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May 11, 2013
FRISCO, Texas -- Now that April has come and gone, the grassroots circuit has calmed down a bit. Well, that is if you aren't at Fieldhouse USA, where Nike is holding its Dallas leg of the Elite Youth Basketball League. The EYBL is a cornucopia of high school talent, and there was no shortage of options on Friday night. Kameron Chatman led ICP Elite to a big win over the Mac Irvin Fire, and then teammate Daniel Hamilton announced his college plans on a night filled with high-level play.
Chatman leads ICP
Standing at 2-7 through the first two sessions of the EYBL, ICP Elite needed a win on Friday night. Standing in the way was the Mac Irvin Fire and their imposing front line of five-stars Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander. The Portland, Ore.-based squad had some firepower of its own, though, as five-star sophomore Tyler Dorsey and five-star-to-be junior Daniel Hamilton have joined ICP. The additions were outstanding, and so was ICP stalwart Chatman, who had 16 points and nine rebounds in a come-from-behind win.
What you have to love about the 6-foot-6 (and growing) Chatman is his versatility. At times, he brings the ball up the floor and initiates the offense, others he plays on the wing, and then he plays in the high post and the offense is run through him there. He is also a way-above-average rebounder for a wing.
According to Chatman, Washington, Oregon and Michigan are on him the hardest, while Arizona, Louisville and Gonzaga are among others in the mix. He will visit Michigan unofficially on June 1, and the Wolverines and other schools are recruiting him for what he showed on Friday night.
"They say I can play one through the four probably," Chatman told Rivals.com. "Any position that I need to play to win, depending on the lineup, I can go to the wing or work off the post in the middle of the floor or bring the ball up the floor."
While Chatman was outstanding playing the role of point forward, his new teammates Dorsey and Hamilton were good as well. During the last 10 minutes or so of the game, it was Dorsey who put constant pressure on the Fire by attacking the lane and earning trip after trip to the free throw line. Hamilton -- who announced his commitment to Connecticut after the game -- was hitting jump shots and getting to the rim at will off the dribble. Dorsey was good for 20 points and three assists, while Hamilton chipped in 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Robinson rising to the occasion
Before Friday night, there was a bit of a buzz going around about Alex Robinson. The No. 81 player in the class of 2014, the 6-foot point guard from Mansfield (Texas) Timberview has been drawing rave reviews for his play with the Texas Titans.
During a bit of an ugly game against Wisconsin Playground Elite, Robinson was on his game. Although his teammates weren't knocking down shots, he continually hit them when open and he showed more burst than before in getting to the lane. In the past he's been somewhat more of a scorer, but now he is playing as more of a pure point guard.
"It wasn't really a change in my game," Robinson said. "I have a whole bunch of guys who can score around me, so I showed that I can be a true point guard."
According to Robinson, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and SMU have offered and are putting on the full-court press. Minnesota is his latest offer, and Florida State and Stanford have been showing recent interest.
MoKan grinds out win
Because of a broken foot, leading scorer Marvin Clark is out for MoKan Elite. With the 6-foot-6 forward out of the lineup, the Kansas City-based squad needed somebody to step up on Friday night if it was going to beat Team Final from Philadelphia. As it turns out, several guys stepped up at different times as it grinded out a 54-46 win.
Tough defense and control of the pace of play were important, and four-star point guard Lourawls Nairn was up to the task. A speed demon, Nairn did a good job of controlling his speed and mixing when to run offense with when to get into the lane and make things happen as he led a balanced attack with 11 points and five assists.
Class of 2015 power forward Juwan Morgan showed promise. He's got very soft hands, he shoots with good touch, and he is a solid rebounder. He was also efficient as he converted all three of his shot attempts and grabbed eight rebounds to go with seven points.
Late in the game, MoKan got key toughness plays from guard Noah Knight, who is a gritty wing player who got to the free throw line. Point guard Charlie Brown came off the bench to stick some crucial jumpers in the second half and like Knight finished with 10 points as MoKan improved to 5-5 in the EYBL.
Friday night notes
His stat line didn't end up that great, but 6-foot-5 point guard Sandy Cohen of Playground Elite is highly intriguing. Cohen looks like one of those guys who is just starting to figure out how talented he is, and he is a clever playmaker off the dribble. Among the offers he mentioned were Marquette, Providence, Wisconsin-Green Bay, La Salle and Minnesota. He also mentioned interest from Kentucky, Illinois and Iowa. According to Cohen, Marquette is his dream school but he wants to look around before jumping into a commitment.
The core of Team Texas Elite is essentially a 16-and-under team playing up. That core of three-star Matthew McQuaid, five-star Elijah Thomas and four-star Austin Grandstaff is a very good one. McQuaid is a big-time shooter from deep who takes full advantage of defenders who close out on him too zealously on drives to the rim for dunks. Thomas has done good work on his body and is a dominant rebounder and interior scorer. Grandstaff can play at the point or off the ball, and he is in tremendous shape with improved quickness. Any of them can go off at any time, and all three were good against the Georgia Stars. McQuaid finished with 19 points and three rebounds, Grandstaff had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Thomas led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds. According to Grandstaff's father, Wes, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Marquette and UMass have offered Grandstaff. Arizona, Ohio State and Alabama are looking.
The Mac Irvin Fire suffered a loss to ICP Elite, but five-star big men Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander were tough on the interior. Coming back from an ankle injury, Okafor looked like the nation's top player in racking up 14 points and 10 rebounds in just 17 minutes. A grown man on the interior, Alexander tries to dunk everything and is always physical. He finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
His game wasn't one that we were focusing on, but it was impossible not to notice the play of athletic four-star forward Zylan Cheatham. The Arizona product plays with California Supreme and has got a motor that never stops as he races up and down the floor to finish in transition or get on the glass.
Five-star UNLV commitment Dwayne Morgan and four-star Duke commit Grayson Allen experienced personal success with new teams on Friday night. Playing for Baltimore Elite, Morgan had a feeling out process with his new team but looked much quicker and more explosive athletically than the last time we saw him. His ball handling and jump shooting looked to be getting better as well, but his 15 points and eight rebounds weren't quite enough in a one-point loss to the Oakland Soldiers.
Now playing for Each One Teach One, Allen was on fire Friday night. The wing was draining jumpers from all over the place, and he played with lots of aggression on the offensive end. He finished with 30 in E1T1's lopsided win over the Travelers.
Four-star class of 2015 small forward D.J. Hogg likes to stretch defenses with his jump shooting. The 6-foot-7 wing has offers from Arizona, SMU, TCU, Houston, Texas A&M and Nebraska. Texas has also shown initial interest.
Finally, the Houston Hoops may be the best team in the EYBL. They are stacked with versatile senior talent and feature three wings who rank in the top 30 of 2014 in Justin Jackson, Kelly Oubre and Justise Winslow. Friday night, though, freshman point guard DeAaron Fox announced his presence in his first game with the Hoops. A long and slender floor general, the 6-foot-3 Fox is slippery off the dribble and can score or create. We'll be seeing a lot of him over the next three summers.