IU Basketball Recruiting: Observations From the Nike EYBL in Westfield

I spent Friday evening in Westfield at the Nike EYBL to watch various Indiana basketball recruiting targets.  Here are my notes from the session.

All players are class of 2020 unless otherwise noted.

Caleb Furst (Indy Heat, 2021) is the real deal.  The first thing you need to understand when watching Furst is that he is playing up a year.  He struggled at times getting his shot off against the nation’s elite incoming seniors, but he clearly belonged on the floor and will be a major factor next year.  Furst has the athleticism to play off the block but will need to develop that aspect of his game more in his final two years of high school.  There is no doubt that he will remain a highly coveted top 100 player in his class.

Kiyron Powell (Indy Heat) is a high major ready shot blocker.  He rejected several shots on Friday night and covered a lot ground doing it.  The rest of his game is raw and his wiry frame would make it tough for him to defend the post.  There is a lot of athleticism and potential here, but high major coaches would have to be patient.

Nijel Pack (Indy Heat) struggled from the field on Friday and overall had what was likely his worst game of the spring.  On the defensive end Pack had a hard time with City Rocks point guard Noah Hutchins at times.  Overall he plays with a tenacity that we really liked and Pack led the team well on the offensive end until the game got out of hand late.

Andre Jackson. Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Andre Jackson (City Rocks) was the best player on the floor in the matchup against the Indy Heat.  Jackson is a freakish athlete and could get to the rim and finish whenever he wanted.  He plays with a very high motor and beat his man in transition regularly.  Jackson appears on track to be a game changer at the next level.

Caleb Love (Brad Beal) has all the attributes you look for in a high major point guard.  He’s big, he can score from all levels, facilitate and defend.  He also has a toughness about him that I liked.  Although he struggled with some turnovers on Friday, it’s clear why he is IU’s top priority at point guard in the 2020 class.

RJ Davis (Renaissance) From a pure skills perspective, Davis is the best point guard on IU’s 2020 list.  The only question is his size.  He is listed at 6-foot-0 and 155 pounds, both of which might be a stretch.  But Davis is unphased against bigger competition.  He had no problem getting his shot up with a quick release.  He pushes the pace and is always in attack mode which led him to 20 free throws on the night.  Davis did struggle at times to stay in front of an unheralded but lightning quick point guard for NJ.

Davion Bradford (Mokan) has a body that is ready for the high major level.  He is both big and tall, and could clearly be a bruiser at the Big Ten level.  Former Mokan player Juwan Morgan was there watching, and he told us that Bradford can play in the Big Ten but he believes more skill development is needed.  That resonated based on what we saw.  Bradford could definitely be a valuable asset on a roster for multiple years.

Davion Bradford. Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Matt Cross (BABC) is a good player on a bad team.  He showed impressive ball handling skills for a player of his size and has a quick release on his shot.  The one sided game didn’t give anyone on BABC a chance to shine too much, but Cross seems like a guy that could be a highly valuable and versatile inside/out talent in the Big Ten.  It’s clear why IU offered here.  Cross scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as he continues to make a name for himself.

Nimari Burnett (Team Why Not) has quickness that is off the charts.  It’s a twitchy quickness that has him past you before you knew what happened.  Burnett’s recruitment is expanding to the highest levels and it is clear why.  He will be a high level scorer at the next level and seems to be very engaged as a competitor and team player.

DJ Steward (Meanstreets) is a versatile guard with impressive ball handling skills.  He has a good motor and showed a grit factor that we liked.  The question is what position will he play and/or what kind of role can he fill at the high major level.  Steward will need to show that he is elite at something.

Donovan Johnson (All Ohio) has good length and very smooth stroke.  Tayshaun Prince came to mind when watching him play.  That will be the question on Johnson — whether his physique is ready or can be developed for the Big Ten.  In any event he’ll be a serious threat as a long perimeter shooter.

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