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May 26, 2014
EYBL: Diallo dominant on Sunday in Minnesota
EAGAN, Minn. -- The final session of Nike's EYBL rolled on in the Minneapolis suburbs on Sunday. As usual, there was so much talent in the gym that it wasn't hard to find big-time performances. Five-star big man Cheick Diallo continued his dominance and spoke about his recruiting process, while Allonzo Trier continued his run to five-star status.
Throughout the entire EYBL, few big men have been as dominant on both ends of the floor as Cheick Diallo. Playing with Team Scan, the nation's No. 8 prospect has been showing all spring that he needs serious consideration for at leas the national top five. During a 20-point, 20-rebound and three-block performance against the Jackson Tigers and current No. 1 Malik Newman on Sunday morning, Diallo continued to build his case.
While Diallo is on the slender side, he does have strength and plays with an incredible motor. He is quick off his feet, has tremendous length and can easily outrun most big men from block to block. Because he is so physically and athletically impressive, the improvement he has shown in his skill game probably hasn't been talked about enough.
Diallo has become reliable with his jump hook, he can now make 12-foot jumpers with pretty good regularity, and his decision making with the ball is much improved. Averaging just under 19 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game while shooting over 63 percent from the field, Diallo has also been highly efficient through all four stops of the EYBL.
The native of Mali has been happy with his play.
"I think that I've been playing great," Diallo told Rivals.com. "I have to keep improving my free throws but I rebound, I block shots, I run the floor and I catch dunks."
Asked to list schools, Diallo listed Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Kansas, St. John's, Syracuse, Kentucky and Connecticut. However, Diallo said he's likely to wait until the spring of 2015 to make his college choice.
With regard to where he fits in the national picture, Diallo believes that he has proven himself as a top player, but he's not stressing rankings.
"Sometimes I care, sometimes I don't," said Diallo about where he ranks. "I just want to play and have fun."
Trier leads team to success
One of the biggest stories of the EYBL has been the play of 2015 shooting guard Allonzo Trier with Athlete's First. One of the league's doormats in 2013, Athlete's First has experienced tremendous success in 2014 as Trier has led what is essentially a 16U team to a 12-4 record in the highly competitive EYBL.
Athlete's First actually suffered a tough loss to the Travelers Basketball Club on Sunday afternoon. Down by as many as 22 in the second half, they were able to cut it all the way down to 3 with just under 30 seconds to go but just didn't have enough gas to finish it out, even with Trier scoring 39 points.
"Last year we didn't do to well and this year nobody expected us to be in the running to compete," said Trier. "We're really young, probably one of the youngest EYBL teams ever. We don't have a lot of experience but we play really hard, we're well coached and we're tough."
Sitting at the No. 38 position in the class of 2015, it isn't as if Trier was lightly regarded headed into the spring. But, he's proven to be a nearly unstoppable scorer while averaging over 29 points a game throughout the spring. He has a strong frame he uses to get to the rim, he has a balance between his mid range game and taking deep jumpers and the Oklahoma native who attends Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian is a smart basketball player.
Schools have been coming at Trier left and right and he mentioned Arizona, Louisville, Connecticut, UCLA, Georgetown, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State among the many schools trying to get him on campus.
For now, Trier says he is leaning towards waiting until next spring to make a choice and that he really needs a chance to sit down with his mother and go over his options before taking his next step.
"I think I will be wait until the spring to make a choice," said Trier. "I need to first get home and talk to my mother because I go to school at Montrose and don't get to see her. We need to get a school list cut down and go from there."
More Sunday notables
UConn-bound Prince Ali has proven himself over and over as one of the premier drivers in the class of 2015. He is athletic, tough and relentless to the rim and will move up nicely from his current ranking of No. 68. Also, Rivals.com is keeping a close eye on class of 2016 big man Tony Bradley who plays alongside Ali on the Southern Stampede. Bradley has a nice frame to go along with 6-foot-9 size and he didn't back down at all from Ivan Rabb and Stephen Zimmerman of the Oakland Soldiers in a loss.
Cheick Diallo wasn't without help during Sunday morning's win over the Jackson Tigers. 2016 guards Devonte Green and Tyus Battle both had big games with Green scoring 23 points and grabbing five rebounds while Battle scored 19 and grabbed three rebounds while dishing out a pair of assists.
The younger brother of current San Antonio Spur Danny Green, Devonte doesn't have his older brother's size and is a different style player. He is about 6-foot-1 and a combo guard, really more of a self described "undersized shooting guard" but he has game. He can hit from deep, creates off the dribble and has a toughness about him that is tough to ignore. Green said that he has gotten early offers from Arizona and Cincinnati and mentioned UConn, West Virginia and North Carolina as other programs that he has heard from.
As for Battle, he welcomed a much needed breakout performance. The No. 11 player in the class of 2016, Battle has struggled a bit for much of the spring. He's grown to 6-foot-5, gotten much stronger and has been in the process of adjusting his game. Sunday, he mixed jump shots, transition finishes and drives to the hoop nicely and as a result he played the best he has this spring. Battle said that he feels like he's started to get things going in the right direction and he's excited for the summer ahead now that he has his confidence going. Battle has 20 total offers and listed Villanova, Syracuse, Ohio State, UConn, Indiana, Seton Hall and Rutgers as some who are standing out. Battle also mentioned Michigan -- who doesn't offer scholarships until mid June between a player's sophomore and junior seasons -- as another program pursuing hard and he's pretty sure that he'll get an offer from them in June.
The Spiece Indy Heat have a pair of double-double machines and legitimate McDonald's All-American candidates from the class of 2015 in big men Caleb Swanigan and Deyonta Davis. Swanigan is averaging 18.5 points while leading the EYBL in rebounding with 12.1 boards per game while the Michigan State bound Davis chips in with 16.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game of his own.
Previously a member of the class of 2016, Swanigan is a five-star prospect who recently switched to the class of 2015. He hasn't been moved into the 2015 rankings just yet but will be soon and he'll be in the top 25 and retain five-star status. That he doesn't shoot a great percentage is a bit of a concern, but Swanigan is a skilled widebody who carves out space near the rim, has soft touch and a high skill level. Davis on the other hand is one of the fast rising players in the country. He is long, athletic, makes things look easy and has outplayed his current ranking of No. 42 nationally. Look for him to make a strong push for the top 25 and five-star status as well.
The play of four-star shooting guard Jalen Coleman on Sunday could be described in one word, exceptional. The 6-foot-3 wing was in the zone for All-Ohio Red during his first game on Sunday making 12-13 shots (5-6 3PT) to score 32 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out a pair of assists and played well on the defensive end. He added another 25 and eight during his second game of the day and has backed up his No. 31 ranking in the class of 2015. After taking some time to settle in with All-Ohio earlier in the spring, Coleman has been outstanding as a jump shooter. He has shot over 50 percent from the field overall and has made a ridiculous 50 percent of his three point attempts (46-92) in EYBL play.
Travelers Basketball got a big win over Athlete's First thanks to a solid team effort. Recent Vanderbilt commitment Camron Justice led the way with 17 points and hit a trio of three-pointers. James Bolden celebrated his recent commitment to West Virginia by adding 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. He did struggle some with turnovers, but Bolden is very quick with the ball, getting stronger and looks like he has made some tweaks to his jump shot that should help going forward.
Top 20 class of 2016 guard Jamal Murray can be a very smooth scorer. At 6-foot-4, he looks to be a little more of a natural shooting guard than the point guard he is currently listed at but he can certainly run an offense for a bit. But, we like him best as an off the ball scorer who can be a secondary playmaker and ball handler. He shoots with range, can create for himself and plays at his own space never really allowing a defender to speed him up or dictate what he's going to do.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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