Battle has jump shot workingIn a match up with Boo Williams on Friday night, Tyus Battle, a 6-foot-6 wing from Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernards, had the jump shot working, as he hit three three-pointers and scored a game high 17 points for Team Scan. “I think knocking down jump shots and creating my own shot, I’m pretty good at,” Battle told Scout.com. “I’m probably better from mid-range,” he added. “That’s more of my game. When they go to man-to-man I like to get the mid-range jump shot.” Battle has all the tools you look for at the wing position. He’s blessed with good size, is a quality athlete and is a threat to score from the perimeter or off the bounce. College coaches have taken notice too. Battle has interest from over 20 schools including Michigan, Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, Syracuse, Ohio State, Maryland and Arizona. He also picked up offers from Duke on Thursday and North Carolina State just prior to that. “It’s an honor,” he said about the Duke offer. “It’s a high-level program. Coach K is a hall of fame coach and he’s produced a lot of great players.” “It’s a great program and I love the way they play,” he said about N.C. State. “It’s a high-level program.” Battle is current regarded as a five-star prospect on Scout.com.
For one half, Jalen Brunson looked like he might go for 50 points. He cooled down in the second half and settled for a mere 34, but suffice it to say he was the night's star performer on Court 2.
Arguably the nation's top senior floor general, Brunson plays the game with a hint of Damon Stoudamire lurking under the surface. He isn't as fast as the former Arizona star (and current assistant coach) but scores via a very similar setup to his lefty jump shot. He also utilizes his shoulders extremely well to generate enough contact to create space with getting whistled for offensive fouls.
Despite lacking a blazing first step, Brunson excels on drives due to his ability to change speeds, compact strength, low dribble and ability to contort around big men. He makes difficult finishes look easy, the hallmark of a top scorer.
Though putting points on the board defines his game best, Brunson also is a talented playmaker who rifles sharp passes from one side of the court to the other. Down the road, as he's playing with more talented big men, he'll no doubt add greater balance to his game.
The one long-term limitation may be his defense. Not blessed with quick feet laterally or long arms, Brunson must rely on his intelligence, strength, toughness and concentration to hold his own against certain difficult matchups. That should come with experience.
Without a doubt, he's highly likely to earn McDonald's and Jordan postseason honors and ultimately could play his way into a top 10 national ranking.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Terance Mann, WF, BABC — This is shaping up to be a huge month for Mann. The solidly built wing opened up the live period by performing in stirring fashion at the LeBron James Skills Academy, and he continues to play with confidence here at the Peach Jam. Mann is a good athlete who's particularly effective when able to move in a straight; he lacks the flexibility to change directions sharply at full speed. Even so, he's powerful and aggressive and able to finish drives with dunks. Not only that, he's a talented passer who also will get down in a stance and play defense.
Caleb Swanigan, C, Spiece Indy Heat — No one at the Peach Jam strikes a more formidable court presence than "Biggie" himself. No longer a talented, yet bloated prospect, Swanigan has shed bad weight and become even stronger inside. He's nearly impossible to prevent from establishing post position and scores with either hand at close-range. What he doesn't do frequently is throw down slams, because he doesn't possess great straight-up leaping ability and therefore hasn't shot as high a percentage on the EYBL circuit as one would expect. He'll need to develop a reliable jump hook to compensate for the absence of explosive leap. Nevertheless, he boasts sure and forceful hands capable of ripping the ball down in traffic. He projects as a terrific rebounder for that reason and also can finish through contact. Meanwhile, he possesses surprising court vision for a big man and makes solid, intelligent passes to teammates at all levels of the court. He went for 15 points (6-14 FG) and 15 rebounds in a hard-fought defeat to All-Ohio Red on Friday afternoon. Swanigan projects as an immediate impact performer and likely, eventual pro.
Esa Ahmad, PF, All-Ohio Red — Pitted in a regional grudge match versus Spiece, Ahmad answered the bell in a tight second half and simply took over. You can't always trust stats, but you should trust them this time: 22 points (7-11 FG), 11 rebounds, six assists, plus a block and a steal with only two turnovers. Ahmad is the tough guy who could spend 100 percent of his time inside and be effective, but who also possesses the quickness, agility, ballhandling and passing skills to play on the wing. He actually initiated offense for long stretches when his team needed a good shot. He competes ferociously in every aspect of the game and could blossom as a national surprise at the college level.
Stephen Zimmerman, C, Oakland Soldiers — While teammate Ivan Rabb struggled to get going for the Soldiers, Zimmerman enjoyed a fine outing on Friday evening. The lefty big man scored on some very polished looking jump hooks, including from as far out as 10 feet. He also made a face-up jumper, tossed several clever assists (as usual) and pulled down a couple of tough boards. Playing consistently and within himself, it's no wonder that he's universally considered a blue-chip prospect. He has been up and down of late and including at the Peach Jam, but his outing in a wing over the Tennessee Travelers had to boost his confidence.
Evan Daniels and Rob Harrington contributed to this report