basketball Edit

The EYBL Season Begins This Weekend in Memphis

The Memphis Sports and Events Center will be host to the EYBL this weekend
The Memphis Sports and Events Center will be host to the EYBL this weekend (

The basketball cycle never stops or slows down. The Tar Heels season has been over roughly a month, but as soon as the bus arrived in Chapel Hill the watch began for who would leave and who would stay. In the same vein, the transfer portal has dominated conversation the past few weeks.

Now it is time for the AAU season to crank up in earnest. The EYBL kicks off its spring season this weekend at the Memphis Sports and Events Center, and Tar Heel Illustrated will be there.

Several players that North Carolina has offered will be on hand, and others in the classes of 2025 and 2026 that have Tar Heel interest but no offer will be under our gaze as well. In-state programs such as Team CP3 and Team Loaded will be in the Bluff City as well.


Two of the biggest AAU offseason moves consisted of two of the top players in both the 2025 and 2026 classes leaving their respective EYBL programs for the Oakland Soldiers. A.J. Dybantsa is moving from Expressions Elite while Tyran Stokes is coming over from the Vegas Elite. Both attend Prolific Prep in Napa Valley, California.

Rob Cassidy watched Dybantsa play last weekend in Norwalk, California at the MADE Hoops event and wrote, "The hyper-athletic Dybantsa is incredibly advanced from a skill perspective for his age and seems to be becoming an even better ball handler than he was at this time last year. And while he’s still not as efficient as he’d like to be, he’s taking strides from a shot selection standpoint as well. The 6-foot-8 forward is the no-doubt No. 1 prospect in the 2025 Rivals150 and shows no signs of relinquishing his spot and is a near lock to be drafted in the lottery come 2026."

North Carolina, Auburn, Duke, Kansas, and Arkansas are the schools pursuing Dybantsa the most consistently. Stokes dropped to No. 2 in the most recent 2026 rankings, but he is still the cream of the crop, and will not go quietly as he looks to earn back the top spot.

The Nightrydas were one of the very best teams in the 16U division that the EYBL had to offer last season, and now they set their sights on the 17U title. Cameron Boozer and Cayden Boozer are big reasons.

Jason Jordan recently wrote about Cameron, "At 6-foot-10, Boozer is the complete package with the ability to dominate the game on both ends, plus has the ability to step out and efficiently knock down the perimeter jump shot. Boozer is also a rebounding machine whose IQ makes him a capable facilitator. His ability to impact the game on multiple levels will bode well for his long-term projection."

Meanwhile, Cayden is a true point guard in a wing's body. It will be interesting to watch him this spring and summer. Despite his brother getting more accolades, Cayden has come up his best when the competition is the toughest.

Jason Jordan recently wrote, "Boozer is the king of playing at his own pace, or, better yet, the pace that best suits the team given the situation. His IQ reads off the charts and his methodical approach leads his team to the winner’s circle in the end. Boozer puts up numbers, but even when they’re not eye popping, he’s impacting the game off the stat sheet, controlling tempo or making successful reads."

Caleb Wilson will be carrying the load again for the Georgia Stars. He is coming off a winter in which he put up video game type of numbers at Holy Innocents Episcopal School in Atlanta.

Rob Cassidy recently wrote, "A prolific shot-blocker with a knack for scoring efficiency, Wilson has the long, rangy and fluid frame of a modern day professional forward capable of impacting games in nearly every imaginable way. His frame has filled out a bit in the last six months or so, but he still has plenty of room to add more muscle. Wilson is working to become a more reliable long-range shooter. Once that happens, he could make a play for a spot in the top three due to his frame, switchability and the sheer rareness of his skill set."

Jasper Johnson has built the reputation as one of the top shooters in the 2025 class. He will have ample opportunity to cement that with Team Thad who will be playing a home game in Memphis this weekend. Last year he had an outstanding tournament behind the crowd's momentum.

Jason Jordan watched him at the Chipotle Nationals a few weeks back and wrote, "Johnson has been steady all season, carving out his niche as a shot maker who thrives at being efficient despite heavy duress. Johnson’s quick release and gutsy mentality as a scorer earned him a reputation as one of the scariest scorers in the class. At 6-foot-4, his length enables him to finish efficiently in the lane and he’s continuing to grow as a playmaker and defender. As the latter two, marry with his elite shooting ability, Johnson could finally crack the top 10. Currently, Johnson checks in at No. 12 overall in the Rivals150 for 2025."

Cole Cloer will be playing with Team CP3's 16U squad. He averaged 22.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, and shot 41 percent from three-point land and 53 from the field for Orange High School. He does not have a North Carolina offer yet, but he has taken unofficial visits, and the staff will be watching him a live events.

He has offers from NC State, Georgetown, Iowa, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Wake Forest, plus Appalachian State, High Point and VCU, while Illinois, North Carolina, and Tennessee are showing interest.

Kendre' Harrison is another in-state four-star talent in the Class of 2026 who is running with Team CP3. He has been on the North Carolina campus multiple times. The man child will be closely watched by UNC coaches and media alike, and it would not be a surprise if an offer comes soon.