Here are five things we learned from the second session of the Nike EYBL.
Back to full strength
Power forward James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian) has returned for Boo Williams after being out about eight weeks with a reported wrist injury. He looked good on many possessions and made some great plays off the dribble along the baseline, where he has continued to develop his small forward skills, but is still currently a face-up four man. It was great to see the future Tarheel show signs of his old self. Expect McAdoo to be back to form by the third session in Los Angeles. It is also important to note that McAdoo and Dorian Smith (Suffolk, Va./Norcom) are high major forwards that play well together. Their talent, size and skill make these two young players special and give Boo Williams tons of offensive options.
Focusing on defense
Everyone knows about Nick Johnson's (Gilbert, Ariz./Findlay Prep) freaky athletic ability and how he makes highlights on the fast break, but he is also a very intense defender. He uses his strength and lateral foot speed to pressure the ball full court. It was great to see an elite player like Johnson make defense a priority and use his athletic ability in more than one way and be a factor on both ends of the floor.
Important decision for Wilbekin
Scottie Wilbekin (Gainesville, Fla./The Rock School), who is expected to complete high school early and sign with the Florida Gators, is very much improved. He has added about 25 pounds and his confidence and swagger on the court is tremendous. He may not be a star for the Gators, but he will provide them with a lead guard that possess a high basketball IQ, can run the team, get others involved and makes open shots. He also is an excellent defender that is alert in the passing lanes. He will provide Billy Donovan with a steady hand at the point position.
It is also important to note that Wilbekin could wait and go back to become part of the 2011 class. He has until graduation to make things final, but all signs point to him joining the Gators for 2010. It is great to see a kid have these options not only because he is a good kid and player, but most importantly a good student.
Making a case for No. 1
Austin Rivers (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) is making a push for the top spot in the Class of 2011. He was simply dominant on the offensive end of the floor. He can score every way possible and his confidence and swagger is unshakeable at this point. Rivers plays in full attack mode and goes at defenders relentlessly. When it comes to attacking off the dribble, Rivers and Marquis Teague (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) are at the top of the list.
Love of the game
All the travel teams of the league have great young talent, but these travel coaches are very impressive as well. They are always prepared, organized, have a game plan and you see them scouting there next opponent in between games. These guys are passionate basketball junkies.
• Nino Jackson (Ardmore, Okla./Ardmore) showed off his ability to score the basketball throughout the weekend. The 2012 commit handles the ball well and can create off the dribble for himself or a teammate. Jackson also showed toughness by not letting his 6-2, 175-pound body get pushed around by some of the bigger guards he faced off against. With added strength, Jackson will continue to develop on both ends of the court.
"[Kansas is] my school. That's where I want to go," said Jackson, who will be attending KU's Elite Camp in early June.
• Ky Madden (Lepanto, Ark./East Poinsett County) utilizes his long frame well, which helps him score in bunches during short stretches. He showed the ability to run his Arkansas Wings team at the point guard position, which is something he has been working to develop, but he also showed the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers and shots behind the arc. Defensively, Madden will need to continue to get stronger in order to keep his man from getting into the lane. His length is great for disrupting the passing lanes, but by adding strength to his long frame, Madden will become a much better defender. Currently, Madden's offer list includes Arkansas, Villanova, Memphis, Ole Miss and Baylor, among others.
• Jabari Brown (Oakland, Calif./Oakland) shot well from both behind the arc and from mid-range. He's not long, but is strong and uses his strength to create space against defenders. Brown is also a frustrating defender for opponents who can't match up with his size and strength. He also showed the ability to rebound from his guard position, which helped create multiple fast break opportunities for his Drew Gooden Soldiers team. Brown is currently being recruited by a host of Pac-10 teams, including Cal, Stanford and UCLA. Kansas is also on Brown's list and he will also be attending KU's Elite Camp.
• Crafty might be the best way to describe Trevor Lacey (Huntsville, Ala./S.R. Butler). While most eyes might have been focused on Rivers when Each 1 Teach 1 took the court, many started paying close attention to Lacey as he scored in bunches. Lacey showed off multiple ways to score the basketball throughout the weekend with his ability to shoot off the dribble, get to the rim or catch and shoot. Lacey would often give himself a heat check from 3, and if he was hot, the opponent was in trouble. Lacey was hot most of the weekend and turned close games into a comfortable lead within a few minutes. Memphis, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida, among others currently make up Lacey's list.
• Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston/Strake Jesuit College Prep) showed a variety of offensive skills throughout the weekend. The 6-2 shooting guard kept his Houston Hoops team, that was without point guard L.J. Rose (Houston/Second Baptist), in games throughout the weekend with his terrific shooting. Sulaimon was great from behind the arc, off the dribble and terrific without the ball, as he worked his way off screens to get his shot. Texas A&M and Memphis, among others are interested in Sulaimon already.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to '90 and was an All-MAC first-teamer in his senior season.