Raw Sports

2019 Peach Jam Weekend Recap by: NICK FRANKLIN

Let me first say that if you’re a hoop head, hoop junkie, or if ball is life, this event should be on your bucket list, no if and’s or buts about it. This is an elite event and i was only there for the tournament part of the session. During that time I took in some great action, met some of the nations best coaches, and watched champions be crowned. Watching high level hoop events in the summer is great because you can assess talent and actually see the work players have put in during the off-season.

The best player I saw all weekend was Jalen Green a 6’5” combo guard from Fresno, California. Green has an unflappable demeanor when on the court, whether up 10 or down 10 his play didn’t differentiate. Jalen is an elite scorer his repertoire of moves is ridiculous, he has the ability to get wherever he wants, picks his spots well and has the ability to score at all 3 levels. He checks every box with his game SCORER, DEFENDER, FACILITATOR, this young man has it all. His recruitment is wide open currently and one to keep an eye on in the coming months.

The big men were out in full force this weekend as well, including EYBL MVP N’Faly Dante. Starting with Dante he’s a 7 foot big man from Mali who most likely will be reclassifying and be on a college campus soon. Dante is considering Kentucky and Oregon . He’s an elite rim protector and rebounder. Dante has got soft hands and can finish around the rim in multiple ways a true game changer whenever he’s on the court. Another big man that was just as impressive was 7 foot Center Mark Williams from Norfolk, Virginia. Williams played with a chip on his shoulder every game I watched, he displayed great athleticism on both sides of the ball, great switching on defense, and aggression towards the rim having his way with whomever was guarding him. His activity set him apart from a lot of players. It’s still early in Mark’s recruitment but his sister played her college basketball at Duke, and they’re one of a few schools that’ve offered him.

Peach Jam provides great matchup after great matchup. The best matchup I saw during the weekend was the battle of the point guards. My personal favorite player from the class of 2020 is Sharife Cooper a 6’0” Guard from Atlanta who matched up with 5’9” guard Zion Harmon from Kentucky. These two absolutely went at it. Both showed they were elite rim finishers, with silky smooth jump shots, while controlling the floor as generals. Neither player backed down and both showed TREMENDOUS heart and left it all on the floor. Zions team took the win as Sharife missed a game winner in overtime.

Lastly, I wanna give a shoutout to the Pennsylvania teams and players who represented. Team Final 15U made it to the championship game where they gave max effort until the last buzzer went off in a disheartening loss. The 16U team final squad was taken out after putting together a very solid effort in the round of 8. Rahsool Diggins from Archbishop Wood has definitely been working on his game, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. His explosion on his first step and ability to finish through contact are two areas I’ve seen vast improvement. I look forward to seeing more of him, and the Roman Catholic duo of Justice Williams and Jalen Duren who both played pivotal roles in Team Finals run. And before I go a huge thanks to Big Star for giving me the platform and putting me in position to share my thoughts on the game I love, until next time. Nick Franklin…. OUT!