Session 3 of Nike EYBL kicked off on Friday from Cartersville, Ga. Featuring some key matchups on opening night, EYBL pitted a couple of Midwest programs against one another. While Talen Horton-Tucker went off for the Mac Irvin Fire, it was The Family who got the win, thanks to a surprising performance from one of their guards. Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Foster Loyer and All-Ohio Red, who took care of Playground Elite, despite a big effort from Tyler Herro…

Tyler Herro – 2018 – SG – Playground Elite

Herro had Playground Elite on his back, scoring 11 of their first 22 points and then leading a big second half comeback. Although his efforts resulted in a loss, Herro’s cold blooded shooting ability was unguardable. At one point in the second half, it was just give him the ball and get out of the way. The Wisconsin commit poured in a game-high 27 points in a loss to All-Ohio Red. Herro was doing some nasty things from mid-range. Displaying a high IQ, Herro went to the pick n’ roll and got favorable matchups then went to work. The 6-foot-4 sniper was toying with defenders and crossing them up before pulling the trigger from mid and 3-point range. Herro’s ability to survey the floor also sets him apart from other shooting guards. He can score in bunches, but Herro will look to distribute almost just as much. Herro dished out five assists, taking advantage of defenders who were too eager to help on his drives. 

Talen Horton-Tucker – 2018 – SF – Mac Irvin Fire
Better buy stock now before it’s too late. Horton-Tucker continues to rise and explode this spring. The confidence this young man is playing with is evident as Horton-Tucker feels he can do whatever he wants on the floor – and for the most part – he’s right. The junior wing dropped 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting. Horton-Tucker appears to get better every time we lay eyes on him. His ball handling and explosiveness off the bounce has hit a new level. An elite slasher, Horton-Tucker excels at hanging and finishing around the rim and in traffic. When you add in his ability to pop off triples, Horton-Tucker is one of the toughest matchups in the EYBL. Remember this name in July as we expect high major programs to blow up his offer list. 

Foster Loyer – 2018 – G – All-Ohio Red
There’s not a player who wants to win more than Loyer. A kid that will do everything for his team, Loyer was selling out and giving up his body in a win over Playground Elite. The Michigan State commit is not only a high motor guard with elite toughness, he does big things offensively. Loyer dropped 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists on Friday. He cooled off near the end, but his 3-point shooting blew the game open for All-Ohio Red. Loyer knocked down four triples, which made up half of his field goals for the game. Loyer just makes winning plays. If he’s not the one scoring, he likely had a hand in the play. An orchestrator of the offense, the ball just whips around the floor when Loyer is in the game, a big reason why this All-Ohio Red team is so tough to beat. 

Jontay Porter – 2018 – PF – Mokan Elite
Porter didn’t have his best game shooting the ball, but made some key shots in the second half that helped Mokan Elite hang onto a late lead – although they would lose on a four-point play at the buzzer. What was encouraging about Porter is that even though his shot wasn’t always falling, it didn’t affect the other parts of his game. He still grabbed 14 rebounds and was a shot blocking monster with six swats. When the game was in the balance, a number of Porter’s 11 points came late in the second half. One of the mist difficult matchups in the EYBL, Porter is a three-level scorer at 6-foot-10. He has a sweet stroke from downtown, can pull it from mid-range, and when he gets to his left hand off the bounce, it’s already over. Porter commanded so much attention in Friday’s loss to Southern Stampede, never possessing the basketball without multiple defenders in the area. His passing ability on the block is special as Porter feels the defense and hits teammates for open looks. 

Thomas Kithier – 2018 – PF – All-Ohio Red

Kithier was extremely efficient in a win over Playground Elite. The Michigan State commit chipped in with 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and was one rebound shy of a double-double. A skilled back-to-the-basket player, Kithier displayed nice touch on his jump hook and has some shake down on the block that kept defenders off balance. Kithier has some versatility and can pop out and knock down shots from mid-range or slash from the high post. Kithier also protected the rim and made things happen defensively at a high level. He posted three blocks and two steals in the opening victory. 

Jalen Lecque – 2019 – PG – Southern Stampede
A top 100 point guard, Lecque made some special plays in a win over Mokan Elite on Friday. While he had just 10 points, just about every time he put the ball in the bucket, the crowd was turning their heads. An explosive lead guard, Lecque plays above the rim consistently and has one of the vertical jumps that makes his seem as if he’s riding an elevator. While he plays at a high pace, Lecque is under control and didn’t commit a single turnover while going head-to-head against one of the nation’s top point guards in the 2018 class. 

Francis Okoro – 2019 – F/C – Bradley Beal Elite
Just love the toughness and fight this kid plays with. He’s only a sophomore, but you wouldn’t know it by his 6-foot-9, 220-pound frame. Simply put, Okoro plays grown man basketball and there are few bigs who truly dominate the paint the way he does. In a win over Team United, Okoro had a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. He was 6-for-8 from the field and also blocked two shots. While he makes his mark with offensive rebounds for put backs and terrific defensive play, Okoro has some skills in the paint. He’s not loaded with tools yet, but there’s a budding finesse in his game as he’s able to maneuver around guards who come in for the swipe and finish with a soft touch. 

Rashad Williams – 2018 – G – The Family
The biggest surprise of Friday, Williams torched the nets en route to 30 points in a comeback win over Mac Irvin Fire. Williams was unconscious and went through an unreal shooting stretch in the second half where he just wouldn’t miss from downtown. Williams was 7-for-9 from beyond the arc and got to a point where he wasn’t even thinking about what he was doing, but just walking up the floor and launching. Williams also mixed it up with some sweet pull-up jumpers off the bounce and drives to the basket. Holding a couple of mid-major scholarships, Williams’ offer list doesn’t do him justice based on Friday night.