Simply put, Jordan Ford was cooking this weekend. Coming off a 2014 EYBL season in which he deferred to his elite teammates, Ford is now the “guy” for the Soldiers and he quickly cemented himself as one of the top guards on the circuit. His handles are jaw-dropping and his ability to create off the dribble opens things up for the entire Soldiers squad. It’s evident the 6-foot-2 junior has been working on his shot, resulting in him shooting (percent) from the field. Ford is one of those players that is relatively unassuming to the naked eye, but he will quickly make you look foolish if you overlook him.
First and foremost, Stevens is incredibly underrated. If there are 20 players better than him in the 2016 class, we’d like to see them. The 6-foot-7-combo guard showed off his full arsenal this weekend, proving that he is one of the best rebounding guards in the country. He has a college-ready body and used his physical attributes perfectly this weekend, crashing the boards at will and excelling in transition. He is a cool customer on the court, always remaining even-keeled as he goes about his business. Pair his physical abilities with his on-court energy, and Stevens is a threat to match this production in every session moving forward.
Miles Bridges mentioned to us last week that his junior year was focused on transitioning to a guard. He may be labeled as a guard now, but his production has never been better in all facets of the game. His ability to play above the rim came into play numerous times this weekend, resulting in a plethora of ferocious dunks and rejections on the defensive end. He plays with fire and it’s evident his teammates enjoy sharing the court with him, as they are the primary benefactors of the defensive attention Bridges demands. Knowing Miles, he would definitely tell you he’d trade his Hampton production for two more wins, yet another reason why he’s one of the most coveted recruits in the country.
The 17U EYBL got introduced to MOKAN point-forward Michael Porter Jr this weekend, and boy did he deliver. The super-sophomore blends elite length, athleticism and basketball IQ, resulting in one of the most promising prospects in the nation. He plays every game like he’s battling for a roster spot, an intangible that puts him on another level when combined with his other skills. He’s an improving shooter and can break you down off the dribble, which allows for him to score and dish the rock with the best them. His first four games were definitely memorable, and we are extremely fortunate that he’ll be doing his thing on the circuit for the next two years.
Nick Ward is one of the only true centers in the league, and he left Hampton as the only player to average a double-double. Although All Ohio Red struggled a bit in the opening session, they would have been in a lot more trouble if Ward didn’t have an excellent four games. He combines his brute physique with natural rebounding ability and a plus-motor. Judging by his outstanding junior season at Gahnna Lincoln and his opening four games, Ward is a contender to land on this list every time out.
Brown got his third EYBL season off to a terrific start, transitioning into the team leader for BABC. He is as consistent as they come and his continued production will be crucial for BABC’s success moving forward.
The 5-foot-2 junior put on a show in Hampton, scoring 29 points in the opener against Team Penny, a game Team CP3 likely loses without his production. He quickly became a fan favorite and will no longer sneak up on teams as the season progresses.
Spiece Indy Heat may have struggled in session 1, but it had nothing to do with Walker's play. The 2014 EYBL veteran was very impressive in his second season debut, putting up elite point guard numbers through four games.
Ponds is quickly rising up the recruiting boards, and he displayed why in Hampton. Director Dana Dingle projected he would surprise quickly with his scoring ability, but he was equally as impressive as a defender. If you haven’t seen him play, you should change that quickly.
Trent Jr. is an elite scorer, and that’s exactly what he did through the first four games. Howard Pulley needs a leader, and the 6-foot-5 sophomore stepped up by hitting a game-winning three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left to lift Pulley over South Beach.
Bolden was in a complimentary role last year for the Titans. Now, he’s one of the best post players in the country. His physical tools and footwork have scouts drooling, and we finally got a glimpse of how good he can be if he’s featured in an offense.
O’Bannon is one of seven sophomores on the Prospects, but he’s playing well beyond his years. He had to defer to his elders this year at Bishop Gorman, but the combo guard made it clear how productive he can be if he’s in a feature role.