EYBL U17 Top Prospects Session 2 in Phoenix April 28-30
On the last weekend of April, in the Arizona Desert, the second session of Nike EYBL took place with the top U17, U16, U15 teams playing. While some of the better long term NBA prospects played in the U16 and U15 league (including the Boozer twins and Cooper Flagg) I focused on the U17s, given there were 4 games at each age category playing simultaneously. This event held the greatest amount of talent I’ve seen all year. Below are the prospects that stood out:
AJ Dybantsa 6’8 Forward Expressions #3 Class of 2026
Dybantsa (pictured by Griffin Greenberg) was the top prospect at U17; and while he is most likely not the top 2007 born player, given he is older and has the same birth year as the Boozer twins, he is a consensus top 5 freshman or should he ever decide to reclassify, top 5 sophomore. Averaging 20.4 points in 2 sessions (currently the second leading scorer in U17) with good shooting numbers 52.8% FG 14/41 (34.1%) from 3 and 87.5% from the charity stripe (35/40), Dybantsa is blessed with a long wingspan, athleticism, and a good frame that allowed him to physically over match opponents at this event. He has very nice touch around the rim and good hands. A good shooter, he is a very accurate free throw shooter and in the mid range. He can not be left open from beyond the arc as he is already starting to hit them despite being in the early stages of development. An explosive finisher, he has a veteran-like feel to his game. An example of this was against the Indy Heat, he received the ball in the post where he proceeded to take a drop step and then used a shoulder shake to confuse the defender and then quickly spins back center side for an easy lay-in. Needless to say he has good footwork in the post. Blessed with good handles, he can easily bring the ball up the court in a fast break setting and make good accurate passes with either hand. His basketball IQ is well developed for a player his age. Often one step ahead of opponents defending him, has the uncanny ability to make the right pass at the right time. For example in one play against the Indy Heat, he drove towards the hole from the top of the key going left (his off hand) and as the defense collapsed towards him, he passed the ball with his left hand on the dime for a teammate’s corner three. Scouts were raving about his skill set all weekend long.
Boogie Fland 6’3 PG PSA Cardinals #1 Class of 2024
Fland is an electrifying point guard who opponents have a very difficult time staying in front of. At 15.5 ppg, he led the PSA Cardinals to a 6-2 record. Against the Houston Hoops, he was able to take over in an overtime victory over Houston Hoops and Tre Johnson, where it became a head to head matchup in the concluding moments of the 4th quarter and overtime. Finishing with 31points and 8 rebounds he made an NBA range side step 3 in the 4th and then later followed it up with a right to left crossover dribble going down the left side creating space with his body finishing at the cup and finishing the play with a left handed and 1 lay-in. Currently 3rd in steals and a strong but wiry frame, he will need to continue to develop his base as a defender as the opponents get bigger and stronger. On offense he is shooting 5 free throws per game in EYBL at 84.2%. Efficiency i.e. shot selection and turnovers needs to continue to be refined for the top level. Nevertheless has elite speed and jumping ability, and has the uncanny ability to make big shots and perform when the moments are biggest and / or step up against the top opponents.
Tyran Stokes 6’7 Forward Las Vegas Elite #4 Class of 2026
Stokes is among the top of handful of high school freshmen and a top performer at U17, leading his team to a perfect 8-0 record after 2 sessions. Averaging 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds after 8 games on a blistering 62% from the field. Solid build (still has room to trim down some baby fat) with a long wingspan, he is an explosive finisher at the rim. Throughout the weekend, finishing the fast break with powerful dunks. Showed some advanced foot work on the fast break when he euro stepped around the defender and finished with a powerful one handed dunk. On the very next offensive sequence, he made a corner 3 (3/7 from long distance in EYBL this season). On Sunday led a comeback victory against Brad Beal Elite, hitting an end of shot clock 3 with 26.9 seconds left in the game to take a 68-66 lead (turned out to be the final score). As with all young players he has some refinement to do in his game including being more consistent from the free throw line, 61.8% (21-34), and on the defensive end where he can leak out a little early to counter attack and was prone to getting backdoored by opponents. One of the top talents in high school basketball, regardless of class.
Dylan Harper 6’4 Guard New York Renaissance #2 Class of 2024
Harper and the New York Renaissance had a rough weekend going 0-4, but this was in no part due to his effort and ability. Harper has a real chance to be one of the top players from his class. Has a good strong frame and is a good scorer, averaging 17.1 points in EYBL this season. With his roster not being the strongest, he is the player all opponents are focusing on, yet he still had the ability to get to the hole with a strong first step. Averaging a 1.85 assist to turnover ratio, Harper has the ability to be a lead guard at the top level. The lefty has a smooth jump shot which makes his poor free throw shooting (53.1%) a little puzzling. He continued to compete despite a few calls and outcomes not going in his direction.
Drake Powell 6’5 Guard Team CP3 #0 Class of 2024 UNC
Powell, after two sessions, is averaging 13.8 points and 6.5 and 1.9 blocks, which is currently second in EYBL despite being a guard. Has a good wingspan with a developing body. Demonstrated ideal top level guard jumping ability and a quick first step. Power comes to mind when you watch him dribble and go downhill. Has good handles finishing either with his left or right and has a go to rapid fire crossover dribble. Has good form at the free throw line going 81% after 2 sessions (34/42) Averaged 1.8 assists to 1 turnover in EYBL and was the unquestionable leader of his squad. His potential at the top level is his defense prowess. He has all the tools to be an elite wing defender that the NBA covets. With his wingspan and potential natural growth in strength as he matures, he may be able to hold his own on switches with bigs at the top level. He has some development to do in expanding his range as he has just shot 4/18 from beyond the arc and can tend to force the drive instead of taking the open jumper. May be slightly overlooked on Team CP3, as the team is full of solid wings, leading them to having a 7-1 record after 2 sessions.
Jalil Bethea CG 6’4 Team Final #3 Class of 2024
A combo guard at this stage, Bethea’s potential at the top level is at the point guard position. A top 10 scorer after two sessions of EYBL averaging 18.5 points while shooting 49.5% from the field and 21/50 from three (42%). He also shot 87.1% from the free throw line (27/31). He is a blur and has long arms at the guard position and can finish strong on the fast break. Flushing a 2 hand jam after a steal in his 34 point effort against AZ Unity. Demonstrated some good passing ability against Drive Nation with a nice pocket pass and averaging 2.1 asset to turnover ratio after 2 sessions. Has been a little streaky in terms of performances in EYBL session 1 & 2, but has helped lead Team Final to a 7-1 record.
Carter Bryant 6’7 Forward Paul George Elite #1 Class of 2024 Arizona
Bryant’s athleticism is tantalizing, which leads him to help defense blocks, steals by having active hands in the passing lane, and some strong finishes well above the rim. He has good shooting numbers in EYBL so far 9/16 from beyond the arc (56.3%) and from the free throw line at 81.3%. Fluid runner without the ball, he is a player to be feared when he runs the lanes on a fast break or goes for an offensive rebound. His handles can get a little loose and is something to monitor as he matures. But more importantly his basketball feel is not quite where some of these other kids are at this stage of their career. He does not always seem to anticipate the play/ counter developing both on offense and defense. Given his high rating, he will have every opportunity to continue to develop and play against the best of his class. With his athleticism, wingspan, and shooting numbers, he could very well end up being the best player from the 2024 class once they hit the top level.
Karter Knox 6’5 Wing Florida Rebels #21 Class of 2024
Knox had an excellent second session and now leads the EYBL in scoring at 21.4 points per game. A good shooter with a quick release and extended range, he is shooting 55% on field goals, 39.1% from 3, and 75% from the charity stripe while getting to the line 5.5 times per game. Knox has one of the more mature games on the circuit as he plays off his jump shooting strength with pump fakes to get easy layups or mid range jumpers. Long armed, he can get his hands in the passing lanes and can move his feet well to get around ball screens. He’s not going to create much for himself or others and his handles are not his strength (limiting his upside some for the top level) but he has 6 turnovers in 8 games, despite taking 107 shots. He is a very efficient basketball player.
Elliot Cadeau 6’1 PG NH Lightning Class #3 of 2024 UNC
Cadeau was part of a trio of guards who have led the NH Lightning to a 7-1 record and atop of group B in EYBL. He leads the EYBL with 10.5 assists per game, nearly averaging 5 more per game than the second place Taj DeGourville. Time after time he provided highflyer Jahki Howard with perfect alley oop passes and fast break opportunities and has an astounding 84 assists to 16 turnovers in the first two sessions. Strong and quick, he has the ability to get to the hole and run offenses on the fast break or half court sets. Is tenacious and feisty, making him the best defensive point guard in his class and in EYBL. Currently tied for 4th in the EYBL in steals per game, he has all the makings of a top defensive point guard at the top level. Has been very good from the free throw line in the first two sessions (27/29). He is lower on the list for the following reasons: He’s a little older being a 2004 born. He is generously listed at 6’1, given he was measured at 6’0.25 at BWB Global in Salt Lake City in February, and unfortunately the amount of current NBA players at that height are slim. He’s also not yet a consistent outside shot taker or maker at this time, but has gone 5/13 from 3 so far. He will need to continue to improve in that area for the top level, or defenses will consistently defend him under when teammates set ball side screens for him. He has won at Link Academy, won for Sweden in Fiba youth, and now is winning at EYBL. He’s a good athlete, passes, and plays defense at an elite level. He may very well be one of the few data outliers at the top level. Rumors persist that he may reclassify to the 2023 class.
Meleek Thomas 6’4 Guard NH Lightning #5 Class of 2025
Thomas has certainly had some good EYBL sessions earning scholarship offers from a number of traditional blue bloods. The tallest of the three point guards for the NH Lightning, Thomas played mostly off the ball. Possessing a quick release and great shooting form, he has efficient shooting numbers, 52% from the field, 40% from 3, and 75% from the line. Competitive on both sides of the ball, he quickly came back into the game after sustaining a cut in the game in his Saturday morning match up against Team CP3. Very intriguing prospect, if he’s a true point guard, but given the depth at that position for the NH Lightning, we probably won’t be able to observe it much during this EYBL season.
Tre Johnson 6’5 SG Houston Hoops #20 Class of 2024
Currently the top rated player in the 2024 high school class. Johnson, at 20 points per, is tied as the third leading scorer in the EYBL. Good numbers from three (41.2%) and from the line (83.3%) on high volume. He’s a little bit of a gunner, shooting only 41% from the field. Is a high usage player in EYBL and while he has a good assist to turnover ratio in the first two sessions there are some questions on how his play will be affected when he isn’t the main cog in the engine at the top levels. Had a game tying dunk with 6 seconds left in the 4th quarter against PSA, but a difficult time staying in front of Boogie Fland when he asked for the assignment defensively, late in the game. Has a nice big frame and good height for a shooting guard, but there were some questions on how he would adjust to the elite athleticism at the top level on the defensive side of the ball.
Tounde Yessoufou 6’6 Forward Team WhyNot #24 Class of 2025
Yessoufou at 6’6′ has a very imposing body and wingspan allowing him to defend well in the post despite his height disadvantage, making him an intriguing longer term prospect as a player who can possibly be able to guard wings and post players at the top level. Has 12 steals in 8 games and is effective creating deflections and disturbing offensive flows. Offensively he’s very effective in the high post, with the ability to dribble drive or dribble pass. A strong finisher, he was able to get to the line 4 times per game while shooting 75% from the charity stripe. He needs to continue to expand his shooting range and continue to work on his playmaking ability on the perimeter. He has some potential as a point forward. 14.4 points and 6’5 rebounds per game.
Jamari Phillips 6’3 SG Paul George Elite #24 Class of 2024 Arizona
Phillips is all gas, no breaks. Averaging 18 points per game, he has the ultimate scorers mentality. Blistering hot shooting the ball in Session 2, Phillips hit step back threes, pump fake one dribble threes and more, bringing his 3 point percentage in EYBL to a smoking 48.8%. Overall, he’s a good shooter, shooting 56% from the field and 80.6% from the charity stripe. Averaging more turnovers than assists, he doesn’t have much of a lead guard mentality or feel as he’s more of an instant offense type of player. He struggled some with AZ Compass when it was more of a methodical half court setting, it will be interesting to see how he progresses next year.
Tahaad Pettiford 6’0 PG NH Lightning #0 Class of 2024 Auburn
Explosive point guard who has a quick first step and crossover, getting to the rack with ease. Averaging 17 points per game and 1.7 assists to turnover ratio. He took turns with Cadeau as the lead guard for the NH Lightning. He’s not afraid to take a long range shot, went 20/58 from three (35%). On the defensive end extremely quick laterally and tied for first in EYBL with 2.5 steals per game. Like Cadeau he is a smaller point guard which makes the odds long for the top level.
Jalen Haralson 6’7 Guard Indy Heat #1 Class of 2025
A 6’7 guard who has nearly a 3 to 1 assist ratio in EYBL. Some believe he has a future as a point guard both in college and at the top level. Averaging 10.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game, he played a high usage role with the Indy Heat. He has room to grow as a shooter and in shot selection, but was able to get to the line 6.75 times per game while shooting 76% from the charity stripe. Has a long wingspan and a big frame allowing him to defend some of the tougher, bigger players at this event. Even taking turns in guarding AJ Dybantsa.
Caleb Wilson 6’8 PF Georgia Stars #24 Class of 2025
Wilson has a lot of intrigue as a prospect with his long wingspan and good dexterity. He is tenacious in the post where if he misses, he often gets his own rebound. Relentlessly competes until the ball falls in the hoop as he is still learning to finish through contact. He showed some intrigue facing up as he can handle it and pass it well for a post player. He’s currently top 8 in both blocks and rebounds in EYBL averaging 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in addition to his 15.4 points. He is, however, very raw and has work to be done to be efficient. His shooting percentages as a whole need improvement 39% from the field, 24% from three, and 67.4% from the free throw line. He needs to add strength to his frame so he can better finish plays off when he is absorbing contact. At 2.5 turnovers per game, he is one of the turnover leaders in EYBL. On the flip side, he did have more assists to turnovers and is playing on a team that still has yet to get their first win after two sessions.
Darius Acuff Jr 6’2 PG The Family #5 Class of 2025
Acuff at 19.9 points per game is the 6th leading scorer in EYBL. Has good size and strength for a point guard and has a 2.45 assist to turnover ratio in 8 games. Has shot the three ball well at 41% (16/39). Not too dependent on the three ball, he has taken 120 shots and made 51.7%. While not a jaw dropping athlete, he is one of the more efficient players at EYBL U17, despite being a year younger than most.
Austin Swartz 6’4 SG Boo Williams #0 Class of 2024
Swartz had a very good showing against Drive Nation in session two, scoring 30 points. A strong finisher, he had some impressive dunks and caught his share of alley oops over the weekend. He’s currently the 7th leading scorer in EYBL at 19.6 points and 15/17 from the charity stripe and 37.5% from three there is some potential as a shooter. He will need to continue to grow on other aspects aside from scoring.
Billy Richmond 6’5 Wing NJ Scholars #23 Class of 2024
Richmond’s athleticism and length stood out early on in the session. One of the leaders in EYBL in both points (16.6) and steals (1.6), his fluidity helps him on both ends of the court. A little bit of a tweener (size of a 2 but plays more like a 3) Richmond needs to work on his efficiency, which can be seen with his high turnover rate and poor shooting percentage from three. Has helped lead the NJ Scholars to a 7-1 EYBL record after two sessions
Jayden Harris 6’6 Wing Team CP3 #1 Class of 2024 Wake Forest
A long, athletic wing who averages 12.9 points per game. Harris has good shooting potential, shooting 78.6% from the free throw line but needs to continue to work from beyond the arc as he is 11/45 from that distance after 8 games. He is at his best on the wing or baseline, driving to the hole with his ability for a strong finish.
Top 5 U17 Underclassmen not mentioned:
Jason Crowe Jr 6’1 PG Team WhyNot #11 Class of 2026
Jaion Pitt 6’7 Forward AZ Unity Class of 2025
Jeremiah Fears 5’11 PG Brad Beal Elite #2 Class of 2025
Jayden Quaintance C Team Thad #21Class of 2025
Aaron Rowe 5’11 PG Moakan Elite #9 Class of 2025
Marcus Allen 6’6 Forward FL Rebels #4 Class of 2024
Bishop Boswell 6’4 Guard Team CP3 #21Class of 2024
Trent Burns 7’0 C Houston Hoops #21 Class of 2024
Brandin Cummings 6’3 Guard All Ohio #3 Class of 2024 Pitt
Isaiah Evans Wing 6’6 Team CP3 #2 Class of 2024 Duke
Jahki Howard 6’6 Forward NH Lightning #12 Class of 2024
Jaeden Mustaf 6’4 SG Boo Williams #3 Class of 2024
Mikey Lewis 6’3 Guard Soldiers #0 Class of 2024
Patrick Ngongba 6’10 C Team Takeover #23 Class of 2024
Cameron Scott 6’5 SG Team United #23 Class of 2024
* Photo Provided By: Griffin Greenberg