NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Friday was the second full day of action in the Nike Peach Jam and has set the stage for the playoff rounds. One game remains for all 24 teams before the top two teams from each of the four pools advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday evening. In the Sweet 16 for rising juniors, the quarterfinals and semifinals beckon on Saturday.
We’ll re-convene at the same site on Saturday evening after spending much of Saturday at the nearby Peach State Summer Showcase. First, though, a look at a few who stood out on Friday, with a general comment that there is some really good talent among the underclassmen in this event.
Class of 2015
Kevaughn Allen (6’3″ SG, Little Rock (AR) North Little Rock HS) One of the best bright spots in a loss for his team to end the day, he went for 26 points, including 4-7 shooting from long range. He has a good body and is athletic, and while not the biggest name on his team by a long shot he showed he can play off them very well.
Jalen Brunson (6’2″ PG-SG, Vernon Hills (IL) Stevenson HS) Okay, he’s not very quick and is pretty left-handed. But he can shoot and has a solid feel for the game, and he showed that with 34 points (9-17 shooting) and six assists as his team won a great back-and-forth game against Houston Hoops. For good measure, this was a game where he wasn’t much of a factor early on, so that tells you how great he was in the second half.
Christian James (6’5″ SF, Houston (TX) Bellaire HS) There’s a lot to like with him, as he’s well-built and athletic. Early on against the Mac Irvin Fire, he was seemingly in every other play, and he was deadly in transition and got stickbacks. He ended up with 14 points and 10 rebounds, showing the ability to hit from long range and drive and dish. But he also got himself in foul trouble with a couple of dumb fouls and was limited to 18 minutes as a result. It all means that there’s plenty of room to grow.
Jarvis Johnson (6’0″ PG, Brooklyn Park (MN) De La Salle HS) The first time he had the ball in his team’s first game, he turned it over. After that, he was very good and frankly looked better than his team’s starting point guard. Possessing a good body and good quickness, he got in the lane often, using a hesitation at times, showed a nice touch on a floater that he even got over a seven-footer to score one time. The downfall is shooting, as he was 0-7 from long range, including a few late in the game when perhaps a better shot was the goal.
Chimeze Metu (6’10” PF-C, Lawndale (CA) High) It’s easy for him to be overshadowed by Ivan Rabb and Stephen Zimmerman, but neither was much of a factor in an early game. Instead, it was Metu who had 12 rebounds and showed that he has great hands to go with his length. He was a constant factor on the glass, and while the offense leaves something to be desired he’s not entirely a project there.
Rex Pflueger (6’6″ SF, Chula Vista (CA) Mater Dei HS) Now let’s talk about someone even more overshadowed on the Soldiers – this versatile wing, who filled the stat sheet on Friday morning. He had 12 points on 5-8 shooting, grabbed six rebounds, handed our four assists (with just one turnover) and had three steals from getting in passing lanes. He won’t leap out at you with physical gifts, and that includes having a relatively slight frame and not being overly strong, but he knows the game and how to find a way to help win games.
Quindarry Weatherspoon (6’5″ SG-SF, Canton (MS) Velma Jackson HS) Strangely, a look at the stat sheet to find he had 32 points on 13-19 shooting in his team’s first game of the day seems to not do justice to how well he played. A baby physically with a slight frame, he scored in a number of ways, from finishing the break to pull-up jumpers to stickbacks in transition. Indeed, he was tremendous in transition and showed his skill set and feel for the game, as he knew when to attack and when to give the ball up.
Edrice Adebayo (6’9″ Jr. PF-C, Plymouth (NC) Northside HS) He went head to head with Thomas Bryant and probably had the better game, taking nothing away from Bryant. The numbers won’t tell it, as Bryant had a double-double while Adebayo had 11 points and eight boards. Instead, watching him reveals that he has a good body that is very mobile and that he knows how to use effectively to score, rebounds, gets to the line and is active. While he didn’t seem to have much finesse in him for post moves, that can develop.
Tyus Battle (6’5″ Jr. SG-SF, Edison (NJ) Gil St. Bernard’s HS) He had a nice game with 17 points on 5-12 shooting, and many of those points came on jump shots with some range. He has a good frame and his body still has some developing ahead, so there’s a lot to like from a young man who has been on the radar for a while already.
Devante Carter (6’0″ Jr. PG, Newport News (VA) Woodside HS) Though not a baby physically, he is a plus athlete who showed the ability to drive and create and was very good in transition, finishing the break and getting a stickback another time. As the game went along, he got better and more effective.
Wendell Carter, Jr. (6’10” So. PF-C, Atlanta (GA) Fulton Leadership HS) A post player with a good frame, he finished while fouled several times and showed the ability to score in close with 20 points.
Amir Coffey (6’6″ Jr. SF, Minnetonka (MN) Hopkins HS) He is mostly “potential” at this point, and his lack of production on the stat sheet on Friday morning after a double-double in the prior game tells you that. The lefty has some length and is active, and his body has a ways to go, so he will get a physical gain at some point. He should finish better with added strength, and although he hit two shots from deep, that doesn’t look to be a strength for him right now.
Jared Harper (5’9″ Jr. PG, Mableton (GA) Mount Vernon Presbyterian) In a game his team barely pulled out, he went for 25 points, including 4-9 shooting from long range. He’s small, including having a slight frame, and is a baby physically, but he showed a very nice shooting touch from mid-range and long range, including from well behind the arc.
Frankie Hughes (6’4″ Jr. SG-SF, Cleveland (OH) Garfield Heights HS) As his team’s afternoon game went along, he got better after a slow start. He has a good frame to go with a good dribble for his size, and he showed the ability to drive and finish. In addition, he was in a lot of plays at both ends.
Carlos Johnson (6’6″ Jr. SF, Phoenix (CA) Shadow Mountain HS) A power wing, he had a big game to start the day off with 20 points on 8-15 shooting. More importantly, he got a lot of baskets late in the game. His game isn’t very polished, but he’s effective, at least when he’s not barreling into a defender with his lack of body control, as he did a couple of times. If he loses some bad weight, his game should be a little less rough around the edges.
Malik Monk (6’3″ Jr. SG, Bentonville (AR) High) In scoring 40 points to close out the night, he looked like the clear best prospect on the floor with how he did it. Very athletic, he was 14-20 from the field, including 6-10 from long range, and added six rebounds and five assists. More importantly, he hit several dagger shots when Team Penny got close in the second half, helping to thwart some rallies.