Elite high school recruits, big-name coaches in Hampton for Nike event

HAMPTON (WAVY) – Some of the top high school basketball recruits in the nation along with the biggest names in college coaching descended upon the Boo Williams Sportsplex for a three-day event, the Elite Youth Basketball League.

The League, which began in 2010, brings together AAU teams and players from all over the nation, and this weekend, attracted the biggest names in the college game. North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, John Calipari of Kentucky as well as Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams made the trip to Hampton to evaluate the talent.

“Everybody’s looking for that hidden gem,” said Bennett, who also noted how much harder it is to find that next diamond in the rough because of the exposure athletes are getting through leagues like EYBL and social media.

Of course, there is no Boo Williams Sportsplex without the man himself, Boo Williams. Frank Martin, who’s South Carolina Gamecocks made their memorable run to the Final Four just a few weeks ago, calls Williams the “icon” of Summer-league basketball.

“Boo is the guy,” said Martin, who first became acquainted with Williams as a high school and AAU coach in South Florida. “I knew what he did for kids and the doors and opportunities he opened for them,” said Martin.

Williams has coached the likes of J.R. Reid, Alonzo Mourning and Allen Iverson, just to name a few legends who once wore the Boo Williams jersey. “He’s a legend,” said Bennett. “Any time you get a complex named after yourself, you know you’re doing pretty well.”

The proof of that is not only by how much talent visited Hampton this past weekend, but how many youngsters have been given opportunities thanks to Williams.

The boys’ EYBL wrapped up on Sunday, while the girls’ league will head to Hampton next weekend.