NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Monday's action at the Nike Peach Jam was the most intense day of play so far as teams were playing to stay alive.
Jontel Evans scored two points in a terrific come from behind win against the Georgia Stars. And he was the best player on the floor for the most important eight minutes of the tournament for Boo Williams.
When the 5-foot-11 point guard from Hampton (Va.) Bethel came in off the bench, he sparked a major 26-4 run for Boo Williams and changed the entire flow of the game. He defended nearly all five positions and single-handedly shut down the Stars on the defensive end of the floor.
Evans has carved out a niche for himself with the high-majors because of his defensive effort. In fact, he might be one of the few true elite high-major defensive stoppers in the nation. He'll punch his ticket because of his ability to stop guys from scoring the basketball.
While Evans was making things happen on the defensive end of the floor, forward Marshawn Powell made things happen with his offense. The rough and tough forward scored 14 points in the victory.
Powell said he reneged on his early commitment to Arkansas because he "want(s) to go to Virginia." The Cavaliers haven't offered a scholarship, he says, but hopes the ACC school will in the near future. Powell said he is still very much considering Arkansas but wants to look at the home state school a little closer first.
The Kammeon Holsey that dominated the state of Georgia during the high school season and the one that helped his team win a state championship showed up in North Augusta.
After a quiet spring, the 6-foot-8 forward has been a man on a mission in July. Perhaps committing to Georgia Tech and putting the recruiting process behind him helped clear his mind. Whatever the case, Holsey was outstanding at the Peach Jam and was one of the top five performers at the event. His body control, work in the post with both hands and attention on the glass was the best we've seen from him in a Georgia Stars jersey.
Holsey finished with 18 points in an ousting loss to Boo Williams. He has nothing to hang his head about. Holsey did everything he could have done at the Peach Jam.
After starting slowly in the early pool games, John Wall finished a rather average (by his terms) Peach Jam. The nation's top player scored 32 points and dished out nine assists in a "me against the world" type of effort against the Illinois Warriors.
It has been well-documented that there isn't a player in the country with Wall's speed and he knows how to use his legs as his offensive weapon. The 6-foot-3 Raleigh, N.C. native gets to the lane better than anyone in the high school ranks.
The Illinois Warriors always have great success at the Peach Jam. This year's club was no surprise to see in the playoffs. They've been great all year long. Leading the charge once again was D.J. Richardson, a 2009 Illinois commitment.
The four-star guard scored an efficient 19 points for the Warriors against the South Carolina Ravens. He's been the leader on a guard-heavy roster for the Warriors and he's been the best player on the team from game to game. He's going into his senior season on a high note.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
You could argue that Taran Buie had the best day of work of any player participating in the Peach Jam on Monday. The class of 2010 put on an absolute show against the Alabama Challenge.
Buie scored 25 points in the match-up and had a lot to do with the defensive effort from the City Rocks that held the Challenge to a dozen second half points.
Buie said his recruitment consists mostly of teams from the ACC, the Big East and Penn State, Florida, Texas and others. Buie said he's taking his time before making any sort of decisions about college.
Big man Tobias Harris enjoyed a strong week in Augusta. The 6-foot-8 forward was one of best big men in the field at sealing off his defender. Harris, a class of 2010 prospect, understands his strength and how to use it. His efforts in the semi-finals proved to be the difference maker.
When it comes to scoring buckets, few do it better in the class of 2010 than Chicago point guard Anthony Johnson with the Illinois Warriors. He's a crafty with the ball and goes full steam ahead at all times. A lot of Big Ten schools laid eyes on him over the weekend and made sure the four-star guard knew he was a major priority.
Boo Williams 16 and under power forward James McAdoo has a similar game to 2009 stud Derrick Favors. Both are long, lanky and calming presences on the floor. Both can dominate the game on both ends of the floor. Both have incredible upsides. McAdoo has the tools to be considered one the elite level prospects in the 2011 class at this stage of the game. Of course, a lot of basketball will be played between now and when he's a senior, too.
For the first 16 minutes of play against the City Rocks, Alabama Challenge Ralston Turner was the best player on the floor. He scored as many points as there were minutes in the first half and had his team tied at the break. His pull-up jumper from deep was dialed in and his offensive touch was at it's best all week at the Peach Jam. Then came the second half. Turner was held scoreless and his team was blown out. Consistency is the missing link for the talented 2010 guard at this stage of the game.
HI, MY NAME IS
It seems like every time Boo Williams is in a big game, Ricardo Ratliffe brings his best basketball to the table. The 6-foot-8 prep school bound forward scored 20 points in the quarterfinal playoff game against the Georgia Stars. Ratliffe doesn't do anything too fancy but his work inside the paint is efficient and important. The high-majors will sniff around with him and the mid-level programs would love to have him as a foundation player inside.
Okay, okay, Marcus Jordan is far from a sleeper. Michael Jordan's kid is well known and he doesn't really need an introduction by any means. Regardless, Jordan was outstanding inside the Riverview Park facility. The Chicago native saved his best game for Monday morning against Team Jones, a team with his dad's logo all over their game.
All the younger Jordan did was score 30 points and missed a handful of shots in the process. The 6-foot-3 football player look alike could have very well made enough noise to make a high-major or two think about offering him. His play was inspired.
Georgia Stars guard Adrian Coleman will probably have a couple of new scholarship offers by the time he repacks his bags and heads down to Orlando for the AAU Super Showcase. The 6-foot-3 guard was a scoring machine for the Stars all week.
Boo Williams' 16 and under team is loaded with big men prospects. Because of that, it is sometimes easy to overlook a guy like Dimitri Batten. The charismatic 6-foot-3 guard loves to play fast and loves to play with fire. He's a slasher supreme that can get to the basket with speed and strength. High-majors are tracking him while the mid-level powers are hoping he stays under the radar some more.
Team STAT power forward Justin Jackson was a nice surprise. The 6-foot-7 forward was out-numbered inside the paint against the loaded and big Boo Williams 16 and under team but he tried as best as he could to make his presence felt. His high-energy, good bounce and surprisingly good strength were enough to have coaches thumbing through their information packets to get a better idea on who the class of 2010 prospect is.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
Recent Florida commitment Austin Rivers struggled mightily against Boo Williams in the best 16 and under game of the tournament. The class of 2011 point guard didn't hit a field goal in the loss and finished with just three points. His father, Doc Rivers, was sitting courtside to see him in action for the first time in probably a long time.
It is amazing to watch the South Carolina Ravens without Ryan Kelly. The 6-foot-9 five-star forward is in Argentina with Team USA. Without him, the Ravens (and particularly John Wall) play a more chaotic style of play. Kelly is a calming force for the team (and, again, mostly Wall). Kelly scored 12 points and grabbed a team high 10 rebounds in a win over Venezuela.
Glen Rice, Jr. can flat-out pass the basketball. His hoops IQ is extremely high and it is easy to understand why so many high-major schools are trying to get in on the shooting guard with the Georgia Stars.
While most of the attention went to Tommy Mason-Griffin for the Houston Hoops (and rightfully so), it was the play of future New Mexico point guard Jamaal Fenton that shined through. The little man from Houston knows how to play his position as well as score the basketball. The pipeline from Texas to New Mexico has been good for the Lobos.