Nike EYBL S2: Friday's Storylines & Standouts

Phoenix, Arizona: I was thankful enough to make the trip out West and we'll have you covered at MADE Society with plenty of content in the coming days. Read more for a collection of standouts and extensive analysis on some storylines that popped on Day One. 

Jamari Phillips & Jase Richardson guide Paul George Elite to a win 

2024 guard Jamari Phillips was feeling it on the offensive end during today’s action in Phoenix. His perimeter firepower gave Paul George Elite an uplift when they needed to secure a win. He’s a skilled scorer who proved today that he’s comfortable scoring from multiple levels. Phillips is a smooth-spot up shooter with extensive range, however it was his off-the-dribble shotmaking that generated some buzz today. He was a reliable mid-range scorer who forced opponents to run him off the three-point line which allowed some open looks to come about inside the arc. The Arizona commit found his groove today and Paul George Elite will need his scoring contributions in order to earn some wins. 

2024 guard Jase Richardson had his fair share of promising moments during today’s action in Phoenix. He put together a well-rounded performance given his final 15 points, 5 rebounds, & 4 assists. He had his way attacking & beating closeouts, plus he made some strong reads on the fly. Richardson flashed his ability as a pull-up scorer after beating closeouts, plus he made some pin-point passes when he was met by help defense in the lane. He was a reliable creator of offense who is continuing to find his groove after suffering an injury this past high-school season. His blend of positional size, advanced ball skills, & growing confidence makes him a noteworthy backcourt prospect in the 2024 class. 

Nigel James & Jaylen Harrell continue their big EYBL season 

2025 guard Nigel James erupted for 28 points while coming through with multiple vital buckets that helped Expressions come out on top today. He’s a lightning quick lead guard who is a mismatch nightmare when switched onto bigs given his speed, handle, & wiggle. He utilized a variety of dribble moves and counters to create space, plus he was comfortable scoring in & out of the paint. James is an acrobatic finisher who converted some tough layups with his touch through traffic. He’s a consistent mid-range scorer who keeps defenders on their heels with his shifty handle, yet he excels at settling into pull-up jumpers once he gains enough leverage on defenders. 

2025 wing Jaylen Harrell picked up right where he left off last weekend at Session One in Atlanta. He’s a versatile scorer who brings a mature approach each time out on the offensive end. It was his mid-range scoring that hurt opponents today and he connected on numerous self-created looks. Harrell’s range extends out to the three-point line, however he loves operating inside the arc given his comfortability and ability to create space. He’s a dangerous scorer given his tendency to heat up quickly after seeing a few shots fall through. Alabama, Washington, Georgetown, Providence, and UMass offered after Session One, now we’ll have to wait to see whose next. 

Caleb Gaskins vs Jacob Lanier proved to be a high-level matchup 

2026 wing Caleb Gaskins was highly impressive once again during his Session Two debut in Phoenix. He’s an intriguing wing who possesses a rare blend of positional size and skill for a prospect that is just 14-years old. I’ve been highly impressed with his growth as a decision-maker and processor, yet today it was a few flashes in the short-roll that caught my eye. Gaskins has the versatility to shoot over opponents, plus he has the physicality and explosive first step to beat defenders off the bounce. He made some strong reads in the short-roll today by getting rid of the ball before double teams or help defense could come. The Florida native added an offer from Jacksonville last week, however it won’t be long before they come flowing in. 

2026 wing Jacob Lanier had plenty of brights moments in this game, however it was his aggression and physicality that caught my eye most. He recorded 12 rebounds against a big & physical Nightrydas frontcourt that was a load for LivOn to handle. Lanier also popped as a grab & go threat given the occasions he was able to take the ball coast to coast himself in the open floor. He needs minimal dribbles to get downhill, however today help defense was locked in on his driving lanes. Defensively, he had the foot speed to defend opposing wings in space, plus he leveraged his length to contest bigger opponents shots without fouling. 

Derrion Reid & Labaron Philon continue to impress 

2024 wing Derrion Reid was his usual, two-way producing self for Team Thad in a big win over Team United. He’s a versatile, long, and well-rounded wing guard who has a strong balance of scoring + playmaking. He excels at utilizing a tight crossover and explosive first step to get downhill often. Reid has the touch and body control to finish through traffic, however he’s made notable growth as a passer and decision-maker. While he may have the touch to finish at the rim with his dominant hand, he’s more than capable of scoring outside the paint. Reid’s a toolsy defender who possesses the positional size, length, and . His range extends out to the three-point line, however he did the majority of his damage inside the arc with his playmaking & rim finishing today in Phoenix. 

2024 guard Labaron Philon will have no shortage of suitors at the next level after he recently decommitted from Auburn. He was a smooth creator who had plenty of burst and wiggle in his handle. He leveraged this to create advantages, specifically when attacking and beating initial closeouts on the perimeter. Philon flashed his mid-range prowess by connecting on a few pull-up jumpers when he had enough space to do so. He was an efficient finisher with his dominant hand, however his body control in traffic also popped. Look out for the Alabama native to draw some high-major attention after becoming available.

Jahki Howard & Tahaad Pettiford pop out for New York Lightning

2024 wing Jahki Howard gave New Heights Lightning some additional scoring which helped them secure a win. He’s a bouncy, high-flying wing who is well-known for his athleticism, however he’s made clear growth as a shooter. He connected on some mid-range jumpers as well, however it’s his explosive finishing that catches most peoples eyes. Howard’s blend of explosiveness and pop at his size makes him a potential lob threat in the open floor as well. He put together some strong spans of play when switched onto guards by holding his own when defending in space. The Boston product is still uncommitted and he’s a prospect to keep an eye out for in the coming months. 

2024 guard Tahaad Pettiford has been excellent for New Heights Lightning so far this EYBL season. He’s made notable growth as a shooter, specifically when it comes to his confidence while operating off the bounce. He’s much more comfortable settling into self-created jumpers, plus he’s hit them at a solid clip so far. Pettiford is a bouncy athlete who has the verticality to throw down dunks when he’s given a runway in the lane. Defensively, his blend of quick feet and hands makes him a tenacious on-ball defender who has a clear knack for disrupting opposing ball handlers rhythm. The Auburn commit is continuing to make strides in his game while playing with notable confidence. 

Additional EYBL (2024) Standouts

 Terrence Hill Jr

Sekou Konneh

Morez Johnson (Illinois Commit)

Juke Harris (Wake Forest Commit)

Karter Knox

Que Duncan

Pat Ngongba

Billy Richmond

Ahmad Nowell

Darius Acuff Jr (2025)

Jeremiah Fears (2025)

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