The class of 2015 (and a few gifted players from 2016) will hit the court Friday night at Jackson Sports Academy in McClellan Park, California for the first session of the Nike EYBL. The highly regarded AAU circuit occurs during the NCAA's spring evaluation period, meaning that the events will be filled with coaches and media from all over the country.
Unfortunately for 'Nova fans, 2015 commit Tim Delaney will be with We-R-1 at the Hoop Group's Pittsburgh Jam Fest, but there is a host of other talent on display. The full schedule can be found here.
Philadelphia-based Team Final will be the outfit that Villanova Wildcats fans should pay attention to. The program, which produced incoming forward Mikal Bridges, features 2015 verbal commitment Donte DiVincenzo (who head coach Rob Brown says should "open some eyes") in addition to hot commodity Trey Lowe. Villanova watched Lowe work out on Tuesday night, and an offer could be coming shortly.
Team Final will face Kentucky-based The Travelers on Friday night at 7pm PST. They've got a double-header on the books for Saturday, first facing Canada's CIA Bounce at 10:30am PST, before taking on the New Jersey Playaz (featuring 'Nova target Moustapha Diagne and Isaiah Briscoe) at 4:30pm PST. On Sunday, they'll wrap up the trip against Illinois-based Meanstreets.
The Washington, D.C. program is sending Phil Booth to Villanova next year, and they feature several targets that Villanova is after. Shooting guard Josh Reaves, who holds an offer from Jay Wright is the first name that jumps off the roster. Reaves tore it up at the recent EYBL scrimmages, and told CoBL's Josh Verlin that he was impressed with Villanova's recent season.
"I watched them a lot during the tournament and the season this year, they’re really just energetic and they play with a lot of attitude, they just get after it," he said.
Point guard Bryant Crawford, a former teammate of Kris Jenkins at Gonzaga, also looks primed for a big spring after a good showing at the scrimmages. You may remember his name from our Hoops Mania guest list.
Takeover will face Spiece Indy Heat at 10:30am PST, and Alabama Challenge at 4:30pm PST on Saturday. They've got another double-dip on Sunday with the Georgia Stars at 8:00am PST and All Ohio Red at 12:30pm PST.
The first of the NY-based teams features all-world recruit Tyus Battle, who Villanova will fight to stay in contention with over the spring and summer as more programs get involved and in his ear. While Battle should be the star in the backcourt, he'll have plenty of low-post players to lean on with Cheick Diallo, Thomas Bryant and Kassoum Yakwe all available to him.
Yakwe recently identified Villanova as one of the three teams recruiting him the hardest, so keep an eye on his performance.
SCAN will face CIA Bounce (Friday, 7:00pm PST), New Jersey Playaz (Saturday, 12:00pm PST), Meanstreets (Saturday, 6:00pm PST), and Texas Elite (Sunday, 8:00am PST) during their stay in California.
New York Lightning
This program typically puts out several players into Big East programs given where they source their players from, and this group should be no different. The big name for Villanova fans here is Amarveer Singh, who is playing a year up with the 2015's. It will be interesting to see how he handles the step up in competition.