There were many dominant performances in Minneapolis, but none was better than the way Harry Giles’ ended his season. The MVP candidate dazzled in an overtime win over Team Final, a win that ultimately locked up the EYBL Regular Season title for Team CP3. Giles finished with 29 points, 20 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the win, and it sounds strange to say, but he was more productive than his stats indicate. ESPN’s No. 2 ranked player in the 2016 class does the little things, an aspect of his game that helped him earn the “special” label. He was certainly special against Team Final - and clutch as well. Giles sank two free-throws with .2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Much like best performance, there were numerous contenders for this award. We decided to go with The Family guard Corey Allen, mainly because he stepped up when his squad needed him the most. Needing a few wins to lock up a Peach Jam berth, The Family was without star guard Cassius Winston. Corey Allen, along with Brailen Neely and Amauri Hardy, stepped up big time. Allen played better than he ever has, contributing a scoring punch that is usually provided by Winston. Allen’s outburst gives The Family another viable scoring option in the backcourt - one that was already loaded with talent.
Harry Giles won best performance in this matchup, due in large part to how highly-competitive this game was. It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the whole game, but Team CP3 had to withstand a fierce Team Final flurry as the game concluded. Lamar Stevens got a strip, steal and slam in transition, getting fouled in the process. He knocked down the free throw to put Team Final up by two points, but Giles got fouled, channeling the ice in his veins to knock down two free throws with .2 seconds left. Both teams wanted this win badly, and watching it unfold was a treat for all fans in attendance. Team CP3 took home the win and the EYBL Regular Season Championship in the process. We’ll analyze the top matchups of the season, but this very well may have been the best matchup of the year.
BABC took home the award in Houston and certainly earned it in session four, but the King James Shooting Stars got the nod. Four teams went 5-0 in Minneapolis (King James, Athletes First, BABC, Georgia Stars), but KJSS looked to be on another level. Steve Wright’s squad has shown flashes of brilliance through the first three sessions, and they put everything together in Minneapolis. They were lifted by strong sessions by their entire rotation, especially Jarron Cumberland, Xavier Simpson and Derek Funderburk. They passed every eye test that you can conduct in Minneapolis, and truly have the look of a Championship contender.
Mac Irvin needed four wins to clinch a Peach Jam berth. Thanks to Zach Norvell’s savviness, they stole a win against the Wings. With a few seconds remaining and down two points, Norvell caught the inbounds pass, catching, turning and shooting in one motion. The defender couldn’t slow down in time, decking Norvell and earning him three free throws. Norvell stepped up and sank all three, lifting the Fire over the Wings and getting them one step closer to Peach Jam. Endings like this don’t happen very often, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time for the Fire.