It is crunch time in the Nike EYBL. The pioneer of the AAU game’s current circuit format, the EYBL has established itself as the grassroots industry’s poster child as far as events are concerned. Nike athletes are postered on banners atop each court, rivalries are formed from year to year with programs, and the games actually count for something. EYBL Session 4 brought us to LA, where teams were gunnin’ for a spot in July’s elusive Peach Jam.
The comp was fierce throughout the weekend with coaches constantly glued to their phones and to the standings to see how their respective programs were shaping up. The playoff race led to spirited play and an unbelievable atmosphere. As opposed to normal AAU ball where guys were going for personal recognition, this stop on the EYBL circuit was about collecting W’s. As one can imagine, there was no shortage of elite talent that we”ll be watching in the league in two years ripping the rims off in SoCal.
Here are a few of the top underclassmen who showed out playing up in the 17U division:
DJ Jeffries, 6-8, SF, Team Penny (TN) 17U, 2019
Getting my first glimpse of DJ Jeffries over two years ago when he was running with We All Can Go, it was evident that the tools were there for a special prospect, but the skill had to follow. It has and Jeffries is showing everyone why he is a top-10 player in the class of ’19. Already rocking a body of the league’s new prototypical forward, Jeffries has the versatile game that NBA execs crave. The elastic wing used his size to finish above everyone when attacking the cup, drilled deep three pointers, and used his length to defend both guards and bigs. Jeffries still needs some refinement, but there are less than a handful of guys in 2019 who can offer the same long term potential.
Zion Harmon, 5-9, PG, Boo Williams (VA) 17U, 2021
Considered by many to be the top 8th grader in the country, Zion Harmon (watch video above to catch him in action during Session #3) is proving that he can hold it down on the 17U level at EYBL. He’s been playing varsity ball for a couple of years and his high level of experience was evident with Boo Williams. Zion played the game at his own pace, hit threes from beyond NBA range, and used his high IQ to get shots up amongst the trees in the paint. The B-More product has kept getting better since we last saw him at the MiddleSchoolHoops Camp, which is why he already owns a handful of D-1 offers before entering high school.
Francis Okoro, 6-9, C, Bradley Beal Elite (MO) 17U, 2019
Simply a man amongst boys, Francis Okoro seems to be finding his calling as a prospect with the former St. Louis Eagles. Easily the best rebounder that we saw in LA, Okoro used his massive frame and motor to dominate the glass on both ends. Additionally, he showed off improved hands, had a number of powerful dunks, and averaged nearly three blocks per game on the weekend. Once (perhaps unfairly) donned as the top player in the class, Okoro has shown mad improvement since we first saw him two years ago.
Tyrese Maxey, 6-3, PG, RM5 Elite (TX) 17U, 2019
We got our first look at Maxey at the Pangos All South Camp in Dallas in the fall and he has just kept getting better. A super serous finisher with either hand, Tyrese can convert at the rack with the best in the class, yet also keep the D honest with his J. Maxey already has offers from schools in just about every bigtime conference and should continue to blow up as the summer rolls on.
Drew Timme, 6-9, PF/C, Pro Skills 17U (TX), 2019
While many of the top big men are ripping the rims off or blocking shots into the stands, Drew Timme simply gets it done. Not overly athletic or strong, but kills you with his IQ and ability to consistently get buckets on the block with either hand. His steady play on the block is what every high major coach looks for in a no-nonsense big man.
David Roddy, 6-6, PF, Howard Pulley 17U (MN)
A straight up bully on the block, David Roddy was simply dominant against RM5. He did the bulk of his work at the rack via smooth spin moves, powerful moves through contact, or forcing defenders to send him to the line by hammering him. Though Roddy is undersized for a post player at the moment, he also is reportedly a high major prospect on the football field. Given his body and game, there’s no doubt that he’s got Tony Gonzalez or Jimmy Graham two sport potential for a BCS program.
Noah Williams, 6-5, SG/PG, Seattle Rotary 17U (WA)
Not a guy who put up huge numbers, Noah Williams was the type of guy whose talent didn’t necessarily appear in the box score. He used his slick handle to get in the paint at will, created endless scoring opportunities for teammates, and showed the raw talent that could make him next in the long line of big time guards that come out of Seattle. Williams already has an offer from Washington and should expect other PAC-12 schools to follow suit.