PD's Sleepers: EYBL
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