EAGAN, Minn. – Joel Berry
entered Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League opening weekend riding high after being named the first ever sophomore recipient of Florida's Mr. Basketball Award.
The 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 23.4 points per game at Lake Highland Prep (Orlando)
during the 2011-12 season, leading the Highlanders to their first state championship game appearance.
But the EYBL circuit has a way of bringing stars back down to earth a bit. Berry shot just 3 of 12 from the field in his first two games at the event and his E1T1 squad found itself down by 23 points in the second half Saturday evening against the Arkansas Wings.
Then things started clicking.
Berry finished with 17 points and seven assists as the Florida club roared back for a 65-58 win over the Wings. E1T1 is 3-0 entering Sunday play after starting 0-3 in EYBL action last summer.
The Orlando guard already holds offers from Central Florida and Miami. Auburn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina and Purdue are among the dozens of other programs showing interest.
"I just want somewhere that will fit my style and where I can have a good relationship with my coach," Berry said.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but Lake Highland Prep returns virtually its entire roster next season and will be a strong contender for a national preseason ranking in 2012-13. Highlander head coach Jeff Turner confirmed Saturday that his squad will play in the prestigious City of Palms Classic next December.Give Brooks an assistDouglas Brooks
, a relentless 6-3 guard from Lake Wales (Fla.)
, deserves a ton of credit for E1T1's remarkable comeback victory.
The rising senior took over when the Florida squad went into desperation mode and began to press full court. During one stretch, he recorded seven points, two steals and a rebound in less than a minute. More or less being recruited by nobody at this point, he also hit a pair of key 3-pointers.
Give this kid a look.Wildcat target responds to Weber hiring
Expect Semi Ojeleye
to climb in the MaxPreps Class of 2013 Top 100 when it is updated in July. Currently ranked No. 39, the Ottawa, Kan., product is an athletic 6-6 wing-forward that can guard virtually every position on the floor and has a fluid stroke. He's a really nice kid, too.
His older brother Victor played at Kansas State and the Wildcats were a strong player in his recruitment under Frank Martin. New K-State head coach Bruce Weber hasn't wasted any time getting acquainted.
"He's been to our school twice," Ojeleye said of Weber. "He's shown a lot of interest. I feel like it would be a nice fit. The fans, since they know my brother, it would be a great place to play and great environment."
Ojeleye averaged 31.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a junior at Ottawa
, earning Junior All-American honors from MaxPreps. He expects to narrow a growing list of suitors toward the end of the summer.Stock up for Georgia Stars guardsDonte Clark
and Tadric Jackson
helped the Georgia Stars get a double overtime win over the NY Lightning in a 9:30 a.m. game Saturday.
Clark, a 6-4 product of Kennedy Charter (Charlotte, N.C.)
, poured in 30 points Friday night and notched another double-digit scoring effort against the Lightning. He has offers from Gardner-Webb, High Point, Jacksonville and Radford.
"People that haven't heard about me, I'm just trying to make an impression," said Clark, who is also hearing from Alabama, California, Memphis, Miami, Nebraska and Virginia Tech.
Jackson, a 6-3, 195-pounder, has been regarded as a promising prospect in two sports until now. He started at quarterback for Tift County (Tifton, Ga.)
as a freshman and sophomore but is hanging up the cleats to concentrate on hoops.
Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida and Mississippi are making the most persistent push for the strong and versatile backcourt player.More from Minneapolis
* Manny Suarez
of Albany City Rocks and Marist (Bayonne, N.J.)
is a prospect to watch. Kept under the radar to this point by injuries and a transfer, the 6-9, 215-pound lefty forward had coaches scribbling in their notepads during a win over de facto host Howard Pulley Panthers. A bit "quirky" – an accurate description provided by City Rocks coach Jim Hart – but very skilled with good shooting touch, Suarez is a stretch four that should garner mid-major looks.
* After a bit of a quiet season at Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
, Ishmail Wainright
of Team Takeover showed why he is still an elite 2013 prospect against top-rated sophomore Andrew Wiggins
and CIA Bounce. Wainright made life miserable for Wiggins defensively, limiting the Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
star to just eight points on 2 of 6 shooting. The 6-5, 220-pound wing-forward also contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists in a losing effort. No hesitation in saying he's one of the best defenders in the country.