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May 27, 2011

What we're watching this weekend

MORE: What we learned: Dallas EYBL

Rivals.com's Eric Bossi breaks down five things to watch for heading into this weekend's EYBL event in Los Angeles.

Can Team Takeover run the table?

The EYBL may only be in its second season of existence, but the run that the Washington, D.C.-based group has been on is going to be tough to top. After winning the EYBL last summer by taking home the title at the 2010 Peach Jam, Team Takeover has continued to do nothing but win. Standing 10-0 through two sessions, the question is whether or not the guys from the District can finish with an unblemished record. Standing in their way are Howard Pulley (6-4), Each One Teach One (3-7), Rotary Select (2-8), Spiece Indy Heat (8-2) and the King James Shooting Stars (1-9). Other than the Spiece game, BeeJay Anya, Arnaud Adala Moto, Jerami Grant, James Robinson and the rest of the gang figure to be heavy favorites in each of those games.

Has Ricardo Gathers been under appreciated?

Throughout the course of the EYBL, perhaps no player has been as consistently productive as Ricardo Gathers. The rising senior has been a rock for Louisiana Select while hauling in a league leading -- and by a wide margin at that -- 12.1 rebounds a game while averaging 19.4 points which is good enough for sixth best in the 40-team EYBL. The 6-foot-6 Gathers is a power broker on the interior who uses his strength advantage and explosive leaping ability to make plays around the rim. He's expanded his jump shooting a bit and improved his ball handling some as well. Gathers is currently ranked No. 35 overall in the class of 2012.

Is Jamel Artis a sleeper?

One of the teams that we haven't gotten quite as good a look at so far is Carlton Carrington's Baltimore Elite group. Because of that, they will get a long look this weekend, and one of the players that we'll be watching the closest is wing Jamel Artis. A lanky and athletic 6-foot-5 senior-to-be, Artis has looked pretty versatile in the flashes that we have been able to see of him and he appears to be a fine ball handler and passer for his size. More recently, there's been a lot of buzz coming from the Baltimore area about his development and more and more people are talking about him as a legitimate high major prospect.

Should Sim Bhullar be ranked in the Rivals150?

When we updated the Rivals150 for the class of 2012, Xavier commitment Sim Bhullar was left off the list. However, the Canadian big man remains one of the more heavily debated players in the class of 2012. Standing 7 feet 4 and weighing in excess of 300 pounds, Bhullar has size that is hard to be ignored and he's a massive space eater in the lane. He also has exceptional hands, a pretty soft touch and certainly blocks his fair share of shots while finishing (72.5 percent from the field) at an EYBL leading clip. On the other hand, when he's in the game his team must play a more deliberate style and if the game turns fast Bhullar has trouble changing ends of the floor and keeping up. He remains one of the more unique evaluations any scout will ever have to make.

How will the St. Louis Eagles respond?

Heading into the final session of the EYBL, the St. Louis Eagles hold a distinction - as the only winless team in the league - that they'd assuredly rather not hold. So, how will the currently 0-10 Eagles react in Los Angeles with virtually zero chance remaining at advancing to the Peach Jam? The Eagles aren't without talent and it will be interesting to see if the nation's 44th ranked player Cameron Biedscheid can help to rally his troops and rattle off some wins on the West Coast.



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