Updated: Sep 9, 2021
In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, we present the first of multiple installments of ‘PD’s Sleepers,’ which features a player personnel deep dive courtesy of Pro Insight contributor PD Web, following the return of summer grassroots basketball.
Summer is winding down, the rankings updates have come out, high school team events are nearly here and I wanted to recap the EYBL season by touching on some players — players that may very well produce at the next level far outside the expectation of their consensus rank or are currently off the national radar. It’s not my intention to disagree with the order of rankings or to say that any player is too low or too high, but to highlight players worthy of your attention and make a case for that player’s long term upside and development — be it as their high school career continues with an eye towards college, or looking forward into the pros. Having been at EYBL and watched as much on the ground and on replays as I can, I am going to focus entirely on EYBL players, with a 3SSB/UAA/Independent sleepers piece in the works as I finish that film. I’ve also tried to stay away from many of the players I have covered in depth for the Cerebro EYBL leaderboards, though many of those guys certainly do qualify for this list. Here are 20 players that stuck out to me:
E1T1 (FL) | Lake Highland Prep (FL) | 6’6 Wing | 2022
Recruitment: Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia Tech (Final 4)
247Sports Composite Ranking: #164
EYBL Stats: 17.4ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.6apg, 1.4spg
Industry consensus from Sensabaugh, currently ranked outside the top 150, despite having multiple high-major offers and a very strong track record of production I think comes down to evaluators struggling to place the unique combination that is Sensabaugh’s build and playstyle. Sensabaugh is built like a 6’6 fullback, with a very strong base and low center of gravity, but plays with a real shiftiness in his handle. It is quite jarring to see a 6’6 230ish guy play out of hesis, side-steps and shifty hangs to create separation as effectively as slender wings. In the event those creation pathways failed, there was always the option to just power through less physical matchups on his way to the cup. Sensabaugh averaged 17 points per game in around 15 minutes per game (!) with a 58.3 TS%, or translated differently, an EYBL leading 38.5 points per 40. Equally important is how he did it, posting a 36.5 FTR and a 44.3 3PR in his 235 EYBL minutes. Sensabaugh was the only player who played at least 15 minutes per game in EYBL to attempt 8+ 3PA (BS:12.6) and 8+ FTA (BS:10.4) per 40, the closest being Emoni Bates at 8 and 7.5, respectively. What stood out to me in person was how difficult it is to ref Sensabaugh: after creating an advantage, he drove to the rim with the intent to punch home everything, and the standard bumps/collisions in air just weren’t whistled as fouls, instead the contact standard was applied differently than it would be for a thinner guy — a common complaint from bigger, stronger players. As a creator for others, Sensabaugh posted a near even A:TO on 3.6 assists per 40. Not bad for a tertiary playmaker who mostly passes out of drive-and-kicks and ran much less offense than the usage would suggest, mostly due to the playmaking talent on E1T1 (Mitchell and Thornton). At the next level, I am very interested to see how Sensabaugh’s usage is allocated — there were interesting passing flashes and instinctual reads that may suggest more of an offensive engine, and the self-creation talent would certainly allow for scalability with another ballhandler. Defensively, having that frame offers the ability to switch down positions, as well as overpower smaller/quicker ballhandlers at the point of attack. Sensabaugh did well to stay in front of guards when sliding laterally and is a ++ archetypal rebounder on both ends, offering some mitigation for not having ideal length. Off-ball is where Sensabaugh interested me most — he finished fifth in steals per 40 (3.9) for wing-sized players (6’4+) who met the games and minutes threshold. The defensive feel in passing lanes flashed as did the ability to use the strength on digs. Overall, I thought of Sensabaugh as an impactful weakside havoc defender. Adding that all together, we have a high major wing creator who is scalable within lineups, scores efficiently and has good pathways to defensive value. That’s a very valuable wing prospect.
Expressions Elite (MA) | Putnam Science Academy (CT) | 6’5 Guard/Wing | 2022
Recruitment: Maryland, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Butler, Cal, Xavier, Marquette, Kansas State, Creighton, Providence, Seton Hall, Boston College (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: #172
EYBL Stats: 15.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 4.6apg, 1.1spg
Claude is a strong two-way wing that has improved his handle and decision making to the point that he was the initiator of sets for most of Expressions games in EYBL, a drastic leap from being a tertiary playmaker with solid feel as a junior at St. Thomas More (CT). The point guard experience, while not expected to be Claude's long term expected role, has strengthened the decision making and handling under pressure so that in a college off-ball role, Claude will be an incisive reader of the floor in second side actions. Claude seemed to hunt three-point volume less when asked to run an offense, attempting only 17 threes in 210 minutes (24.2 3pr), despite having a really good looking jumper. Claude knocked down 35% of his threes and has a better attempt rate at other levels, so this may have just been more adapting to a new role than a change in outlook, but something to monitor during his senior year as he synthesizes the playmaking craft into a smaller usage expectation at PSA. Where I was most impressed and felt the handle development shown through clearly was the ability to get to the rack, to get fouled and to score more efficiently than when I had previously scouted Claude. The 63.6 TS% is very encouraging, especially considering that it isn’t buoyed by hot three-point shooting — as is the 48.5 FTR, a great number for a primary initiator. Being able to handle, leveraging long strides and creative pickups really unlocked the long arm finishes and craft that has been developed over the last year. It's been a key driver of the rise of Claude’s stock, propelling him into a high-major wing prospect, especially at a lower usage level.
Phenom U (WI) | Brookfield Central HS (WI) | 6’5 Guard/Wing | 2022
Recruitment: App. State, UIC, Bowling Green, Western, Illinois, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, UW-Milwaukee, DePaul (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: #261
EYBL Stats: 9.8ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.9spg, 0.8tpg
Andrew Rohde came into EYBL as a largely unknown entity, sporting a few MM/LM offers, but it didn’t take long for word to get out about a smart wing who knocked down shots at a high level with the ability to get hot from deep quickly. Maybe no game exemplifies this better than the 6-7 from deep he put up in a win against a loaded E1T1. Rohde was one of three wing players to shoot 40% from 3 and have at least 50 attempts — along with Arceneaux and Hausen, also two wings who had immense rises in stock at 2021 EYBL. Rohde took 8.2 threes per 40, more than Arceneaux’s 7.2 and less than Hausen’s eye-popping 16.3. This tracks with roles — Terrance was more of a do-it-all creator and Hausen is a flat out shooter. One of the improvements I would love to see from Rohde is getting that three-point volume higher. I’m a firm believer that great shooters should explore as much shooting usage as possible, rather than leaving any extremely high-value three-point attempts on the table. Rohde still has a way to go to reach what I think is possible for his shooting talent, from a shooting versatility and volume perspective. Rohde may pass up on some semi-open shots that other shooters let fly, but that same process is also one of his most interesting traits: Rohde is a great decision maker as a ball-mover. Playing mostly as an off-ball threat who leveraged the hard closeouts he received; Rohde was a complete player in EYBL, able to attack with his handle as well as picking out the right pass to the open man — to the tune of a solid 3.4 assists per 40, but more impressive is the 2.9:1 A:TO in mostly high-leverage situations. Those smarts and understanding of rotations show up on defense, as well — steals (2.9 per 40), blocks (0.8 per 40) and deflections pile up for a player who doesn’t jump off the page athletically in warm ups. Knowing where to be and how to make an impact defensively with active hands, quick feet and good reactions made more of an impression on me each time I watched Rohde.
NY Renaissance | Gill St. Bernard’s HS (NJ) | 6’2 Guard | 2022
Recruitment: Committed to Georgetown
247Sports Composite Ranking: #121
EYBL Stats: 11.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.0apg, 48.7 3PT%
We move from one impressive shooter to another in the NY Rens’ Denver Anglin. Anglin knocked down the shot of Peach Jam — a game-winning transition bomb from the parking lot to edge out Boo Williams. The shot came with slivers of time on the clock, and if you focused on Anglin, you would think it was a normal midrange jumper, not a shot from beyond NBA range. The impressiveness of Anglin’s shooting ability isn’t limited to his deep range; the footwork to get into movement threes cleanly, the consistency to punish defenders that went under on pick-and-roll, the ability to shoot out of combinations vs. high-major length off the dribble and the speed of his release all leave me scratching my head over his ranking. Looking at broad recruiting trends, combo guards without overwhelming physical tools tend to get punished when compared with toolsier players. However, Anglin has a great case to buck that trend with his high production and projectability into the college game. Anglin isn’t a poor athlete, when given space he can finish explosively off two feet, and drives well enough that defenses cannot sell out on the shooting threat. When acting as a initiator, Anglin showcased the handle and patience to guide the Rens into sets and pick-and-rolls, and in the pick-and-roll, teams really struggled to adjust to his ability to shoot out of sidesteps and stepbacks if there was any daylight, without sacrificing off-ball defensive scheme that could be exploited by Filipowski et al. Shooting has never been more valuable for college programs, especially versatile shooting that can scale as needed with lineup expectations — I mean, it’s hard to imagine 48.7% on 9.2 attempts not fitting seamlessly into any offense. But, for more insight, Anglin has experience playing off talented wing creators (here at EYBL with Westry and Filipowski as well as with his high school team alongside Naas Cunningham and Mackenzie Mgbako), which bodes very well for his ability to adjust to Georgetown.
Dorile “DJ” Jackson
UPLAY (Canada) | Montverde Academy (FL) | 6’4 Guard | 2022
Recruitment: UMass, South Florida, Mississippi State, Seton Hall, Stony Brook (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 16.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.4apg, 2.4spg, 40.7 3PT%
Dorile “DJ” Jackson is a player I had zero priors on entering 2021 EYBL, and I was blown away by my first exposure to the talented Canadian guard. It feels like that when prospects off the radar blow up, it is a result of a singular skillset: knockdown shooters, eye-popping athletes, microwave scorers doing their thing in front of a larger audience and doing it well. DJ Jackson’s ascent is unique in the sense that he is a pretty complete guard prospect: a good-sized 1 or 2 who can create for himself and others, knock down shots in different contexts and is an impactful defender at the point of attack and off-ball. That varied scoring skillset made DJ the perfect fit to be paired with 2022 five-star Shaedon Sharpe, able to adjust his game to the flow of the game while providing spacing and allowing Shaedon to take possession off ball after DJ’s created advantage — a threat that was not as present in Peach Jam as Jackson went down with an injury after just seven games. That injury does limit some of the inferences that can be drawn from the data — 40.7% from 3, but on a 27-attempt sample (6 attempts per 40), 72.4% from the line on 29 FTAs are good numbers, but a larger sample is needed to draw meaningful conclusions. Jackson will be playing his post-grad year with MVA, so there will be ample opportunity to see how those numbers stabilize against good competition, but broadly speaking I like the jumper. Looking through older shooting data for Jackson, I think it is safe to project him as a ++ shooter. The gather into the shot is a bit slow, but he didn’t have any trouble getting to it out of stepbacks or the 15-foot pull-ups he likes out of pick-and-roll. The handle has a natural glide that gives defenders trouble, as did the yanking counters such as screen rejects when defenders were caught overplaying. Jackson has enough burst to get two feet in the paint out of his moves and the flashes of goofy foot and extension finishes were good indicators of long term finishing value. The defense is what caught my eye first about Jackson, a guard big and long enough to trouble sub-6’ PGs at the point of attack and with good instincts on digs and stunts off the ball. This shows up on the box score as 3.7 steals per 40, first among players who played at least 20 minutes per game, regardless of games played. In fact, DJ would have finished third overall in Cerebro’s DSI (Defensive Statistical Impact) metric if we had lowered the games played threshold, ahead of havoc-creating luminaries like Duren and Brandon Miller.
Oakland Soldiers (CA) | AZ Compass Prep | 7’0 Big | 2022
Recruitment: Western Kentucky, East Carolina, Washington State, Texas Tech, Creighton, Washington, Mississippi State, UCSB, TCU (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 7.2ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3bpg
The 7-foot big was one of the players I was most excited to see after hearing from multiple trusted sources on his steep upward development trajectory. The tools remain exciting, +6 wingspan, with a big motor and quick feet but hearing that more skill was being added event by event had me making time to see multiple Soldiers games. Diongue was on perhaps the deepest roster in EYBL, the Oakland Soldiers, with six players playing at least 20 minutes per game and that's not even including Ramel Lloyd and Mookie Cook, who only were available to play a few games. Having a larger collection of lineups and having to adjust tendencies accordingly to each set of expectations can be difficult for young players — and that is where a player like Diongue shines. Diongue knows what he is, knows what he does well and is working on adding small things little-by-little at the periphery while keeping the main thing the main thing. Screen-setting isn’t ever going to land someone on an All-American team, but it was great to see a rare skinny big who seeks out contact when setting on-ball screens. Diongue averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds per 40 and the mentality to go after rebounds outside of his area jumped out to me. There were passing struggles earlier in the event, but as EYBL went along Diongue made better decisions with the ball in his hands, with moments of picking out skips out of horns actions. The defensive appeal for Diongue centers on how his mobility and motor skills offset his skinny frame, letting him play as a 4 that provides another layer of rim protection while being able to slide his feet on the perimeter. Long term, there are two developmental areas that will swing the evaluation: the shooting development and the physical maturity in a college weight room. The shooting is the farther away of the two — Diongue shot 0-3 from deep and 33.3% on 15 total free throws in North Augusta. The form is two motions and more of a slow set shot, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem to project to be a pick-and-pop threat in a positive shooting developmental system. The weight room will determine what percentage he can hold down the fort as a primary rim protector against college 5s. Right now, Diongue’s activity level and quickness off the floor offset against some stronger bigs, but there is a need for more lower body strength and adding as much weight as possible while keeping the movement skills.
The Family Detroit | Phhoenix Prep (AZ) | 6’2 Guard | 2022
Recruitment: Saint Louis, New Mexico State, UMass, Washington, St. Bonaventure, Boston College, Eastern Michigan, Cleveland State (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 23.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.6spg
One of the most fun players to watch at EYBL, the ultra-quick Menifield led EYBL in scoring as a tricky downhill guard who gets buckets in bunches. Menifield thrives in transition and in getting defenders on an island, where he uses his very tight handle to punish aggressive defenders with all manners of pacey counters. He averaged 23.0 points per game (31.0 points per 40) on 58.3 TS% — an efficient outcome for the extreme usage burden he carried for The Family. A large part of what made Menifield’s scoring so sustainable was his 33.7 FTR and the craft deployed to get fouled so consistently, despite being a slight guard. When driving into a big, Menifield will launch into defenders and use his hangtime to find a finishing window, and since young bigs aren’t as disciplined with verticality, often they swipe down, resulting in free throws. If bigs don’t step up, Menifield has a reliable floater package to fall back on. The shooting was streaky, and suffered from having to take a harder average quality of shot (self-created pull-ups) due to role — 28.3% on 53 3PA for 2021 EYBL. Adding lower body strength to get more power generation will be important, as will getting a higher percentage of his threes coming from catch-and-shoot opportunities off-ball during the upcoming high school season. The swing skill is the passing level — Menifield showed fantastic advantage creation and the ability to make reads against a tilted defense — but I don’t have a great feel for his ability to manipulate multiple levels of a defense with his passing, right now. That, in my opinion, will be the development that will determine his best usage and lineups, be it as a primary creator, or as scoring off guard at the next level.
Drive Nation (TX) | Duncanville HS (TX) | 6’8 Forward | 2023
Recruitment: Houston, Tennessee State, Texas Tech, Texas, Arkansas, SMU, Memphis, Texas A&M (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: #13
EYBL Stats: 14.9ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, 60.0 FG%
I am most definitely stretching the idea of what constitutes a sleeper here, but, to me, Holland is a sleeper to end up as a challenger to DJ Wagner in this class, and as a potential top-10 long term prospect, regardless of class. It was eye-opening to see Holland dominate two different high-level 16U settings in two different manners (FIBA and EYBL) in the same summer.
FIBA: 31.8 points, 17 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 4.2 steals, 2 blocks, 3.6 turnovers per 36. 66.6 TS%
EYBL: 22.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals, .1 blocks, 1.5 turnovers per 36. 63.3 TS%
In EYBL, Holland explored the studio space more as a wing, taking threes at a higher rate, (19.1 3pr in EYBL vs 12.0 3pr in FIBA), playing more as a wing and operating as more of an offensive hub. In FIBA, it was as a forward/center, a whirlwind of offensive rebounds, deflections on the top of the press and play finishing. Both play styles have the trademark super-high intensity approach and are valuable data points for the steep developmental curve that Holland has been on over the last 18 months. There are still moments where his reach outstrips his grasp, especially some of the more advanced wing-y movement skills that require lower center of gravity and hip flexibility — just aren’t fully there, yet. Given how far he has developed in a short time I don’t think that it’s unlikely Holland may develop into a modern dribble/pass/shoot forward with very good tools and with the defensive versatility to bring value at the point of attack or through off-ball events creation. That’s an extremely valuable archetype in today’s NBA, but it will take continued shooting development . Holland shot in the 50s from the line in both events and was a combined 10-32 (31.2%) from deep, not great numbers for a player who gets fouled as often as Holland does. Mechanically, there have been positive signs — Holland shoots less out than before and is better aligned from his shooting pocket to release, but work still needs to be done on consistent shot-prep footwork, smoothing out the dip and establishing his rhythm from shot to shot. Even with the 2-9 three-point shooting and the issues at the line, Holland graded out in our C-RAM performance metric as the best performer at the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas by a considerable margin, as well as the best USA FIBA Americas performance in the last three cycles (2021, 2019, 2017) by about the same margin.
Expressions Elite (MA) | Kingswood-Oxford School (CT) | 6’7 Guard | 2023
Recruitment: Kansas State, Xavier, UConn, Hofstra, Maryland, Dayton, Fairfield, Bryant, Rutgers, Syracuse, Siena, UMass (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 17.3ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.6apg, 0.6bpg, 0.6apg, 42.5 3PT%
He only played seven games in EYBL, limiting his exposure to the national stage somewhat — but Griffiths made an impression in those games, knocking down 42.5% of his 73 threes on his way to 17.3 points per game (24.2 points per 40). The shot is a thing of beauty: a quick trigger from a high release point that does not need much space or time at all and has a deep range. The shooting is what will bring college coaches to the door, but the other parts of his game are what make Griffiths so interesting as a long term prospect — a good rebounder for his archetype with real run-and-jump athleticism in transition, as well as having a good feel for the floor game when run off the line. Despite having a nice little push floater, Griffiths does struggle in the halfcourt with efficiency around the rim, in part due to his thin frame — shooting 41.2% from the floor, and only earning eight free throws in 200 minutes. Like with basically any tall and thin wing prospect, adding strength over the next two years of high school will solve a lot of the half court inefficiency issues and I see no real reason that should temper optimism with Griffiths. That added strength in the core and lower body will also add more potential coverage assignments for a good lateral mover with long arms. It's rare to find a young toolsy wing who has this level of gravity, who shoots at this volume (14.6 3pa per 40), with great shooting versatility and has multiple further pathways to improvement.
Team WhyNot (CA) | Corona Centennial HS (CA) | 6’2 Guard | 2023
Recruitment: Texas A&M, Stanford, Houston, Washington, New Mexico, Kansas, San Diego State, LMU, Texas Tech, Louisville, USC, Eastern Washington (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 18.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.8apg, 0.8spg, 40.2 3PT%
For a basketball culture that has begun to value shooting so highly, national recruiting rankings have yet to reflect that when evaluating great shooters. McCain is a strong combo guard who wins simple with good decisions, can scale seamlessly between on and off-ball usage and can absolutely shoot the ball at a high level. McCain went 33-82 (40.2%) on nine 3PA per 40, and at times it felt like he was having bad shooting luck with bounces and rollouts. Whether it’s coming off floppy actions, running in transition or spotting up, if McCain can get his feet set, it’s got a good chance of going in. As an on-ball creator, McCain makes the right decision and rarely forces ball handling/passing situations, playing with patience and guile. Off-ball, he makes great use of shakes and movement to leverage his gravity and deep shooting range to create advantage before the catch. While he is not a great vertical athlete, McCain plays very smart, never putting himself into situations where vertical pop is the deciding factor, instead favoring advanced craft and timing finishes. What jumped out to me is all the little things that McCain does well, as a creator and defensively, like hand placement at point of attack or adjusting angles pre-pick-and-roll, and it makes sense for a guard with a winner’s pedigree — WhyNot gutted out a 16U chip despite missing multiple high-major players with injury, in the same year that Corona Centennial won the CIF open division title as well as the Section 7 title.
Phenom U (WI) | Pewaukee HS (WI) | 6’8 Forward | 2023
Recruitment: Marquette (Offer)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 17.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.5apg, 0.5bpg, 39.4 3PT%
Momcilovic is a fascinating young point-forward prospect with a smooth floor game, advanced creation counters, good feel in pick-and-roll and a really high release on his jumper. Throughout EYBL, Momcilovic posted 50/39/83 shooting splits, a 63.7 TS%, 45 usage% and maintained an even A:TO. The list of forward-size 16s than can be trusted to break a press, run an offense, attack efficiently in the post and knock down movement 3s, isn’t particularly long — but Momcilovic would certainly belong there. His thinness presented some problems on the defensive glass when presented with strong centers, but he rebounds well enough outside his area (6.1 defensive rebounds per 40) to create out of grab and go’s. As a defender, Momcilovic is solid in scheme and using his length to prevent threatening passing angles, but didn’t make a consistent impact on blocks and steals as his tools may suggest. The mid-post/post creation is often advanced Dirk fades and hooks to the middle that he knocks down, as he is not strong enough in the lower body to punish wing mismatches by putting them in the basket — but the free throw rate (23.8) speaks to the aggressiveness to get good looks at the front rather than settling for crafty high-release leaners or jumpers. As the physical development proceeds and awareness of Momcilovic’s unique skillset rises, I would expect the Pewaukee forward to be a national name in 2023.
Seattle Rotary (WA) | Timberline HS (WA) | 6’4 Guard | 2023
Recruitment: Washington, San Francisco, Portland, Washington State, Oregon State, Cal Poly, Eastern Washington (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A
EYBL Stats: 11.4ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg
Brooklyn Hicks may be the truest sleeper on this list — a slithery combo guard from the PNW that played more as an off-ball option on this Rotary squad as Jaylin Stewart took most of the primary duties. Hicks made good, quick decisions in the form of early hit-aheads, skips to the weak side and kept the defense in rotation — essential for a team that was uncharastically lacking in shooting (only Hicks and Stewart shot above 33% from deep). That lack of shooting may also help to explain the low assist totals (1.8 per 40), despite consistently making good situational reads. I liked the opportunistic scoring: floaters when the defense was sunk in, a good finishing package, smart cuts into empty spaces against zones and a good understanding of what transition lane would stretch a defense thin. Hicks scored very efficiently, posting a 61.2 TS%, and knocked down 38.5% of his 3s, though he didn’t take them at the volume that I had seen from him prior. The shooting volume increase, as well as getting fouled more (only 3 FTA in EYBL) are the low-hanging developmental advancements that seem very likely to happen over the next two years of Hicks’ high school career. Having that low of a FTR despite having a good handle is a bit of a contradiction, and one that physical development as well as better team spacing will sort out. Should those developments occur, Hicks could be a 6’4 hyper-efficient scoring threat with scalable usage and passing chops — and that’s a very interesting prospect.
Howard Pulley (MN) | Lakeville North HS (MN) | 6’9 Forward | 2023
Recruitment: Oregon State, Wisconsin, Minnesota (Offers)
247Sports Composite Ranking: N/A