Nike on Tuesday vowed to fix issues with its NBA jerseys after a string of high-profile incidents which have seen shirts torn to shreds. The opening weeks of the NBA campaign have seen multiple … Continue reading “Nike vows to fix NBA jerseys after shirts shredded”
The other shoe could be about to drop in the widespread investigation into bribery, fraud and corruption in college basketball. “Employees of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League have been subpoenaed by FBI for furtherance of investigation,” attorney and Forbes contributor Darren Heinter tweeted on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources. That news comes one day after Adidas director… Continue reading “Report: FBI subpoenas Nike’s youth basketball program”
Sporting a favorite player’s number can now be more than a declaration of faith, thanks to smart jerseys unveiled this weekend by Nike as part of its new partnership with the NBA. A tap of a smartphone to a label on the jersey allows the wearer a real-time look at Kevin Durant’s statistics, Blake Griffin’s post-match… Continue reading “Nike’s ‘connected jersey’ aims to put NBA fans front and center”
By Marcus Shockley
No one was surprised when CIA Bounce advanced to the championship game; all week long the talk had been about how loaded the Canadian team was, led by Andrew Wiggins (SF, 6’7″, 2014), considered by most to be the best high school player on the continent. Wiggins is a player who we’ve been watching long before he was labeled as such; however, as I’ve said in the past, he has a pro first step that is deadly. A fluid superstar who has great length and agility, Wiggins already has tools that some professional basketball players lack. He still needs to work on his consistency with his shot, and he will need to add strength, but his quickness is incredible and he loves to use the spin move, in either direction, to free up a shot. He’s explosive and dynamic on the court and tracking as a NBA lottery pick, if not #1 overall.
The powerhouse player for the Oakland Soldiers was the versatile Aaron Gordon (PF, 6’9″, 2013) who was playing injured but continued to show that he might still lay claim to the top player in the 2013 class. Gordon has a balanced approach to the game, and is the kind of player that teams like to run the offense through, with the ball getting in his hands at least once during a possession; even if he’s not scoring, he can often find another player who might.
Kendall Smith (PG, 6’2″, 2013) ran the show for the Soldiers once again; Smith is a true point guard with a good first step and he has the ability to get to the bucket and score in traffic. CIA Bounce once again employed the talents of combo guard Tyler Ennis (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2013) a player who can run the team effectively but also plays very well off of the ball.
Other notable players included Jaylen Canty (PF, 6’8″, 2013) a post player for Oakland who has a light touch and showed a really good drop step. Jabari Bird (SG/SF, 6’6″, 2013) was active at all times and had some nice passes and deep shots to help build the Oakland early lead.
For much of the game it was a contest of wills between Wiggins and Gordon, who each wanted the ball in their hands to try and score or facilitate. At times they were directly matched up against each other. Oakland quickly ran out to decent lead, 27-15 with 1:33 remaining in the first half. After a three by Bird put the Soldiers up 32-26 in the second half, it was obvious that Wiggins became very focused on getting his team back in the game. Suddenly he became even more active, scoring multiple times down the floor or finding teammates, include one deft pass to Ennis for a dunk. Ennis’s transition slam tied the game 34-34.
With the game in contention, several players were instrumental in the battle for the title Xavier Rathan-Mayes (SG, 6’4″, 2013) of CIA Bounce was a stable player on the wing, handling the ball against pressure and hitting several big shots down the stretch. Stanley Johnson (SF, 6’7″, 2014) continued to be the emerging star who supported Gordon effectively, and working hard on the defense, often matched up with Wiggins.
As with most of the games of the EYBL Final Four, the game came down to the wire. Both teams traded the lead and CIA Bounce led 50-49 with 8 seconds remaining on the clock. After back-to-back timeouts, Oakland took possession of the ball, ran a screen for Bird, who launched a long two-pointer with 1.3 on the clock, and a foul was called. The fans and media erupted in the building, depending on which allegience they might have, as the contact seemed minimal.
Bird headed to the line and calmly hit his first free throw, tying the game, 50-50, then after a time out, sank the second shot to put Oakland up 51-50. Forced to heave a last second shot, Rathan-Mayes raced almost to half court and launched a good looking, but unfortunately errant, shot. Oakland players celebrated on the court while CIA quickly left the floor in obvious dejection, but both teams showed that they belonged in the title game.
By Marcus Shockley
Once again some of the top high talent in the nation descended on North Augusta, SC for the Nike EYBL series championships. I’ll have evals coming soon for more of the tournament, but here’s a report on the Final Four 17u match up between MoKan Elite and CIA Bounce.
This year’s EYBL Final Four included MoKan Elite vs. CIA Bounce and Oakland Soldiers vs. CP3 All Stars.
MoKan Elite vs. CIA Bounce
CIA Bounce 81
MoKan Elite 67
MoKan Elite has the talented Semilore Ojeleye (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2013), a physically strong player who is agile and has great hands. He can play the SF or PF spot effectively and is a solid rebounder. However, CIA Bounce also has their own superstar in Andrew Wiggins (SF, 6’7″, 2014), a player who might just be the #1 NBA draft pick when he gets the chance. Wiggins has a pro level first step, and he likes to push the ball into the mid range, spin, and get off a shot. He’s explosive and dynamic – there aren’t going to be many players at the high school or college level who will be able to guard him effectively. Wiggins scored 23 points in the win, leading all scorers.
CIA Bounce also has a talented combo guard in Tyler Ennis (G, 6’2″, 2013), who can score from inside or outside and plays with great awareness. Ennis is a combo as opposed to a true point, but runs the team effectively but also moves well without the ball. A player who I had not seen before but has blistering speed is Lourawls Nairn (PG, 5’10”, ’14) who came in off of the bench and showed he has elite speed and can finish with contact. Nairn is one of the fastest guards in the country and has a deft handle. Definitely a player to watch.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes (SG, 6’4″, 2013) of CIA Bounce showed good poise with the ball and that he can shoot under pressure. Solidly built and effective with the shot or pass, Mayes and Ennis create problems for defenses because they cannot double Wiggins without leaving one of them open. Duane Notice (SG/SF, 6’4″, 2013) also provides tough, hard-nosed play for CIA Bounce on both ends of the floor. Notice is also a kind of ‘glue guy’ for the team, getting loose balls, a solid free throw shooter and all around worker.
O’Shai Clark (SG, 6’1″, 2013) of MoKan Elite is an active rebounding guard who often drew the toughest defensive assignments. He also can put the ball on the floor and attack. Andre Sands (PF/C, 6’7″, 2013) is a capable big who is mobile and has good hands around the basket.
In the second half, CIA Bounce pulled away behind the scoring of Mayes, Ennis and Wiggins and put the game out of reach, sending them to the EYBL Championship.