These guys came to play

These guys came to play

Illinois basketball beat writer SCOTT RICHEY highlights five Illini targets who stood out during the first slew of games at the Nike EYBL session:

ANDRE JACKSON
Jackson was relentless attacking the basket in City Rocks’ 94-85 victory against Indy Heat. The 6-foot-6 wing out of Albany, N.Y., put up one of the top performances of the night with 27 points on 13 of 18 shooting (72 percent). The consensus four-star recruit also had five rebounds, four assists and two steals to cap an all-around solid game.

RYAN KALKBRENNER
The 7-footer out of Trinity Catholic (Mo.) isn’t the top offensive option for Mac Irvin Fire, but that didn’t keep the 2020 center from making an impact in a 71-65 win against Team Final. Kalkbrenner, the top defensive player from the opening EYBL weekend in Atlanta, had four blocks in the Friday night win and chipped in nine points and 16 rebounds.

A.J. GRIFFIN
Griffin’s EYBL debut was a good one. The younger brother of Illinois sophomore guard Alan Griffin proved why he’s one of the top 2021 prospects in the country in PSA Cardinals’ 79-52 victory against Bluff City Legends. Griffin dropped a game-high 23 points thanks to lights out 4 of 5 three-point shooting to go with six rebounds and two blocks.

RJ DAVIS
Davis continued the good night for Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) guards after Griffin started it, and it’s hard to pick what the 6-foot 2020 point guard did better in the 90-72 New York Renassaince victory. He flashed quick hands as a menace on the defensive end (three steals) and was a threat on all three levels offensively with 27 points.

DAVION BRADFORD
Another 2020 center out of St. Louis (Mehlville High) was just one of multiple standouts in MOKAN Elite’s 95-52 romp against The Family Detroit. Bradford missed just a single shot, going 10 of 11 from the field and leading MOKAN Elite with 24 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds in a dominant frontcourt alongside N’Faly Dante.

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