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NIKE EYBL Team Preview: Spiece Indy Heat (IN)

By D1 Circuit Staff, 04/12/16, 5:00PM EDT


Team Information:

LOCATIONIndianapolis, IN

2015 EYBL RECORD: 5-12


2015 Recap:

Caleb Swanigan and Deyonta Davis led Spiece in 2014, so there was quite a bit of production to replace last season. CJ Walker led an underrated bunch throughout the circuit, but unfortunately Spiece didn't have the talent level of squads in the past. A 5-12 record is certainly forgettable, but it's hard to count Spiece's 2015 campaign as a failure, as they are set to send eight players to Division 1 schools.

2016 Outlook:

Spiece should find success in 2016, and they will do it behind one of the biggest rotations on the circuit. The Heat features six players over 6-foot-6, and will lean heavily on two forwards - sophomore Brandon Johns and junior Xavier Tillman. Top to bottom, this is a lineup that should be able to compete with the league's best, but until we see them on the court, it's hard to accurately predict where Indianapolis' EYB affiliate will finish in 2016.

The Star(s):

Johns and Tillman are the stars on this squad, and both have a chance to be special players at the next level. Both from Michigan, Spiece found two out-of-state studs that will contribute immediately, but bring different value to the floor. Tillman is more of an imposing bruiser, combining those traits with above average athleticism. The East Lansing (Michigan) stars Johns is more of a wing contributor, and at 6-foot-7, he has college scouts raving about his potential. 

The Sleeper(s):

Yet another big man, Jaylen Butz, will see big minutes for Spiece on the interior. As stated before, they will rotate in six big men, so there will be plenty of opportunity for Butz to contribute - especially on the boards. Justin Roberts has a chance to break out in the backcourt, as he will be the point guard in a relatively thin set of guards. The Pike (Indiana) product will need to play efficient, as Spiece will not have many options at the lead guard position. Honestly, everyone has a chance to take the next step on this Heat roster.

The Supporting Cast:

6-foot-9 Jaren Jackson and 6-foot-7 Parker Hazen will both contribute in the frontcourt, with Hazen playing more on the wing. Forward James Beck, Tillman's running mate at Grand Rapids Christian (Michigan), gives Spiece an athletic wing that excels in transition and can lock down on defense. In total, more than 10 players will receive minutes for Spiece, with the bread and butter being in their frontcourt.

The X-Factor:

Spiece needs to find a guard who can score consistently. They won't have any problems with their size and length, but they may falter when they face squads with numerous high-level guards. Although the meat of their productivity will come from two big men - one being an underclassmen - it would be a mistake to overlook this lineup. Spiece brings it every year, and even when they don't have the most talent, they can beat anyone on the circuit.


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