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EYBL Lexington: Top Southern Guards
by Andrew Force, Future150 (5:00 PM CT, Tue April 28, 2015)
Quietly efficient, Trevor Willis
Quietly efficient, Trevor Willis
Andrew Force
Andrew Force:

Future150 National Analyst. Covering High and Middle School basketball.

Lexington, KY (Future150) -- Coming out of NIKE EYBL Lexington only four teams remained 7-1: Houston Hoops, Team Takeover, Team CP3, and Pro Skills.  Coincidentally each of these teams leads their respective divisions.  

As always guard play was key and brings you many top performers from the weekend.

Scorers and passers are highlighted.  This edition includes any player from the South, as defined by a rough rectangle cornered at the North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi/Louisiana, and Kentucky.  

The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers acted as borders for much of the Midwest region.

Texas is included, but Arkansas is not.  

C.J. Roberts, 2017 PG, Team Texas Elite: Wow.  The ability to contort his body in the air allows the 6’2” Roberts to finish against almost any aspiring shotblocker.  He is exceptionally quick and also smart when weakside help comes.  The sophomore can finish with either hand.  Roberts did not attempt many outside shots, but his shooting motion is clunky. 

Raquan Wilkins, 2016 SF, Georgia Stars: One of two breakout performers, Wilkins expertly manuevered his body in the air.  He has great length at 6'5".  Every top player can get into the lane at this level.  What Wilkins was able to do was a step above.  He contorted his body to slip past help defenders and adjusted in reaction to the guy trying to draw a charge.  His turn radius is special.  Outside shooting accuracy is probably behind his peers.

John Petty Jr., 2017 SG, Alabama Challenge: The confidence really makes Petty an elite player.  When he questions himself he can get lost on the floor.  The times he decides to score, Petty is awfully difficult to stop.  Shooting was the trademark.  Now he has added a few low post moves.

Zep Jasper, 2016 PG, Southern Stampede: Thin in stature, Jasper is as tough as they come.  He will sacrifice his body for the coach.  Defensive is extremely important to Jasper’s high school team and it shows when Zep hits the floor.  He has the quick feet and impressive change of direction.  Outside shooting remains his weakness.

Zachery Cooks, 2017 PG, Southern Stampede: A Norcross guard, Cooks fights prejudice against shorter guards.  Many times he wins this fight with bouncy agility and astute passes.  Sunday Cooks hit open jumpers and collapsed defenses.  As long as he gets into the paint Cooks typically makes the smart play.  He only plays poorly when he is being too passive.  

Joshua Okogie, 2016 SG, Team CP3: A surprisingly accomplished shooter, Okogie continues to evolve into a shooting guard.  He says he began as a forward, but gradually adjusted to playing on the perimeter.  Okogie is excellent scoring on the fly, but continues to prove he is not merely a fastbreak performer.  The jumper is coming along very nicely.

Jalen Johnson, 2016 SF, Arkansas Wings: Facing the Southern Stampede on the featured court, Johnson kept his new team in the game.  Top 10 player Malik Monk was sleepwalking during the first half, appearing bored.  The left-handed wing, Johnson buried shots from all over the floor.  Postgame stats were nice as Johnson made all four free throws, 75% from deep, and 50% from the field.

Curtis Jones, 2016 SG, Boo Williams: Jones is a very good outside shooter.  Jones can get to the rim and finish with three dribbles.  As a versatile scorer, Jones is capable of playing either guard spot.  Boo Williams defended in a zone, so judging his defensive abilities will have to wait until another day.  None of the Las Vegas Prospects were able to keep Jones in front of them.  Jones' first two steps are lightning quick.  When slashing he moves the ball high and low to avoid deflections.  

RJ Nembhard, 2016 SG, Team Texas Elite: Nembhard belongs in the top 50 players yesterday.  Fantastically slippery, Nembhard does not get to run Team Texas Elite most possessions.  Still he has a slippery nature to his handle.  Defenders are going to hate lining up across from him in halfcourt sets. 

Deshawn Corprew, 2016 SG, Boo Williams: An alpha male by nature, Corprew works each game to be the dominant performer.  Corprew's powerful frame gets him beyond reaching defenders.  He effortlessly scores in transition or against average zones.  Incorporating a pull-up will make him even more dangerous.

Scott Spencer, 2016 SF, Boo Williams: Spencer was very good against the talent-laden Las Vegas Prospects.  He buried 15 points with a pair of three pointers sprinkled on top.  Shooting off the catch is Spencer's calling card.  

Braxton Beverly, 2016 G, Travelers: Though Beverly will probably play the point guard in college he scores very, very well.  Beverly is composed amongst the trees.  He has a really dependable shooting touch and can occasionally finish after contact.  Because he is 6’0” Beverly might be listed as a point guard.  

Alterique Gilbert, 2016 PG, Team CP3:  College teams from the Midwest are starting to realize Gilbert ranks just below the top PG’s in the nation.  Absurd quickness on top of a well-developed step-back jumper coexist in Gilbert’s arsenal.  Vulnerable defenders foul Gilbert a lot.  He finished off 87.5% of his free throws this weekend and made 7.0 FT's per contest.  Hotly-pursued by Illinois, Gilbert registered 17.8 ppg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 spg. in Lexington.

Trevor Willis, 2016 SG, Team CP3: A relative unknown, Willis remains a smart, reliable outside shooter.  He doesn't take bad shots as evidenced by his bizarre 57.9% field goal rate.  Because he calmly defers with CP3 the recruiting will lag.  He belongs at a power program. He probably would be most potent as a catch-and-shoot SG, but he is able to create when given the opportunity.  CP3 has two really steady point guards, so Willis typically operates from the wing after Gilbert or Darnell Rogers’ kicks.

Trent Forrest, 2016 SG, Georgia Stars: Formerly an Alabama Challenge player, Forrest shares his quickness with the Georgia-based squad now.  The Floridian has been relentlessly pursued by Florida State for years now.  In the last six months Forrest has trimmed a little weight and grown more assertive.  

Justin Hopkins, 2016 SG, Alabama Challenge: There are certain players that can dominate a game without touching the basketball.  Hopkins is one of those players.  He has the undeniable fire of Ron Artest.  Often Hopkins overwhelms defenders with his raw strength.  He and Petty work well together because Hopkins clatters into bodies while Petty avoids them.


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