NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – A busy Saturday is in the books. It started in Augusta with games at the Peach State Summer Showcase and ended back across the river with the quarterfinals of the EYBL Finals at Peach Jam and the semifinals in the EYBL Sweet 16. Now, only four games remain in North Augusta.
In the Sweet 16, the championship matchup is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday between Wings Elite and Team Final. That will come after the two semifinal games in the older bracket (Team Penny vs. Boo Williams at 9 a.m. and a regional rivalry with the Playaz vs. Team Scan right after it) and will precede the 3 p.m. championship game.
Without further ado, here’s a look at some players who stood out at both events.
Peach State Summer Showcase
Jashawn Brooks (6’4″ Sr. SF, Augusta (GA) Lucy C. Laney HS) In a late playoff round, he didn’t score much (10 points) but was a key to a victory. He has a little length and a good frame to go with his athleticism, and should get at least some low Division I interest.
Melvin Brooks (6’7″ Sr. PF, Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons HS) Possessing a relatively mature body, he didn’t shy away from contact inside, a welcome sight in an age where many with his body will try to play away from the basket. He instead works inside to get chances and never stops battling.
Drew Edwards (6’4″ Sr. SG, Baltimore (MD) Calvert Hall) Even before he hit a jumper before the buzzer to cap an amazing comeback, he had the look of a nice perimeter prospect. An athletic guard, he was very active at both ends of the floor and in a lot of plays. He handled often and passed well, while also scoring 18 points, including the game-winner from well beyond NBA three-point range after stealing an inbounds pass.
Abayomi Iyiola (6’10” So. PF-C, Atlanta (GA) Green Forest Christian Academy) As a basketball player, he has a long way to go, but he looks like he’ll be worth watching over the next few years as well. Long and a baby physically, he has a good frame he can fill out.
Matt Pegram (6’10” Sr. PF-C, Mount Pleasant (SC) Wando HS) A post player with a good frame, he’s not a bad athlete for his size. In going for 12 points, he showed a post move to score and got stickbacks, and even hit a three-pointer. Even so, his best work was inside, where he was also a force on the glass.
Charles Ruise (6’1″ Sr. PG-SG, Sanderson (FL) Baker County HS) He opened up the morning with a nice shooting display, going for 24 points on an array of jumpers. That helped his team as they played together very well.
Quadree Smith (6’7″ Sr. PF, Temple Hills (MD) Potomac HS) A thick post player with a wide body, the best thing he can do for his game is to improve the conditioning. He has a good deal of bad weight, but he’s more athletic than he looks and has a good motor.
EYBL Finals at Peach Jam
Ammar Beccar (6’5″ Jr. PF, Chicago (IL) Niles Notre Dame HS) He won’t pass the “look” test at first, and he has a bit of a quick trigger with the shots he’ll put up, but he can be very effective on the floor. He moves pretty well considering his size, can hit from the baseline and uses his body well. He’s undersized, but managed to be effective and make a big play in a tough loss.
Anthony Lawrence (6’7″ Sr. SF, St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood HS) Quietly he had a very nice evening in a losing effort, going for 15 points on 6-9 shooting. He scored on drives and on jumpers and was arguably his team’s best player on the evening.
Dedric Lawson (6’8″ So. SF-PF, Memphis (TN) Hamilton HS) A big part of why his team convincingly beat a very good E1T1 team was his double-double of 23 points (10-16 shooting) and 16 rebounds. It seemed like he was always grabbing an offensive board and sticking it back, and he also had a big three-pointer.
Ben Simmons (6’9″ Sr. SF-PF, (Australia) Montverde Academy) There’s a lot to like about him, but this looked like an off night for the LSU commit. Still, he had 24 points on 8-13 shooting and 10 rebounds, so we all should have off nights more often.
Nych Smith (5’10” Sr. PG, Memphis (TN) White Station HS) The box score will tell you he had 10 points on 3-7 shooting. Don’t let that fool you: he was a big part of his team’s win, as they were down early but he hit some shots to keep them in the game before others took over. He was 3-6 from deep and has shown how good his stroke is this weekend.
Lamar Stevens (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Wales (PA) Haverford HS) He was a little slow to get going in his team’s semifinal game, but in the second half he made plenty of big plays and showed some of the potential he has. He has a good frame to fill out more and is athletic, and a couple of times he went coast-to-coast, ending up with fouls.