Team CP3 played in the inaugural Peach Jam play-in game in 2014, riding a healthy Harry Giles to advance into pool play. Giles enters 2015 fully healthy and instantly becomes an MVP candidate. The 6-foot-10 combo forward will determine how far this team goes, but his supporting cast is no joke. Alterique Gilbert returns after a very strong 2014 season, one in which he had to carry the majority of the scoring load in Giles’ absence. He too missed the middle of the season with a dislocated shoulder. The production of forwards Quate’ McKenzie and Grant Williams will be crucial to CP3’s success as they desperately need a few contributors to help Giles in the frontcourt. Gilbert and Giles ultimately form one of the top 1-2 combinations in the league, which should be more than enough for CP3 to avoid the play-in game - as long as they stay healthy.
The Family enters 2015 as one of our favorites to make a deep Peach Jam run. They have all the pieces necessary to make an ascent to the top of their division, riding preseason MVP candidate Miles Bridges. The 6-foot-7 EYBL veteran is coming off a very strong junior season at Huntington Prep, and he’s eager to bring Michigan a Peach Jam title. Running point is Detroit Jesuit star Cassius Winston, one of the most underrated point guards in the nation. He makes everyone else around him better, benefitting fellow guards Corey Allen, D’Angelo Hansbro and Brailen Neely. 6-foot-11 junior Braden Burke and 6-foot-9 sophomore Ikechukwu Eke give them the size to compete with the league’s biggest teams, leaving virtually no holes in their opening-day lineup.
Gone from 2014 is Malik Newman, who did a little bit of everything for the Tigers the past two seasons. Shunn Buchanan, Stacee St. Julian and K’Hari Parker will combine with three other guards to replace Newman’s production. They have 13 total players on their roster and should develop a steady rotation after seeing how their players adapt to the EYBL. Their frontline is very underrated, highlighted by sophomore wings Keyshawn Feazell and Kassim Nicholson. They should be able to score with anyone, so their defense – especially on the interior – will likely decide their success in 2015.
King James struggled more than we expected in 2014. Luckily, they enter 2015 with a roster chocked-full of talent. Xavier Simpson and Henry Baddley lead a relatively thin backcourt of four players, but they will have no problem absorbing major minutes. Ohio State commit Derek Funderburk, Willie Jackson and Derrick Daniels Jr. all bring different value to the frontcourt. Junior forward Seth Towns (ESPN No. 56) makes his debut for the program, and we expect him to make a huge difference. Just like their rival All Ohio, King James is going represent the state of Ohio with a tremendously talented team that will likely make noise late into the season.
MeanStreets is another team that has basically flipped their entire roster, one that includes 12 players from Chicago and the surrounding metro. Evanston sophomore guard Nojel Eastern returns after playing as a freshman and he figures to be a stable in their rotation. Eight players will split time in the backcourt, so we will have a better understanding of their rotation after the first session. They are a bit undersized on the frontline, but deploy a trio of athletic wings; Brandon Suggs, Ben Coupet and Lorenzo Edwards. They will be as tough as anyone and should improve on their 2014 output.
This team is going to surprise some people, blending three EYBL veterans with a roster of talented newcomers. They may have the best sophomore duo in the nation, featuring forward Michael Porter Jr (ESPN No. 2) and guard Trae Young. Porter is ranked second in the country for a reason, showcasing a very advanced skillset for a kid his age and size. He will make immediate noise in the EYBL and may turn out being a justifiable MVP candidate. Dainan Swoope and Radshad Davis provide consistency in the backcourt, with EYBL veteran Derrick Walker Jr. primed to make a leap in his second year. MOKAN has the look of a contender, and we can’t wait to see Porter and company in action.
Gone from a successful 2015 are two-time EYBL veterans Jessie Govan and Desure Buie. Dana Dingle’s program is always competitive, and the deploy a roster that is very deep. Sophomore guard Jordan Tucker is their most premier recruit in the backcourt, joined by two-time EYBL veteran Dimencio Vaughn. Twin towers Sam Iblezugbe and Rodney Miller, who started for the Lightning last season, should provide solid production in the paint. This team is deep at every position and they are pests defensively, which will allow them to compete with anyone in the league.
The NorthWest Xpress debuted in 2014 and struggled through a tough schedule, but their 2015 roster should bring hope to the immediate future. The Xpress will be led by Immanuel junior guard Colin Slater, a 6-foot true point guard who will be responsible for setting up his teammates. Compton teammates Jovaonntie Jackson and RaySean Scott Jr. bring explosiveness to the wing and should excel in transition. Daron Henson and Greyson Smallwood man the middle, with Smallwood having prior EYBL experience. Underclassmen Ethan Thompson and Khalil Chatman are promising prospects and should receive valuable minutes. They might take a bit to hit their stride, but they have the size and athleticism to compete with anyone.
Seattle Rotary rejoins the EYBL after sitting out in 2014, and they return with one of the better offensive rosters in the EYBL. Fresh off a 3A state-championship over rival Rainier Beach, Jashaun Agosto, Jaylen Nowell, Alphonso Anderson and Terrell Brown lead Rotary in what should result in great team chemistry. Sophomore guards Daejon Davis and Trevon Ary-Turner will be key factors for Daryl Hennings’ bunch, especially since they’ll be without Nowell for the first session. Their size in the frontcourt is a tad worrisome, as their ability to efficiently defend will determine their success in 2015.
Team Final had a special run during the 2014 regular season, using a plethora of guards to take the league by storm. 2015 looks to be more of the same, as Director Rob Brown’s squad has reloaded with a brand new crop of talented guards. Childhood friends Lamar Stevens, Tony Carr and Josh Sharkey reunite to lead the Philadelphia grassroots program, all of them bringing a different value to the backcourt. 6-foot-5 sophomore Lonnie Walker has the look to be something special, and they could end up being downright scary if junior Tyus Battle (ESPN No. 15) comes back to full strength by the third session.