EYBL: Hampton Day 3, Part A

HAMPTON, Va. – The final day of the EYBL session No. 1 was marked by a lot of action at the 17 and under level. The games started very early in the morning, and that usually leads to ragged play, but Braxton Ogbueze really dominated and stood out with his performance.

Ricardo Gathers, PF, Louisiana Select – At first Gathers was trying to prove his small forward game was on point, but then he buckled down and showed the skills that make him such a highly recruited power forward. Gathers went down low and dominated. As a run and jump athlete, Gathers is as good as it gets, and is a complete grown man on the glass and the block. Gathers is physically ready for the NFL right now, and with his explosive athleticism it is scary when he is motivated to dunk everything. He was unreal for Louisiana Select in a big morning win.

Michael Qualls, SF, Louisiana Select – A good athlete on the wing with a high motor, Qualls was very impressive with his play. He scored off of offensive rebounds, hit from the mid-range, and took his man off the dribble. Also his effort doesn't stop on the defensive end where he had several blocked shots as well as a steal which created easy buckets.

Braxton Ogbueze, PG, Charlotte Royals – In a highly charged guard game against Houston Hoops, it was Ogbueze who shined the brightest. The book had him for 26 points, but it sure seemed like he scored more than that. He was beating his man off the bounce, hitting from deep, and scoring in the mid-range. In terms of making others better, that still isn't a first instinct for Ogbueze, but he found the open man in transition had a few feeds off the dribble. He is definitely developing his pure point guard skills, and as a scorer/athlete he is right there with any lead guard in the country.

Rasheed Sulaimon, SG, Houston Hoops – In the first half Sulaimon had it working for the Hoops. The Charlotte Royals allowed him to get a few clean looks, and that put him in a rhythm. Now he did struggle to make shots off the bounce, and clearly looked more comfortable when his feet were set, but his athleticism combined with a good idea of how to play alleviates that concern some. If the feet get set there are very jump shooters who compare, and defenders better close out with high hands, or it is a big problem.

Omar Calhoun, SG, New York Gauchos – In a huge victory for the Gauchos it was Calhoun who stole the show. A deadly long range shooter, Calhoun was given several open looks, and hardly missed anything. Also going left he was able to beat his man for easy buckets a few times. He isn't a great athlete or super quick, but he is just a kid who knows how to put points on the board. It was a huge performance for Calhoun when the Gauchos really needed one out of him.

Mike Tobey, C, New York Gauchos – He isn't quite there yet as a productive interior force, but a little projection and it is easy to see why the Virginia Cavaliers were so excited to get a commitment from Tobey. He is a legit 7-feet tall and runs the floor as well as anybody. Also he is active on the glass, has good hands, and a solid touch. He has to get stronger and be more effective in the post, but there is a lot to like going forward with this developing big man.

DeJuan Marrero, PF, Spiece Indy Heat – For the second day in a row Marrero proved to be a handful due to how hard he plays and how strong he is on the glass. Even facing taller defenders Marrero is crafty enough to score around the rim and just has that instinct to rebound the ball. Beyond that he is an excellent defender and plays as hard as possible on every possession. His energy got Spiece back into the game despite an awful shooting performance as a team.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, SG, Spiece Indy Heat – This kid just knows how to get buckets. Not a great athlete, Smith-Rivera has a great feel for how to get his shot off, and also has excellent touch in the mid-range and on the perimeter. Defensively he struggled some with straight line drives, but usually he is pretty good in that regard.

Alex Poythress, PF, Georgia Stars – Poythress had a huge weekend, and was solid overall in his final game against Each 1 Teach 1. Now Poythress did settle for too many perimeter jumpers in a game that he could have easily controlled down low, but that wasn't a huge issue given that he was productive and did control things on the glass. Poythress wasn't a factor blocking shots, but his presence seemed to force Each 1 Teach 1 to settle for jumpers and not attack the rim.

Montay Brandon, SG, Georgia Stars – This is a smooth wing who has long arms and is a good athlete. Brandon handles the ball very well against pressure and in transition. With his length, athleticism, and perimeter skill combined with his 6-foot-5 stature, Brandon is one who will open up a lot of eyes and find himself firmly on the radar of numerous high-major teams.

Kenny Gaines, SF, Georgia Stars – Gaines showed pretty good athleticism and has a strong body that allows him to attack the rim off the dribble. He isn't the tallest wing, and might need to work on his outside jumper, but Gaines no doubt has a good deal of skill. He plays hard on both ends of the floor and has a nice handle. It was a very strong showing for Gaines in a win.

Elijah Macon, PF, All-Ohio Red – The athletic and strong power forward had his skill game working as well. He hit a three, scored in the mid-range, and was also very effective on the glass. Macon was absolutely rolling and helped will All-Ohio to a big win. When he plays hard and motivated he is a load to handle, and he was doing so in an afternoon win on Sunday.

Rodney Purvis, SG, CP3 All-Stars – Purvis looked like he wanted to absolutely dominate the game, and quite honestly he did. He posterized people with dunks, hit threes, and used his strength and athleticism to bully his way to the rim off the dribble. Purvis was just a complete man on the perimeter and All-Ohio had absolutely no answer or even a way to slow him down.

Jordan Woodard, SG, Athletes First – Woodard was very solid yesterday, and good again today. He isn't a super athlete, but he can make shots and knows how to play the game. While some will try to make him a point guard, that probably will never be natural to him. He is a scorer and playmaker who can help others, but it mostly good at creating his own looks.

Justin Jackson, SF, Houston Hoops – The future is just really bright for Jackson. He was knocking in threes today showing the range that he didn't show in previous games, and of course was doing work from the mid-range and off the dribble. No question he is one of the elite prospects in the class.

JaQuel Richmond, SG, Charlotte Royals – With Ogbueze dominating the ball and the game, Richmond was playing simply a supporting role, though in the second half he showed why he is such a good prospect. Richmond scored off the dribble using quickness and then hit a few shots from deep. He is a bit undersized right now, and without seeing him on the ball as the primary guy it is tough to know how well he runs a team. Still he is a good looking prospect going forward and one who could really emerge as a high level guard.

Joel Berry, PG, Each 1 Teach 1 – He certainly doesn't look like just a freshman as he is very strong already. Berry showed an ability to make a shot and is a pretty solid passer as well. It wasn't his best game of the weekend for sure, but no question he emerged as someone to take a close look at as he develops his skill game. Playing at the 17 and under level and holding his own definitely bodes well for his future.

Theo Pinson, SG/SF, CP3 All-Stars – This is one of the best young wing prospects in the country. He has the length, athleticism, and skill level to be a problem on both ends of the floor. Offensively he didn't have a ton working, though you could see the ability. Defensively he was good on the ball and also blocked a few shots. It was a good showing for Pinson despite not having the offense working.

Michael Qualls is hearing from LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Tulane, and Northwestern State.

Omar Calhoun has a long list of North Carolina, Kentucky, UConn, Villanova, West Virginia, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Louisville, St. John's, and Rutgers.

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