Brad Beal Elite put together another impressive regular season, finishing second in Division A with an 11-5 record. Head coach Corey Frazier implemented a well-balanced nine-man rotation, headlined by EYBL veterans EJ Liddell and Francis Okoro. St. Louis’ EYBL representative had one of the more difficult regular season schedules, finishing 4-5 against Peach Jam competition. BBE played in eight games that were decided by seven points or less, winning four and losing four. They hold a 92-70 win over the Playaz, the only pool play opponent that BBE faced during the regular season. On paper, they match up very well with the rest of Pool B. Provided they stay healthy, anything short of a bracket-play finish should be considered a disappointment for this talented bunch.
While sophomore Moses Moody (15.3 PPG) leads BBE in scoring, Liddell and Okoro are the most experienced members of the roster and ultimately the most crucial to their potential Peach Jam success. Liddell (247 Composite No. 60) averaged 14.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 16 games, while Okoro (247 Composite No. 39) - an Oregon verbal-commitment, put up averages of 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. Liddell is an athletic four man with budding offensive skills, while Okoro operates strictly in the paint. There aren’t many frontcourt tandems that can match the length, athleticism and experience of Liddell and Okoro, and it’s fair to expect them to beast out in July.
The aforementioned Moody (247 No. 26) exploded onto the scene this spring, earning All-Underclassmen honors en route to a terrific spring campaign. Moody knocked down 43 triples in 16 games, almost three times more than the next closest player on the roster. Don’t be fooled - Moody is not just a shooter. The 6-foot-5 North Little Rock (AR) high school product defends, attacks the basket and is terrific in transition. Freshman Zion Harmon, already a three-year EYBL veteran, joined BBE after session one. Harmon (ESPN No. 8) averaged 8.0 points, 2.8 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 12 games for BBE, operating as the only member of the backcourt with Peach Jam experience (2017 with Boo Williams). Juniors Mario McKinney and Yuri Collins play big minutes for Frazier, and both juniors bring something different to the table. McKinney (247 No. 132) is a ferocious scoring guard, while Collins (247 3-star) led the team with 5.2 assists per game. Collins operates the offense with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and he should continue his run of high-major offers in July. Junior Keyyaun Batchman will see time off the bench, providing depth and another perimeter shooter - nine of his 16 field goals were three-pointers.
If foul trouble isn’t an issue, it’s rare that Okoro and Liddell will leave the court. BBE will need them to be their highly-productive selves, and they’ll need improved production from their bench. A pair of juniors - Terrence Hargrove Jr. and Josh Wallace - complete BBE’s four-man frontcourt rotation. A 6-foot-7 wing verbally-committed to Saint Louis, Hargrove is a long, athletic option off the bench for BBE. Hargrove (247 3-star) averaged 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds on 57% shooting, including a 17-point, 7-rebound performance in the season finale against MEBO. The 6-foot-6 Wallace plays more of an enforcer role for BBE, and his efficiency (76.3 FG%) will be needed off the bench for Frazier and company. Wallace chips in 3.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and a block per game on average, and he’ll be relied upon if Okoro or Liddell can’t stay on the court.
Top to bottom, there aren’t many teams at Peach Jam that boast a rotation like Brad Beal Elite. They played undefeated Team Takeover down to the wire, proving they are among the league’s elite. They’ll be favorites in every pool play game except against AOT, so it’s safe to say it’s bracket play-or-bust for BBE in 2018. They have the pieces necessary to make a deep run, and if they can get improved production from the likes of McKinney, Harmon and Hargrove, a Peach Jam crown is not out of the question.