The final Nike EYBL session takes place this weekend as bids are up for grabs in reaching the prestigious Nike Peach Jam come July. All 40 teams will descend upon the Suwanee Sports Academy for a three day stay in the Peach State. The match-ups are more than enticing and before the action tips off, why not give a quick glimpse at some of the more intriguing duels that will take place over the next 72 hours.
WENDELL CARTER VS. DEANDRE AYTON
Does it get any better than this? HoopSeen’s top ranked 2017 prospect up against the next best takes center stage on Saturday morning. Wendell Carter takes the floor in his home state as he will look to defend his home turf and at a place that he has gotten up more than enough shots at in past years. His CP3 bunch will face off against the Cal Supreme crew that showcases two of the top prospects within the rising senior class in Brandon McCoy and, more importantly, DeAndre Ayton.
While we have Carter slotted at the top spot, this match-up might be the deciding factor as to who will get the nod for top dog status during our next rankings update in the coming days. Justin Young and I will be center court for this outing and following it, each of us will give the complete breakdown with what was brought to the table by each of the future NBA Draft prospects.
Where Carter is one of the safest, consistent producers in all of America, especially from 15-feet and in, Ayton is more upside, better ceiling type. Both have reworked their games in past years in extending the range on their jumpers but at the same time, dominating the painted region.
Whenever Ayton comes ready to compete, the Bahamian native is nearly impossible to stop. Hopefully the west coast recruit, who will be playing 8am California time, is ready to go because, like always, we expect Carter to bring his best as he plays in front of the local crowd that has become advocates of the Pace Academy star.
JOSE ALVARADO VS. TREMONT WATERS
In recent years, the basketball realm has become infatuated with jumbo sized ballplayers at each spot on the floor. Whether it is LeBron James leading his team on the offensive end or Kevin Durant, standing nearly 7-foot out on the perimeter at the small forward position, it seems that the typical sized position players have become devalued to a certain degree.
On Sunday, that all goes out the window as Jose Alvarado and Tremont Waters, both sub 6-foot guards, go at it in Suwanee. Each hold their own fair share of offers as the likes of Indiana, Kentucky, St. John’s, Duke, UConn, and Kansas are involved with at least one of the 2017 floor generals.
Neither are elite athletes and neither pass the immediate looks test. However, each are complete warriors on the hardwood as they produce each time they suit up and their feel and intellect for the game is hard to match.
What is even more exciting about the contest between New Rens and Expressions is the fact that each call the New England region home. Many of the prospects set to battle have done just that in recent years within the prep ranks and while Alvarado calls New York City his home, and Waters calls New Haven his home, this brouhaha will bring further insight as to who owns the label as top under 6-foot guard in America, though Team Takeover’s Chris Lykes may have an argument, just as well.
BRIAN BOWEN VS. DJ HARVEY
Brian Bowen has had quite the spring as the 6-foot-7 wing has eclipsed prior rankings of him, including our own, in supplanting himself into elite level status. A prolific scorer of the basketball, the Meanstreets junior can throw up points on the scoreboard in giant amounts. Whether it is off the catch, on quick, two-dribble pull-ups, or on the righty slice to the basket, the La Lumiere star gets it done in every type of way.
Just after midday on Saturday, Bowen will get the chance to go at it against one of the top ranked wings and peers within his class in DJ Harvey. The Team Takeover wing hasn’t had the best of runs this spring but the talent and upside is in the hopper with the product out of the DMV. Whether Keith Stevens decides to use Harvey in defending Bowen is up for debate where Meanstreets will also have the talents of 6-foot-5 guard Nojel Eastern in creating a killer, one-two punch, both capable of playing on and off the basketball with efficiency to go along with it.
The Windy City-DC match-up will be an entertaining one and while Meanstreets may boast more talent on the wings of the floor, Takeover may have the Midwest bunch beat at the lead guard spot as they showcase two primetime floor generals in Chris Lykes and Aaron Thompson.
Whichever route each coaches decide go in slotting player against player in this outing, expect for there to be some heated possessions whenever Bowen and Harvey face off against each other during this Saturday afternoon affair in Suwanee.