – 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
77-73 L vs. CP3 All Stars (NC) – 13 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal
53-48 W vs. MoKan Elite (MO/KA) – 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block
94-91 L vs. Alabama Challenge – 1 rebound
72-67 L vs. All Iowa Attack – 5 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block
Georges Niang (6-7 PF/Tilton, NH/BABC)
61-40 W vs. Alabama Challenge – 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal
86-68 W vs. CIA Bounce (CANADA) – 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals
61-47 W vs. Georgia Stars – 9 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block
54-35 W vs. Arkansas Wings – 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals
Nerlens Noel (6-10 C/Tilton, NH/BABC)
61-40 W vs. Alabama Challenge – 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals
86-68 W vs. CIA Bounce (CANADA) – 9 points, 3 blocks, 3 steals, 3 assists and 2 rebounds
61-47 W vs. Georgia Stars – 6 points, 5 blocks and 5 rebounds
54-35 W vs. Arkansas Wings – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 assists
Goodluck Okonoboh (6-8 PF/Tilton, NH/BABC)
61-40 W vs. Alabama Challenge – 4 points, 1 rebound and 1 block
86-68 W vs. CIA Bounce (CANADA) – No line in 5 minutes of play
61-47 W vs. Georgia Stars – 1 rebounds in 1 minute of play
54-35 W vs. Arkansas Wings – No line in 2 minutes of play
Myles Davis (6-1 SG/Notre Dame Prep, MA/Playaz Basketball Club)
86-73 W vs. The Family (MI) – 28 points on 9-13 FG/6-10 3PT/4-4 FT with 5 rebounds and 3 assists
77-70 W vs. Charlotte Royals (NC) – 16 points on 5-9 FG/3-6 3PT and 2 assists
64-61 W vs. Team Texas – 9 points on 3-11 FG/0-6 3PT/3-3 FT
84-63 W vs. Tennessee Travelers – 22 points on 6-10 FG/3-7 3PT/7-8 FT and 6 assists
88-79 W vs. Spiece Indy Heat (IN) – 29 points on 8-15 FG/8-12 3PT/5-6 FT with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals
Darrick Wood (6-6 WF/NIA Prep, NJ/Playaz Basketball Club)
86-73 W vs. The Family (MI) – 16 points on 7-13 FG/2-2 3PT/0-1 FT with 4 assists
77-70 W vs. Charlotte Royals (NC) – 12 points on 5-8 FG/2-2 3PT and 2 steals
64-61 W vs. Team Texas – 13 points on 6-16 FG/1-4 3PT/0-1 FT, 6 rebounds and 2 assists
84-63 W vs. Tennessee Travelers – 14 points on 6-10 FG/2-4 3PT and 1 steal
88-79 W vs. Spiece Indy Heat (IN) – 8 points on 3-6 FG/1-1 3PT/1-1 FT and 2 assists
Pat Stevens has assisted with the National Prep School Invitational and has covered prep schools for Van Coleman’s Hoopmasters.com the past seven years. He has also contributed his knowledge to NBE often in the past. Be sure to visit PatStevensBasketball.com for more of his insights to the prep school game.