Nike EYBL Atlanta

29 Apr
John Hugley

John Hugley

With only one live evaluation weekend this April, NCAA D1 coaches were limited in being able to evaluate their top targets this spring. So, with that in mind, the pressure on players this weekend was at an all-time high. We at Triple Double Prospects spent our weekend alongside many of the biggest names in college basketball coaching at the Nike EYBL in Atlanta, where several Ohio natives played inspired basketball. Here’s look at some of the top individual performers who boosted their recruiting stock….

John Hugley – ’20 C Cleveland Brush: With the majority of college coaches in attendance focusing on the 17u action, no Ohioan had a bigger recruiting swing this weekend then Hugley. A true low-post presence with a power build at 6’8, Hugley was tracked by high-major coaches who followed his All-Ohio Red team through all four games. When his teammates were able to get him the ball, Hugley was effective as a scorer around the rim, but it was his improved conditioning that stood out to us, as the Cleveland big played major minutes without wearing down physically. Since the end of play, Hugley has already added an offer from Georgia Tech, to go along with pre-existing offers from Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Penn State, Xavier, Dayton and more.

Malaki Branham – ’21 SF Akron STVSM: Not only did Branham have himself a breakout weekend, but his team also captured the championship, as NEO Tru Game finished the weekend 5-0 to lockdown a berth into the exclusive Nike Peach Jam in July. A big part of that championship effort is thanks to Branham, as the athletic 6’5 wing forward from St. Vincent-St. Mary’s scored the ball off the dribble all weekend long. Playing with more aggression, confidence and energy then we’ve seen in the past, Branham was especially locked in during his team’s win over All-Ohio Red, as Branham showed some true competitive fire. The key for his future is all consistency; if Branham continues to be a scoring threat, especially one who has a knack for drawing fouls, then his recruitment will skyrocket as much as any Ohio prospect from the 2021 class.

Jamiya Neal – ’21 SF Toledo St. Francis: His best basketball is still a ways in front of him, as Neal is a raw but promising combo forward; however, he showed us some major strides from when we saw him last (all the way back in the summer of 2018), as Neal provided offense for his All-Ohio Red team. A long and smooth athlete who can finish in transition, drive it to the rim or mix it up in the paint, Neal has the ability to effect games with his energy and mobility as a 6’6 forward. As he fills out his frame, look for Neal’s name to be mentioned in recruiting news, as very few kids in Ohio’s 2021 class have as much upside.

Chris Livingston – ’22 SG Akron Buchtel: Just days removed from being named the #3 player in the entire country in his 2022 class by ESPN, the pressure was on Livingston from the jump to make an impact. That pressure only compounded on Saturday, when coaches from Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State and Kentucky sat down to watch a high level matchup between Livingston’s We All Can Go squad against Team Why Not out of Los Angeles. Livingston proved ready for the challenge, as he scored his team’s first 7 points, knocking down multiple perimeter jumpers, attacking off the dribble and finishing with his elite athleticism in transition. At a legit 6’5 (or taller) as a freshman, and with next level fluidity, Livingston has all of the physical tools you can ask for; if he can consistently make jump shots the way he did on Saturday, then expect other high-major programs to join Ohio State on his offer sheet.

Bowen Hardman – ’22 SG Cincinnati Princeton: Even though he played a major role on a solid Princeton HS team this past winter, Hardman’s name hasn’t been mentioned around the state enough as one of the top freshmen. Based on his play with his All-Ohio Red team this weekend, that is going to change, as Hardman was a dominant scorer in the game we watched against Bates Fundamental. Hardman eclipsed the twenty-point mark, making three after three, using his length to shoot it over defenders at 6’3, and was crafty off the dribble in finishing at the rim, drawing fouls or making the right pass. One of the more skilled perimeter prospects in Ohio’s 2022 class, Hardman is also a good athlete and has an excellent feel for the game on the offensive end of the floor.

Honorable Mention: Jahvon Garcia (’19 Pickerington Central), Dominiq Penn (’20 Dublin Coffman), Trey Woodyard (’21 London), Skyler Schmidt (’21 Clermont Northeastern), Anthony McComb (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Kobe Johnson (’21 Canton McKinley), Sencire Harris (’22 North Canton Hoover)

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