The Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) is a 4-week summer series featuring the best AAU teams from around the country. After the 4 week series, which stretches from California to Virginia, the best 24 teams qualify for the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam.
Here's a brief rundown of how the Villanova targets fared on opening day.
Class of 2014
Mikal Bridges (Team Final)
Bridges led Team Final with 30 minutes played in their opening game win over NY Lightning. His final line was a smooth 3-6 FG (1-2 3FG) for 10 points, coupled with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. He was a perfect 3-3 from the FT line to go with 2 turnovers.
In the evening, Bridges went for 10 points on 3-6 shooting (4-4 FT) along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. He also drew some praise for his athleticism with a highlight reel dunk.
Villanova commit Mikal Bridges looks like a special athlete...just threw down a dunk in transition— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) July 11, 2013
Ja'Quan Newton (Team Final)
Playing alongside Bridges, Newton played a balanced game as the floor general, finishing with 12 points on 4-9 shooting (1-1 3FG, 3-5 FT), 6 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal and 3 turnovers in 28 minutes against the NY Lightning.
In the nightcap against Spiece Indy Heat, Newton had another strong showing despite Team Final's loss. He went 5-11 from the field (1-4 3FG, 2-3 FT) for 13 points, 5 assists and just 2 turnovers in a team leading 30 minutes.
Newton, along with Phil Booth, will play in the Nike Global Challenge next week.
Chris McCullough, Isaiah Briscoe, Terry Larrier, Ja'Quan Newton, Phil Booth & Dion Wiley on the USA East roster for Nike Global Challenge— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) July 9, 2013
Phil Booth (Team Takeover)
It was a rough first outing for Booth as Team Takeover fell to Cal Supreme 71-58. Booth never got it working, finishing with 10 points on 2-10 shooting (0-2 3FG, 6-6 FT), 3 assists, 1 rebound and 1 turnover.
Things went much better in the evening for Booth and Takeover, as he finished 3-7 (0-1 3FG, 4-4 FT) for 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers. Booth seemed to impress as a PG for the DMV outfit.
This is why you see guys in different settings. Phil Booth has a nice floor presence with Takeover. Different than camp for sure. #peachjam— Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) July 11, 2013
Robert Johnson (Boo Williams)
Johnson struggled, but Boo Williams prevailed over Mac Irvin Fire in the morning. Johnson finished with 13 points on 5-14 shooting (2-7 3FG, 1-1 FT) and 5 turnovers. Johnson came through in the end with a late coast-to-coast bucket to give Boo Williams a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Johnson really had it working as Boo Williams took down Texas Titans. He finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists with just one turnover. He shot 8-18 from the field (4-9 3FG, 3-6 FT) in the win. Johnson's definitely a guy on the rise.
Robert Johnson (BWSL) is playing very very well. His game has really turned up this summer #OneWillRise— Fivestarswag.com (@fivestarswagcom) July 12, 2013
Martin Geben (Team Takeover)
Geben might have been the best player for his team in Takeover's loss to Cal Supreme, going 4-8 from the field to finish with 8 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.
It was 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 block for Geben on a 3-3 effort from the field to go with a solid 5-6 line at the FT line. While not as well known as some of the other Takeover players, Geben is really getting it done thus far at the Peach Jam.
Despite the strong day from Geben, he showed he's a true team player with this tweet:
Personal performance does not matter if your team loses.— Martin Geben (@Martin_Geben) July 11, 2013
In Villanova related news, Geben named a Top 4 of Maryland, Notre Dame, Villanova and Virginia, in no particular order.
Jonathan Wilkins (Spiece Indy Heat)
Wilkins' teammates never looked for him on offense as he finished 0-1 from the field, but he strutted his other stuff anyways with 8 rebounds and 6 blocks in 26 minutes as Spiece fell to the St. Louis Eagles 68-50.
Spiece came a long way back to edge Team Final, but Wilkins wasn't a big part of the game plan as superstar Trey Lyles took over. Wilkins posted just 7 minutes, going 0-1 from the field with no rebounds.
Class of 2015
Malachi Richardson (Team Final)
While younger than Bridges and Newton, Richardson showed what the hype is all about in the win over NY Lightning. He finished 22 points on 6-12 shooting (2-5 3FG, 8-11 FT) to go with 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 turnovers in 26 minutes.
Things didn't go so well at night, as Richardson struggled with his shot en route to a 16 point, 3 rebound, 3 assist and 2 turnover effort. He was 5-13 from the field (1-8 3FG, 5-10 FT) but still managed to impress those in attendance.
Malachi Richardson playing well, as usual, for Team Final. Good size, smooth stroke, can run the break. Five-star in 2015.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 11, 2013
Marcus Derrickson (Team Takeover)
Playing a year up, Derrickson didn't get much playing time against Cal Supreme, going 0-1 from the field and grabbing 3 rebounds in 13 minutes.
In the nightcap, Derrickson was a bit more productive in 16 minutes, going 3-5 from the floor for 6 points and 6 rebounds.