Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NIKE Peach Jam, July 14

This article was originally written on July 14.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – As the Nike Peach Jam rolled on into day three, it is becoming clear that injuries are becoming the major theme of the tournament. Brandon Knight broke his foot on the first night of the tournament, while Harrison Barnes injured a finger on his non-shooting hand on the first day. James McAdoo has a torn labrum, and 2012 talent Michael Gbinije has a stiff back and tendinitis in both knees. Anthony Wroten sprained his ankle and has been hampered, while Josh Smith is recovering from getting his tonsils removed. Austin Rivers missed most of the second half of last night’s game with a bout of food poisoning, while Reggie Smith also missed a game yesterday with allergy problems.

Even with the bumps in the road, there has still been plenty of fantastic performances and marquee games to watch. Here’s a look at some more of the top players and recruiting notes:

Andre Stringer, 5-10, Jackson Tigers, 2010: Watched Stringer play twice this week. In the first match-up, he was not aggressive and didn’t seem to do much offensively. However, he really came alive today. He does need to work on his left hand as he is very right-heavy, but he is nearly unstoppable when his shot is on. At one point, he knocked down several straight three-pointers, and also got fouled shooting a three. Stringer can pull up from deep and has tremendous range. He also has solid vision and can get to the rack.

Johnny O’Bryant, 6-10, Jackson Tigers, 2011: O’Bryant is a very highly-touted player in the class of 2011, but he was disappointing for the most part. Defensively, he is athletic and can alter and block shots, and he is fairly solid on the glass. However, he was invisible offensively, scoring just six points in his final three games of the tournament. O’Bryant did not see many touches down low and also did not even start for the Tigers.

Kyle Wiltjer, 6-9, Oakland Soldiers 2011: Wiltjer is going to be excellent offensively at the next level. He has great size for his position, as he plays on the wing and has a versatile offensive game. He can be a face-up four-man or even transition to the three if necessary. Wiltjer is a very good three-point shooter who can also run the floor and finish at the basket. He can also post-up smaller defenders and get points in the lane.

Jabari Brown, 6-4, Oakland Soldiers, 2011: A very strong point guard, Brown is a good ball-handler who can get past defenders and into the lane to create shots for himself and his teammates. He has a good build and good size for his position. Brown also has deep range and a nice stroke from three-point range. Defensively, he uses his strength well on the ball.

Jerian Grant, 6-4, Team Takeover, 2010: Grant is developing into a major talent for the D.C.-based Takeover squad, which was the only team to go 5-0 in pool play. He is fast with the ball and is strong going to the basket. Grant can take defenders off the dribble and finish at the rim. He had several nice drives, and also can shoot threes from the perimeter. Defensively, he is aggressive and racks up steals.

Dwayne Polee, 6-7, California Supreme, 2010: When watching Polee, one immediately notices his outstanding length and athleticism. Furthermore, he is a tremendous leaper and finisher who can jump out of the gym. As a result of his natural abilities, he is also excellent on the glass and can block shots because of his reach. Polee has improved his all-around game, getting better at handling the ball and beating defenders for drives. He also can shoot the three on occasion.

Kevin Johnson, 6-9, California Supreme, 2011:
With so much perimeter talent on the roster, Johnson is a perfect complement down low. He is very big and can take up space in the paint. Johnson gets good position in the paint and can catch the ball on the low block. He has some nice post moves and will get points at the rim. Defensively, he is solid and bodies up opponents. Johnson also does a great job keeping the ball up on rebounds.

Shane Southwell, 6-6, New York Gauchos, 2010: Southwell was not very involved on the first day of the tournament, but played much better against All-Ohio Red today. He showed his ball-handling ability and very versatile, all-around game. Southwell hit the game-typing lay-up to bring the Gauchos even late in the game – a contest the Gauchos won when Doron Lamb was fouled on a three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left. Southwell can defend multiple positions and can distribute. However, he turns the ball over too often, getting charges in the lane and throwing errant passes.

Recruiting Notes:

- Marquis Teague: Earlier in the tournament, there was an update on his Facebook saying that he was committing. However, he denied that he was indeed making a decision. “I didn’t write that,” Teague said. “One of my friends did.”
- His list includes Louisville, Ohio State, Indiana, Wake Forest, Purdue, Kentucky
- He said he’s wide-open, but wants to commit before his high school season.

- A source close to Virginia told me that the Cavaliers looking at Matt Derenbecker of Louisiana Select and Justin Miller of St. Louis Eagles 16s. Both attended the Virginia Elite Camp. (Update: Derenbecker committed to LSU shortly after the Peach Jam).

- Jeremy Lamb: Clemson, Connecticut, VCU, Florida State

- Michael Gilchrist: Said that he is wide-open, contrary to popular belief that he is down to Villanova and Kentucky. He also wants to take visits in August, but does not know where yet.

- Jerian Grant: Notre Dame, Providence, Villanova, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Virginia, Virginia Tech
- Wants to see Providence, Oklahoma State and Virginia in August

- Kyle Wiltjer: All the Pac-10 schools, as well as Kansas, Florida, Kentucky
- He’s been to Oregon, Oregon State, and Kansas for its Elite Camp

- Brice Kofane: Harvard, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami (Fl.)

- Melsahn Basabe, 6-7, New York Gauchos, 2010: Said he has 11 new offers since his MVP performance at the Hoop Group Elite Camp, including George Washington, Siena, St. John’s, Boston University, St. Bonaventure, Northeastern and Fairfield

- Dwayne Polee: Said he is still committed to USC, but is also interested in UNLV and Arizona
- Said he will make a final decision at the end of the summer

- Nerlens Noel: Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas, Memphis, Indiana, Providence, Wake Forest, Miami
- Said he is getting interest and letters from about 15 schools
- Would prefer to play in the ACC or Big East

- Carlton Brundidge: Top five is Michigan, Michigan State, Miami, Iowa, Syracuse
- Has visited Michigan and Michigan State, and would like to see Miami, Iowa and Syracuse this summer

- Shannon Scott: Clemson, Wake Forest, Connecticut, Florida State, Miami (Fl.), Georgia Tech, Alabama, Georgetown, Syracuse – basically the entire ACC besides Duke
- Has visited Clemson, Georgia Tech and Alabama

- Kevin Johnson: USC, Oregon State, UCLA, Texas – will visit the Longhorns next month

- Trevor Cooney, 6-3, Team Final, 2011: Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Virginia, Ohio State, West Virginia, Rutgers, Delaware, Maryland
- Has seen them all but Ohio State, but plans on checking out the Buckeyes soon


  1. Nice roundup, Jeff. The class of 2010 should be interesting.

    Shoot me an email when you get a chance.

  2. Good work! Do you have a video of this game?