Okafor the waterboy, Lindsey headed to Huntington.
HAMPTON, Va. –
Here are five things we learned from the second session of Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in Hampton, Va.
1. Okafor doesn’t have to play to make an impact.
For the second consecutive weekend, Mac Irvin Fire (Chicago) center Jahlil Okafor sat out nursing a sprained ankle, but he didn’t let that stop him from helping his team out.
Okafor was up limping over to the water cooler filling up cups for every teammate that came off the court during every game. When he wasn’t playing the role of waterboy, Okafor, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA first teamer from Whitney Young (Chicago), was playing the role of assistant coach.
“They weren’t really listening to me when I was calling plays though,” Okafor joked. “I hate that I can’t play so I just like to be involved. I love the game, man. I tried to go, but when I tested it out earlier in the morning, it wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to risk hurting it worse. I’m hoping it will be better for the third session.”
2. Lindsey is headed to Huntington Prep.
Southern Stampede (Ga.) small foward Jalen Lindsey won’t be suiting up for Christ Presbyterian Academy (Franklin, Tenn.) next season. Instead, Lindsey, who is ranked No. 17 in the ESPN 60, confirmed that he will join Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.).
Lindsey averaged 19.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks last season.
The Express finished at No. 7 in the USA Today HSS Super 25.
3. The presence of college coaches offered little intimidation.
After last week’s first session in Los Angeles, players in the EYBL got used to seeing hundreds of college coaches line the sidelines and fill the bleachers.
“It’s just another tournament that they can come to,” Expressions Elite (Boston) guard Jared Terrell said. “You definitely know that they’re there, but as far as it making us nervous; I don’t think that’s happening.”
That was the general consensus among the players.
Team Texas Elite forward Elijah Thomas even made the case that the coaches “could be the more nervous ones.”
“So many coaches want so many of the same players,” Thomas said. “Maybe they’re nervous about whether they’ll get who they want. Who knows.”
4. Abu is a warrior.
Expressions Elite forward Abdul-Malik Abu is one of those players who’s necessary; meaning you need him on the court to give yourself the best chance to win the game.
He does it all and plays with a motor that remains on the “go hard” level. Abu finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s nightcap win over the Alabama Challenge with coaches from North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Georgia, Miami and Missouri, among others, looking on.
“I just try and do the little things to help my team win,” Abu said. “Whatever it takes.”
5. Briscoe is on a mission.
NJ Playaz combo guard Isaiah Briscoe isn’t OK with being ranked No. 24 in the ESPN 25, and he’s doing something about it.
In a tournament full of elite guards who have the exceptional ability to break defenders down and get into the lane, Briscoe may be the best. He averaged 29.5 points during the second session.
EYBL beware; Briscoe is on a mission.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY