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May 11, 2012
This weekend, Nike will hold the third installment of its Elite Youth Basketball League in the suburbs of Dallas at Fieldhouse USA in Frisco, Texas. Here's a few of the players and trends that Rivals.com will watch closely.
Can Okafor keep it up?
The No. 3 player in the class of 2014, Jahlil Okafor has been ridiculously efficient all spring. Last weekend in Ft. Wayne, Ind., at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam, it was a joke as the skilled center converted on seemingly every touch he got.
Now the question is whether the five-star from Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young can keep that rolling for another weekend for a loaded Mac Irvin squad. Through two sessions of EYBL play, Okafor has averaged around 11 points and five rebounds per game while converting on 70 percent of his field goal attempts.
The Fire carries a 6-3 record into the weekend and will continue to improve on that if Okafor can continue with his high level of play.
Will Jefferson find his groove?
Nobody would ever question the toughness or guts of Rondae Jefferson. The 6-foot-7 wing from Chester (Pa.) High is universally regarded as one of the toughest players in the class of 2013.
However, the four-star prospect ranked No. 23 in the Rivals150 has struggled a bit to shoot the ball for Team Final during EYBL play.
Despite his tough shooting from the floor, Jefferson has still managed to score 11 points per contest and corral nearly eight rebounds a game. If his shot starts falling from mid-range and he finishes at the rim, look for Team Final to improve upon its 5-4 record in team play.
The latest with Selden
One of the single most exciting finishers in basketball - regardless of class - is 2014 shooting guard Wayne Selden.
A 6-foot-4 guard from the Tilton (N.H.) School, the sophomore for BABC is a highlight waiting to happen every time he touches the ball and eyes a lane to the rim. But, he's been showing an expanded game of late and should also be fully healthy after going down late in the high school season with an injury.
So far, Selden has averaged more than 13 points per game for a 5-4 BABC team but he is capable of much more once he finds his groove. In the past he's mentioned Kentucky, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Missouri and Florida, among others, but we'll be looking to corner him and get the latest on his recruitment.
Three more to keep an eye on
One of the EYBL's top scorers is Playground Elite point guard Duane Wilson. A 6-foot-3 point guard from Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican, Wilson has already risen into the national top 100. However, the four-star has been on a tear of late and looks as if he still has plenty of room to climb the rankings from his current spot of No. 93 in the class of 2013.
One of the smartest players in the class of 2013, four-star wing Semi Ojeleye has been putting up big numbers on the offensive end for MoKan Elite during EYBL Play. A powerfully built wing, Ojeleye has drained deep jumpers and powered over, through and around defenders for conversions at the rim. If he adds in more of a middle game, he could become one of the biggest mismatches in the EYBL.
Finally, one of the biggest revelations of the EYBL has been the play of Arkansas commitment Bobby Portis. The Little Rock (Ark.) Hall big man has looked underrated at No. 56 this spring. Has his play - particularly in Hampton a few weeks ago - been a true indication of his ability or has he been playing over his head? If he does continue to play at the level he's been performing, we are talking about a potential five-star prospect and somebody who could contend for the McDonald's All-American game.