Day two of the 2013 Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam started off with competitive games and finished with a buzzer beater at almost 11 p.m. The college coaches in attendance crammed the court as several big names continued to make their presence known in North Augusta. There were several fine performances, but there was one player that stood above the rest.
Player of the Day:
Stanley Johnson, 6’7”, F, 2014, Oakland Soldiers
Easily the player of the day, senior forward Stanley Johnson put on a show during the two games he played in on Friday. In the first set of morning games, John Calipari, Coach K, and the majority of the Pac-12 had their eyes on Stanley Johnson and he did not disappoint with his play. He began the game scoring from all areas on the court. A few 3’s, a floater, and an and-one were on display early on. Johnson bullied his way to the basket as usual, but also displayed some grace with spin moves and pull-up jump shots in traffic. With big man teammate Ivan Rabb dealing with foul trouble, Johnson also cleaned up on the defensive boards with 14 total rebounds. In a back and forth affair, Johnson finished with 33 points on 12-22 shooting including 3-5 from the three point line and gave the coaches that came a show in the early morning.
In the last game of the night against the undefeated CP3 team, Johnson went for 24 points and 11 rebounds on 10-17 shooting including the game winner with 0.3 seconds on the clock. After Georgetown Hoyas commit L.J. Peak tied the game on two free throws there was little doubt about who was going to take the last shot. After getting to the lane at will, Johnson drove to the basket one more time for the final shot. Starting from the left side of the court, Johnson quickly left Peak in the dust with a crossover and lofted up a soft floater from five feet out that found nothing but the bottom of the net. Simply unstoppable all day long, Johnson wants a chance to defend his EYBL title.
Session 1: 17U
Abdul Malik Abu, 6’8”, 2014, Expressions Elite
Abu stepped up his game in the second half against the Oakland Soldiers and despite a losing effort finished with 19 points on 8-16 shooting and 10 rebounds. Abu started off the game guarding junior Ivan Rabb. While he gave up two inches to Rabb, he used his additional muscle to uproot Rabb from his position and put the talented big men in early foul trouble. At the start of the game, Abu hit a right handed hook shot and scored several other times down low using his strength advantage. He also knocked in a three pointer for good measure. He plays hard every minute in the game and gave the Soldiers all they could handle throughout the contest.
Cameron Justice, 6’2”, SG, 2015, Travelers Basketball
Before his game, the junior shooting guard got in a few extra practice shots as his coach reminded him to keep his feet set. The extra attention to detail paid off as Justice went 6-9 from the field for 17 points. Despite being an inch or two shorter than the ideal shooting guard position, Justice displayed a quick release and never tried to force any shots. He excelled in the first half as he hit a three and numerous 12-15 foot jump shots. His height is not ideal for high majors, but his skill set will certainly delight a school like Belmont that watched his every move.
Reid Travis, 6’8”, PF, 2014, Howard Pulley
Travis dominated down low from the opening tip against the Travelers Basketball squad. With a size and strength advantage down low, he went 11-13 from the field and 7-8 from the foul line to finish with 29 points and 10 rebounds. One of the top performers throughout the spring and summer circuit Travis has shown no signs of slowing down despite his busy schedule. Travis excels in the post and can also step out to his a medium range jump shot which he did against Tennessee.
Session 2: 17U
Dedric Lawson, 6’8”, F, 2016, Team Penny
In a hard fought and competitive game, it was the rising sophomore that took control in the second half and led his team to victory. Even though Lawson was the youngest player on the team this did not stop him from dominating in the last five minutes as he finished with 28 points and 7 rebounds. With a taller defender on him in Nana Foulland, Lawson drained all three of his three pointers from the top of the key allowing Team Penny to pull away. While he shoots more of a set shot from outside the paint, his shots dropped through the net without touching the rim. Lawson also added in a spin move down low and crashed the boards for points after offensive rebounds. Even though he was the youngest player on the court, Lawson showed a veteran’s resolve in the second half.
Bennie Boatwright, 6’8”, SF, 2015, Cal Supreme
If Boatwright managed to get his feet set behind the line it was close to a guarantee that his outside shot was going in during his game against Each 1 Teach 1. Despite a loss, Boatwright went 6-9 from behind the line and finished with 20 points. His lone basket inside the paint came after a miss where he followed his shot for an offensive rebound and a lay-up. The game started off with Boatwright nailing three’s and then he caught fire again during the second half as well. While he usually has a height advantage on his defender, he prefers to operate from the outside and did so to the best of his abilities on Friday night.
Alex Owens, 6’9”, PF, 2015, E1T1
The big bodied power forward had a great game off the bench for the lone remaining undefeated team. Owens finished with 16 points on 6-6 shooting with 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Despite his 250 pounds, Owens is extremely nimble on his feet, has great hands, and is an absolute beast on the boards. When in the game on offense he primarily ran the pick and roll with future North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Joel Berry which resulted in open looks for Berry or lay-ups down low for Owens after rolling to the basket. This performance against an athletic Cal Supreme frontcourt had college coaches taking note.
The games were not part of the Peach Jam and were in a remote gym a few miles away, but the big name coaches found their way to watch Ahmed Hill and Devin Booker. Tom Crean and several SEC and ACC coaches to watch Hill turn in a fine second half performance in which he scored 19 points and hit three second half three’s against an over-matched opponent. After Hill’s game, the playoffs began in the Elite Youth Invitational and Booker’s team took on a different over-matched opponent. With Izzo and Calipari on hand, Booker scored 13 points in the first three minutes and Alabama was up 45-9 at one point. Despite the lack of competition in these games, the college coaches still took some time away from Peach Jam to see their big name recruits.
L.J. Peak had two solid games on Friday for CP3. In the morning session against Meanstreets, Peak scored 15 points on 5-10 shooting with 8 rebounds. He matched up against his old high school teammate Paul White and looked to play with more energy than normal as he was familiar with all of the Chicago kids from this past high school season. In the evening session, Peak had 19 points on 6-12 shooting and hit two free throws to tie the game before Stanely Johnson hit the game winner.
Paul White was finally playing up to his potential during the first three games in Peach Jam. Against CP3 he went for 20 points and 10 rebounds; however his run came to a quick end on Friday night as he suffered an injury that knocked him out of the game and if the rumors are true about a forearm fracture could keep him out for much longer.
The last game of the night on court 3 featured Houston Hoops vs. the Mac Irvin Fire. Five top 15 players were featured in the starting line-ups which caused a packed house on both the court where the coaches sit and from the view above where the fans gather. After a close first half, Houston pulled away to take an 80-69 victory. The wing trio for Houston all scored in double digits led by Justin Jackson’s 23 points.
In the point guard match-up of the night, Tyus Jones went for 24 points and 7 assists in an overtime win, while Tyler Ulis had 22 points and a whopping 17 assists.
For those fans that wish college basketball was a year-round sport, the College Basketball Newcomers Guide paperback and Kindle book previews the incoming recruits for every team nationally. There’s no need to wait until Fall to learn about the new names in college basketball that will be starring on the hardwood.