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Posted On: 05/12/18 9:00 AM
The first day of Nike EYBL Atlanta lived up to the hype as there was high level talent on every court. Many prospects competed Friday at LakePoint Sports Complex to prove themselves against the best young talent in the country. These five players stood out on day 1:
Zaire Wade (E1T1 United)- With mom and dad (Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade) in the crowd, Zaire Wade (pictured) did not disappoint. He impressed with his ability to control the tempo of the game and showed that he can shoot it from three-point distance. Like father like son, Wade calmly sealed the game with timely plays and led E1T1 to their first win of the tournament.
Sharife Cooper (AOT Running Rebels)- As expected, Sharife Cooper put on a show. Although he started off slow, Cooper picked it up towards the end of the second half and led AOT to victory despite an early 16 point deficit. He excels in the half court and always makes the right read off the pick and roll. The rising junior ended the game with 23 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Babatunde Akingbola (AOT Running Rebels)- What Cooper did in the backcourt, Akingbola matched in the frontcourt. He controlled the paint from the tip and energized AOT with his hustle and communication on the floor. Akingbola ended the game with an impressive 6 blocks.
Cassius Stanley (Team WhyNot)- It is easy to see why Stanley is a top 10 talent in his class. He dominates his opponents physically and athletically. His mid-range jumper is silky smooth, and he has the ability to finish through and over defenders. It took him a while to find a rhythm but with some encouragement from reigning MVP Russell Westbrook on the bench, he seemed to pick it up a bit as the game progressed. Stanley finished with a quiet 16 points but has the potential to be an absolute stud at the division 1 level.
John Michael-Wright (AOT Running Rebels)- Michael-Wright is not one of the high-profile players on the team, but he was the X factor that propelled AOT over Team Why Not. His activeness on defense forced Team Why Not into multiple turnovers. He also controlled the tempo of the game and showed the ability to take his defender off the dribble and finish in the lane. Michael-Wright was the unsung hero in AOT’s win in day 1.