CHICAGO – With the previous 2020 AAU Circuit being omitted due to COVID and the overarching recruiting cycle being forced to adjust to unprecedented circumstances, the 2021 circuit will garner immense attention as NBA scouts, alternative path executives and collegiate coaches file in to evaluate the next crop of premier talent coming through the EYBL. Nike Meanstreets, the Chicago-based program that produced Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis and many more, will be a headliner all July. Throughout the month, the notebook will act as an evaluation database following Meanstreets’ 17U prospects at each of their events, including the mecca of AAU basketball, Peach Jam, which will occur from July 13 till July 25th in North Augusta, South Carolina. Loading up a roster of the most talented players in the region is a common thread for profound AAU programs, but the 17U Meanstreets group is defined by prospects who have skillsets that seamlessly fit together, elevate one another, and most importantly, manufacture a brand of basketball that is incredibly rare in the EYBL.
After concluding EYBL Pool Play in North Augusta, South Carolina with a 7-0 record, Meanstreets enters Peach Jam as one of the top seeds in the nation and just one of three undefeated programs in the nation. Meanstreets had a margin of victory of 10.9 points.
|Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Assists Per Game|
|Kam Craft (20.0)||Ty Rodgers (6.1)||RJ Taylor (3.3)|
|Nick Martinelli (15.3)||Kam Craft (5.6)||Ty Rodgers (3.3)|
|Kareem Rozier (7.9)||AJ Casey (4.7)||Kareem Rozier (2.7)|
|Jalen Washington (7.6)|
|Ty Rodgers (6.9)|
After rattling off a 5-0 record on a 19.2 average margin of victory at The Platform in Birmingham, Alabama, Meanstreets travels to North Augusta, South Carolina with palpable momentum.
In Tai Streets' first trip to the Final Four of Peach Jam, Meanstreets 17U fell in the Semi-Finals to Bradley Beal Elite.
Statistics include the 7 game Peach Jam run.
6-9 and 180 pounds
Casey fits the bill as what has become the prototypical bridging forward with a traditional wing skillset while being able to guard 3-4 positions defensively. A rangy, selfless wing with a developing shooting stroke hinging on palpable confidence with a subtle playmaking skillset. Casey flourishes in the mid-post playing out of double teams, absorbing contact around the rim or rising up to find his own shot with strong elevation. With Meanstreets, Casey is employed as a volume slasher from the perimeter or mid-post to use his length and speed to get to the rim or to the free throw line. A versatile defender with length, energy and athleticism makes him the rotational chess piece that opens up the versatility of the group around him. Playing with a constant motor on both ends and being more assertive have been key developmental focuses that are beginning to bleed into Casey’s growing bag of tricks. Casey plays low to the ground with the ball in his hands, which can be a struggle for many wings at his size. Whether it’s attacking closeouts, playmaking or getting to the rack, Casey has a unique ability to clean the glass, lead the break to get out & run game in & game out In no manner is Casey reliant on his athleticism on either end, but he will have sudden bursts of above the rim athleticism on back cuts and weak side swats. When aggressive attacking the rack, AJ Casey is a dominant slashing force and makes his presence felt on both ends throughout. With pogo-stick athleticism and a wingspan to match it, Casey has proven the ability to stretch the floor both vertically and horizontally. A legitimate transition dynamo with a versatile finishing package and a knack for drawing contact at the rim. A true two-way wing that is just scratching the surface.
Recruitment Status: Ohio State, Gonzaga, Illinois, Michigan, Marquette and Indiana among others
6-9 and 210 pounds
Washington’s ability to create his own shot offensively while using length on the other to defend the rim cements his argument as one of the top bigs in the nation. With a Joel Embiid-esque scoring package, Washington has a knack for carving out space on the interior, using pump fakes to get a step on defenders and has a go-to mid-post jumper off one pivot and elevation. The Gary, Indiana native requires heaps of defensive attention as a roll man, but his ability to stretch the floor continues to flourish. Advanced footwork, palpable touch at all three levels and a sturdy base make Washington a tall task to defend. Playing alongside Rozier, Taylor, Craft, Casey, Martinelli and Avila who have phenomenal, high-feel playmaking instincts, Washington thrives finishing around the rim and allows them to be aggressive as perimeter defenders with his backline shot blocking instincts. Strong hands, a mismatch machine and constantly growing basketball IQ with every outing.
Recruitment Status: Committed to North Carolina
6-6 and 190 pounds
The engine that makes Meanstreets’ go offensively. Craft stands out as one of the most undervalued prospects nationally and is a strong candidate to rise up rankings over the next few months. A natural shot creator at all three levels, Craft draws extreme gravity with his ability to pull-up from anywhere just a few feet over half-court. Whether the ball is in his hands or not, Craft elevates the group around him because of how much attention he draws and his ability score in a hurry. Two categories of Craft’s skillset and development have stood out the most as of recent – shot preparation and playmaking ability. A quick release is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Craft’s shot making ability, as much of the work has already been done before he even touches the ball. Elite footwork coming off of screens and on spot ups coupled with a fluid release and strong elevation makes Craft a candidate to blow any game open with a jump shooting flurry. At 6-6, Craft flaunts an impressive knack for relocating around the arc and finding pockets of space in transition and on offensive rebounds. Now cemented as one of the top shooters in the country, he has parlayed his feel for the game and scoring ability to now becoming a prominent playmaker, a facet that I see opening some eyes in July. His aptitude for eying where the double team is coming from and making the right skip pass as well as a game-breaking ability to attack closeouts to make drop off passes has added a new layer to his game that makes everyone around him better.
Recruitment Status: Committed to Xavier
6-7 and 210 pounds
Rodgers, the Saginaw, Michigan native, is another that isn’t talked about enough nationally as a high profile longterm prospect. Rodgers is an explosive, powerful athlete with a growing polish to his game offensively and a noticeable toughness defensively. Rodgers contributes offensively in a variety of categories with a gleaming tendency of doing whatever might be asked of him on a daily basis. As a create your own shot scorer, Rodgers is capable of attacking off the dribble and finding his own as a slasher or perimeter scorer. As an off-ball weapon, he has a productive tendency of finding lanes as a cutter and finishing with power around the rim. Rodgers plays with confidence on the offensive end, has an undervalued playmaking ability and has shown mass progress as a shooter. Defensively, Rodgers is one of the more enticing prospects in the EYBL and arguably the top perimeter defender in America. An instinctual, physical, hard-nosed perimeter defender who has the lateral quickness, toughness and strength to take on the opposing teams catalyst game in and game out. An extremely strong rebounder who embraces contact and plays bigger than he is. Rodgers is the identity to this Meanstreets group and is incredibly vocal presence. Through pool play at the EYBL in North Augusta, Ty Rodgers was the most impressive, impactful prospect with his perpetual, tangible ability to contribute to winning basketball for four straight quarters game in and game out. A true stat sheet stuffer who does so much outside the box score as well to impact winning.
Recruitment Status: Michigan, Florida State, Houston, Michigan State, Purdue and Louisville among others
6-7 and 200 pounds
The Swiss Army Knife. Martinelli does a bit of everything for this group. The Elon commit provides a boost on both ends each time he enters the game. The point forward has a unique skillset in contrast to his teammates and brings an element of playmaking and slashing that winds up stuffing the stat sheet more often than not. Martinelli makes a living in the high post picking out cutters and shooters. At 6-7, he uses developed footwork, wide shoulders and a strong frame to slither through the lane and finish around the rim providing a constant scoring punch off the bench. The Glenbrook South wing exhibits confidence as a perimeter shooter and has become a consistent spot up threat. Feel for the game, a high IQ and selflessness shine through in the vast majority of what Martinelli does on the court. Filling the role as a secondary scorer, Martinelli was the second leading scorer on the roster while coming off the bench during EYBL play in North Augusta. The Elon commit makes a living in the paint, finishing on dump offs, utilizing an elite float game and creating his own offense by slithering to the rim to finish using high level footwork and strong touch. Defensively, he has a tendency to beat drivers to their spots and has the versatility and quickness to shift down and defend guards but the strength and length to defend in the post at times.
Recruitment Status: Committed to Elon
6-9 and 220 pounds
Robbie Avila is a modernized, polished big man with an advanced understanding of the game and how to pick his spots. Avila is a high level processor and decision maker as a short roll weapon with touch at all three levels. With a palpable feel for the game, Avila allows Meanstreets to throw out a 5 out set or can play alongside in Jalen Washington in a big lineup. Avila is never sped up and has the ability to create his own shot in the low post or with a hand in his face on the perimeter. A Jokic-esque step back perimeter shot along with natural passing instincts make Avila a unique weapon for a high powered group. Avila enhances the skillset of the players around him by routinely making long leak out passes and setting up transition opportunities. A prominent rebounder who uses his lower body strength and instincts to routinely out-position bigger, longer defenders.
Recruitment Status: Loyola-Chicago, Richmond, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Appalachian State and Wyoming
5-9 and 160
The epitome of a floor general, Rozier is a natural leader and an impressive decision maker. A crafty, quick lead guard with toughness and a subtle ability to dictate tempo. The Michigan native has phenomenal elevation on his jumper and uses change of pace to score in the mid-range. Toughness and confidence are exuded in everything Rozier does. Energetic and intelligent with a noticeable understanding of the game, how to space the floor and efficient comprehension of pick and roll reads. A fiery two-way catalyst with a blossoming off the dribble scoring attack and creativity in the open court. Rozier is constantly the loudest voice in the gym and has a glaring competitiveness to his game. The ultimate competitor oozing with energy. You want him on your team, but you hate to play against him.
Recruitment Status: Toledo, Duquesne, Michigan, Western Michigan, UNC Wilmington, UIC, Butler and GVSU
5-11 and 160
Taylor’s ability to create for himself as well as his teammates jumps out rather quickly. A shifty, jitterbug-type lead guard with a lightning quick first step and strong playmaking instincts. While he’s often the smallest player on the court, the Michigan native collapses defenses with ease and consistently makes the right play using drop off passes to his bigs, skip passes to shooters and acrobatic finishes around the rim. Taylor has the ability to shoot from extended three point range, making him a dynamic weapon in the pick and roll. Defensively, Taylor has a knack for jumping passing lanes and turning tipped balls into turnovers and leak outs. Alongside Kam Craft in this group, Taylor has ability to quickly flip the script of a game with his off the bounce scoring and defensive toughness. The 2023 guard is fundamentally sound and plays with a relentless motor.
Recruitment Status: Northern Iowa, Rhode Island, Oakland, Western Michigan and Michigan State
6-1 and 145
Robinson is a smooth, fluid off-guard with long arms, a high motor and touch beyond the three point line. A spot up weapon who can make defenses pay for short closeouts. A go-to mid-range pull up game has become an added layer when attacking aggressive closeouts. Robinson provides energy and makes his presence felt off the bench, oozing with confidence and zero hesitance to find his shot. On a roster jam-packed from top to bottom with shooting threats, Robinson is an impressive shot creator and has a strong feel for picking his spots coming off of screens or shooting between zones.
Recruitment Status: Wisconsin-Parkside, Dominican University