- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
FRISCO, Texas -- The second Nike EYBL session is in the books.
Let’s take a look at the event’s best players:
Best inside player
Ivan Rabb: The top-ranked player in the ESPN 60 has many different ways to change the outcome of a game. His low-post game continues to evolve and he is becoming a more effective scorer. Rabb can also be a solid interior passer and shows unselfishness to throw it out of the post when he doesn't have the advantage. Defensively, his massive wingspan is used to discourage opponent’s attempts, and his length, bounce and alertness have helped him grab more rebounds. His physical gifts, along with the proper approach, have Rabb dominating games. He was leading the EYBL, shooting 75 percent from the floor, coming into the weekend.
Best combo guard
Malik Monk: He is a dynamic playmaker with high-level scoring skills. There is plenty of shake and wiggle to his offensive attack. He thrives in transition, can break down a half-court defense and his dribble-drive, kick-and-replace game is outstanding while his jumper has NBA range. Once inside the paint he is so dangerous because he will find the rim or make the assist.
Isaiah Briscoe: The No. 19 player in the ESPN 60 is scoring at a high rate and is becoming a triple-level threat with his ability to make 3s, show a tight pull-up jumper and physically attacking the rim. He runs the team with court awareness and passing accuracy. Briscoe has improved over the last year as he draws a crowd of defenders and goes to work to set up his teammates. Briscoe is carrying a 5-2 assist-to-turnover ratio and creating fouls with his drive game, while averaging eight free throws per game. More importantly he is making his teammates better and getting wins. St. John's, Villanova, Louisville, UConn and Rutgers are fighting it out for his services.
Caleb Swanigan: After two EYBL sessions and eight games, Swanigan leads the league in rebounding, grabbing 11.2 boards a game. This front-court post has outstanding hands, power and determination to rebound inside his space and to go outside his area to take the ball away from his opponents. His inside game is very impressive and he scores with the jump hook from either hand and defenders must respect his jumper out to the high-post area. Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State and California have been made their presence early.
Deyonta Davis: He reminds me of former Louisville forward Pervis Ellison. Davis is never nervous, doesn't play too fast and keeps his poker face regardless of his performance. His versatility and athletic DNA is impressive. With skilled shooting and the ability to drive to the basket, Davis shows great touch and moves inside the paint. He also rebounds, runs and blocks shots with suburb athletic ability. Michigan State locked him up early.
Devin Cannady: With long arms and good shot selection, Cannady is a good all-around off guard who specializes in making shots. Cannady plays with a purpose and strokes a smooth long-range jumper while being alert to his open shot without having to hunt down attempts. After two EYBL sessions, he is shooting 48 percent from behind the arc.
Bruce Brown: This strong-bodied shooting guard can stop and make transition jumpers from behind the arc or by spotting up when his teammates penetrate. When open, he is not afraid to let it fly and is making 43 percent of his 3s.
Levan Alston: At 6-foot-4, Alston is a good combination of size and stroke with the green light to shoot in both the conversion game and the half-court offense. He is best off the catch and understands how to spot up in an open pocket as the ball moves. He is shooting a red hot 55 percent from beyond the arc.
Ready to breakout
Kenny Williams: He is a terrific athlete who is at his best shooting off the catch. No one has made more 3s than Williams, who is averaging just over four per game. When he gets inside the arc his catch-and-shoot jumper is extremely efficient as well. When he cuts he knows where he is going on the floor as he understands how to use and read screens to free himself for a high quality look. Williams doesn’t often finish at the rim, but when he drives he is a heads up passer. VCU, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and Memphis are on him hard right now.
Anthony Lawrence: He has point-forward abilities to handle, be a comfortable passer, score and defend a guard. Lawrence scores and shoots well from 3-point range, but does not have much of a mid-range game right now. He is verbally committed to Miami
Best emerging prospect
Malik Milton: This big point guard has poise, control and is crafty with the ball in his hands while being a good decision-maker with a strong assist-to-turnover ratio. Scoring is never a problem as he hits open 3-pointers or beats a close out with an efficient drive into the lane and uses his size and soft touch to finish. He won't overpower opponents with speed or quickness but his court savvy is ahead of schedule. Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Creighton and Wake Forest have offered while Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska have shown interest.
Biggest 2015 riser
Thomas Bryant: He owns a long and big frame while playing with a good motor that is quickly separating him from his peers. Bryant is more skilled facing the basket at this juncture in his career than playing with his back to the basket but is terrific at nailing jumpers or rolling hard to the rim from ball screens. He is earning the trust of his teammates and still understands his low-post priorities. Syracuse, Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, UNC and West Virginia are in the driver’s seat right now in his recruiting process.
Biggest 2016 riser
Miles Bridges: His teams don't run plays for him, but he still manages to score double-figure points and usually grabs double-digest rebounds. Bridges is skilled close to the basket and selective on his attempts. Bridges has some natural scoring instincts and plays with effort. He had a breakout performance, scoring 25 points against Each 1 Teach 1 over the weekend.
Best 2016 point guard
C.J. Walker: This young point guard is quite impressive and knows his role is the run the offense and look to find his open teammates. His handle is tight to his body and he makes very few mistakes while handling the ball on the majority of possessions. Right now, Walker is more of a pass-first lead guard, but left alone, he can and will score points with his nice jumper and drive game. Some nights he gets more assists than points as he would rather distribute than look to score buckets. He is connecting on 41 percent of his long-distance shots while averaging 10 points per game. As he improves he will earn looks from plenty of Division I programs.