The first full day of the 2013 EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam is in the books, and “big name” college coaches popped in and out of North Augusta, SC all day long. With each team playing two games a piece, there was plenty of spectacular play from kids with scholarship offers and those trying to get new offers.
Session 1: 17U
Aaron Holiday, 6’2”, G, 2015, California Supreme
Holiday,a youngster with tremendous bloodlines, came off the bench for Cal Supreme and immediately provided the team with a boost thanks to his slick passing. Right off the bat Holiday got in the lane and found a teammate for an easy lay-up despite a crowded paint area and received several “wow, nice pass” comments from the coaches in attendance. After dropping a few more assists, Holiday started his scoring barrage. At 6’2”, Holiday exhibited superb body control when driving the lane. Several times he got to the basket, drew the foul, and then finished the shot. He did not look to shoot at all from the outside, but instead attacked his defender at every opportunity. Even with coming off the bench, Holiday finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while providing a spark to help his team knock off one of the favorites in Team Takeover in the first game of the day.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, 5’9”, PG, 2014, California Supreme
The future Arizona Wildcat did all he could to impress the numerous Pac-12 coaches on hand that will be tasked with slowing him down in the future. Despite his small frame, PJC was not afraid to go after the taller defenders and finished on a consistent basis at the rim. He went 3-6 from the field, but also got to the line 12 times. After beating his defender off the dribble, PJC also found the open man for a game high 10 assists. While he put up 15 points and 10 assists, it was his aggressiveness attacking the glass that was even more impressive. Numerous times, PJC was in the middle of the lane fighting for rebounds with defenders a foot taller than him and finished with a total of five. Along with Holiday, PJC got the best of the Team Takeover guards and put together a mighty fine stat line.
Malachi Richardson, 6’5”, SG, 2015, Team Final
Down nine points at the half, Richardson caught fire to start the second half and quickly closed the deficit for his squad. After scoring four points in the first half, Richardson scored 14 points in a five minute span. His first basket came off a pick on the right wing in which he curled to the basket and finished in the paint for a lay-up and the foul. After a short jump shot, Richardson hit back to back three pointers from the wing and then followed that up with a few free throws. Unfortunately after this burst, Richardson didn’t touch the ball in a scoring position for a long stretch. Despite only being an upcoming junior, Richardson has ideal height for a shooting guard along with strength and an outstanding 6’10.5” inch wing span. In his first game at Peach Jam, Richardson used his physical attributes and also showed off his jump shot and the ability to score around the rim. He finished with 22 points on 6-12 shooting.
Shep Garner, 6’2”, G, 2014, Team Final
The newly committed Penn State Nittany Lions guard played well in front of his future college coach on Thursday morning. With star guard Jaquan Newton struggling at times, Garner took control and played with poise throughout the game. He displayed a quick burst when driving to the basket and also went 2-3 from the three point line, one of which came at a crucial time in the ball game. His final stat line included 14 points on 6-8 shooting with two assists and zero turnovers.
Angel Delgado, 6’8”, PF, 2014, NY Lightning
Delgado did not play up to his expectations in the first half, but he definitely out worked everyone in the second half. The rugged rebounder finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds and began to dominate the defensive boards as the game got tight towards the end. He also had a strength advantage down low and went to work with power moves in the post off one dribble and two handed dunks in the lane. It took the leading rebounder in the EYBL some time to get going, but once he did the Team Final big men were relatively helpless to stop him.
Game of Interest:
Team Penny vs. Mokan Elite
Mokan Elite jumped out to a surprising lead against Team Penny early on and took a four point lead into halftime. For Mokan, speedy point guard Lourawls Nairn penetrated time and time again and 6’1” guard Noah Knight knocked in shots from the outside. The second half turned into a close back and forth affair in large part due to the play of the Lawson brothers for Team Penny. Keelon Lawson Jr. went for 17 points and 5 rebounds while his younger brother Dedrick Lawson scored 18 points with 15 rebounds. Even with these efforts, it was their senior leader, future Missouri Tiger guard, Anton Beard who knocked down a clutch three to give Team Penny a 57-54 lead that they would not relinquish.
Jayson Tatum, 6’7”, G/F, 2016, STL Eagles
One of the top players in the class of 2016 (ranked No. 3 nationally by Hoopniks) put on another strong performance in front of a slew of head coaches in the early afternoon. Going against All-Ohio, Tatum played his normal point forward position and used his ball handling skills to get into the paint where he finished with floaters or at the basket. Not an overly dominant performance by Tatum, but he did hit a floater off a spin move for the go ahead basket. In the last game of the 16U pool play he helped lead his team to a victory and will have at least one more chance to play in front of the who’s who of college coaches in the playoffs.
Jalen Poyser, 6’4”, G, 2015, CIA Bounce
In a back and forth affair with Southern Stampede, Poyser made enough key plays in the final minutes to help CIA Bounce get the win. In this stretch he drove by his defender on the wing for a lay-up, hit a three pointer and then got an and-one finish off another drive. To go along with these baskets, Poyser might have had the most exciting miss of the Peach Jam. With 1:30 to go he went behind the back from the left to right side causing his defender to fall. Once the ball reached his right hand he exploded to the lane and tried to dunk over a defender. Unfortunately he got to high and the ball caromed off the back rim as the crowd screamed in disbelief. A high level athlete, Poyser made key plays for his team when it counted not including the missed dunk attempt.
Luke Kennard, 6’5”, G, 2015, King James Shooting Stars
While Jayson Tatum’s game drew some big names, the game between Kennard’s King James team and Team Final drew everyone in town. Calipari, Coach K, Izzo, Matta, Groce, Roy, Larry Brown, and Josh Pastner were just some of the high major coaches that stopped in for a look. Kennard, the flashy shooting guard did not disappoint in the first half. He hit a three of the dribble and another one off the catch early on. He also added in a few no look passes for good measure. Kennard cooled off in the second half, but hit a running lay-up and added in some free throws at the end to finish with 20 points. While not an elite athlete, Kennard can do more than just shoot. He is a solid ball handler with decent quickness and he combines those two factors to beat his man off the dribble on occasion. After his game it was easy to see why some of the top schools are after him.
Tyus Battle, 6’5”, G/F, 2016, Team Final
His team got down from the start, but this did not deter Tyus Battle from putting on a show. He hit two three’s right off the bat and finished with 15 points in the first half and 25 for the game. On his outside shots, Battle had a nice release and rotation on his shot. He is also quite the athlete that allows him to do more than just shoot jump shots. Battle attacked off the dribble and went to the line nine times. On the defensive end he used his strength to push players off their spot and also blocked several shots by the basket. Battle went against another 2016 stud in V.J. King and it’s safe to say that Battle “won the battle.”
Session 2: 17U
Chieck Diallo, 6’9” C, 2015, Team Scan
Continuing on his strong NBPA Top 100 Camp, Diallo dominated Houston in the second half of a very competitive game. While still raw on the offensive end and lacking many true post moves, Diallo still scored 20 points on 7-11 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds. Time and time again, Diallo finished on dunks or lay-ups in traffic. He also scored off a power one dribble move to the right side of the basket and an 18 foot jump shot that he actually meant as a lob for a teammate. Diallo is one of the most explosive big men on the circuit and nobody runs the court harder. With his quick leaping ability he also blocked four shots and was the main reason momentum changed hands in the second half.
Justin Jackson, 6’7”, F, 2014, Houston Hoops
Jackson, a North Carolina Tar Heels pledge, did not have his normal performance, but still went for 15 points on 7-15 shooting. As he does every game, he hit a variety of floaters from 6-10 feet and also added a nifty one dribble move through traffic for a left hand lay-up. In the second half, he hit two floaters in a row, but then disappeared for a stretch. With the shot blockers on Team Scan, Jackson stayed active on the glass and was credited with four offensive rebounds.
Robert Johnson, 6’3”, 2014, Boo Williams
Another player who has been playing out of his mind recently is Robert Johnson who lit up the Texas Titans for 23 points (despite the forfeit). Johnson went 4-9 from three and had the college coaches in attendance wondering if he shot like this all the time. With two stellar performances and two wins on the court it’s a shame that his team was forced to forfeit both games due to an ineligible player.
Game of Interest:
Mac Irvin Fire vs. Jackson Tigers
The last game of the night drew a capacity crowd to court 3 with the top players in the senior and junior classes facing off. Big man Jahlil Okafor is the top ranked player in the class of 2014, while scoring sensation Malik Newman is the top player in the class of 2015 and was coming off a 40 point explosion in the morning. Even though these players at the top, it was Cliff Alexander who stole the show with a 23 point, 13 rebound, and 4 block performance.
Alexander was dunking everything in sight and tried his best to rip the rim off in the second half. With the Alexander dunk fest, Mac Irvin pulled away in the last seven minutes to win by 10 points. Before this run though, the game was very tight and even tied at one point in the second half. For the Tigers, Newman scored nine first half points and then scored a quick 10 to start the second half as the crowd started buzzing about the “Malik show” beginning. Unfortunately the Mac Irvin coaches had other plans and threw every type of junk defense at Newman to keep him out of his comfort zone. Box and one’s, double teams at half-court, traps, triple teams, you name it, and Newman saw it. He scored 25 points, but struggled mightily from the field after his initial second half explosion. To go along with Alexander, Okafor added in 17 points and 16 rebounds while Torry Johnson came off the bench to score 12 points on 3-4 shooting from behind the arc.