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NIKE EYBL Team Preview: The Rens (NY)

By D1 Circuit Staff, 04/12/16, 4:45PM EDT

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Team Information:


LOCATIONBrookyln, NY

DIRECTOR: Andy Borman

2015 EYBL RECORD: Won adidas Uprising Gauntlet

KEY RETURNEES: Jose Alvarado

2015 Recap:


The RENS is making their NIKE EYBL debut, fresh off an adidas Uprising Gauntlet Championship in 2015. Director Andy Borman assembled a well-oiled machine, headlined by Arizona commit Rawle Alkins and Auburn commit Mustapha Heron. Eight RENS' players in the 2016 class have committed to Division I colleges, proving the team is a pipeline for a free education at the highest level of basketball.

2016 Outlook:


The move to the EYBL will definitely be an adjustment for the New York City-based RENS, but the team will have the luxury of relying on top-notch talent to guide it through the circuit. The backcourt is especially strong, headlined by superstar junior Hamidou Diallo (ESPN No. 11). The RENS features a rotation entirely of juniors, making it one of the more disciplined and mature squads on the circuit. The team is one of four new programs and should find success in its first year, evidenced by an undefeated showing at the Playaz' Spring Fling - its second straight year taking that crown.

The Star(s):


The aforementioned Diallo is an instant All-EYBL candidate. The 6-foot-5 combo guard combines explosive athleticism with a controlled aggressiveness, and his steady play should open up the floor for the rest of RENS' rotation. Diallo put together an MVP performance for the RENS at the Spring Fling, highlighted by strong performances over We-R-1 and New Heights. His game is dynamic and his dunks are explosive. Simply put, there aren't too many defenders who will be able to compete with the Putnam Science Academy product. Diallo decided to join the RENS late in the process, and his addition to an already solid squad could catapult it into Peach Jam contenders.

The Sleeper(s):


While Jose Alvarado isn't a sleeper to grassroots diehards, he is a relative unknown on the national scene. Expect that to change after Session 1. Alvarado will be defending his home turf with his teammates, and the pass-heavy point guard will have plenty of weapons to work with. The 6-foot Christ the King product has a handful of high-major offers, and they should continue to roll in with his steady play. In the frontcourt, 7-footer Chris Efretuei will have a chance to make a name for himself. This year's EYBL features talented big men on every roster, and the Park School center should open some eyes if he can contribute without fouling.

The Supporting Cast:


A strong roster is necessary when debuting in the EYBL, and the RENS brings one of the deepest rotations on the circuit. In the backcourt alongside Diallo and Alvarado are Jordan Tucker and Jordan Nwora - and they share a lot more than just a first name. Both are listed at 6-foot-8 and are gifted shooters from beyond the arc. And both hold double-digit scholarship offers. On top of that, they are EYBL veterans, with Tucker starring for the NY Lightning in 2015 and Nwora splitting time with the Albany City Rocks and Expressions Elite. Samson George, also 6-foot-8, gives the RENS a true power forward alongside Efretuei. Throw in Mt. Vernon trio Noah Morgan (6-foot-6), Greg Calixte (6-foot-9) and Marco Moreny (6-foot-2) and Riverdale guard Jake Klores, and RENS has a very deep and talented roster.

The X-Factor:


The RENS are ready for the EYBL and clearly have the talent to compete. They should be able to score with the best teams, but success will come down to Diallo and the backcourt. If RENS can efficiently play small and outscore their opponents, they can compete with the top squads on the circuit behind Diallo’s star power. He is ranked highly for a reason, and there is no basis to believe his talent won't translate at the highest level. Expect the RENS to compete for a Peach Jam berth and become contenders in Division C.

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