NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — When watching an event like the Nike EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam, there’s no shortage of opinions about the players on the floor. Everybody has one. Media. Coaches. Fans. Even the referees.
A pair of 2013 prospects, Jabari Parker (11) and Nerlens Noel (35), were popular choices in our player poll. (247Sports Photo by Jeff Drummond)
But what about the players themselves? What do they think about the talent assembled at the Peach Jam?
We decided to take that question to the future stars of college basketball after competing against dozens of teams in four EYBL events dating back to April.
The format of the question: If you had the No. 1 pick in a fantasy basketball draft from the EYBL player pool, who would you select?
Here were answers from some of the top EYBL performers:
AARON GORDON, OAKLAND SOLDIERS:
“I think my first pick would probably be Jabari Parker (2013 Mac Irvin Fire forward) in a close one over Nerlens Noel (2013 BABC center/forward), who I would almost take just for defense. But Jabari is really good overall. He has a knack for scoring. He’s one of the toughest guys here to defend. Even if you’re doing a good job on him, or you think you’re doing a good job, he finds ways to score.”
BRANDON ASHLEY, OAKLAND SOLDIERS:
“I have to go with Julius Randle (2013 Team Texas Titans forward). He’s a monster — 6-8, strong, athletic, very versatile. He can basically do whatever he wants to do out on the court, inside or outside. I love playing against a guy like him because it brings out the best in me. And we kind of have similar game styles, so it’s fun to play against each other.”
The Oakland Soldiers' 2012 forward Brandon Ashley was the choice of Julius Randle, the No. 1 prospect for 2013. (247Sports Photo by Jeff Drummond)
JULIUS RANDLE, TEAM TEXAS TITANS:
“Brandon Ashley (2012 Oakland Soldiers forward) is really good. That was my first time playing him. He’s such a skilled forward. It’s really hard to guard him because he can go off the dribble. I can attest to that because a lot of people have the same problem with me. He’s just so versatile. He’s a good defender, too.”
ANTHONY BENNETT, CIA BOUNCE:
“The guy with the flat-top, Nerlens (Noel). He’s really good. We played him in the first tournament at Boo Williams, and he was just blocking everything. He really impresses me, even though he’s graduating in 2013. He’s going to get a lot better.”
KYLE ANDERSON, PLAYAZ BASKETBALL CLUB:
“I’m going with the young guy, Jabari Parker. He’s explosive, he can shoot and score in all different types of ways. He’s one of the hardest players to guard. And he really knows how to play the game on both ends of the floor. You have to really kick it up a notch when you play against him. I have a lot of respect for him.”
JABARI PARKER, MAC IRVIN FIRE:
“The No. 1 pick would have to be a big, and the guy who dominated every time we played in the EYBL is Nerlens Noel. He’s incredible around the basket, blocks a ton of shots… He gets so many boards and blocks so many shots, he just totally changes the game. They say defense wins championships, and that’s what he does best.”
NERLENS NOEL, BABC:
“Definitely Jabari Parker. I’ve been to LeBron James camp with him, and he’s such a good guy, humble. That’s what I like. I don’t want any cocky teammates. He’d be a great player to have on my team. I think we’d fit together real good.”
JARNELL STOKES, MEMPHIS YOMCA:
“DaJuan Coleman (2012 Albany City Rocks center/forward) is a great matchup. He’s got a huge body. I’m not used to going up against guys bigger than me (6-8, 240) so I really had to adjust to that.”