Peach Jam: Session I

AUGUSTA, Ga. – After last week's helter skelter, end to end action, this observer needed a good AAU game. On Sunday morning at the Peach Jam, there were plenty of them. He's a recap from the first session.

Nike Peach Jam, Sunday Part I

2003 Checklist

Gary Ervin, Riverside Church, PG: We've said it before but it needs to be said again: last year at this time, Ervin was a mid-major shooting guard. Now, he's a bonafide high-major point guard and that ranks as one of the best position changes we've ever seen. In beating Team Memphis this morning, Ervin was too good. He made a 3 at the end of the first half after he scored something like 6 points in the last :30 seconds.

Brandon Cotton, The Family, SG-PG: The ultra talented combo guard did he best to help The Family but they couldn't stave off a rally from Howard Pulley. In the loss, Cotton scored 27 points (12-20 FG). His offensive game is so diverse that he'll pull up on you or drive it all the way to the rim with equal effectiveness. We like him as a shooting guard but he can play some point.

Torre Johnson, Playground Warriors, PF: He might be 6-6, but after watching him a few times since April, it really doesn't matter. He gets so much out of his body and uses his bounce and long arms really well. This kid eats the glass and plays every possession. He just gets a lot done.

2004 Checklist

Jerrell Houston, Team Memphis, F: At the start of the spring, Houston was a bit player. He played with little energy and even less emotion. Now, on the heels of a very good Nike Camp, he's come alive. Sometimes with big man the light takes a little longer to come on but I think his is lighting up right now. Big time athlete.

DJ White ('04) & Richard Hendrix ('05), Alabama Lasers, Big Men: If the Lasers are going to replicate the success they had at the Boo Williams here, they need to learn this simple concept: get White and Hendrix the basketball. On this occasion, the Lasers went for stretches where these two didn't get touches. White can come out and get his shots on the perimeter but he shouldn't have to. The Lasers frontline will eventually be better than 99% of the college front lines so they deserve to get the basketball.

Off The Dribble

Props to Dan Fitzgerald, small forward from the Pulley Panthers. His jumper was instrumental in helping his team get back into the game vs. The Family. While we give credit to Fitzgerald, we acknowledge that he's a little better than we originally figured. This guy will fit in at a high-major. … Junior guard Tank Beasley caught fire for the Lasers against the Playground Warriors. His jumper allowed the Lasers to creep back into the game. … Gary Forbes scored 22 points (9-18 FG, 2-7 3-pt. FG) in his team's win over Team Memphis. He's still on fire after a hot Nike Camp. ...

Around The Gym

Tom Izzo was front and center watching Brandon Cotton again. Izzo also knows that it's good to watch The Family as much as possible given the young talent in the program. … Boston College assistant coach Bill Coen was in the gym watching the Howard Pulley Panthers. BC's ties to the program seem to run deeper every year. Troy Bell is on the roster, Dan Coleman is committed and they are recruiting Fitzgerald. Notre Dame and Dan Monson were also there for his game. … Gene Keady watched Ije Nwankwo get after it on the glass this morning. …

We didn't see it but we heard Andrew Lavender put on a show this morning. Really? Hasn't he been doing that all summer? … How about big Al Jefferson making a 3 at the buzzer to send the Jackson team's game vs. the Houston Hoops into OT? The Hoops eventually won. … Riverside swinger Gary Forbes is listing Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Virginia and UConn. Assistants from NC State (Mark Phelps), Georgia Tech (Cliff Warren) and Notre Dame (Anthony Solomon) were in the gym along with an assistant from Providence and St. John's head coach Mike Jarvis. …

John Calipari and Buzz Peterson were in the gym for the Team Memphis game. … Riverside point guard Gary Ervin likes Alabama, Mississippi State, Arizona, UConn, Pittsburgh and Temple. … Pulley guard Kammron Taylor lists Ohio State, Wisconsin, Florida, Minnesota, Iowa State, New Mexico and Houston. He has offers from Richmond, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Houston. …

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