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Posted On: 06/4/18 5:25 AM
A lot of things went on in Hampton, VA last weekend, as it was the final session of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League. With only five spots clinched coming into the weekend, there was a lot at stake and many of the stars came out to shine. There were big time performances from players throughout the weekend, so I will be giving a number of my standouts over the next week. We’re lucky enough to have one of the best tournaments in the country in our backyard, so we feel it necessary to bring you coverage of players from all over the country, not just in VA.
On a more somber note, we’d like to wish our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of James Hampton, a rising senior from Washington, DC who was playing with Team United out of Charlotte. Hampton collapsed during their game Saturday afternoon and passed away at the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the Team United family.
Enjoy the write ups!
*Sorry for the wait, this session took place about a week ago.*
Josh Wallace | 6’2” PG | Boo Williams 17U
Wallace played pivotal minutes off the bench for Boo, and was impressive in a number of ways. His biggest impact came defensively, as he’s a guy who doesn’t mind digging in and hounding ball handlers the length of the floor. He’s lightning quick with both his hands and his feet, and he came up with a huge steal in the last minute of BWSL’s win over Houston Hoops. Offensively, Wallace can get in the lane and either score or find shooters, and he’s strong and fast enough to handle pressure by himself. He showed a lot of moxxy and toughness playing against some of the best guards in the country.
Cole Anthony | 6’2” PG | PSA Cardinals 17U
Speaking of best guards in the country, Anthony is often regarded as the top lead guard in the nation in the 2019 class, and he showed the whole range of his skill set this past weekend. PSA just snuck into Peach Jam, and without big performances from Anthony it likely wouldn’t have happened. He can flat out score the basketball, as he showed with a 38 point performance in a win over Team Final, a 31 point performance in a win over Las Vegas Prospects and games of 33 and 22 points in losses to NJ Playaz and BABC, respectively. The big knock on him was that he couldn’t shoot when he was young, but he’s changed that as he shot over 50% from deep on the session going 16-for-31 from deep. He gets to the line a ton as well, going 30-for-37 from the line. He’s not just a scorer though, as he helps on the glass, has good vision in transition and is a lock down defender. He’ll have to cut down on the turnovers, but he’s so talented they have the ball in his hands so much he’s bound to turn it over at times. There isn’t much this kid can’t do, and he showed that this past weekend.
Jalen Lecque | 6’4” PG | NY Rens 17U
Another guy in the conversation for best point guard in the country plays for PSA’s rival in the NY Rens and has gone viral with his freakish athleticism and plays that look like they’re straight out of Space Jam. Lecque went viral this past season at Christ School in NC, and went back up to his home state of NY to play AAU ball, and he’s been putting on a show on the EYBL. While his athleticism puts him on a level that no one else can really match, he’s worked hard to become a true point guard on this Rens team that is chock full of talent. Being the primary ball handler when I watched him against Expression Elite, Lecque dished out five assists to just two turnovers. He’s also a playmaker defensively, and when he’s able to get a steal and get out in transition he’s going to throw down a momentum swinging dunk that’s going to fire up his teammates. The easiest comparison is Russell Westbrook, and when you see this kid jump and attack the rim it’s hard not to think it’s exactly what he looks like.
Khalif Battle | 6’4” G | NJ Playaz 17U
The Butler commit came up big for the NJ Playaz in their win over PSA to clinch a berth in Peach Jam, scoring 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field and pitching in four assists. His overall game really impressed me, as he was an aggressive scorer but never did too much that was out of his game. Battle is very athletic, and showed that with a few highlight finishes, but he’s also a big time shooter as he hit 4-for-8 from deep. He has a good frame and vision to be a secondary ball handler, but will also thrive as a 3 and d guy at the next level. He was a late addition to this Playaz Club team, but he’s come in and made an immediate impact, much like I expect him to do next year at Butler.
Zach Freemantle | 6’8” PF | NJ Playaz 17U
One of the toughest bigs that I watched at the event, Freemantle may not have been the most athletic, skilled or labeled as a future NBA pick, but he battled with everyone that they threw at him. A blue collar big, he got off his feet quick on catch and finishes, he protected the rim and he attacked the glass on both ends. In their two wins over BABC and PSA this past weekend, he had double-doubles of 18 points 11 rebounds and 15 points 12 rebounds, respectively. After clinching their spot they eased up on his minutes a little bit, but there was no doubt that Freemantle plays a big role in the success of this Playaz Club group if they’re going to make a run in Peach Jam.
Anthony Harris | 6’3” G | Team Takeover 17U
Harris is really coming into his own over the past year and a half, and he is starting to look every bit like a legitimate high major guard. He’s always had a nice frame and a good IQ, and now he’s shooting the ball with confidence and simply playing instead of overthinking. Takeover was never really challenged in this session, or really all EYBL season long, so their starters haven’t always played huge minutes to put up big numbers but check this out: Harris put up 10 shots from behind the arc in their four games. He made NINE (yes, 9) of them! While we don’t expect him to continue to shoot 90% from deep, that should show you the type of confidence he’s playing with right now and the level of shooter he’s going to be moving forward if he can keep that confidence.
Symir Torrence | 6’4” G | City Rocks 17U
Torrence isn’t the most highly touted recruit on his talented City Rocks group, but the 2020 guard showed a lot of poise and talent playing up in the EYBL. In a close loss to CIA Bounce, I watched Torrence succeed playing at both guard positions and on both ends of the floor. He gets after it on both ends, he has a high IQ both on and off the basketball and he can make plays for himself and for others. He has the ability to score it from all over the floor, but is a team guy who simply knows how to play and continuously makes the right play.