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May 13, 2014

EYBL Session 2 Recap

This past weekend, Session 2 of the Nike EYBL took place in Dallas, Texas. Considered to be the top amateur basketball league in the country, the EYBL circuit features two teams from the state of North Carolina: the CP3 All-Stars and Team United.

Below is a breakdown of each team's performance, which includes recaps of their games, and the North Carolina prospects that stood out.

CP3 Elite (0-3 in Session 2, 1-6 Overall)

Coming into Session 2 with a 1-3 record, CP3 Elite continued to struggle, as it lacked the frontcourt strength to match up with some of the premier teams on the EYBL circuit.

Over the course of the weekend, CP3 was outscored by an average of 23.3 points, and outrebounded by 13.3 boards per game.

Ronshad Shabazz and Terrence Phillips provided the scoring burst CP3 desperately needed, but it ended up dropping all three of its games due to a lack of an impact big man, and its ineptitude on the defensive end.


Game 1 vs. Spiece Indy Heat (IN)

Going up against a loaded Spiece Indy Heat team, CP3 Elite fell behind early and was never able to bridge the gap, falling by the score of 75-60. Caleb Swanigan and MSU verbal Deyonta Davis combined for 32 points and 16 rebounds, while holding Xavier Hill-Mais scoreless and limiting Raekwon Long to 4 points.

Shabazz led the way for CP3, going for 22 points and knocking down four of his eight attempts from three-point range. Turnovers remained a major issue for Phillips, but the Oak Hill product chipped in 13 points to go along with 4 steals, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.


Game 2 vs. Southern Stampede (GA)

CP3 got off to a good start in game 2; however, they couldn't keep up with the scoring pace of Southern Stampede, who carried an 18-point lead into halftime. This theme continued in the second half, as the backcourt combination of Ty Hudson and UConn commit Prince Ali poured in 49 points, allowing Southern Stampede to coast to a 91-65 win.

Phillips was the lone bright spot for CP3 Elite. He went for 20 points on just 13 shots from the floor, in addition to his 4 steals, and 3 rebounds. Coming off a 22-point outing in game 1, Shabazz cooled off considerably, but still managed 11 points, and 4 rebounds. Other notables include ZaQwuan Matthews and Darius Moore. Both players scored 9 points, and Moore also dished out 5 assists.


Game 3 vs. Playground Elite (WI)

Outscored by 15 points or more in its first two games of the weekend, CP3 Elite's defensive woes remained a major factor against Playground Elite. After going into halftime down by 24 points, CP3's defensive effort picked up in the latter part of the game, but it wasn't enough, and CP3 ended up losing its third and final game 86-59.

Shabazz, Matthews, and Phillips all scored in double figures, but as a whole, Team United shot 38.5 percent from the floor, including a 21.4 percent mark from downtown. Phillips was the most productive player on the roster, but his inconsistency left a lot to be desired, as he converted just 2 of his 10 shot attempts.


Game 4 vs. Mac Irvin Fire (IL)

CP3's final game of the weekend was postponed.


Team United (1-3 in Session 2, 2-6 Overall)

Although it wasn't reflected by the results, Team United's energy level picked up in Session 2, and they had a chance to win every game they played.

The average scoring margin of Team United's four games was 5 points, including 2 games that were decided by just 2 points.

The versatility of Luke Maye was the highlight of the weekend. The three-star big man averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds, becoming the only player on the roster to post double digit scoring totals in all 8 games.

Another major storyline was the addition of Top 25 sophomore Dennis Smith. He struggled in the early going, but Smith put his all-around game on display, averaging 14.6 points, 7 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.3 blocks, all while shooting 47 percent.


Game 1 vs. The Family (MI)

After being down by ten late in the first half, Team United got back into the mix behind strong showings by Maye and Shaun Kirk. In the final minute, Maye gave his squad a one-point edge, but a clutch bucket by Latwan Turner proved to be the deciding factor, giving The Family a 69-67 victory.

Maye was the only player on Team United who scored 10 points or more in every game during session 1, and he was back at it again on Saturday, finishing with 25 points, and 16 rebounds. Kirk went for 16 points, and 9 boards. Another standout was CJ Bryce, who had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.


Game 2 vs. Howard Pulley Panthers (MN)

Team United had the lead for most of the game, but couldn't hold on down the stretch, losing a tight one to Howard Pulley by the score of 63-56. Amir Coffey sealed the deal for the Panthers, scoring 9 of his team-high 16 points in the final minutes, including a dagger three-pointer with the score tied at 54.

Smith had a rough start to his EYBL debut, but bounced back in a big way against Howard Pulley. The five-star point guard did an impressive job of filling the stat sheet, tallying 16 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while shooting 7-12 from the field. Maye continued his strong play, finishing with 13 points, 9 boards and 2 blocks. Michael Baez added 8 points, and 5 rebounds.


Game 3 vs. Baltimore Elite (MD)

In its first win of Session 2, Team United used a primetime performance by Smith to overcome an early scoring drought and take down Baltimore Elite 70-61. Buoyed by Kirk's 17 points and a 16-point performance by Smith, Team United turned on the jets in the second half, dropping 45 points to erase a halftime deficit.

Smith did it all for Team United on Sunday morning, going for 16 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. He shot 63.6 percent from the field, connected on one of his three attempts from deep, and turned it over on just two possessions. In addition to Smith's all-around performance and Kirk's 17 points, Maye and Simeon Carter also stood out. Maye had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Carter contributed 10 points, and 4 rebounds.


Game 4 vs. Boo Williams (VA)

Team United saved its most impressive performance for last, climbing out of a significant hole to reclaim the lead before a heartbreaking finish. In the final minute, Maye drained a three to tie the score at 65, but an offensive rebound on the other end resulted in a second chance opportunity and a game-winning basket by Chris Clarke, which gave Team United a 67-65 loss.

Maye was the catalyst for Team United's second half surge, and scored 14 of his game-high 24 points after halftime. Smith was ultra-aggressive on the offensive end, finishing with 12 points, and 9 assists. He also took 7 free throws throughout the game, and converted all of his attempts. Before fouling out, Carter had a strong showing. He ended up having 6 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block.


Notes:

Five-star sophomore Edrice Adebayo played with Boo Williams (VA). He averaged 12 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. He had a double-double against Team Final (NY) in game 1, but his best game came against Expressions Elite (MA). Adebayo dropped 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 26 minutes, leading his squad to a hard-fought win.

NC native Tyler Creammer is also suiting up for Boo Williams (VA). He played a total of 17 minutes, providing frontcourt depth and size on the defensive interior.

Standout freshman Jatarious Smith is running with Southern Stampede (GA) this summer. His playing time was limited, but Smith made the most of his opportunities, showing his natural scoring ability and above-average instincts on the boards.

Dennis Smith's appearance on the EYBL circuit was a one-time thing. He will continue playing with Team Loaded NC in the Adidas Gauntlet Basketball Series.

CP3's Darius Moore fractured his tibia going up for a layup against Playground Elite (WI). He will be in a straight leg cast for 3-4 weeks before getting a brace for the final months of his recovery. In all, he'll be out for about three months.

EYBL Session 3 will take place in Hampton, Virginia next weekend. It is slated to begin on Saturday morning at 9:30 am, and will conclude after the 3:30 pm games on Sunday afternoon.








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