UPDATE: Royce Hamm, formerly of Houston Hoops, has joined Nike Pro Skills for the remainder of the NIKE EYBL circuit.
Following some early disappointments during the first two weekends, Pro Skills bounced back with two straight wins against Takeover and defending champ Georgia Stars. They stake their claim with a handful of 3-4 teams in Division B vying for the second slot behind league-leading Howard Pulley. Not a team that will light up the scoreboard, Pro Skills has managed to win with a lineup prominently featuring guards. All three of their wins have been close and they’ve remained competitive in every game but one, so head coach Jeff Webster should feel decent about his squad’s standing after two sessions.
Mitchell Robinson, the defending Defensive Player of the Session, has been nothing short of a dominant force on the interior for Pro Skills, and it is hard to imagine where this team would be without his hustle and smarts on both ends of the floor. Along with posting an absurd four and a half blocks every game, Robinson has also stepped up as the team’s leading and most efficient scoring option, shooting 74.5% from the floor. If this team can add more wins, Robinson would be a sure-fire Most Valuable Player candidate.
While Pro Skills lacks a true point guard, a big man like Robinson manning the middle has allowed a bit more flexibility with how they play their backcourt. So far, Curtis Hollis, who re-joined Pro Skills in Indianapolis after running with them in 2015, and Jarrett Culver have complemented each other well with their abilities to slash to the hoop and snipe from the perimeter, respectively, and both found a consistent rhythm. Another long-range bomber, Dexter Johnson, also began to heat up in Indy, and if all three can get on the same page this offense will be electric. Look for the trio of Marco Anthony, Caleb Daniels and Elijah Elliott to elevate their games in sessions three and four. Royce Hamm, who makes his way over from Houston Hoops, gives Pro Skills another big body inside who should make valuable contributions.
Having a dominant interior presence has been a proven winning formula for teams in the past, and Robinson has been arguably the best two-way player in the EYBL so far this season. That being said, the guards will need to continue to score in bunches and shoot a better percentage all around, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to find another guy to grab more than a handful of boards every game. They have a very favorable schedule remaining, and will need to lock up wins quickly to feel comfortable about their Peach Jam chances.