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4/29 Big Ten Morning Power Bar: B1G and the AAU Circuit

BT Powerhouse checks in with the Nike EYBL, Under Armour Association, and Adidas Uprising AAU competitions.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Ohio State vs Purdue Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The AAU circuit officially began last weekend as the top recruits around the nation and beyond took the floor in New York, Texas, and Virginia. While some unknown players look to make a name for themselves, others are out to prove they are the best of the best.

BT Powerhouse checked in with some prospects drawing Big Ten interest in the Nike EYBL, UAA, and Adidas Uprising circuits.

Nike EYBL

The Nike EYBL Session 1 kicked of last Friday at the Boo Williams Sports Complex in Hampton, VA. The EYBL features four divisions comprised of 10 teams each from across the country, as well as Canada.

Leading the session was Keldon Johnson, who is among the top targets for the Maryland Terrapins. Over four games, Johnson averaged 25.2 points en route to the Hampton Session MVP.

Let’s look at some other Big Ten targets on the circuit.

-Jake Forrester, 2018 4-Star Power Forward - PSA Cardinals

Jake Forrester has certainly taken advantage of the EYBL exposure to boost his stock. Following his impressive performance, the 6’8” power forward secured a scholarship offer from the Minnesota Golden Gophers, in addition to Miami and Vanderbilt. Big Ten programs Indiana and Penn State already had offers out on Forrester, and the interest should continue pouring in.

At 200 lbs., Forrester is no bruiser. What he lacks in physicality, though, he more than makes up for in athleticism. Forrester demonstrates tremendous footwork, runs well in transition, and is a high riser at the rim. If he sniffs the basket, he finishes with an effortless authority. Also employing a nice outside shot, Forrester has the skill set of a prototypical NBA big.

-Ignas Brazdeikis, 2018 4-Star Shooting Guard - CIA Bounce

Heralding from Canada, Ignas Brazdeikis has quickly generated a lot of interest thus far in the EYBL circuit. Brazdeikis finished fifth in scoring in Session 1, averaging 23.2 points per game. His performance garnered him All-Hampton Third Team honors, as well as offers from Michigan, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Florida. Penn State also represents the Big Ten on the list of potential suitors for the 6’7” wing.

While Brazdeikis can score at all three levels, he presents a devastating array of methods to attack the rim. Brazdeikis has a slippery and crafty ability to shed defenders off the dribble, and is a strong finisher at the bucket. He is also proficient on the boards, averaging 8 rebounds a game in the first session.

Session 2 of the Nike EYBL rolls into Jonathan Byrd’s Field House at Grand Park in Westfield, IN this weekend.

UAA – Under Armour Association

The UAA opened play last weekend at Basketball City in New York, NY. Unlike the Nike EYBL, the UAA does not feature one group of four divisions. Instead, the circuit splits up groups by 17U, 16U, and 15U respectively. Within each group are 2 divisions.

In terms of scoring, the top prospect of the weekend was Miller Kopp. After averaging 21 points in three games, the shooting guard scored an offer from Northwestern.

Let’s check in with some other recruits that are catching the Big Ten’s interest.

-Cassius Stanley, 2019 5-Star Guard - Earl Watson Elite

Simply put, Cassius Stanley is a monster. Based on athleticism alone, the 13th ranked player in the 2019 is already an elite talent. His performance in the UAA NY Session was more of the same. Stanley averaged 11.8 points and showcased countless jaw dropping feats, consistently defying space and time.

Stanley’s list of suitors is illustrious, featuring offers from Alabama, UCLA, Arizona, and Gonzaga among others. On Tuesday, Maryland joined the party with a scholarship offer. Considering the guard is just now heading into his junior year, expect the attention to grow.

-Elijah Weaver, 2018 4-Star Point Guard - Team Breakdown

Coming in as the 28th ranked prospect in the 2018 class, Elijah Weaver didn’t need to grab a lot of attention in the AAU period. But that’s exactly what he did. Weaver averaged 14.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game in the opening weekend, picking up an offer from Illinois in the process. In addition to the Illini, Mayland and Nebraska have taken note of the combo guard’s skill set and offered scholarships.

Weaver brings a calm and methodical demeanor to the court. He keeps his eyes up, makes smart passes, takes smart shots and has a strong grasp of floor spacing. Defensively, Weaver hounds ball handlers with activity and pestilence. Overall, his stock should continue to soar.

The UAA circuit continues this weekend, with the next stop at Best Choice Fieldhouse in Fishers, IN.

Adidas Uprising – Gauntlet

The Adidas Uprising circuit kicked off last weekend in Dallas, TX for the first leg of their Gauntlet tournament. Of the three major circuits, Uprising is the most saturated in both teams and talent. With 17U, 16U, and 15U groups, as well as a gold and silver grouping, there are a multitude of clubs competing from around the country.

Uprising features a slew of recruits from the upper echelon of the 2018 class. Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford, Jordan Brown, and Quintin Grimes are all in Rivals top 15 for the class and are competing in the circuit.

Here are a few prospects garnering some Big Ten attention.

-Josh Nickelberry, 2019 4-Star Shooting Guard - Game Elite

Josh Nickelberry is another prospect that did not require a strong AAU season to pick up momentum on the recruiting trail. In-season, the 6’4” shooting guard plays for the perennially top ranked Oak Hill Academy where he receives constant exposure. For Nickelberry, it’s been fruitful thus far. With an offer from North Carolina, though, his decision may have already been made. According to 247Sports crystal ball predictions, Nickelberry donning the powder blue is all but a certainty.

On Monday, Nebraska did their part to prevent that commitment. The Cornhuskers joined Penn State in representing the Big Ten on Nickleberry’s offer list.

Possessing a smooth and natural shot from deep, the 47th ranked prospect averaged 19.5 points in the opening weekend in Dallas. With 2 years of recruitment left, the offers are bound to continue.

-Jeremiah Francis, 2019 4-Star Point Guard – Indiana Elite

Heralding from Columbus, OH, Jeremiah Francis embodies the Midwest. More substance than flash, the point guard has received a hard look from the Big Ten. Iowa became the latest suitor on Monday, joining Ohio State, Nebraska, and Purdue.

Early looks have Francis leaning toward home town Ohio State, according to the crystal ball predictions on 247Sports. From what Francis told Hawkeye Nation, the assessment is accurate.

“To be honest, they sit at the top of my list right now. I love the coaching staff. They believed in me at a young age that I can turn that program around,” Jeremiah said.

Francis is a true floor general that can dictate tempo and orchestrate an offense. So far he appears to covet the Big Ten and all signs point to him landing in the conference.

This weekend Adidas Uprising continues as the circuit heads to the LakePoint Champions Center in Atlanta, GA.

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Check back next week for more Big Ten recruiting headlines.