Here are five things to consider headed into the fourth and final session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League’s regular season in Minneapolis which runs from May 22-25.
Can CP3 remain on top?
Chris Paul has more than one team thriving in May; his AAU team, CP3 All Stars (N.C.), currently sits atop the Nike EYBL standings with an 11-1 record through three sessions.
Their only loss came against the Georgia Stars (9-3), and with four games left headed into EYBL Minneapolis, CP3 star Harry Giles III, the EYBL’s leading rebounder (10.5 per game), is confident that they can close out the regular season with an undefeated session.
“I think we’re just more focused on what we’ve got to do,” said Giles, who is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 60. “I feel like we get better every session on the EYBL and with this being the last one we really want to finish strong. I feel like that will set us up for a strong run when we get to Peach Jam in July.”
Second place is crowded.
Right now seven teams – Arkansas Wings, Mokan Elite (Kan.), St. Louis Eagles, Houston Hoops, Team Takeover (Washington, D.C.), Georgia Stars and E1T1 (Fla.) – are holding strong at the No. 2 spot.
With seedings on the line for the Nike Peach Jam in July each team will be trying to separate itself from the pack.
As competitive as this season has been, staying on the top tier will likely mean going undefeated.
Who can get it done?
Will Gary Trent Jr. claim the scoring title?
Good luck trying to take the EYBL regular-season scoring title from Howard Pulley (Minn.) guard Gary Trent Jr.
Here’s a guy who scored, count ‘em, 43 points on 14 of 21 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in a win over the Kentucky Travelers at EYBL’s Houston session.
The best part?
He only needed 21 minutes to get that done.
You owe it to yourself to reread the last three sentences.
Trent is averaging 23.9 points per game through the first three sessions and St. Louis Eagles forward Jayson Tatum is on his heels, pumping in 22.2 points a game.
Can Trent carry his scoring barrage over to Minneapolis to claim the scoring crown?
Time to put Trae Young in the No. 1 PG conversation.
Mokan Elite forward Michael Porter Jr. tried to tell us after the first session in Hampton, Va.
Porter, who is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 25, said that his AAU teammate Trae Young was the best point guard in the 2017 class.
Turns out it wasn’t a biased opinion; Young has backed up that claim all AAU season.
He took it to another level in Houston averaging 25.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals in four games.
Young scores in every way imaginable, manages to keep his teammates motivated and involved and plays the passing lanes like a seasoned free safety.
He’s played as well as any point guard, regardless of class, this summer.
Omari Spellman keeping PSA in strong contention
The PSA Cardinals (N.Y.) would have to be on anyone’s shortlist of teams that have what it takes to claim the Peach Jam crown come July thanks, in large part, to super-active forward Omari Spellman.
Spellman was a manchild in the paint in Houston averaging 12.5 points, 13.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game to help PSA finish 3-1.
Overall they’re 8-4 and tied for second in Division A.
Can Spellman stay in beast mode?
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY