Hampton, VA – Per usual, this weekend’s Boo Williams EYBL tournament was filled with some of the most amazing teams and individual talent in the country. All were giving their blood, sweat, and tears to catch the eye of at least one of the 100s of college coaches that were in attendance. Aside from the overwhelming amount of talent that was present on the court every day, another crucial aspect of the game that stood out to me was that this EYBL season will weigh heavily on the matchups. What do I mean by that? Let me do a little “Basketball Algebra” for you.
Team A beats Team B by 10 points,
then Team B Beats Team C by 15 points,
however, Team C beats Team A by 20 points.
This was something that happened over and over again with some of the most talent-filled teams present, making the games that more exciting and unpredictable. I had the pleasure of watching all 32 teams play, and they all were special in their own way. Here are a few of my standout teams and players.
Locked and Loaded…
Teams that rosters are filled with high powered players in multiple positions
Exodus NYC 17U EYBL
The starting 5 for Exodus are all just below 6’0” and taller, with long arms and a ton of athleticism. All of their players can handle the ball while going coast to coast in transition, or when directing traffic from the top of the key. Caroline Ducharme (2021, 6’2”), Destiny Adams (2021, 6’3”) and Natalija Marshall (2020, 6’5”) were very impressive with the versatility and abilities to play multiple positions and any time and be very effective. The backcourt defense of this Exodus squad was aggressive and in your face. Look for big things from this team during the July season.
Team Takeover 17U Nike EYBL
Team Takeover was the only team to go undefeated all weekend, with their smallest victory margin being 12. Their defense was smothering which forced teams to make poor ball decisions and take horrible shots. They are dominant on the boards, not allowing very many second-chance opportunities. The thing that makes this squad so special is their team chemistry and everyone buying into the game plan. Each player’s role on the team highlights their strengths, and they hold each other accountable for that. Angel Reese (2020, 6’3”), Mir McLean (2020, 5’11”) and Liatu King (2020, 6’0”) are the energy sources for Team Takeover, and they impact the game whether they are on the court or not.
Boo Williams 17U EYBL
There was no need for any home court advantages or perks for this athletic Boo Williams squad; they held their own just fine. Led by the tournament’s third-leading scorer point guard Diamond Jackson (2020, 5’6”), this group of athletic lady ballers used their athleticism and high IQs to get some big wins, including a tough win against a very talented North Tartan team (who defeated Exodus NYC). Jada Walker (2021, 5’6”), Taylor Gibson (2021, 6’2”) and Aziaha James (2021, 5’11”) were also very instrumental in Boo Williams success this session.
Cal Stars Nike 17U EYBL
The Cal Stars were the quiet storm of the session for me. They started off a little sluggish, only winning their first game by 2. However, once they warmed up and starting rolling, they played some of the best basketball in the tournament. Their only loss was to Team Takeover, in which they gave them their smallest victory margin and was the only team to ever have a lead against Takeover. Whether it was long-range shooting and aggressive drives to the rim from Brooke Demetre (2021, 6’2”) or strong post play from Cameron Brink (2020, 6’5”), the stars were definitely aligned for this talented group and they left a lasting impression.
Is there a leak in the building? It’s raining everywhere!
Teams that lit up the perimeter with their near perfect shooting
All Iowa Attack 17U Nike EYBL
I am starting to wonder if being a sharpshooter is a requirement to play on the All Iowa Attack team. Year after year they come to the EYBL sessions and light the nets on fire with their ability to execute on offense, especially from behind the three-point line. This year was no different. Due to their precise long-range shooting, a two or three point lead quickly jumped to a twelve or fifteen point before teams knew what hit them, in almost every game they played. With four players averaging 30% or better from behind the arc, including Maya McDermott (2020, 5’4”), Aubrey Jones (2020, 5’10”) and Caitlin Clark (2020, 6’0”), it is safe to say this that squad is keeping the All Iowa tradition alive.
North Tartan 17U EYBL
North Tartan as a team shot from 48% from three-point range. In one game, it literally became a case of pick your poison. When they weren’t shooting the lights out of the gym, they were running in transition before their opponents had a chance to react. Lauren Jenson (2020, 5’10”) led her team and the session in scoring, averaging 21 points/game. Her teammate Matyson Wilke (2021, 5’10”) was also very successful from behind the arc, shooting 58% for the weekend.
Colorado Premier 17U EYBL
Some of the most impressive shooting came from the Colorado Premier team. They did a great job of getting the ball inside and relocating for wide open shots. They also were extremely effective at knocking down the three-ball off the dribble, which made them extremely dangerous in transition. Elli Garnett (2020, 5’11”) shot an amazing 63% from long distance, hitting 7 of 11 threes. Hannah Simental (2020, 5’8”) and Kennady McQueen (2020, 5’11”) also shot well from the perimeter, averaging over 50% for the weekend.
Young in Age…Mature in Game
Underclassmen players and teams with talented underclassmen that made a lot of noise this weekend
Aziaha James 2021 5’11" Guard/Wing Boo Williams 17U EYBL
James is long, quick and extremely athletic. She did a phenomenal job of recognizing who was defending her; shooting over shorter defenders, attacking the rim and finishing strong against bigger players. Aziaha can shoot the short jump shot and the long-range three and does not get tired.
Carolina Flames 17U EYBL (Morris)
Out of a twelve man roster, six of the Carolina Flames are underclassmen, two of them being freshmen. These young players were competitive, talented and could not be denied. Their tenacity and fight were on full display Friday evening when they fought back and defeated Missouri Phenom in overtime. Teonni Key (2021, 6’3”) can handle the ball in transition, knock down shots from the perimeter and spin on the post in either direction. Imani Lester (2022, 6’3”) was a dominant presence in the paint, rebounding in and out of her area and finishing at the rim strong. Other underclassmen that were key contributors to the Carolina’s Flame success include Indya Nivar (2022, 5’8”) and Saniya Rivers (2021, 6’0”).
Kynidi Striverson 2022 5’7” Guard All Ohio Black EYBL
Kynidi gave All Ohio some big minutes during critical moments. She handled the ball well, hustled and played hard on defense, and made some great decisions with the ball. She was not afraid to get in the paint and battle with the trees for rebounds.
S’Mya Nichols 2023 5’10” Guard Missouri Phenom Sug 17U EYBL
To watch her play, especially against the competition she faced all weekend; no one would have guessed that S’Mya has yet to play one game of high school basketball. This talented young player worked hard every possession, did not mind diving on the floor for loose balls, and created contact under the rim to get the free throw line.
Best of the Best from Michigan and its neighbors
Players that stood out from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana
Ariana Wiggins 2021 5’8” PG Nike Lady Gym Rats Silver 17U EYBL
There really wasn’t anything that Wiggins didn’t do well. She has excellent court vision, with the IQ to match. She has a quick first step and an arsenal of moves that she uses to get to the rim whenever she wants. And she can shoot…from anywhere…consistently. As a unit, the Gym Rats looked really good, with tons of room to continue to get better. They are a team you don’t want to miss when the July session begins.
Morasha Wiggins 2021 6’1” Guard Michigan Crossover 17U EYBL
One of the best things on earth is to watch a player continue to grow their game and become better than they were. This is the case with Morasha Wiggins. She was naturally athletic, and there was no denying that. This session she showed that her game is well rounded and was very impressive. She shot the ball from long distance and also caught a few alley-oops, finishing with contact on a couple of them.
Sara Zabrecky 2020 5’8” Guard All Ohio Black EYBL
Sara is a shooter. She can knock down shots off the bounce and on a set shot. She does not settle for threes and jumpers; she can read the defense well and attacked the paint also. She plays great defense and will step out and guard anyone. When Sara finally did get a break, she was still vocal from the bench.
Lindsey Dullard 2020 6’1” Guard Midwest Elite 17U EYBL
One of the best scorers in the tournament, Dullard was on fire. She led her team in scoring, going 43% from three-point range and finishing with a 55% FG percentage. She is a leader on the court with the ability to impact the game with or without the ball in her hands.
Shaulana Wagner 2020 5’10” Guard Michigan Crossover 17U EYBL
After being sidelined for a few months due to injury, Wagner hit the court and in many cases had an instant impact on the game. She played solid defense, defending multiple positions. She was always in the mix, creating turnovers or finishing easy buckets in transition. One game, she had eleven quick points off the bench, including knocking down a three and drawing the foul.
Seankelly Darks 2020 5’8” PG All Ohio Black EYBL
Darks is quick and hustles every possession. She goes into traffic with no fear but has the ability to shoot well beyond the arc. She was vocal and able to keep the offensive flowing. She plays with a lot of intensity, never letting up until the last buzzer sounds.
Don’t go to sleep, or you might miss out…
Teams and Players that caught my attention more than once. (My watch list)
- Lady Drive Nation 17U EYBL
- Missouri Phenom (Sug) 17U EYBL
- Michigan Crossover 17U EYBL
- Fairfax Stars 17U EYBL
- Brooke Demetre 2021 6’2” Guard/Wing Cal Stars Nike EYBL
- Anya Poole 2020 6’2” Post Carolina Flames 17U EYBL
- Emma Calvert 2021 6’4” Post Colorado Premier 17U EYBL
- Trinity Hardy 2021 5’10” Guard Essence Tiphayes Purple
- Kira Rice 2022 5’11” Guard Fairfax Stars 17U EYBL
- Deja Kelly 2020 5’9” PG Lady Drive Nation 17U EYBL
- Priscilla Williams 2020 6’3” Guard/Wing Missouri Phenom (Sug) 17U EYBL
- Olivia Miles 2021 5’10” PG Philadelphia Belles 17U EYBL
- Jordan Jenkins 2020 6’2” Post Tree of Hope 17U EYBL
- Matyson Wilke 2021 5’10” Guard North Tartan 17U EYBL