The opening session of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League wrapped up Sunday in Sacramento.
Indiana-based Spiece Indy Heat, BABC of Massachusetts, Athletes First of Oklahoma and E1T1 of Florida emerged from a competitive weekend as the lone unbeatens in the 40-team league.
We didn't get an extended look at each and every one of the over 400 players at the Jackson Sports Academy, but here are five who stood out above the crowd in the EYBL opener:EYBL Sacramento 'Starting Five'Jalen Brunson, Mac Irvin Fire/Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.)
The star 2015 point guard is the face of Mac Irvin Fire in the post-Jabari Parker/Jahlil Okafor era. Known for his scoring at Stevenson, Brunson led the EYBL in assists over the weekend. He consistently and efficiently created easy opportunities for teammates, piling up 28 assists and just nine turnovers in three games. His best outing was a 20-point, 12-assist effort in a win over the Georgia Stars. Backcourt running mate Luwane Pipkins
of Bogan (Chicago)
had a big weekend for the Windy City squad as well.
Deyonta Davis, Spiece Indy Heat/Muskegon (Mich.)
Don't be surprised if Davis ends the summer as a consensus Top 10 prospect. The 6-foot-9 Michigan State verbal commitment was dominant in Sacramento, averaging 19.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game during Spiece's 4-0 run. Despite his slender frame, he is a powerful finisher. Positions himself well on both ends and may be the best athlete among bigs in the 2015 class. The combination of Davis and Caleb Swanigan
of Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
may be the EYBL's most effective post duo
right now.Malik Monk, Arkansas Wings Elite/Bentonville (Ark.)
Anytime a player goes for 59 in EYBL play (even if it takes two overtimes), a mention is well deserved. Monk did just that Sunday morning and finished as the weekend's second-leading scorer. The 6-3 rising junior guard connected on 15 of 26 field goals and 19 of 23 free throw attempts en route to his record total against All-Ohio Red.Ben Simmons, E1T1/Montverde Academy (Fla.)
The 6-9 forward is on another level when it comes to skill, mental game and making teammates better. The composure and maturity he displays on the court is impressive, as well. The native of Australia is arguably as talented and complete as any prospect in the last five years. Led E1T1 to 3-0 record with averages of 18.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He shot 70 percent from the field and was responsible for just three turnovers all weekend.Allonzo Trier, Athletes First/Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
Don't leave the game in doubt late against Athletes First. Trier can take over with his scoring and has sparked dramatic comebacks two of the last three times we've watched him. Hit game-winner in final seconds Saturday night against New York Lightning and helped unheralded Oklahoma club head home 4-0. Averaged league-best 28.5 points per game and should see his stock rise to consensus five-star status in the coming weeks and months.More EYBL observations
* Though the Georgia Stars went 0-4, Malik Beasley
managed to draw rave reviews from just about everybody who put eyes on him. The hard-charging, uber-athletic guard from St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.)
averaged over 18 points per game.
* Point guards Aaron Holiday
and Devearl Ramsey
were complimentary in the California Supreme backcourt. Holiday, a 2015 UCLA commitment, was among the weekend's leading scorers at 19 points per game and is adept at keeping defenders on their heels in transition. Ramsey, a 5-10 sophomore at Sierra Canyon, pumped in 25 points in his first EYBL game against All-Ohio Red.
* Udoka Azubuike
of Nike Team Florida and Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.)
is one the most physically imposing prospects in the country. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound native of Nigeria still has a lot of work to do but powered his way to averages of 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
* Speaking of bigs, nobody in the EYBL has a frontline quite like the New York Lightning. Rodney Miller
(6-11, 245) and Jesse Govan
(6-10, 270) would be an impressive-looking combination at any level. Govan put up 22 points and nine rebounds in a nice showing against Athletes First.