The 2016 EYBL regular season has one more stop to make in Atlanta, which means the candidates for Most Valuable Player have one more opportunity to build their individual resumes.
While a number of players have separated themselves from the pack, no one is a clear-cut favorite for MVP heading into session four. Read about each candidate below, and make sure to check back after session four to see who takes home D1's 4th-annual Most Valuable Player award.
All Young did to help his case was be the most dominant player in Hampton from the opening tip. The MOKAN floor general has been absolutely sensational, showing even more aggressiveness than usual in leading his team to one of the top records in the league. Whether it be draining three’s, dishing out passes to open teammates, or stepping into passing lanes for steals, Young has shown off his complete arsenal on both sides of the ball. With one more session of standout performances, it would be hard to ignore this young man for this award.
Although he missed a game in Hampton (which teammate Young would help MOKAN win with a triple-double), Porter, Jr. remains one of the top players in the league and a strong contender for MVP honors. The uber-talented forward is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential, and come July he will likely have added several more skills due to his work ethic. Porter, Jr. may be the only player on this list who has managed to stay out of the spotlight despite his huge numbers, due to the play of his point guard and good friend.
Trent, Jr. was one of the best players in the country last season as an underclassman, but somehow managed to stay underrated because his team was in the middle of the pack. However, with Howard Pulley’s undefeated first three sessions, the lethal combo guard has taken center stage and is one of the favorites for MVP up to this point. Although he is capable of plenty more performances like his 46-point outburst in Hampton, Trent will do whatever it takes to win and would score 10 if his team needed him to.
Knox entered the season determined to make E1T1 a contender for the Peach Jam title, and he has done just that with great all-around play throughout the season. Long and explosive, Knox possesses a guard’s ballhandling skillset with the aggressiveness and post-up game of an experienced big man. Not one to show much emotion, Knox’s level-headed play has helped guide an inexperienced roster to one of the best records in the league. With a strong final weekend in Atlanta, Knox will have every opportunity to win this award.
The EYBL’s leading scorer and likely scoring champ, Sexton managed to take his game and his numbers to a new level in Hampton, dropping 30+ in every game over the weekend. The combo guard also has improved his assist and rebounding numbers as the season has progressed and has singlehandedly led his Stampede to several wins. Although he may not be a frontrunner for this award if his team misses out on Peach Jam, everyone with the opportunity to watch should still enjoy the special season this young man is having.
A wing in a strong safety’s body, Goodwin is the heart and soul of the Eagles and his sheer willpower has helped guide the team to an 8-3 mark through three sessions. Capable of taking over a game and scoring at will, Goodwin has also been one of the best rebounders on the circuit all season long and an adept passer. Goodwin will have every opportunity to take this award with standout performances from him and his squad.
Despite injuries to key teammates and to himself, nothing has been able to slow down the PSA Cards point guard, as Green has continued to dazzle with his superior court vision and basketball IQ. Already an elite defender, Green was nearly superhuman on that side of the ball in Hampton, harassing opposing guards to the tune of four picks per game. Green has proven himself as the ultimate winner so far, and if PSA runs the table in Atlanta he will be a favorite for this award for all-around excellence.
Gaines broke out as a star for the City Rocks in NYC and hasn’t stopped producing since, and he is now the best player on a dark horse Peach Jam contender. With a motor that never stops and an ever-improving offensive repertoire, Gaines has become a force on the perimeter and in the paint. As his jumper continues to improve in consistency, Gaines will only get better and be more versatile.
A star last year in his second year on the circuit, Washington has turned into one of the best players in the country, at any position, in 2016. Along with Goodwin, there may not be a player more important to his team’s success than the Findlay Prep product for Team Penny. Though they are loaded in the backcourt, Washington does it all for his team and his leadership and experience, in addition to his stellar play, has positioned Penny to potentially take Division D.
Diallo has been exceptional for The RENS, taking on the 'star' role for head coach Andy Borman and company. At 6-foot-6 and blessed with extraordinary athleticism, Diallo took the EYBL by storm during the first three sessions, resulting in an impressive 7-4 record for the debuting RENS. With a strong fourth session - and likely five wins - Diallo would put himself right into contention for the league's most dynamic player.
As one half the most dominant big man duo in the country, Ayton has more than lived up to his top billing by showcasing his unique skillset both on and off the ball, and his Cali Supreme teammates have all reaped the rewards of playing with the highly skilled center. Though it will be tough for him to stand out among some of these other great players, if Cali runs the table in Atlanta and Ayton has a few more monster stat lines, this award could be his.
With a teammate as highly regarded as Ayton, it would be understandable if McCoy had flown under the radar this season. However, McCoy has managed to be right on par with his friend and frontcourt partner in crime, scoring around the rim at will and battling inside with opposing big men game after game. McCoy has helped the Supreme come out on top several times this season, and he never seems to take any ill-advised shots. A star coming into his own.
Walker has improved his numbers across the board during his second run in the EYBL, and the wins have also remained aplenty. At 9-2, Team Final is in a terrific spot in Division D, and Walker has a lot to do with that. He works well with his surrounding parts, and his game has helped escalate the development of sophomore Cameron Reddish. With a strong fourth session - and more wins - Walker grabbing a come-from-behind MVP award isn't out of the realm of possibility.
Not a lock to make the Peach Jam field by any means, Pro Skills would not even be in a position to speculate on that prospect if not for Robinson’s dominance in the paint. The seven-foot beast has been arguably the biggest gamechanger on the defensive side of the ball this season, while averaging a double-double and making his whole team better. If Pro Skills is going to advance, Robinson will lead them and he appears poised for another huge weekend in Atlanta.