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March 7, 2012
Scouting the EYBL
Part 3

by Drew Cannon


In Part 1 of this series, I went over the top-ranked players who spent time in the summer 2011 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, using the most complete stats ever released for high-level AAU basketball. In Part 2, I went through the ESPN-ranked talents with the most impressive numbers. Today, I'll look at the most productive unranked talents, and finally, I'll re-order the ranked players in each class by their summer statistics (which, and for the love of God I hope people remember I wrote this every single time I mentioned it, will absolutely not be how I think the players should be ranked).

Teddy Okereafor
(ORtg: 107.2, %Poss: 15.3, 147 minutes)
The final current freshman who saw time in the 2011 EYBL, Okereafor has had a rough start in 127 minutes for VCU this season. He's only taken fifteen shots (making four) but has found time to turn the ball over 13 times. The EYBL demonstrated that Okereafor wasn't a take-charge offensive talent and that he had turnover issues, but he shot much better in a small sample size.

Cory Arentsen
(ORtg: 137.3, %Poss: 20.5, PET Rank: 7 of 264 over 200 minutes)
An Austin Peay commit, Arentsen shot percentages of 55/48/79 while committing just eight turnovers in 263 minutes. Notre Dame commit Cameron Biedschied took on the bulk of the St. Louis Eagles' offense, and was the recipient of more than a few Arentsen assists. More than anything he's a terrifyingly accurate jump shooter, but he contributes on the boards and with running the offense. Shooters tend to be a highly successful class of players at the mid-major level, and Arentsen should be no exception.

Myles Davis
(ORtg: 125.7, %Poss: 23.9, PET Rank: 11 of 264 over 200 minutes)
Davis's stroke is fundamentally sound, but he doesn't strike you as a fantastic shooter on first blush. That said, the Xavier commit is most certainly a fantastic shooter -- only future Creighton guard Isaiah Zierden and future DePaul wing Jodan Price hit more three-pointers over the EYBL schedule. And, while taking quite a few two-pointers and free throws as well, he shot 58/43/84. Xavier's got a big-time basketball player -- if he hadn't taken a prep year and reclassified to 2012, he'd be in contention for a spot in the back end of ESPN's Top 100.

Anthony January
(ORtg: 100.1, %Poss: 37.2, PET Rank: 26 of 264 over 200 minutes)
January's most impressive skill is extraordinarily statistically evident: He's capable of taking on an amazing amount of a team's offense while maintaining any level of efficiency. He's long, athletic, tough to guard, and a great rebounder for a 6-6 wing at 11 percent offensive and 23 percent defensive rebounding. A former UTEP commit, January's flaws are also visible: His decision-making isn't great, as is reflected in his shooting percentages of 47/26/67. He'd benefit from greater defensive intensity, as well. January probably has the most pure talent of the five 2012 players on this list, but his issues make his probability of reaching his potential the lowest. San Diego State, Memphis, UNLV, Colorado, Colorado State, and UTEP are all involved.

Daddy Ugbede
(ORtg: 132.2, %Poss: 24.3, PET Rank: 3 of 264 over 200 minutes)
He doesn't have the size and athleticism that scouts love to see, but Ugbede, a native of Nigeria, is as productive as anyone in the league. Like Georges Niang (from Part 2), his greatest skill is just finding a way to get the ball in the basket. He scores easily in transition, off cuts, off the dribble, and makes jump shots out to the free throw line. Ugbede shot 70 percent from the floor, rebounded well, and kept from turning the ball over. He's a great case study for the theory that these statistics will improve scouting accuracy, as someone who doesn't have the traditional skills of a highly-rated scorer but does produce. His recruitment picture is still pretty blurry.

Ian Vasquez
(ORtg: 124.7, %Poss: 30.5, 172 minutes)
Vasquez didn't play too many minutes, and he hasn't made much of an impression during the high school season. It sounds entirely possible that Vasquez could fall all the way to Division II. During the time he got in the EYBL, though, he essentially never missed. He shot above 50 percent from behind the three-point line on 71 attempts -- more per team possession than anyone else in the league. He had a higher assist rate than turnover rate, but shooting success contributed to the majority of his value. I find it hard to believe that there isn't a spot for Vasquez as a high-efficiency spot shooter, but that level of shooting is probably not sustainable.

Since two of the mid-major specials are already committed, let's go down the line until we can name five uncommitted players to keep an eye on. Next on the list is uncommitted guard Sam Cassell, Jr., whose solid all-around game presented no statistical weaknesses. He's considering Connecticut, Florida State, Maryland, Purdue, South Florida, and Villanova. Number seven is Creighton-committed sharpshooter Isaiah Zierden, who shot nearly as well as Vasquez in a considerably larger sample size. And the uncommitted Travis Hammond may have shot 12-41 on his twos, but he made 33 of his 77 three-point attempts and only turned the ball over seven times in 216 minutes.

Brian Bridgewater
(ORtg: 108.0, %Poss: 23.7, PET Rank: 72 of 264 over 200 minutes)
Bridgewater's inclusion on this list is unusually predictable, as he fits the classic mold of the undersized power forward. He's strong as a bull and effective on the boards, and he made 53 percent of his frequent two-point attempts. Bridgewater is ranked in the Top 100 in some places that rank juniors past No. 60, so his inclusion here as a "mid-major special" is questionable, but he is certainly part of the group who is outproducing their perceived potential.

Jeremy Johnson
(ORtg: 101.4, %Poss: 29.9, PET Rank: 63 of 264 over 200 minutes)
Johnson just may be a better football player and a better baseball player than he is a basketball player. He's got an offer to play football and basketball from Auburn, and Florida State, Oregon, and others are paying attention (for football, especially). If he does decide to play basketball as a collegian, though, he'll have plenty to offer. Johnson was responsible for a heavy portion of the Alabama Challenge offense, but still committed just 12 turnovers in 230 minutes. He scores with reasonable efficiency and rebounds well for his 6-6 size. And he's certainly an excellent athlete, as coaches from three sports could tell you.

Peter Jok
(ORtg: 110.4, %Poss: 25.5, 130 minutes)
A native of the Sudan, Jok has a soft shooting touch and is smart with the basketball. He didn't play enough minutes for the stats to get a great handle on him, but he was very productive in his time on the floor. Few players combine passing (22 percent assist rate) and defensive rebounding (17 percent) with such aplomb. Jok can score inside and outside and is likely to end up a high-major prospect.

Since none of those three players fall under the typical heading of "mid-major prospect," here's another name: Austin Rudder, a big-time junior shooter.

Joel Berry
(ORtg: 105.6, %Poss: 27.1, PET Rank: 52 of 264 over 200 minutes)
No sophomore in the EYBL played a more integral role to his team's offense than Joel Berry. He was in charge of his team and, despite his youth, posted a turnover rate of just 11 percent to go with an assist rate of 20 percent. His shot percentages (39/40/72) could be improved, but this is a player whose floor is extraordinarily high for someone his age. Berry is a fully-formed basketball player as a sophomore.

Drew Cannon is a college student and a regular contributor to Basketball Prospectus. Click here to see Drew's other articles. Follow him on Twitter at @DrewCannon1.

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Drew Cannon is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Drew by clicking here or click here to see Drew's other articles.

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