Memorial Day weekend is always a great weekend for local hoops with the EYBL circuit making its annual appearance. As always its the 4th and final event of the spring on the EYBL circuit. About 100 players that are ranked in the current 2016 or 2017 Rivals rankings are expected to be in attendance. The last session saw 3 top 100 ringers from the Adidas Uprising circuit show up too. This year the games move to the great Maple Grove Community Gyms facility. 8 sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Then the EYBL regular season completes with 4 sessions early Monday. So every team gets in 5 final games as they try to make a run to the top event in July, The Peach Jam.
Lots could be said here about all the different teams and players. I'll limit my comments mostly to Howard Pulley and their 5 opponents.
Howard Pulley is currently 5-7 and tied with CIA Bounce for 7th in Division D. Teams that finish in the top 5 in their division automatically qualify for The Peach Jam plus 4 wildcards. 3 teams in Division A are 7-5 and tied for 5th so I'd expect the 2 that don't make the top 5 to take 2 of the 4 wildcard spots. Then there are 3 teams not in at 6-6 but only 2 spots for those teams. 2 others are 6-6 and win head-head tiebreakers for the 5th spot. So its a steep climb for Pulley to get in. The schedule doesn't do the Panthers any favors either as they'll play the top 4 teams in their division plus CIA Bounce. In order to make The Peach Jam, Howard Pulley must win at least 3 games and most likely 4 out of 5. In terms of tiebreakers, Pulley won head-head over Alabama Challenge and lost in the last game in Houston to NJ Playaz. Those are the 2 teams directly in front of them. Playaz also beat the Challenge. So if you're Pulley you're hoping for 3 way tie or likely looking at a 2 game margin.
For Howard Pulley, its been the Gary Trent show. He leads the EYBL in scoring at 23.9 PPG. That included outbursts of 43 and 33 points in the last session in Houston 2 weeks ago. The main issue for the Panthers has been finding him some help. Nobody else averages more than 5.9 PPG. That number comes from Amar Miller who gets that from his quickness that allows him to get into the lane. But being undersized in the freakishly athletic EYBL takes away many of his interior chances. Also keep an eye on the rebounding margin for Pulley as it was a problem in Houston. They'll need to keep that close.
Game 1, 12:30 PM Saturday, Court 3 vs Team Takeover (9-3 Tied 1st Division D)
The brutal schedule starts with 1 of the 3 teams tied for 1st, this one from DC. Wing VJ King is the leading scorer and rebounder at 15.3 PPG/5.7 RPG. He's ranked #11 in the country. 2017 stud DJ Harvey is ranked #13 in the country. He has Georgetown, Maryland, Louisville and Texas offers. He's 2nd in both categories at 14 PPG/5 RPG. 6'9" forward Corey Manigault (#121) is committed to Pittsburg. 6'9" Mamadi Daikite is ranked #37 and holds an offer from Virginia. Guard Aaron Thompson is ranked #69 and holds a Penn State offer. The King vs Trent mano a mano battle is definitely one to watch.
Game 2, 9:30 PM Saturday, Court 3 vs Albany City Rocks (8-4 4th Division D)
City Rocks is led by the guard tandem of 6'5" Kevin Huerter (#101
ranking) and 6'3" Howard Washington (#83 ranking). Huerter has offers
from Iowa, Notre Dame and Maryland just to name a few. He leads the
team in scoring at 12.3 PPG and assists at 3 APG. Washington has offers
from Ohio State and Boston College. He averages 9.5 PPG and 2.7 APG.
On the front line, Anthony Lamb has a bunch of low D1 offers. The 6'6"
forward averages 11.6 PPG and is 7th in the EYBL with 8.4 rebounds per
Game 3, 2:00 PM Sunday, Court 5 vs E1T1 (9-3 Tied 1st Division D)
Guard Maverick Rowan leads the team at 18.4 PPG. He's ranked #42 in the country and was once a commit to Pittsburgh. 6'9" forward Jonathan Isaac is ranked #45 and has interest from most of the SEC. Ditto that for 6'10" center Tony Bradley (#35). Bradley averages 12.6 PPG and 8.7 RPG. Isaac averages 14.9 PPG and 5.6 RPG. Guard Jordan Harris is ranked #92 and is committed to Georgia. Point Guard Lamonte Turner averages 10.8 PPG and 4.9 APG and is committed to Tennessee. He may have reclassified from 2016 to 2015 so we may not see him this weekend.
Game 4, 9:30 PM Sunday, Court 1 vs Georgia Stars (9-3 Tied 1st Division D)
Just when you thought the front line studs were too much, the Stars pull out a ridiculous front line. Forward Udoka Azubuike is ranked #13 with Kansas and Georgetown on his list of offers. 6'10" Abdulhakim Ado is ranked #25. Then you have 2017 F Wendall Carter ranked #8. He averages 10.6 with 7.5 rbs. Add in #82 Trent Forrest on the wing with a team high 13.9 PPG and Jared Harper at 13.8 for guard support. They'll attend Florida State and Auburn respectively. Too much size here for Pulley to deal with.
Game 5, 12:30 PM Monday, Court 3 vs CIA Bounce (5-7 Tied 7th Division D)
In theory, this could be a Peach Jam play in game for either team or both in the very last session of the regular season. That would be drama. The last weekend and day is always interesting because some teams may have spots locked up or have nothing to play for so you never know what you'll get. Guard Koby McEwen is ranked #102 and has offers from Baylor and Ole Miss. His 13.4 PPG is the only double figure scoring average for CIA Bounce. Fellow wing Brandon Cyrus is ranked #110 and has offers from Boston College and San Diego State. Forward Eddie Ekiyor is ranked #88. His offer list includes Oregon, Miami and Virginia Tech. He averages 9.7 PPG and 7.7 RPG. Point Guard Nelson Kaputo is committed to St. Bonaventure.