IRVING, TEXAS – From players who don’t particularly need their last year of high school to excel at the next level to emerging stars there were plenty of revelations at the Nike EYBL’s opening weekend.
Here are a few of the takeaways.
Cole Anthony can be the No. 1 player in the country.
Not since 2008 when Brandon Jennings was patrolling the hardwood for Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) has a point guard finished in the top spot in the ESPN 100, but that all could change in the 2019 class with Anthony.
The PSA Cardinals (N.Y.) star was clearly out to make a statement this past weekend in Dallas, dominating all comers to the tune of 30.7 points, 10 rebounds, 4.7 assists and three steals per game.
And, yes, Anthony’s play this weekend was calculated.
When asked if his goal was to remain the No. 1 point guard in the country by the end of the summer, Anthony quickly responded, “No.”
“Not just the best point guard,” Anthony said. “The best player, period.”
It won’t be easy, current No. 1 player Bluff City Legends (Tenn.) forward James Wiseman and No. 2 player Nike Team Florida forward Vernon Carey Jr. turned in strong weekends in their own right, but Anthony’s play has certainly put him in serious contention.
Scottie Barnes’ motor has elevated.
Ask any college coach which skill they put they put the greatest premium on and the vast majority will tell you it’s the motor.
And, yes, having a motor, also known as unrelenting energy on both ends of the floor, is a skill.
A rare one.
Barnes has always been known for his motor, but this past weekend he put that motor into overdrive, wreaking havoc on the opposition in every way imaginable.
Barnes, who is ranked No. 5 overall in the ESPN 25 for 2020, played alongside Vernon Carey Jr., who is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 60 for 2019, and managed to lead the team, averaging 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Barnes’ motor is just one of the skills in his repertoire; at 6-foot-7 he can play all five positions and guard all five positions effectively.
Good luck stopping that.
James Wiseman doesn’t need another year of high school.
Let’s start here: Wiseman has consistently said that he will not be reclassifying from 2019 to 2018 despite random rumors to the contrary.
That said, in the same way that Marvin Bagley III didn’t need to stay in high school and subsequently reclassified from 2018 to 2017, Wiseman is in the same boat.
He only averaged around 10 shots per game this past weekend, (much too low) but he was efficient with his opportunities, averaging 18 points and shooting 59 percent from the field.
From feel to skill to effort it’s clear he’s superior to the vast majority of the players in his class.
No, that doesn’t mean he “should” reclassify; it means he could leave this year and be an extremely productive freshman next season.
Scotty Pippen Jr is in for a big summer.
Let’s just call it what it is, as the son of a legend like Scottie Pippen, Scotty Jr. has all the pressure in the world on him to perform.
Who else has their Hall of Fame dad barking orders from the sidelines during games?
Despite said pressure, Scotty Jr. managed to lead the Oakland Soldiers (Calif.) in scoring, pumping in 19.8 points per game. He picked up right where he left off this high school season when he helped Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) win a state title.
The most impressive aspect of Scotty Jr.’s game is his poise, whether he’s breaking his defender down off the dribble or draining an NBA three-pointer, he plays at his own pace and picks his spots well.
At this rate, his stock will only continue to rise.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY