ATL NIKE EYBL: Youth Is Served!

We had an opportunity to watch all three days of the Nike EYBL Session II in Atlanta and came away with a few major themes. Sure, there is plenty of talent on the NIKE circuit each year, and most of the country knows about the likes of Cooper Flagg and A.J. Dybansta, so we decided to focus plenty of our time on the younger age groups (16U and 15U).

As far as the travel ball clubs on the 17U circuit go, there is only one 6-0 team in the Merritt Division and that's California-based Why Not 17U. Coached by Reggie Morris Jr., Why Not upped its record heading into the EYBL's Live Period Session III in Indianapolis (May 17-19) with a 71-66 comeback victory over Strive For Greatness 17U in an all-California Sunday showdown. The star of the game was 6-foot-5 2025 wing Tounde Yessoufou, who had the most energy of all 10 players on both ends of the floor, hit a variety of shots and made some big defensive plays en route to a 26-point performance. He made 9-of-10 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws vs. Strive and is unofficially tied for first in 17U scoring with 6-foot-6 2025 wing Xzavion Mitchell of Wisconsin-based Team Herro at 25.5 ppg.

Team Herro is one of three 6-0 teams in the Raveling Division, along with New England-based Expressions Elite and DMV-based Team Takeover.

For now, let's take a look at the top underclass performers and eye-catchers at Nike EYBL Session II:


Austin Brown, JL3 Elite/Lufkin (Texas) 6-8 SF
This hard-nosed forward moves well without the ball and excels even though sometimes JL3 plays at a fast-pacedthat doesn't always suit Brown's best attributes. In the half court game, or a tight spot, this team knows who to get the ball to because Brown knows how to move without the ball and is such a terrific shooter. Brown was knocking down the 3-ball with regularity and is especially excellent off the catch.

Josiah Cannady, Team Durant 16U/St. Francis Academy (Baltimore, Md.) 6-3 PG
We loved his speed with the basketball and play-making ability.

Christian Collins, Why Not 16U/Westchester (Los Angeles) 6-8 SF
This wiry athlete played second fiddle on his previous high school team at St. Bernard (Playa Del Rey, Calif.) to a talented graduating senior and Why Not 17s friend Tajh Ariza, who will join him at Westchester. From a national perspective, however, was his breakout event. We've known he was a high-major prospect for over a year and a half now, but he's added more coordination and maturity to his game, and is now hitting deep perimeter shots with ease. The son of 2002 McDonald's All-American DeAngelo Collins, Christian one game where he canned three consecutive 3-pointers and caught the attention of national scouts and even a few NBA brass.

Kendre Harrison, Team CP3 16U/Reidsville (N.C.) 6-7 PF
Former NBA player Austin Rivers made headlines earlier this week when he talked about NBA players' abilities to play in the NFL. We've been closely following the nation's top Grid-Hoopers for close to 40 years and even though his assessment was a bit off, there are still plenty of two-sport athletes that play high level basketball that could make a NFL roster. Harrison helped Reidsville to a 29-0 record and North Carolina Class 2A state crown and No. 39 Final FAB 50 ranking a few months after leading the football team to a state title in the same division. Harrison is the nation's top tight end prospect in his class, but boy, he's awfully fun to watch on the hardwood. Not only does he tear down the rim, he does everything with good timing and has great hands as one could imagine.

Andrew Hilman, Oakland Soldiers 16U/Riordan (San Francisco, Calif.) 6-4 SG
The game is starting to slow down for this slashing wing player who was often the best player on a talent-laden Riordan team where multiple bench players have legit D1 offers. Hilman is a strider who can get in the lane with ease and loves to spin off defenders. He has good instincts and loves to jump lanes for easy run-out buckets. There may be some more naturally talented, but few played every possession as hard as this humble kid.

Jordan Hunter, Team Takeover 16U/Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) 6-3 SG
An under control shooter with range and discipline. Hunter knows what a good shot is and where he wants to get in the half court setting.

Dylan Mingo, PSA Cardinals 16U/Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 6-4 PG
Repeatedly came up with strong drives to the basket and his talent level stands out. A well known player who is in store for a big summer.

Jordan Smith, Team Takeover 17U/Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) 6-4 SG
Playing up, Smith was one of the standouts of the weekend, as Team Takeover remains unbeaten in EYBL play. He is the team's catalyst with his motor, physicality and skill. In fact, his combination of those three attributes might have been the best we saw in Atlanta. Smith is a ferocious on-ball defender and did a terrific job on The Family's Darius Acuff Jr. in a key win. Smith also has solid play-making skills to create and loves to take it down the middle for strong finishes or a monster flush.

Jahda Swann, New Heights Lightning 16U/Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 6-4
A sleeper who has plenty of long-term potential. Swann is just coming into his own and we liked what we saw with his outside shooting and sleek frame. Swann can knock down the corner shot, moves his feet well on defense, and is creative off the dribble. He's under the radar, but his teammate Oesoemana Sacko (6-8, 2026) might be the best 2026 prospect in NYC at St. Francis Prep (Queens, N.Y.).

Cameron Williams, Vegas Elite 16U/St. Mary's (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-10 PF
He may not dominate today, but boy, the potential is off the charts. Williams can face up and score and when the skill level and strength meet on the frame he possesses, he's going to be a legit NBA prospect. After last weekend, keen NBA scouts know who Williams is.

Clyde Walters, Nightrydas Elite 16U/Pinson Valley (Ala.) 6-7 SF
His team had an abundance of talent, but we wanted to point out his good feel on the basketball court. Walters has alot in his offensive bag with the ball.


Brock Bass-Browner, Georgia Stars 15U/North Cobb Christian (Kennesaw, Ga.) 6-7 PF
Athletic forward who knows what he is. Excels at finishing off off pick and rolls and has solid touch as a lefty big.

Anderson Diaz, NY Rens 15U/St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.) 6-1 PG
Of all the 15U games we evaluated, Diaz might have had the best burst with the ball from a stop-start position. His first step is great, but Diaz also seemed under control when we watched. Likes to get in the key with the ability to do it, then make a quick dish to either side for a quality shot.

Amir Dockery, New Heights Lightning 15U/Eagle Academy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 6-0 PG
A throwback NYC point guard with all the trimmings and fixings on his plate: keeps the dribble alive with a crafty handle, gets through tight spaces, can split double teams and fishing with a strong lay-up package. Freshman starter for his high school team that captured the PSAL, title while he was named the Public League's freshman of the year.

Cole Holden, Why Not 15U/Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 6-2 CG
This club was unbeaten until its last game on Sunday and it's easy to see why when you look of the makeup of the roster. The team uses teamwork and good ball-movement to punish foes and Holden is one of the ring-leaders. He and Why Not teammate Pierce Thompson (6-2, 2027) played JayVee for the CIF Open Division champions and it's easy to see how practicing against those experienced players is helping him on the 15U level. Holden is a confident ball-handler and once the game slows down for him, he's going to be a terrific contributor for one of the best high school programs on the West Coast. On this team, he has plenty of weapons around him and is learning when to attack and when to get them involved.

Jeremy Jenkins, FL Rebels 15U/Riviera Prep (Miami, Fla.) 6-7 PF
His strength and skill at his age (turned 15 last month) stand out right away. He's physical and can handle the rigors of big-time ball. Already considered one of the nation's best prospects in the 2027 class. Jenkins' front court mate Jonathan Watts (6-8, 2027) also moves well and challenges shots at the rim.

Dooney Johnson, Team Herro 15U/Juneau (Milwaukee, Wis.) 6-4 PG
We love the name and the game even more, as Johnson is one of the best 2027 prospects in the Midwest Region. He gets downhill in a hurry and can change direction well with the handle.

Gabriel Nesmith, Nightrydas Elite 15U/Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-6 SG
You will be hard-pressed to find a better performance by a 15U player than the one we saw from Nesmith on Saturday afternoon. It was only one game and we can't wait to evaluate Nesmith more, but within the first 10 seconds of watching him we knew what kind of talent he was and what level he'll eventually be recruited it. He hit a mid-court crossover and covered tons of ground to get in attack position in that time frame and his fluid body movements, approach and confidence stood out right away. Nesmith has the length you look for in a high-major wing and can shoot the deep ball out to 25 feet with ease. The mechanics and rhythm look great, too. Don't be surprised if he challenges for a top 3 spot in the 2027 class in the final rankings that matter at the end four years from now.

Marquis Newson, Team Final 15U/Sanford School (Hockessin, Del.) 6-3 SG
A team with an ubundance of individual talent that we liked, Newson is a high-level athlete who can get downhill with plenty of horizontal pop. He's a prototypical wing prospect with a high skill level that high majors will track down the line.

Babatunde Oladotun, Team Durant 15U/ Blake (Silver Spring, Md.) 6-8 SF
Oozing with potential and talent, some well-known evaluators peg this lanky wing as the top prospect in the 2027 class. He wasn't our production-based National Freshman of the Year, but we understand the sentiments of placing him at the top. There is still a long ways to go, but Oladotun obviously has the size and measurables to be a terrific and dominant high school player. At this level, he can dominate with array of shot-making skills, step backs and length. He needs to work on getting in a stance and taking the positive space in front of him, instead of relying on the negative space that he can have at any time against lesser talents.

Zaiyir Phillips, Team United 15U/Hunter Huss (Gastonia, N.C.) 5-10 PG
This lefty just keeps attacking until he gets to his spot on the floor. It's refreshing to see his skill level combined with his desire to make winning plays. Phillips is deft at the straight away jumper and shoots a high percentage off the catch. Phillips has the qualities coaches love in their young guards.

Delton Prescott, AZ Unity 15U/Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-0 PG
This quarterback helped a terrific high school team in the winter as a ninth-grader and is a leader on one of the best 15U teams in the country. Prescott is beyond his years when it comes to understanding and seeing a play ahead. He's also a terrific passer in various situations.

Clarence Rosser Jr., Team United 15U/Northern Nash (Rocky Mount, N.C.) 6-9 PF
He is the type of player that stands out right away with his length and size, but Rosser has already developed a nice array of skill. Rosser makes nice high post passes and has some patience in his attack. He can shoot the deep ball with confidence and his potential is off the charts. Once he learns how to take space and cover ground with the dribble, watch out as he'll be a Top 20 type prospect when it's all said and done. His front court teammate Charles Pur (6-9, 2027) is one to watch as well.

Jymin Veney, Tea Melo 15U/Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 6-3 SG
We love it when young players can get their feet under them on offense and stay in control off the dribble and Veney can do just that. He can play the lead or off the ball and is a terrific shooter, with a nice array of pull-ups. Keep an eye on him down the line.


Adan Diggs, AZ Unity 15U/Arizona 6-4 SG
The state of Arizona is has an abundance of quality young players and Diggs is right up there as the best of the lot. He has terrific size and frame for his position, and moves well with our without the basketball. Diggs' athleticism is also high-major and he's a shot-maker with plenty of confidence. With natural progression, he'll be on the recruiting list of Blue Bloods in the future.

Jakyi Miles, Oakland Soldiers 15U/Arizona 6-3 CG
When one talks about scoring, some just had that innate feel and instinct for it and “KyiKyi” is one of the best. In fact, as a rising ninth-grader he's one of the best we've seen come down the pike in a long time. Last season he played on AZ Compass Prep's high school team and was probably good enough to play on the EYBL Scholastic team. He dropped 35 points in a game vs. Babatunde Oladotun and Team Durant and was terrific in the game prior that we also had a chance to evaluate. Miles had great ability to get by defenders while covering ground, can shake them with meaningful dribbles and already possesses a smooth pull-up game from mid-range that most elite high school players would kill to have in their arsenal. Sprinting into a pull-up is not easy and Miles already has that in his tool box. Watch out for Miles on the elite high school level.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of He can be reached at [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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