Hoops Heaven in SoCal for consecutive weekends

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Southern California will be the boys “grassroots basketball capital of the country” over this and next weekend.

*The Nike/EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) will hold its fourth and final spring session this weekend, with the 17s divisions on Saturday and Sunday at the Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks (1011 Rancho Conejo Blvd.).

Forty games, spread over four courts, will be played each day. They begin at 8 a.m. and the final set is scheduled to tip off at 9:30 in the evening.

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Tre Jones & Howard Pulley top EYBL weekend

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – After the conclusion of the third of the four Nike EYBL weekends, only one of the league’s 40 teams stands with a single loss in 12 games.

That’s the Minnesota-based Howard Pulley squad, which Sunday morning rolled to the fourth victory in as many games that it played over the weekend at the Lakepoint Sporting Community Champions Center.

Howard Pulley toppled Houston Hoops Sunday, 100-77, to push the average margin of victory in its four weekend victories to 17.8 points.

Not at all surprisingly, the driving force for the team continued to be Tre Jones (Apple Valley, MN).

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BABC in stunning buzzer-beating EYBL win Saturday

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Saturday’s Day II of the third session of the 2017 Nike EYBL season featured the league’s usual display of elite prospects and some down-to-the-wire results from among the 40 games played in the Lakefront Sporting Community Champions Center.

First to some of the remarkable finishes:

*With his team trailing the Boston Area Basketball Club (BABC) 74-73, Nike Team Florida forward Vernon Carey was fouled with 3.5 seconds to play in regulation on his way to the basketball.

After a timeout called by BABC Coach Leo Papile, the left-handed, 6-foot-9 and 240-poundish junior-to-be from University in Ft.

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Friday night EYBL action rundown in Georgia

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Night 1 of the third session of the 2017 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) was highlighted by some terrific jump shooting performances and the first loss in nine games for MOKAN Elite program.

The last of the EYBL unbeatens, MOKAN (made up of players from Missouri and Kansas) had eked its way through some tight affairs during the sessions in Hampton, VA, and Indianapolis.

But, despite another strong performance from Jontay Porter (11 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots), MOKAN couldn’t get over the hump against Southern Stampede, 54-53.

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CP3 Memorial Weekend tourney set for the O.C.

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The CP3 Memorial Day Classic is set for May 26-28 at the Next Level facility in Garden Grove.

There will be competition in the 16s, 15s and 14s divisions.

Regional club program directors and coaches interested in the event, should go to http://www.madehoops.com/CP3MDC.

 

BurlisonOnBasketball all-junior selections

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The identity of the 2016-17 BurlisonOnBasketball Southern California Most Outstanding Junior shouldn’t exactly come as any kind of seismographic shock to anyone who follows high school hoops anywhere it’s played.

Marvin Bagley III’s dazzling play helped lead Chatsworth Sierra Canyon High to the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division playoff bracket and a Top 5 or so national ranking for much of the season.

Sierra’s Canyon’s season ended well short of the expectations that had been set in place for it going into a campaign in which the Trailblazers returned four starters (Bagley was ineligible after transferring to the school in January of 2016) from a team that lost to Chino Hills in the 2016 CIF Southern Section Open championship game.

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Standouts galore at 2nd IEBP Spring Showcase

SAN BERNARDINO, Ca. – The second annual Inland’s Finest Spring Basketball Showcase, presented by the Inland Empire Basketball Program (IEBP), was held Sunday at San Bernardino Valley College.

And the event is now 2-for-2 in attracting many – of not most ­– of the best players in the Inland-Empire area (generally speaking, encompassing Riverside and San Bernardino counties).

OK, so a rundown on the six games played at the evening (games each for middle-schoolers, ninth-, 10th-and 12th graders, and two for 11th-graders), from start to finish:

*In the first game, the blue jersey-wearing lads outlasted their white-wearing counterparts, 62-56.

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MOKAN Elite 8-0 in EYBL behind the “other” Porter

WESTFIELD, Ind. – The second weekend of the 2017 edition of Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) wrapped up Sunday afternoon in the Jonathan Byrd Field House.

And, after eight games apiece, only one of the 40 EYBL programs participating on the “17s” level remains unbeaten.

That’s the situation after MOKAN (Missouri and Kansas; got it?) Elite held off Team Penny (based in Memphis), 56-53, while at-the-time-unbeaten Boo Williams (based in Virginia) was toppled by Team CP3 (Chris Paul), 75-68.

The Chris Neff-coached MOKAN Elite squad needed an offensive goal-tending call against Team Penny to keep the scored from being deadlocked in the closing moments.

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UAA hoops offer respite to nasty Saturday weather

FISHERS, IN – I spent just about 15 ½ hours in the Best Choice Field House Saturday for Day II of the second weekend of the Under Armour Association spring and summer schedule.

It was 20-plus games (spread over the 17s, 16s and 15s divisions) of mostly full-throttle action from Under Armour’s contribution to the “shoe and apparel company”-funded (along with Nike and adidas) grassroots hoops scene.

None of that action, though, was nearly as nail-biting and stress-inducing as the 30 minutes it took me to drive from the gym to my hotel in Carmel through a lightning storm the likes of which we don’t experience often in Southern California.

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Superb 2018 PGs on display at EYBL Friday night

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Night 1 of weekend 2 of the 2017 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) proved a nice platform for some of the better point guards in the Class of 2018.

I watched at least one half of six of the 20 games played Friday night in the seven-court Jonathan Byrd Field House in this suburb of Indianapolis.

So my sample size, of course, was only 30 percent of what was played Friday night.

That conceded, the aforementioned 2018 point guards that I watched played quite well were:

*Xavier Castaneda (Chicago Whitney Young) scored 10 points to go with five assists as seven Meanstreets players scored from eight to 14 points in its 79-78 victory Pro Skills;

*Nick Honor (Orlando Lake Highland Prep) had 13 points and eight assists – without a turnover – as Each 1 Teach 1 rolled past Mississippi Express, 95-69;

*Darius Garland (Nashville, TN, Brentwood Academy) scored 32 points (11 of 17 from the field, including a 3, and nine for nine on free throws) with five assists, two steals and three turnovers in Bradley Beal Elite’s 86-81 decisions against Nike Team Florida;

*Marcus Zegarowski (Hamilton, MA, Tilton) had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists as Expressions Elite pulled away from the Portland Basketball Club, 73-60, and;

*Spencer Freedman (Santa Ana, CA, Mater Dei) went for 17 points, eight assists and two steals while California Supreme overwhelmed Team Final, 84-64.

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Meet Frank
Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

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“I’ve known Frank since he was a student at Long Beach State and no writer ever worked harder at studying and understanding basketball. When I was coaching I always put more stock into what he said about (high school) players than anyone I knew. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best there is at evaluating the potential of basketball players.”
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame and NCAA Championship Winning Coach

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