The Mecca of Elite Youth Basketball has returned to prominence in 2021, and per usual, the next crop of premier prospects will be on display. A plethora of future Lottery picks in both the 17U and 16U groups will headline the 36 team field. I took a brief dive into over 30 of the top prospects regardless of class on tap in North Augusta, South Carolina. I will be in attendance for Peach Jam for more in-depth evaluation and coverage.
A generational scoring ability from the wing with his size at 6-8. Fits the bill to a tee of the highly sought-after modern skillset of a wing creator with an elite shot creating skillset. Since decommitting from Michigan State, all signs point towards Bates opting for the professional path with the G-League rumored to have a massive deal on the table.
An NBA ready powerhouse big with growth as a low-post creator. A chiseled 6-10 and 230 pound frame combined with a developed handle and go-to mid-post jump shot provide uber appeal. Since being heavily linked to the G-League route, there is strong steam that Duren will wind up in college. A former coach is now on staff at Miami, where Duren just took an official visit.
A physical specimen on the wing with above the rim athleticism and a blossoming offensive skillset. Defensive toughness, instincts and high level lateral quickness make Whitehead the cream of the crop in terms of perimeter defenders in the class. Duke and Florida State have been garnering the most steam.
A springy wing athlete that big man move out of the way for when he is headed for the rim. Powerful athlete who’s high end potential might reside on the defensive end, where he uses length, quickness and strength to defend the 1-5. Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Iowa State are entrenched in the recruitment. Recently visited Kansas, Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska.
A multi-faceted scorer with athleticism, fluidity and polish. Best suited in a role off the ball, wired to put the ball in the bucket and has a rare ability to glide with high level body control. Wagner has visited Temple and Villanova, while Kentucky has long carried the most steam.
An elite scoring off-guard with a combination of burst, fluidity and touch as a three level scorer. Sharpe continues to rise because of his two-way trajectory and advanced offensive skillset paired with a high ceiling defensively. Kentucky, Oregon, Creighton, Arizona and others are involved.
With NBA size and length, Lively fits the bill as a high level rim protector with perimeter production offensively. A bouncy athlete who can stretch the floor vertically or horizontally and can dominate the glass. Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina will battle this one out.
A smooth, crafty creator who plays off defensive slides by making plays for others or slithering to the rim. Few defenders if any can stay in front of Johnson with his array of attacking movements and threat as a shooter. A dynamic lead guard who can be a catalyst in every facet offensively, specifically in the pick and roll. Johnson is committed to Oregon.
A quick twitch, jitterbug creator who can collapse defenses with ease. Utilizes a crafty floater game in addition to three level touch and a strong feel for getting to his spots and creating for his teammates. A pesky defender with a quick hands and routinely beats guards to spots with his lateral quickness. Florida State has had the most steam here, but Illinois among others have quickly turned up the heat.
A smooth scoring wing that’s fundamentally sound using advanced hesitations and footwork to beat defenders off the dribble. A strong spot up scorer who has an advanced instinct to find his shot beyond the arc and in the mid-range. Duke, Ohio State and UCONN have garnered the most steam, but Mgbako has fielded heightened attention recently.
Bradley Beal Elite
Extremely enticing wing creator who stunts a versatile scoring package at all three levels, but thrives getting to the rim and using his length to finish through and over defenders. Multi-positional defender with a sought after modern wing creation skillset. Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee are heavily in pursuit, with Alabama garnering some extra buzz.
Upside is the name of the game with Nganga. A wiry forward with blatant athleticism and a creative ability to slither to the rim. Rim running traits with flashes of more on the perimeter and a growing sense to make plays for others. Toolsy forward with heaps of potential. Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona and a host of others are involved.
Shifty creator with size and an elite change of pace. Smooth slasher with a plethora of off-the-dribble moves attacking the rim or creating his own shot. Wiry strength and elite speed once he gets down hill of the PnR. Slight frame but attacks jumps through the chest of rim protectors. Strong elevation on the go-to mid-range jumper. Oregon appears to be the frontrunner with Auburn also in the mix.
A polished, unique forward oozing with feel, finesse and a high IQ. At 6-10, Filipowski can handle the ball, attack spot ups and provide legitimate wing creation. Length, toughness, a rebounding prowess and high level awareness have made him a premier riser over the last few months. Duke, Michigan, Iowa and more are entrenched in his recruitment.
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. 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.
Bradley Beal Elite
Steady and fluid true combo weapon in the backcourt. Heady dual threat scorer with ample touch. Length and strong feel to find his floater game in the mid-range make him an enticing off-guard with secondary playmaking. An off the dribble shot creator with an explosive first step off a perimeter hang dribble. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Kansas and Georgetown involved.
Mac Irvin Fire
Rangy wing creator with a smooth spot up game and prominent slashing game using his length. Activity in the passing lanes and transition production are mainstays. A high release, strong footwork and palpable touch jump out with a highly sought after frame.
An explosive scoring weapon with a sense maturity and nuance to his attack. Carries an extremely unique off the dribble package and flourishes finding his spots coming downhill. An extremely smooth and clean spot up scorer with a high, quick release off elevation. Not necessarily oozing with flair or flash, but Wilcher is ultra-productive putting the ball in the bucket. Ohio State, UConn, Kansas and many, many are subject to be entrenched with Wilcher’s recruitment.
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. 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. Washington is committed to North Carolina.
A lively wing who impacts winning a variety of facets. Runs the floor, rebounds with prominence and can speed up a game single handedly with his burst and intensity. Untapped two-way potential. Texas and Memphis are the lone schools notably standing out.
Kwame Evans Jr
A bouncy, long wing who excels getting to the rim and producing in transition. Untapped defensive potential with flashes forcing turnovers and causing leak outs. Developing handle for his size. Evans is supposed to be waiting for a Kentucky offer, and has taken off over the last week in terms of offers and recruiting traffic.
Taylor Bol Bowen
An explosive athlete with the length and motor to defend four positions. Long strides, a solid handle and wiry strength make Bowen a productive slasher, but has begun to flourish as a perimeter threat. A growing feel to find his spots makes Bowen one of the more enticing longterm prospects in the nation. UConn, Iowa, Oregon and Arkansas are heavily involved.
A hard-nosed bucket getter, Allen has a knack for getting to the rim and finishing through contact. His long arms, quickness, and high motor suggest Allen will be a high-level defender. Strong elevation and a smooth of the dribble scoring package comprise plenty of upside.
Rodgers is an explosive, powerful athlete with a growing polish to his game offensively and a noticeable toughness defensively. 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 extraordinarily crafty creator who thrives creating space off dribble moves. Different than most others, Dillingham is productive in the pick and roll but does not rely on it to create his own shot. Step backs, hop steps and hesitations comprise his isolation attack to go along with a deadly first step. His three-level touch is tangible and can thrive on spot ups. Flair and finesse finishing around the rim to go along with a palpable understanding of spacing and attacking seams makes the NC-native an extremely high-end long-term prospect. The Tar Heels appear to be the leader in the clubhouse.
Mac Irvin Fire
A narrow wing creator with a strong feel for the game and versatility as an offensive tool. A smooth, instinctual playmaker who puts a clear emphasis on playing low to the ground at 6-9. An advanced handle and premier touch finishing around the rim have been catalysts in his recent rise. Fits the mold of the highly-sought after, modern wing creator with high feel, shooting touch and the ability to lead the break to make plays for others.
Crafty 3-level shot creator with flair & grit defensively. Has the ability to both lead as a playmaker and bucket getter. Controls tempo, has strong change of pace and elevates shooters and rim runners around him. Polished, physically mature and a palpable understanding of the game. Illinois, Gonzaga, USC, Stanford and Arizona State are among those most heavily in pursuit.
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. 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. UCLA, Syracuse and Michigan among others are turning up the heat.
A powerful floor spacer who’s seen mass progression result in heightened attention. Physically mature with a natural ability to vertically space the floor as a lob threat and a growing perimeter skillset. A multi-faceted defender who can guard 4 positions, rebound and lead the break. Maryland, Illinois, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisville and a group of others are battling for Whitmore.
A physical backcourt creator with touch and a strong sense picking his spots as an intermediate and perimeter scorer. Plays through the chest of defenders while playing up a level at 17U. An extremely smooth floater game and enticing instincts creating shots as a PnR ball handler. Palpable feel to space the floor and looks to put his teammates to in spots to thrive. Recruitment has been quiet, but Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State among those supposedly involved.