Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Super & Scintillating 7 of NYBL Session I

The Nasty Truth is that EJ Jackson is without question one of the most exciting and watchable players in the country and with his entry via the City Stars into the nation premier middle school league the NYBL he immediately becomes a player that you must see with your own eyes to truly appreciate. 

Fans as well as opponents were in awe of Jackson’s wizardry with the ball; his ability to handle in traffic is like nothing we have seen before.   Jackson is a ultra-quick point guard that can get in the lane at will, as well as to any spot on the court.  He is strong and compact and has a lightning fast first step. We saw that he possesses an exceptional floater game with great touch and body control. He quite possibly may be the best advance passer off the dribble in the country and his knack for getting the ball through tight spaces is amazingly uncanny – he is flat out next level when it comes to getting the ball up the floor. He moves the defense like a seasoned quarterback with his eyes and the use of the ball fake is something that every player should watch and immolate. 

Since we last saw Jackson at AAU Nationals where is team claimed 2nd in the nation EJ has improved all aspects of his game.  As stated he pushes the ball well in the open court, has terrific vision, and his passing is special in the open court. He is a strong athlete who affects the game with his assertiveness and IQ.  One of the smaller guards right now as a 2019 class member he is a jump shot away from being on the path to major D1 ball.  His strength, quickness, and all out all the time motor make him a maven on the defensive end; the gauntlet of top guards in the NYBL will allow him to solidify and/or claim an even higher status in the hierarchy of top PGs in the nation – stay tuned because EJ “The Nasty Truth” Jackson is must see TV.  

There may possibly be a major changing of the guard in the class of 2020 and inevitably the Oakland Soldiers; Soldier Kyree Walker has returned to the NYBL and looks unbelievable.  The combination of size and skill is remarkable and the fluidity with which he is playing the game is next level.  If you watch closely the footwork and patterned movement while on the move or on the block is something special for those with eye’s to see it.  

We watch his as he operated primarily from the lead guard position; but long term will likely transition into a smooth and versatile skilled wing that can get to the rim at will. He is a good finisher as he now playing above the rim and really displayed the ability to hit the floater while showing phenomenal touch and body control. 

The outside shot looks good mechanically and was consistent and impressive – and when properly motivated he dominated the boards and scored at will from the block.  Right now Walker is clearly one of the best pure talents in the country at the 2020 class; honing it and controlling it by playing the game the right way will allow him to achieve in a rare air that only the super special can play in.  This is the question and this is his challenge and there is no better forum and place for it to be proven then on the hardcourts of the NYBL.

Chris Harris Jr. is a lean and very athletic shooting guard that is an explosive finisher on the break. He is a next level shooter with deep range and the ability to shoot over smaller defenders and to go by bigger ones. He has in the gym range and showed in Session I showed that he is one of the most natural and prolific scorers in the class.

Competing with the top ranked Team Texas Elite squad he plays a strong and physical brand of basketball; as well we notice a non-stop motor exemplifying his terrific endurance. His physical style was apparent and he impacted the game on both ends of the floor again without showing signs of fatigue. He's a high level defender, capable of locking up on the perimeter, and can also come down the other end and make the defense pay a high price as shown by his multiple 20+ point performances topping with a 28 point effort on day I.  

Harris Jr. is flat out a gifted scorer who can convert buckets at all three levels.  Working off the catch and triple threat position he was dynamic beyond the arch – but has also master at a high level the use of the mid-range game.  Yes he knocked down many from distance but what may have been even more impressive was his ability to use both hands while pressing the paint.  There are not may natural jump shooters like this on the circuit and though we may not be seeing Harris Jr. for any other sessions as this was a special session appearance he made a unforgettable impression and proved that his national reputation and ranking is trending upwards.

Anthony “AJ” Hoggard is a powerful lead-guard who can physically dominate his peers with either size or skill. Crafty and tough, he can bully his way to the paint to score or set up a teammate; while also having a special ability to make tough shots from the perimeter.  In session I he showed his value as a scorer and the results were impressive to say the least.  

His day one game one performance was one for the books as he contributed 28-points, 6-rebounds, & 5-assist in a victorious monster match-up between Team Durant and Georgia’s Worldwide Wildcats.  New to the class of 2020 this was Hoggard’s first opportunity to show he is legitimately one of the tops in class and that he did.

At the end of the day AJ has great size for the point guard position. Whether its transition, running an offense or breaking off a play, Hoggard best asset may be is ability to utilize terrific change of pace to set up his move and his man. His scoring is now coming in transition as well as in the half court through the utilization of some very creative offensive sets that have him attacking from various spots on the floor – the surprise was the willingness and ability to rebound the rock which allowed his to immediately start the break.  If Hoggard is able to continue to play at this level for the remainder of the season he and his team will be in the discussion for a championship run.  His two challenges that takes him to the next level as the elite of the elite is to impact the defensive end in the same fashion as he does offensively and determine a balance of when to facilitate and when to look to score on a team with a plethora of talent at every position.

Terrance Williams another new top prospect to the 2020 class and the current #2 ranked player in the country made a surprise appearance to the 7th grade.  Previous reports indicated he would be playing up in 2019 for the 2015.  Well, welcome back Mr. Williams – he stepped on the floor and was as good as ever.  A walking double-double Terrance assumed a much different role than we say earlier this year.

Now suiting up for Team Takeover Williams had no choice but to the put team on his back in order for them to be competitive is a loaded 2020 division and he did not disappoint highlighted by a 33-point 16-rebound  performance on day one as he single-handedly led the squad to a 5-0 weekend.  How impactful was Williams? TTO at best finishes under .500 without him and at worst goes winless – that is how much of a difference maker he is for this group.

For those that haven’t witnessed “Big Smooth” and the “Silent Assassin” at this level; he is a game changer.  He loves to catch on the blocks or extended, face and weigh his options. He is dominant on the glass and his not afraid to put the ball on the floor on the drive.  Possessing great hands, he is relentless around the paint area getting numerous tip-ins and second chance shots.  One of the most patient players his IQ allows him to make next level reads and his willingness to pass off the block and repost – gives his teammates confidence creates movement and consequentially makes him even more effective on re-feeds.  A knock down free throw shooter sending him to the line is equivalent to dying a slow death.  

The big question becomes will we see him again and if so the next NYBL session will answer every question the country may have and settle a tone of debate as potential match-ups with West Coast Stars and Oakland Soldiers loom large for Williams and Co. What can Williams do leaving it all on the floor for 32 minutes and holding nothing back – not sure if that question has been answered at this level and certainly anyone in attendance will want to see. 

Karim Couilby is leading the entire league in scoring and topping the 25-point threshold 3 times in the first session held in Washington DC.  Multi-skilled and standing 6’8 Karim is on an all-out assault on the national ranking board – moving up each time he take the court.  Just like New World 2019 has taken the age group by storm after a 5-0 start so is the big man from Mali.  

Already boasting a chiseled physique and Couilby has a great combination of power and finesse. He can step out and nail the 3-point shot or go inside and impose his will. He's explosive around the rim and uses his thick frame and impressive lift to convert in traffic.  Trained well he keep the ball high and looks to finish with quick and deliberate moves that already have counters to them.  Naturally unselfish he is a willing passer and has learned the value of reposting, running the floor, and allowing is defense to dictate his offense.

As dominating as he was on the offensive end it may pale in comparison to the impact that he made as defender.  He is a shot blocking machine and attacks the ball in the air not the man – something every elite shot blocker at any level must learn.  He sits down on defense and is actually able to guard on the perimeter too – Karim is built for the next level.  His help side defense is imposing to say the least and even with limited English he talks on defense more than many of the top players living here all their lives.  

How do you stop 6’8, with a motor, 3-point range, finishing ability, and a desire to dominate the boards and protect the paint?  You don’t and they didn’t – expect Armageddon like match-ups as the season progresses and Couibly matches up against the other top players in the country; we expect him to more than hold his own.

Bryan Antoine is arguably the most talented and most complete player in the middle school age group and NYBL – the kids just has it and does it effortlessly.   There is nothing he cannot do and all of it translates up two levels.  This is that rare kid that you can already tell has all the tools to be playing on CBS on Saturday afternoons and vying for a national championship in the round of 64 and possibly beyond.  Antoine is flat out SPECIAL. 

Standing 6’4/6’5 Bryan is a very unique talent.  More of a natural small forward he is a skilled enough that can play all three perimeter positions. He is a great passer with excellent court vision and is a good decision maker and is probably best playing a 'point forward' position where he is a match up problem that no team or player can solve.

Absolutely potent in the open court where he attacks the rim with a vengeance and the paint and tin need a order of protection to keep him away. In the half court set he is very comfortable utilizing a two-dribble pull up where he gets great elevation and is already shooting a very smooth and natural jump shot. Within 15-feet of the basket you aren’t stopping him – he will only stop himself at this level; couple this with some very special footwork and move combinations and its clear he could put up 30 every game if he so choose to.

As a defender he is dedicated to the process and physically he is long, skilled perimeter defender who can guard the 1, 2, 3 or 4. It's not just his physical talent that makes him stand out right now, its his effort, IQ, and dedication to the team process – as he defender he consistently helped the helper on a loaded team where if he wanted to he could play half spend and dominate. He has a complete package and respects game.  Could we be looking at the potential NYBL champ right here?  Stopping them begins and ends with stopping Antoine.


No comments:

Post a Comment