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Minneapolis EYBL Day 1: Harry Giles continues impressive spring, Dennis Smith and De’Aaron Fox battle


Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Jon Lopez

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Nike EYBL is playing its final spring session this weekend as the league’s teams fight for a spot in Peach Jam in July. Elite Class of 2016 forward Harry Giles continued a dominant spring while 2016’s best point guard, Dennis Smith, battled 2016’s best perimeter defender, De’Aaron Fox.

Harry Giles continues productive spring

As he attempts to play for the No. 1 spot in the Class of 2016, power forward and North Carolina native Harry Giles is continuing to put up monster numbers in the EYBL. Playing again with Team CP3, the 6-foot-10 Giles had 22 points, 13 rebounds and two steals in a close loss to the New York Lightning and it felt like he was even more productive than that.

Giles followed that loss up with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Jackson Tigers. While Giles has been consistently productive and great around the basket all spring, he’s continuing to work on his skill level away from the basket. Giles is starting to look more comfortable taking face-up jumpers and he’s showcased more-and-more moves as the spring has gone along.

Once he starts refining his interior floaters where he’s actually using his wrist and not trying to shot-put it into the basket, he’ll be even better.

De’Aaron Fox battles Dennis Smith

It’s always fun to compare and contrast players at the same position who are both All-American caliber players in the same class. When Team Penny and 2016’s top point guard, Dennis Smith, battled Houston Hoops and 2016’s top perimeter defender, De’Aaron Fox it gave a chance to see how they would fare against each other.

The head-to-head battle between the two five-star guards was fun to witness because they guarded each other most of the time they were on the floor. While Smith did a great job of operating high ball screens and making plays to the tune of 17 points, five rebounds and four rebounds, it was Fox who made more plays in overtime as he tallied 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals.

The head-to-head battle was closer to a draw than a win for either side, but Fox did as good of a job of containing Smith as anyone has all spring.

Also playing well in the game were a pair of Class of 2017 top-100 forwards in Penny’s P.J. Washington and Houston’s Jarred Vanderbilt. The five-star Vanderbilt had 21 points and 10 rebounds and also defended all five positions while the four-star Washington had 24 points and 18 rebounds.