The Nike EYBL regular season wraps up this weekend in Minneapolis, and the Kentucky-based Travelers still have a good shot of advancing to the Nike Peach Jam tournament later this summer.
The Travelers take a 7-6 record into the Minneapolis session, which will include five games to sort out the 24 teams that qualify for the Peach Jam. The top five teams from each of the four divisions will automatically qualify, along with four wild cards which will be chosen based on best overall record.
Florida-based Each 1 Teach 1 currently has a two-game lead in Division D, where the Travelers are in a four-way tie for second place.
Each 1 Teach 1
All Ohio Red
Three wins in five games should be enough for the Travelers to make it to the Peach Jam Finals. Their first game will be Saturday morning against Louisville commitment Shaqquan Aaron and Seattle Rotary (2-11). On Saturday afternoon, they face No. 1 point guard Tyus Jones and Howard Pulley (7-6). Sunday’s matchups are Team United (1-12) and All Ohio Red (7-6). The Travelers will close the session Monday with Toronto-based CIA Bounce (6-7), which could end up being a win-and-you’re-in contest.
It could be tough for any team from Division D to win one of the four wild-card spots. Going into the weekend, there are six teams that have records of 7-6 or better but are not among the top five in their division.
Knott Central star Camron Justice is leading the Travelers with 12.2 points per game through the first three sessions. Perry Central’s Justin Johnson leads the squad with 6.5 rebounds per game, and high school teammate Braxton Beverly — the only 2016 player on the team — is the leading passer with 3.5 assists per game.
Lafayette forward Jackson Davis is averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds. He’s missed seven games after suffering an injury in the EYBL’s opening session, but he returned to the court earlier this month.
Other EYBL notes:
Top UK target Emmanuel Mudiay will not play with Texas Pro this weekend. Mudiay and several other players left the program earlier this week. The highly rated class of 2014 point guard was averaging 14.6 points, 5.8 assists and 5.1 assists per game for Texas Pro, which has a record of 6-7.
Jackson Tigers guard Malik Newman is leading the EYBL in scoring with 23.7 points per game. The 6-foot-4 combo guard has received early interest from Kentucky and should contend for the No. 1 overall spot in the class of 2015 rankings. The Tigers (6-7) are in good position to advance to the Peach Jam out of Division A.
Howard Pulley guard Tyus Jones leads the EYBL in assists at 6.8 per game. The 2014 target also leads the league in steals (3.0), is second in points per game (23.2) and is making 89.0 percent of his free throws (81-for-91).
The leading rebounders in the EYBL include UK targets Cliff Alexander (11.8), Jahlil Okafor (11.5) and Stanley Johnson (10.5).