Peach Jam: Day One

What happens when the No. 3 and No. 6 players in the country combine in the backcourt? That's easy. You get a team that puts up a pair of victories on the first day of the Peach Jam. This is arguably the best event in America and this year is no different - especially with a 16-year-old bracket added to the fray.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – We got a first-hand look at arguably the best backcourt in the country tonight and also watched as a member of Team Florida (and it's not Nick Calathes) is making major strides in his game.

Days after sitting out the Reebok ABCD Camp, Derrick Rose returned to the court on Wednesday at the Peach Jam.

The Chicago Simeon High (Ill.) 6-foot-3 guard scored 13 points and dished out six assists in a morning victory against the Alabama Lasers and then went for 17 points and six more assists in a night win over Team Texas.

Rose was forced to sit out the highly anticipated matchup against O.J. Mayo last Friday due to a left ankle sprain.

``It was tough for me to sit out," Rose said. "That would have given me more publicity."

Although it was Rose's Meanstreets Express team, it was actually Rose who deferred to newcomer Eric Gordon in the first two games – especially in the nightcap when Rose didn't even attempt a shot for the first eight minutes.

Rose was hardly dominating, but he picked his spots and set up his teammates.

``Sometimes I agree with me not being selfish enough, but I think my game has changed and I've gotten a little more confidence."

Rose said he doesn't understand why he's become a guy that people love to hate in Chicago.

``We're the team to hate," Rose said. "Every team I've been on."

It's not as if Rose is a bad kid. In fact, he's soft-spoken. However, he rarely does interviews and rarely, if ever, talks to college coaches so he's become someone that people speculate about.

``My brother talks to them all," Rose said of his dealings with college coaches. "I haven't talked to any college coaches in a while. Not one."

``That's the way I like it," he added. "Other players tell me that coaches call them all night. I don't want to deal with that." That's also the case with his recruitment – as Rose and his brother, Reggie, try to keep that low-key as well.

Rose admitted that Memphis and Illinois are his leaders at this point, but he also mentioned Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona and Kansas.

Eric Gordon, SG – The Indiana native doesn't look out of place at all despite playing with a new team. He and Derrick Rose are quite a combination in the backcourt with Gordon doing a little bit (make that a lot) of everything. He was knocking down 3-pointers, getting to the basket and even coming out with boards. He's certainly one of the elite, elite guys in this class.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning, F – The Washington-bound forward from England still needs to learn to play for an entire game, but he's getting there. He had one dominating sequence in which he stole the ball, dished it off to a teammate and then ran the length of the court and had a powerful dunk. Then he came back and blocked the next shot defensively.

Jeff Robinson, SF – Memphis has got themselves a player in the high-flying St. Pat's wing. He shot it extremely well in the first half and did a nice job getting to the basket – as usual. Played an impressive all-around game for Team Final.

Chandler Parsons, SF – One of the most improved players in America. He's gone from a spot-up guy to someone who can put it on the floor, get to the basket and finish. He's learned to mix it up on the inside, can pass it and also played well on the defensive end. Scored a team-high 27 points.

Nick Calathes, PG – It wasn't his best effort we've seen, but then again, we've seen some terrific performances from the Florida-bound backcourt star. He was terrific – in spurts. He didn't shoot it extremely well, but still passed the ball well and remains one of the smartest players in the country. Finished with 14 points in a losing effort against Team Final.

Tyreke Evans, G – He erupted for 30 in the morning against The Family and then did a nice job distributing the ball and scoring in a victory against Nick Calathes and Team Florida at night. Evans hit a couple of long-range shots, got into the lane and also passed the ball well with UConn head man Jim Calhoun courtside.

Willie Warren, SG – Good ‘ol Willie never met a shot he didn't like. He's one of the most talented players in the Class of 2008, but he needs to reel in his game a little bit and get his teammates involved. He went for 35 points in a loss to Meanstreets Express, but he must have taken at least 35 shots.

Rotnei Clark, G – Clark might just have the best range of anyone in the class – maybe even the country. He is a threat when he steps over halfcourt. However, he'll need to learn how to put it on the floor and develop more of a mid-range game.

Lamont Jones, PG – a rising sophomore guard at Rice High (N.Y.), was impressive for the Metro Hawks 16's. He was quick, explosive and knows how to get his teammates involved. He's not a great shooter, but he did a nice job getting into the lane and finishing.

Parsons said he's fielded scholarship offers from LSU, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Oklahoma recently. He's already been offered by Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Miami, Arizona State, UMass and Indiana. ``It's amazing and fun, but confusing," Chandler said. … Jai Lucas took an unofficial to Maryland recently (the same school that his father, John, attended) and now has offers from the Terps, Kentucky, Oklahoma, LSU and Oklahoma State.

Florida assistant coach said he'd go with a Mohawk hairstyle if the Gators win back-to-back national titles. … Solomon Alibi is in Nigeria for the remainder of July. … Kansas State assistant coach Frank Martin, who was in the hospital a month or so ago, said he is feeling great and he's lost about 30 pounds. He calls it the "ice chip" diet.

Coaches in the Gym – Lute Olson, Jim Calhoun, Paul Hewitt, Bill Self, Al Skinner, Oliver Purnell, Frank Haith, Herb Sendek, Lorenzo Romar, Mike Anderson, Rick Barnes, Brian Gregory, Mick Cronin, Jerry Wainwright, John Thompson III, Tom Crean, Mike Brey, Jamie Dixon, Tim Welsh, Fred Hill, Norm Roberts, Ricky Stokes, Doug Wojcik, Bruce Weber, Tom Izzo, Mark Gottfried, Stan Heath, Dennis Felton, Tubby Smith, John Brady, Andy Kennedy, Dave Odom, Anthony Grant

``At that age, I haven't seen anyone who shoots it any better" – One high-major head coach while watching rising junior guard Rotnei Clark.

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