Thursday, May 22, 2014
ESPN 60 guards heat up spring circuit
By Adam Finkelstein
ESPN 60 guard Allonzo Trier made Nike EYBL history last weekend, becoming the first player to ever record 30 or more points in each game of a single session.
While the feat has never been accomplished before on the Nike circuit, ironically, Adidas had someone accomplish the very same thing on the same weekend when fellow ESPN 60 guard Jalen Adams finished with 30 or more points in all four of his games.
While Trier and Adams are similar in that they are two of the nation's best scoring guards in the 2015 class, they’re unique in the way they look to attack the defense.
ESPN 60 prospect Allonzo Trier is a powerful guard who thrives on contact to score his points.
Trier is a bigger guard who thrives on contact. In fact, he goes out of his way to initiate it. He’s a phenomenal free-throw shooter, and he baits both defenders and the officials into sending him there every chance possible. He’s rarely a threat to blow right by his defender, so instead he goes directly into his opponent's body. If he gets the call, Trier knocks down a couple of free throws. If not, he’ll use that contact to get some leverage and create space for his deadly pull-up game.
Trier is a volume scorer but an efficient one. He leads the EYBL at 28.5 points per game but is shooting .471 from the floor and .917 from the free-throw line. He’s also averaging almost two made 3s a game and shooting .367 from beyond the arc. Last weekend, he scored 32 to lead his Athletes First squad over MeanStreets, Team Texas Elite and BABC and had 31 in a narrow loss to Team United to set the new EYBL record.
“It was a great weekend. I didn’t even go in knowing that was the record or anything,” Trier said. “I actually didn’t even know about it until afterwards, and I was kind of surprised.”
Adams doesn’t have Trier’s size in the backcourt, but there might not be a smoother player off the dribble in the entire 2015 class. He has both speed and quickness, but most impressive is the way he glides to the basket. He’s also a fantastic finisher for a smaller guard (6-foot-2) because his body control is second to none, as is his touch around the rim with various spins and angles off the glass all working to his favor.
Adams is also more apt to make plays for other people. He’s historically been known as more of an undersized 2-guard after sharing the backcourt with incoming Syracuse point guard Kaleb Joseph for the last two years, but Adams made a point of proving his ability to play the point during the first Adidas Gauntlet session in Dallas.
“The first session I kind of wanted to show everyone that I could bring the ball up the court and create for other people,” Adams said. “This weekend, we were without Curtis [Cobb] and [Josh] Sharma, who are two of our other scorers, so I went in knowing that I needed to produce if we were going to win.”
Things went according to plan as Adams scored a total of 129 points on the weekend to lead the Mass Rivals to four straight big wins over Kansas Pray and Play, RL9 Elite, Ohio Basketball Club and Compton Magic Elite. He now ranks among the top-five scorers and passers on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit with 22.2 points and 4.3 assists per game.
ESPN 60 prospect Jalen Adams is an excellent finisher and also a capable passer.
While Trier and Adams go about putting up their big numbers in different ways, they have a similar perspective when it comes to their recruitment in that neither of them seems to be in much of a hurry.
“My focus has been just developing my game and having a great summer,” Trier said while listing offers from Georgetown, Maryland, Arizona, UCLA, Connecticut, Louisville, Kansas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Minnesota, Memphis, NC State, Wake Forest and Washington, among others.
Adams' list might not be nearly as long, but that’s in large part because he’s not interested in collecting scholarship offers. Instead, he’s opted to be up front with several schools and let them know when he doesn’t have much interest. He listed offers from UConn, Kansas, Minnesota and Creighton while noting that he also heard from Louisville head coach Rick Pitino earlier this week.
“He was just telling me about the campus and about how I fit into the system," Adams said. "He said he’s going to be watching me a lot during the live period."
Another school starting to make inroads with both guards but that has yet to offer either is North Carolina, as Trier and Adams both mentioned increased communication from the Tar Heels as of late.
Ultimately, Adams and Trier are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scoring guards in the 2015 class and will undoubtedly be compared and contrasted not just with each other, but also with the likes of Malik Newman, Antonio Blakeney, Isaiah Briscoe and a long line of others.
Regardless of how those conversations go in the future, one thing is for sure: There was no one better at the Nike EYBL last weekend than Trier and no one better at the Adidas Gauntlet last weekend than Adams. And they both have their spots in the record books to prove it.