EYBL Minneapolis: Day Three

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first weekend of the EYBL and the live period came to a close Sunday, but not before a big outing from Jahlil Okafor and the emergence of 2014 wing Devin Booker.

Shannon Hale, PF, St. Louis Eagles - Hale's future head coach, Anthony Grant, had to be pleased with the efficiency and versatility that Hale displayed as he snapped off for 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting in an early-morning win. Hale was active on both ends of the floor and scored at all three levels, using jumpers, drives, and a few post touches to carve up the Alabama Challenge defense. When the Eagles needed a bucket in a tie game with under 10 seconds remaining, they went to Hale on an inbound lob and the Alabama commit caught the ball at rim level and laid it in for the go-ahead bucket and eventual game-winner.

Jahlil Okafor, C, Mac Irvin Fire - With teammate Jabari Parker sitting out Sunday's game, Okafor and his Fire teammates stepped up in a big way in a big win over Playground Elite. Okafor's immense ability on both ends of the floor is becoming more apparent as he continues to transform his body and improve his mobility. While Jahlil was always a good rebounder and defender, his lateral quickness and explosiveness has improved enough where he's getting better at rebounding and challenging shots out of his area. As Okafor moved across the lane to swat shots and make things difficult at the rim for his opponents, it became apparent that Jahlil is focused on putting in the work to be one of the nation's elite.

Devin Booker, SG, Alabama Challenge - There were murmurs of strong play from Booker over the course of the weekend and during an 8 a.m. contest with the St. Louis Eagles, Booker proved those people to be correct. The son of former Missouri star Melvin Booker, the 6-5 wing had the jumper working to the tune 5-for-7 from behind the arc. Booker has a quick release and a natural and fluid jumper that looks the same no matter what the situation is. The next step in Devin's development is putting the ball on the floor and creating off-the-bounce when defenders crowd him on the line but he has the look of a high-major wing.

It was interesting to see big men of contrasting styles square off when Butler commit Nolan Berry and Alabama-native Jimmy Taylor faced-off. The skilled and fundamentally sound Berry had some difficulty against the length of Taylor, while Taylor showed that he needs to hit the weight room, as he spent too much time camped on the perimeter. Both have plenty to like, and solid upsides.

It's been well established that 2014 Howard Pulley point guard Tyus Jones is one of the nation's best floor generals, and there is so much to like about his game. Jones values the ball and is a great communicator and does a tremendous job finding shooters, cutters, or delivering entry feeds. There aren't a lot of wasted moves or dribbles with the ball in his hands.

Marquette commit Duane Wilson Jr. does a great job handling the ball in traffic and making quick and decisive moves. In the open floor he can make defenders look silly if they're flat-footed and out of position.

DePaul commit Billy Garrett Jr. uses change of pace moves as well as any lead guard in the class. Garrett isn't the quickest or most explosive player, but with his good size and steady handles, he's able to get his defenders off-balance with some quick stops and head fakes that help him get in the lane. He's also adept at drawing fouls and getting to the line.

Jahlil Okafor rattled off a slew of scholarship offers from the nation's elite, but mentioned that Ohio State, Michigan State, Arizona, and Duke are recruiting him the hardest.

Devin Booker claims scholarship offers from Arkansas and Ole Miss, while Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Georgetown. Booker also said that North Carolina had shown preliminary interest as well.

Howard Pulley and New Jersey Playaz drew Tom Izzo, John Beilein, Thad Matta, and Oliver Purnell. Coach K was also present with two assistants.

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