EYBL Houston Day 1: Jayson Tatum battles Dennis Smith; Curtis Jones, John Petty Jr. stand out

0 Comments

HOUSTON — The third session of the Nike EYBL in Houston tipped off on Friday night as the league is getting closer to deciding which teams will head to Peach Jam. Boo Williams had strong performances from Deshawn Corprew and Curtis Jones in a win over the Mac Irvin Fire while top-five prospects Jayton Tatum and Dennis Smith Jr. took the floor for the same contest. Alabama Challenge guard John Petty Jr. closed out the night with a strong performance and proved why high-major programs are flocking to him.

Corprew and Jones lead Boo Williams

Starting off the session in Houston, Virginia-based Boo Williams picked up a win over Mac Irvin Fire as Class of 2016 wings Deshawn Corprew and Curtis Jones took over down the stretch. The three-star Corprew, who has offers from Kansas State, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Washington State and Wichita State, was tremendous in the open floor and in transition as he for 24 points, six rebounds and three steals. Strong and athletic at 6-foot-5, Corprew even mixed in a 3-pointer and played hard on both ends of the floor.

After a strong-shooting first-half from the perimeter, Jones cooled down a little bit, but he still tallied 18 points and knocked down four 3-pointers. Jones has a bit of a low release on his jumper, but he did a nice job of adjusting his offense when the Fire ran him off the 3-point line. Jones, ranked the No. 54 prospect in the class by Rivals, also added five rebounds.

Jones told NBCSports.com that he has scholarship offers from Georgetown, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Xavier. He would like to take unofficial visits to Georgetown and Indiana at some point.

Jayson Tatum vs. Dennis Smith doesn’t go as planned

Five-star Class of 2016 point guard Dennis Smith normally doesn’t play on the Nike EYBL, but with adidas having the weekend off from events, the electric 6-foot-2 joined up with Team Penny along with talented four-star wing Braxton Blackwell.

The duo took an already talented Team Penny squad head-to-head with Jayton Tatum and the St. Louis Eagles and it meant that two top-five players in the Class of 2016 (Smith and Tatum) would play against one another.

Game officials, however, had other ideas. The game was marred by miserable whistles, an inept shot-clock operator and a lot of foul trouble between both teams. It also didn’t help that Smith, playing with a new team, received limited touches and only finished with eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes of action before sitting much of the second half with injury.

Tatum, a five-star wing, had a solid, but not great, effort as he had 22 points, six rebounds and three steals. The smooth and skilled wing can do a little bit of everything on the floor, but it’s tough to say if he’s elite in any one category.

On talent alone, Smith and Tatum both look like top-five prospects at the current juncture, but there’s a long time to go until the final rankings come out at the end of senior season. The St. Louis Eagles ended up winning 74-66 on Friday night.

John Petty Jr. showcases a lot of ability

Alabama Challenge is off to a solid start in the EYBL and 6-foot-5 shooting guard John Petty Jr. is a big reason why. Petty picked up a Kentucky offer just this week and is also hearing from a lot of SEC schools as they all try to get the talented scorer in the fold.

The Class of 2017 guard knocked in some tough 3-pointers, caught a two-handed alley-oop well above the rim and also made some timely stops in a tight win over Team Takeover. Petty was only 6-for-15 from the field, but he still finished with 18 points as he hit some tough shots in a very close game.

Petty is currently a four-star prospect and the No. 39 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, and he could be in-line for a bump up the rankings if he continues his strong play. There’s a lot to like about his game going forward.

Besides the recent offer from Kentucky, Petty claims offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia and Texas Tech.