Every year there are a handful of prospects that seemingly come out of nowhere and burst onto the scene as mid-major/high-major prospects. This weekend was no different, as a handful of under the radar prospects made a big splash during EYBL Session 2 in Indianapolis.
Here are 5 prospects that broke out in a big way during EYBL Session 2.
I. Jared Butler (2018/6’3/Mississippi Express) – a nice sized combo-guard that is a high level scorer with a good looking stroke from three either off the catch or the dribble. Butler also has the ability to score at the rim, as he has a good enough handle to create separation and is strong enough to absorb contact when penetrating as well. While his scoring ability is certainly a huge attribute, his vision is what truly separates him from most combo-guards. Jared consistently hit teammates with precision passes all weekend long whether off the dribble or finding gaps against a zone defense. He makes the game much easier for teammates and does not turn the ball over at a high rate. Butler was one of the best prospects we viewed all weekend long during EYBL session 2 regardless of position. He averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals per game while shooting 50% from the field. While there may have been bigger names heading into this weekend, Jared certainly has caught the attention of many. Jared currently holds an offer from Houston, but mid-major plus and high major programs should definitely give Butler a long look.
II. Justin Minaya (2018/6’7/New Jersey Playaz) – a skilled combo forward with a good frame, Minaya has the sort of versatility that is necessary in contemporary basketball. He’s able to stretch the defense with a great looking shot from distance. Off the dribble Minaya is fluid and displayed really nice passing ability and hit teammates for open looks on several occasions. He’s a good finisher that displays good body control and converts through contact. Justin is able to lead the break in transition where he’s comfortable handling the ball. While he’s not a traditional post player, he’s an adequate rebounder that creates mismatches on the offensive side of the ball when bigger players are defending him. Minaya averaged 9.5 points, 4 rebounds and 2.2 assists on 56% from the field. High-major programs looking for a versatile combo-forward that can stretch the floor would be well served to consider Justin.
III. Marcus Zegarowski (2018/6’2/Expressions Elite) – Marcus was one of the best shooters we viewed all weekend long. Zegarowski is the epitome of a knockdown shooter and has a quick release. He connected on 13/23 shots from beyond the arch for an amazing 57% through 4 games. He isn’t limited to being a catch and shoot prospect, he hits shots off the dribble from beyond the arch as well. Marcus isn’t just a shooter either, he has very good vision and can penetrate the defense off the dribble with above average change of direction. He averaged 4 assists per game over the weekend and displayed active hands on defense and came away with 2 steals per game as well. Zegarowski currently holds a UMass offer along with a few mid-majors, but it may be time to consider him a high-major prospect, as his combination of elite shooting ability, vision and ballhandling make him a viable candidate for the point-guard spot at that level.
IV. Matthew Mayer (2018/6’7/Houston Hoops) – it is very rare that a prospect with as many high major offers as Mayer makes this list, but Matthew looked like a legitimate top 50 player at times in Indianapolis. He scored at all 3 levels this weekend, and did it in a variety of ways. He’s a great catch and shoot player from distance, but his ability to create off the dribble at that size is what truly makes him special. Against RM5 and Nike Phamily he was able to create space against his defender with good change of speed and direction in isolation situations. He’s also a very good athlete with nice verticality. At 6’7 with a great shot and very good ball skills on the wing, Mayer may be on the verge of entering elite status if he can continue to be consistent. He averaged 11.2 points and 4 rebounds per game on 54% from the field and 50% from three through 4 games over the weekend. While those numbers are certainly impressive against elite competition, they don’t do Mayer’s game justice. He plays on a very good Houston Hoops team with other elite talents such as Javonte Smart and Jacobi Gordon and the wealth is spread around.
V. Gabe Watson (2018/6’1/Mississippi Express) – a scoring point guard that has a good looking stroke from deep. Gabe had a really good game against Southern Stampede on Sunday, showing range out to 25 feet while knocking down 5 triples. He displays some nice ballhandling ability and has some tools to work with in that regard. While he’s a smaller guard, he showed good ball pursuit on the glass and averaged nearly 4 rebounds per game over the weekend. Watson averaged 9 points and nearly 3 assists per game in Indianapolis on 45% from the field while burying 8 triples in four games. Gabe currently holds an offer from Eastern Tennessee. Mid-major programs looking for a point guard with range and quickness should have Watson on the radar.