Bendel’s Best: EYBL Atlanta Part I
Boo Williams 17U
As one of the faces of AAU basketball, Boo Williams continues to put together excellent teams that play for one another. This team is as good as any in recent memory, so it is only fitting that we put out an article on them.
Starting with the heart of the team, 6’6 Keldon Johnson (2018). Through two EYBL sessions, Johnson showcased how special he can be on both sides of the ball. During session three, he erased any doubt regarding his game, as Johnson was utterly dominant from start to finish. Offensively, he does it all, able to score on three levels efficiently (whenever he wants) while also possessing the strength to manhandle opponents around the rim. The high IQ Johnson can be the primary ball handler and is able to create for himself or others exceptionally well. All these skills without even mentioning Johnson’s elite athleticism; he takes great pride in his ability on the defensive end and frequently shuts down his assignment. Johnson has intangibles and simply checks all the boxes that high-level college programs look for.
Next, we look at the motor, 6’5 Jason Wade (2018). Though Johnson may be in the spotlight, Wade quietly goes about his business and still finishes with eye-popping production. His athletic ability combined with his sharp basketball IQ makes for a difficult player to attack on either end of the floor. Wade scores quite well on all three levels and turns into a freight train upon entering the paint, where he will barrel opponents down one by one. On defense, Wade’s positioning and lateral quickness immediately stands out as he dogs opposing guards; he has shown capabilities to contain players of all sizes. He, like teammate Johnson, is simply an incredibly well rounded player. Wade’s recruitment has gradually trended upward, but lately he’s become a very popular name amongst a variety of big-name schools.
As basketball continues to grow, shooting (three-point shooting, specifically) has become more and more of a premium; 6’7 Aundre Hyatt (2019) might be the best shooter in the country. However, Hyatt is so much more than just a shooter, which is what makes him such an intriguing—and possibly underrated—prospect. Offensively, he is an incredibly strong three-level scorer with high IQ and a dominant presence that must be respected with or without the ball. When handling the ball, Hyatt can create a shot out of thin air, for himself and others; he has a wide arsenal of pull-ups from midrange and three. Hyatt’s jump shot is simply beautiful, textbook form that he consistently repeats; his range is nearly unlimited, forcing opponents to account for him at all times. He is also willing to penetrate to the basket where he displays a plethora of nice moves around the rim, though he isn’t afraid to rise up and dunk it. Hyatt has a strong body and quality frame, allowing him to get shots off over most players with relative ease, but he also utilizes his size to be an effective rebounder on both ends. Though Hyatt is already a big name, it feels like more will finally come to recognize how outstanding he truly is.
Like shooting, rim protection is becoming such a coveted trait in players; 6’11 Qudus Wahab (2019) is showcasing his ability as an elite defensive anchor. Wahab patrols the paint and will snatch shots out of the air; he has tremendous length and is very aware of how to utilize it. He will dunk over opponents if given the opportunity or is capable of gathering rebounds and getting second chance buckets around the rim He has put on muscle since we last saw him and will only continue to get stronger as time passes. Wahab already provides great rebounding and shot blocking skills; his potential is unlimited.