Nike EYBL now in it's eighth year, opened the 2017 season in Hampton, Virginia for session one. Forty teams featuring some of the best young talent in high school from around the country came to Boo Williams Sports Complex to do battle. Three local teams Boo Williams (VA), Team Melo (Baltimore) and Team Takeover (DC) opened play here is how things unfolded.
Boo Williams - (4-0/ Defeated Nike South Beach (FL) 77-53/ Defeated UPLAY Canada 70-53/ Defeated Southern Stampede (GA) 75-58/ Defeated Team United (NC) 73-62 )
Boo Williams guard Keldon Johnson (above) was the star of stars during session one in leading Boo to an undefeated run. Johnson did it all, averaging 25.2 points and 9.2 rebounds including a high of 34 points against Nike South Beach to take home session one MVP honors. Wing Aundre Hyatt (12.8 ppg) and class of 2021 stud point guard Zion Harmon (7.8 ppg) helped pace Boo Williams. Johnson will clearly be a problem for opponents, however, with their balanced attack and if they stay consistent up front, Boo will be threats to win it all come Peach Jam time.
Team Melo - (1-3/ Lost to CIA Bounce 45-43/ Defeated Team CP3 67-58/ Lost to Team Takeover 52-47/ Lost to BABC 71-56)
Team Melo had a rocky start to EYBL play to say the least going 1-3 in Hampton. While offensively Melo executed well shooting 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep, they lost close games on the boards. Opponents out rebounded Team Melo 128-110 including a 56-36 difference on the offensive boards during session one. Hard to close out games with that happening. Despite their flaws, Team Melo also had some bright spots. Success of any kind for Team Melo will start with guard Noah Locke (above). Locke established himself as one of the most efficient guards on the circuit, averaging a team high 16.5 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent shooting from three point range. His shooting has open things up for back court mate Brendan Adams (9 ppg) and versatile big Laquill Hardnette (7.8 ppg) who is shooting an incredible 73 percent from the field. If Team Melo can correct their rebounding issues, the wins will follow.
Team Takeover - (2-2/ Defeated Southern Stampede 79-75/ Lost to BABC 67-60/ Defeated Team Melo 52-47/ Lost to Team CP3 80-67)
Team Takeover scrapped their way to a 2-2 record during session one behind the steady inside play of highly touted forward Jalen Smith. Smith (above) averaged 9.8 points on 68 percent shooting from the field and 5.8 rebounds per game, both team highs. That's about as efficient as it got for Takeover as they shot 41 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep. Whats been keeping Team Takeover in games is spurts of tremendous defense where they absolutely shut down opponents, thanks in part to guards Tre Wood, Anthony Harris and Xavier Johnson on ball pressure. They finished 2-2 shooting horribly, the shots will eventually fall and if they keep up the intense defense that they showed in Hampton, they will have a lot to say about who advance late in the summer during Peach Jam.