Opening Day Notebook: July Evaluation Period

We wrap up the first day of action from the all important July evaluation period for men's college basketball.

The first of three four-day evaluation periods for men’s basketball kicked off at 5 p.m. last night at events across the country.

Peegs.com as at two of the main events on the first night. Jeff Rabjohns was at the Nike Peach Jam (EYBL Finals) in North Augusta, South Carolina and Mike Pegram attended the Under Armour All-American Camp in Charlotte at Queens University.

A large adidas event in Spartanburg, South Carolina began as well and is on our planned coverage this week. The Elevate Hoops circuit has an event in the Philadelphia area this week and Hoosier assistant Chuck Martin was spotted there on Wednesday night. Among the Hoosier targets in attendance is 6-foot-11 rising senior forward Malik Williams of Fort Wayne Snider.

Here are the reports from the Peach Jam and UA All-American Camp. Keep in mind that the media were unable to speak to players at the Peach Jam. That policy will be relaxed on Thursday morning.

Under Armour All-American Camp

This year’s camp at Queens University in Charlotte listed 84 players on the roster spread out over eight teams.

Indiana assistant coach Rob Judson had duties here and started the night watching long time Indiana target Paul Scruggs of Southport. The 2017 combo guard played well, scoring a team high 14 points while dishing out a pair of assists versus just one turnover. 

Scruggs was match-up up much of the game against another Indiana combo guard target, Philly native David Beatty. After Scruggs got the better of him in the first half, Beatty heated up in the second half and finished with a trio of 3-points and 10 points, helping lead ihs team to a 10-point victory. The 6-foot-3 Beatty also had three assists and three steals.

Both players hold Indiana offers, Scruggs from back before he began high school and Beatty just recently picked one up from Tom Crean.

“That (Scruggs) is my guy, we always go at it when we play,” Beatty said. “He’s just super tough and it is always good to get that kind of competition.”

The leading scorer of that game was Beatty’s teammate, 6-foot-7 forward Sid Wilson, native of the Bronx who will move to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Wilson had 17 points including three 3-pointers and the dunk of the night, a tomahawk off a drive down the middle over the opposing center.

“I have been really working about coming off a screen, taking one dribble and getting to the basket and today the lane just opened up for me, the big man jumped at the end and I just caught him,” Wilson said.

Wilson is reclassifying to the 2018 class as part of his move from St. Raymond’s to Brewster. He told peegs.com that his need to add weight to his frame was a big part of that decision. Indiana assistant Chuck Martin is a St. Raymond alum, and the two have continued to talk about Wilson making it to Bloomington for a visit this August. Wilson said nothing is yet set.

Judson then moved over the other court for the second set of games where he caught Scruggs’ summer teammate Kris Wilkes and several other prospects on the Hoosiers radar. The 6-foot-7 Indianapolis North Central forward finished with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Underrated 2018 guard Eric Ayala led that team in scoring with 16 and we spoke to Ayala after the contest. The Delaware native now at the Putnam School in Connecticut listed Indiana as one of the main schools of mutual interest here early in his recruiting process. 

Ayala is listed by many as a 6-foot-4 shooting guard but he made it clear not he court and in his interview that point guard is his future. 

Playing on an adjacent court at the same time as that one was Fort Wayne North product Keion Brooks. A  young forward from the Class of 2019, Brooks told us he’s up to 6-foot-7 1/2 and has added 20 pounds of needed bulk since last fall.

Playing against guys two years older, the 15-year old Brooks more than held his own, scoring 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting. He told peegs.com in Charlotte that he picked up a Xavier offer recently to go along with the one he received from Purdue this spring. Michigan State also a big factor there as Brooks said he’s already made several trips to East Lansing.

Significant news before play started when five-star Georgia guard M.J. Walker told scout.com’s Evan Daniels that Indiana had picked up interest in him recently. Conference rival Maryland is also in pursuit of Walker. IU assistant Rob Judson was courtside along with Mark Turgeon to see Walker’s only game Wednesday evening.

EYBL Finals/Peach Jam Notes

Indiana head coach Tom Crean was here along with longtime assistant Tim Buckley. Their night began with a courtside seat for the PSA Cardinals featuring several Hoosier targets including the No. 2 overall player in the class, 6-foot-11 Mohamed Bamba. Facing 7-foot-1 UConn commit Zach Brown, Bamba served notice that he’s healthy after missing some June play. 

Bamba finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks in a come from behind win for PSA. Another IU target, shooting guard Brandon Randolph, led PSA with 24 points.

In the second round of games Crean watched 2017 forward Jordan Tucker and 2017 guard Hamidou Diallo and the New York Rens. Buckley caught 2018 guard Darius Garland and the St. Louis Eagles.

Final set of games saw Crean watching highly regarded 2017 center Nick Richards against power forward Luka Garza as well as point guard Tremont Waters, a teammate of Richards.

Thursday will be the first full day of games and we’ll again be at the Peach Jam and UA Camp.

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