NORTH AUGUSTA, SC - For the first time all year Jayson Tatum played with his age group and the No. 1 overall player showed his dominance. Tatum was tremendous and headlined night one at the Peach Jam.
Class of 2015
, SG, The Family – In the first half Davis absolutely put his team on his back. He was hitting from the mid-range off the dribble, launching from deep, and also getting to the rim. Absolutely nothing that CP3 tried could slow Davis down in the first half. However in the second half a zone defense limited his looks at the rim and kept him in check. Still Davis put 22 on the board and showed why he is one of the best pure scorers in the class.
, PF, The Family – With Manuel he has flashes of brilliance during a game and then stretches where he seems to disappear. In this one it was no different. He had three or four high level plays where his length and athleticism were on full display. That said he also didn’t rise up when his team needed in the second half. Still there is a lot to like with Manuel, but he has to bring a greater sense of urgency and toughness to the floor.
, PG, CP3 – The consummate floor general, Phillips did some good things for CP3 during their huge second half rally. Phillips is a tough defender and really can push the pace on offense. He isn’t an elite shooter or athlete, but he is strong and gets to the rim well and makes plays. His effort is top notch, and Phillips did a lot of the little things to help his team get the win.
Class of 2016
, SF, St. Louis Eagles – Tatum has played exclusively 17 and under basketball this year, but with the Eagles not qualifying at that age group the No. 1 overall player in the class suited up with his age group and the dominance was incredible. After missing much of the first half due to fouls, Tatum took over in the second half. He scored from deep, finished going to the rim, rebounded, and just totally controlled the action as his team cruised home with the win. Tatum did what you would expect of a kid of his stature and in the process showed just how good he can be against his peers.
, PF, CP3 – It has been a long road back for Giles, but he finally looks healthy and like the player who was at one time No. 1 in his class. Giles was a dominant force on the low block with 20 points and 15 rebounds. His length and athleticism was impressive, and then he mixed in a few plays in the mid-range. It is tough to say for sure that Giles is at 100 percent, but there is no questioning that he is one of the elite kids in the class and will continue to challenge for the top spot.
, PF/SF, The Family – They just don’t build many athletes like this one. Even with Bridges struggling some from the field, he showed just how good he can be when he gets going downhill. Bridges attacked the rim a few times off the bounce and finished impressively through contact and then also was very good on the glass. He needs to continue to refine his skill game, especially his shooting, but there is a lot to like with his versatility and elite athleticism.
, PG, CP3 – Gilbert has a lot of tools. He has the ball on an absolute string which allows him to put defenders on their heels, and then combines that with speed and quickness to get into the lane. His outside shot continues to be a work in progress and Gilbert does get sloppy with his foot work. Still he has the physical tools to be tough to defend and showed solid court vision as he set up teammates. Also Gilbert was money down the stretch from the foul line sealing the win.
, C, All-Ohio Red – It was a game where Ward showed some of the improvement which is making him a high-major target and also some of the flaws that he has. Ward combines great hands with improving athleticism and a wide body to get things done on the low block. However he doesn’t have elite finishing ability and can struggle to hold his post position. Ward overall was tough to deal with for Boo Williams and he kept All-Ohio in the game, but he has to continue to get into better and shape and keep improving his post moves around the rim.
Christopher Orlina, SF, Boo Williams – In football often times there is an “athlete” position designation and that would apply to Orlina. He doesn’t necessarily project as a wing or a power forward at the next level, but he is the type of kid you just want on the floor. At around 6-foot-5 with big time explosion, Orlina was a beast on the glass and then finished very well in transition. He needs to improve his outside shot, but Orlina just knows how to produce and his wiry strong build held up against a bigger and more physical frontcourt and he even managed to control a good part of the game.
, SF/PF, Team Final – Stevens is a freight train of an athlete who is tough and physical. His future will be on the wing, but for now Stevens gets most of his damage done in the paint. He posts up smaller defenders and then also is very good on the class. Also Stevens mixed in one mid-range jumper, but didn’t look too comfortable shooting from deep. Still he has the size and athleticism to be a major contributor at a high level with a few refinements to his game.
Tony Carr, SG/PG, Team Final – It was one of those games where Carr always seemed to be doing something, though not all the time a positive for his team. The best way to describe him is as a slithery guard who can make things happen. Not a point and not a shooting guard, Carr has ability with the ball to make plays and then is long and athletic to compete on the wing.
Faces in the Crowd
’s Tom Izzo
and North Carolina
’s Roy Williams were joined by assistants from Kansas
, and Duke
watching Jayson Tatum.
Nick Ward drew assistants from Michigan
, and Ohio State