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April 27, 2013
HAMPTON, Va. -- The Boo Williams session of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League started on Friday night with high-level matchups between some of the Swoosh's most talented traveling clubs. A line of college coaches flooded the Boo Williams Sportsplex eager to get one more weekend of evaluations in before the NCAA live recruiting period ends on Sunday afternoon. With one day of the second session of the Nike EYBL completed, here is who stood out the most and even some high school transfer information on one of the event's most high-profile prospects.
After Wisconsin Playground Elite's loss to the Kentucky Travelers on Friday night, none of the many media members who bombarded 2014 five-star Rashad Vaughn with questions wanted to ask him where he'll be going to college or how he thought he played. Instead, those media members all had the same thing on their minds: Where will Vaughn be going to high school for his senior season?
The Minneapolis native has been heavily implicated in rumors that he'll be transferring to a prep school for his final high school go-around. While Vaughn refused public comment and said that the decision will not be announced this weekend (as many had thought it would), he was considering several prep schools. Those include Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, the school that most of the rumors have swirled around since late Thursday night when H-Prep made the key addition of four-star wing Jalen Lindsey.
After having to repeat himself multiple times in refusing to answer transfer questions, Vaughn was more than happy to switch the focus to recruiting. The 6-foot-5 guard, fresh off a 21-point performance in the loss, told the media that while he hasn't narrowed his list he is considering doing that soon.
Additionally, Vaughn has been tying up the phone lines in Minnesota with calls to Kentucky. He has developed a strong relationship with Wildcats assistant coach Orlando Antigua.
"I talked to (head coach John Calipari) about a month ago. I talk to Orlando a lot, about every couple weeks or so," Vaughn said. "They came in during the high school season to talk to me. Coach Cal told me that they like me. He's told me about their style of play and that they get up and down."
While Vaughn said he didn't think he played one of his better all-around games on Friday night, the five-star guard finished as the game's high scorer, finishing plays strong off of two feet around the rim through contact, knocking down midrange, pull-up jumpers and showing fluid maneuverability in transition settings.
As the 2015 class begins to establish itself, it's going to be harder to find more than a handful of guys with more talent than Haitian-born 6-foot-11 power forward Skal Labissiere of Team Penny.
Labissiere, who lives with an American legal guardian in Memphis, Tenn., has earned five-star status from Rivals and is backing it up with high-level play through the early stages of the EYBL, including a breakout performance Friday night in a Team Penny win over the Southern Stampede.
Having earned offers from Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas and Auburn, as well as interest from Tennessee, Georgetown and UCLA, Labissiere said Kentucky and Memphis stand out the most to him right now. He added that Kansas has started coming on strong since the Jayhawks extended a scholarship offer.
A freakishly long-armed post with excellent athleticism, Labissiere is a shot-blocking defender who can run the floor and has a versatile offensive game. Whether it was finishing multiple two-handed tip-dunks in transition or pulling up for long jumpers over defenders, the sophomore was flat-out dominant on Friday night.
Also displaying a lot of energy and passion on both ends of the floor, Labissiere was as vocal a prospect as we saw on Friday, leading college coaches in the stands to rave about his potential and ability to be one of the most elite prospects nationally in 2015.
In his team's matchup with Team Penny, the Southern Stampede's leader, four-star combo guard Ahmed Hill, more than stepped up to the challenge of playing against the best.
Facing fellow four-star guard, and recent Arkansas commit, Anton Beard, Hill was relentless in attacking off the dribble and making play after play on the offensive end of the floor. An elite-level athlete with size at 6-foot-4, the Augusta (Ga.) Aquinas guard can get to the rim at will with his combination of speed, change of direction and raw strength.
A pure scorer with creative court vision, Hill is becoming one of the more dangerous offensive threats on the Nike circuit in open-court situations, but he might be even better on the defensive end. Hill takes great pride in his on-ball defense, using his length, foot speed and intense demeanor to intimidate opposing ball handlers as they try to get the offense situated.
While his team came up short in a narrow loss, Hill left the court as the top overall perimeter performer in the contest and arguably the most passionate player on the floor. After the game, the four-star guard talked recruiting.
While that list is wide open, Hill has a clear vision of what he wants in his college experience.
"I want a relationship like a father-and-son relationship with the head coach," he said. "Also, I want to find teammates who never want to lose."
News and Notes
Marcus Derrickson -- A four-star power forward from the 2015 class playing up, Derrickson, of Washington D.C.-based Team Takeover, was impressive in a win over the Alabama Challenge. While Takeover guards focused on doing everything imaginable to slow four-star Challenge guard Devin Booker, Derrickson handled the offensive load. The wide-bodied bruiser showed touch around the basket, chased down rebounds for second effort and attacked off the block and in face-up situations. Coaches from Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Georgetown, Xavier, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Maryland watched Takeover in the win.
Edmond Sumner -- He might not be the most popular name on the circuit, but the Detroit guard from The Family had one of the most prolific scoring games in the Friday night session. Sumner led his squad to a victory over Meanstreets, a previously undefeated team out of Chicago, as he poured in baskets from all three levels. Arguably the most talented guard in Michigan's 2014 class, Sumner is being recruited more heavily every day. He took an unofficial visit to Michigan State last week.
Zach McCormick -- A well-known guard regionally, but not nationally, the 6-foot-2 combo guard from the Kentucky Travelers put on an offensive show in the first half against Wisconsin Playground Elite, scoring 13 points in the first seven minutes en route to an 18-point outing in a Travelers win. McCormick is a bouncy, two-footed leaper who can shoot the ball from the 3-point line and has a quick first step to create a shot. He's also seen a recruiting boost lately, naming Virginia, West Virginia, Marshall, Auburn, Clemson and Butler as schools that have been in serious contact over the last month.
Sandy Cohen -- It's not often you find a true point guard with size at 6-foot-5 and the rebounding mentality of a pure center, but that's what Wisconsin Playground Elite has in this 2014 guard. A do-it-all guard with a good setup game as a distributor, Cohen will be one to watch for college coaches. He continues to show his athleticism, motor and ability to affect the game in multiple ways. Cohen is being recruited the most by George Washington, which just recently offered, but he has mid-major looks from the Midwest and is beginning to attract Big Ten interest.