Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eubanks, Gregory Stabilize Elev8's Sought After Backcourt

It doesn't take a Tom Konchalski clone, ardent basketball film analyst, or a methodical wizard of Xs and Os to see the threat Elev8's Kobie Eubanks and Jamall Gregory pose for defenses.

 Each ranked in Evan Daniels' top-5 available shooting guards in the Class of 2015, Eubanks and Gregory feed off a radiant co-existence.

Each has adopted a sense of selflessness, ceding the shots to one another, depending on who catches the hot hand.

Eubanks, who shredded a long list down to Oregon, Missouri, Texas, UCLA, and Georgia, features a diversified set of tools.

Beyond considerable range, hard slashing, a dependable pull-up and adequate above-the-rim athleticism, Eubanks has incorporated a face-up game and a mid-post back to the basket presence.

Increasing his ball handling in the half court, Eubanks has unveiled a new knack for quarterbacking the team with both hands.

Gregory, a D.C. native who brings unbridled defensive energy, has expanded his offensive repertoire. The result has been a vastly improved basketball IQ to supplement an electrifying vertical.

While Maryland and VCU are trying to return Gregory to his DMV roots, Minnesota, DePaul, and Kansas State have recently been in pursuit of the 6-foot-3 post-grad.

Eubanks, now one of the nation's most persistently pursued recruits, has already visited Oregon.

"His next two visits are likely UCLA and then maybe Texas," said Elev8 head coach Chad Meyers, whose 20-2 squad has ascended the national mountain following resume victories over Oak Hill, New Hampton, and most recently Hargrave Military Academy.

"He's also still considering Missouri and Georgia very strongly. Kobie's advantage is he can play in multiple offenses. He's improved tremendously at coming off ball screens. He's evolving as a scorer and at the mid-post, putting the ball on the deck a little more."

Gregory has the upside of a supreme glue guy.

He doesn't need a high number of shots or the ball in his hands to register a quick-hit impact on the game.

After emerging into a double-duty threat at Coolidge High, where he vowed to expand his mid-range game with a 500 shots per day regimen, he's operated with less weight on his shoulders. His contributions include protecting the rim at point-blank range and penetrating seams for quick interior buckets.

"Jamall uses his energy to force his way into the driving lines," said Cody Toppert, the former Cornell 3-point ace and current NBA/Professional Player Development trainer and lead trainer at Elev8 Ganon Baker Basketball.

"He came in as a player who relies exclusively on his explosiveness. He has slowly turned into a multidimensional player that can score in more ways than the dunk. We have focused greatly on diversifying his skill set and tightening his shooting ability."

How lethal is this 1-2 punch?

"Kobie and Jamal play off each other and complement each other in a way that makes our team extremely deadly from the perimeter," Toppert said.

Supplementary pieces have been key for this tandem.

As quickly as Eubanks and Gregory have meshed, they are flanked by Ole Miss-bound point guard JT Escobar. A first team Parade All-American in 2014, Escobar averaged 29.6 PPG during an illustrious stay at FAMU High.

They are flanked by Rhode Island-commit Leroy Butts, a hulking behemoth who had 12 points and nine boards during the 93-90 victory over Hargave Military Academy.

South Florida has also expressed interest in Gregory.

First-year head coach Orlando Antigua has hit the hotbeds aggressivley since supplanting Stan Heath following the Steve Masiello firestorm.

Antigua has already netted 6-foot-9 guard/forward forward Luis Montero, the Dominican Republic's most intriguing pro prospect since Felipe Lopez' Lebron James-like high school career at now-defunct Rice High School in Harlem.

Montero's eligibility may invite scrutiny. He spent two semesters at Westchester Community College--which shut down its basketball program following a sordid fake transcript scandal.

Several Westchester products, including troubled but promising 6-foot-8 St. John's signee Keith Thomas and Quinnipiac's Gio McLean, were ruled academically ineligible at their respective schools immediately following an investigation.

Gregory's continued growth, Toppert and Myers hope, is a harbinger of an instant impact at the ensuing level.

"His strengths are clearly on the defensive end," said Toppert.

"His early contributions will be felt in the energy categories or offensive rebounding, creating extra possessions, cutting for easy buckets and locking down his man. (Gregory) will get on the court right away because he can dominate a game without taking a single shot."