The 2016 NY2LA Sports Spring Extravaganza tipped off Friday from Hopkins High School in Minneapolis. Featuring 16 and 17U play in the NY2LA Association and open division, a number of the nation’s top players put on a show for opening night. Continuing his fine spring, 2017 wing Terrence Lewis dropped a 23 point effort in a dominant victory for the Playground Elite. 

Here are the top performers and stock boosters from Friday’s action…

17U Open Division Top Performers 
Taurus Adams – 2016 – F – Ray Allen Select

Adams gets more intriguing each time we see him. A long, physical combo forward, Adams can beat you in a lot of different ways. Able to step out and shoot the basketball, the lefty has a nice stroke from three-point and mid-range. Also a strong slasher, Adams loves to get to his left from the high post and power through defenders. Proficient with his back to the basket, Adams has become a consistent scorer from all three levels. Holding Division 2 offers and receiving Division 1 interest, Adams is a player schools need to look a hard look at if they have space left in their 2016 recruiting class.

Courtney Brown – 2019 – SF – Howard Pulley
Playing in the 17U division, Brown led Howard Pulley with 12 points in their two-point victory over Ray Allen Select. An intriguing freshman, Brown shot the ball well from the perimeter and buried a couple off-balance triples. Also able to play above the rim, Brown made some things happen in transition, finishing smoothly over defenders. Brown was also solid on the defensive end, using his length to get into the passing lanes and knock the ball away from the opposition on the dribble. 

Ryan Larson – 2018 – G – Howard Pulley
An under the radar guard, Larson showed yet again he’s a Division 1 prospect. Playing up in the 17U division, Larson scored 11 points in what was a defensive slugfest against Ray Allen Select. Larson also had the game-winner as time expired to lift Howard Pulley to a hard-fought victory. A hard-nosed, wiry player, Larson has the skills and toughness to dominate a game on both ends of the floor. Also an exceptional three-point shooter and dribble penetrating guard, Larson makes a ton of plays with the ball in his hands. 

Storm Murphy – 2017 – PG – NESYB 
Murphy continued his big spring with another great performance. Leading NESYB to a 20-point victory over the Southwest Minnesota Stars, Murphy dropped a game-high 20 points and seven assists. Murphy tore up defenders with his ability to break his man down off the dribble, from there he can pick apart the defense with an array of passes. Murphy also shot the ball well from downtown. Able to create his own opportunities off the dribble or catch and shoot, defenders have to be able to stay right on Murphy’s hip in order to slow him down. This is a player that’s not getting nearly enough attention on the recruiting trail and Division 2 programs should be hounding this spring and into the summer.

Spencer Smith – 2017 – SF – SW Minnesota Stars
Although his team was not able to keep up with NESYB on Friday, Smith impressed and could be a potential breakout performer in the 17U open division. Smith shot the ball well from the perimeter in Friday’s loss. He also did a nice job of catching and finishing around the rim, despite often playing in traffic. Smith ran the floor well in transition and made it a point of emphasis to get easy baskets. He was in double figures in Friday’s defeat. 

17U Association Top Performers
Tai Bibbs – 2017 – PG – Mercury Elite

A player we expected to have a big spring, Bibbs didn’t disappoint despite Friday’s loss to the Wisconsin Swing. A heady, high IQ floor general, Bibbs can score and distribute the basketball at a high level. His mid-range game is far advanced in comparison to other guards. Able to just float in the paint and finish with a soft touch, Bibbs put home a number of off-balance, contested shots from 10-12 feet. A lead guard who sees the floor, Bibbs is always one step ahead of the defense, beating opponents down the floor with the pass. He finished with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, including 4-5 from inside the three-point line. 

Ryan Krueger – 2017 – SF – Wisconsin Swing
If Krueger gets space to step into his shot, he will kill teams. A 6-foot-7 stretch wing, Krueger floats around the perimeter and hunts down shots. A high percentage shooter, Krueger was in double figures in Friday’s win over Mercury Elite. The best part about Krueger’s game is he understands when to take shots. Not overly aggressive offensively, Krueger can feel when he’s rhythm and only pulls the trigger at that point, leading to his high shooting percentage. He had a game-high 19 points on 7-9 shooting, including 4-6 from beyond the arc. 

Terrence Lewis – 2017 – SF – Playground Elite
Lewis did his thing in a blowout win over New Mexico Force. A tough, physical wing that scores a lot of points and also does the dirty work, Lewis went for 23 points in Friday’s win. The junior was 8-14 from the field. Expanding his range over the past year, Lewis shot 4-7 from three-point range. Lewis seemed to score at will. Aside from his shooting, Lewis was aggressive throughout the game, slashing from the wing and getting to the rim constantly. 

17U Association Stock Boosters 
Nana Akenten – 2017 – SF – Illinois Celtics

Akenten is a player with a lot of upside and his best days are surely ahead of him. A long, athletic wing, Akenten can rise and fire over the defense with a good-looking stroke from downtown. Far from having rounded out his game, Akenten has plenty of room for growth, particularly his skills with the basketball. A high-energy wing, Akenten gets after it on the glass and plays much bigger than his size. When he gets room to operate, Akenten impresses with his high-flying ability. Akenten flashed some impressive moves off the dribble and showcased the ability to hit tough shots. 

Alex Arians – 2017 – G/F – Wisconsin Swing
Seeing his stock rise this spring, Arians was at it again on Friday. Developing into a deadly three-point shooter, Arians hit five triples in the opening night win for the Wisconsin Swing over Mercury Elite. Using a quick trigger, Arians loves to float to the corner and snap off his shot. Also able to handle the ball and push in transition, Arians keeps his head up and finds the open man. Picking up Division 2 attention this spring, Arians could be a really nice zone buster at the next level. He had 13 points on 4-5 shooting from downtown. 

Cliff DeGroot – 2017 – G/F – Missouri Hustle
DeGroot can play a variety of positions on the floor. Listed at 6-foot-3, DeGroot has no problem defending in the post or playing down low on the offensive end. A stretch wing, DeGroot knocked down a number of three-pointers with a hand in his face, helping Missouri Hustle knock off the Illinois Celtics. DeGroot likes to size up his opponent and then determine whether to fire off a quick trigger three, or put the ball on the deck and go by his man. He was in double figures in Friday’s win.

Recruiting Notes
Ryan Larson is receiving interest from Nebraska, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and Northern Iowa.