Welcome back, Mohamed Bamba.
After missing several events with an ankle injury, the 6-foot-11 five-star center has returned with a thunder and been one of the top players as the 2016 Peach Jam has gotten into gear.
He finished a strong opening two days with an eight-point, nine-rebound, five-blocked shot performance in a competitive, intense, physical 54-53 PSA Cardinals win over the Spiece Indy Heat on Thursday night in North Augusta, Ga.
In his first game in the Peach Jam, Bamba had 21 points, 14 points and six blocked shots while facing 7-foot-1 Zach Brown.
Noticeable has been how Bamba has been catching every pass near him and using his length and tremendous body control for a player his size to finish near the rim.
Also impressive has been his defensive versatility. Bamba has played at the top of a 1-3-1, in in the middle of a 1-3-1, at the back of a 1-3-1, in the middle of a 2-3, on the back side of a 2-3 and in man has switched onto guards when needed.
In the Thursday night battle, 6-foot-10 five-star forward Jaren Jackson of Spiece went toe-to-toe with Bamba inside for rebounds and the two even defended each other for several segments.
Jackson’s versatile game was on display as he went 3-for-7 from the arc on the way to 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
A game with at least 13 players with recruiting interest from high major schools drew a ton of coaches, including Indiana, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, Villanova, Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Maryland, Connecticut, Arizona, Notre Dame, Purdue, Oregon and many more.
… Indiana continues to stay involved with Matt Coleman.
The IU coaching staff on Thursday morning watched the four-star point guard from the Boo Williams AAU program and Oak Hill Academy at the sister event to the Peach Jam.
Coleman showed he has added a very good change of speed with the ball in his hand as well as his normal quickness, handle and command as a point guard.
Coleman is playing a few games in this event before heading to Houston for training with the USA Basketball 17U squad.
… Indiana 2017 commit Al Durham has mainly played set-up man to help showcase his Southern Stampede teammates while make sure his team wins in the sister even to the Peach Jam.
His ability to get to the foul line has been a major part of what he has done the first two days here.
Durham scored 19 points in 24 minutes in a 78-73 win over the Mac Irvin Fire and 12 points in 15 minutes in a 63-59 win over Team Griffin.
In the two games combined, Durham is 21-for-27 from the foul line.
Durham also had an impact on defense, using his length and moving his feet.
… 2017 forward/center Luka Garza continues to be very productive and competitive.
On Wednesday night, the 6-foot-9 Team Takeover player battled five-star center Nick Richards, and even though Richards is more athletic and has more ability on the block, Garza battled for position and showed he is physical enough to make a five-star player earn every inch.
Garza had 11 points, including 2-for-4 from the arc, to go with eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
At one point, Garza got his nose bloodied, had a trainer wipe it off and kept playing.
... Richards has been a major Indiana focal point here at the Peach Jam. IU coach Tom Crean watched him on Wednesday, and IU has been at each of his games.
Kris Wilkes had a big day in Charlotte.
The five-star from Indianapolis has found the touch on his jumper, something that had been missing for much of the spring.
In the morning session he exploded for 26 points on 11-for-14 from the floor including 2-for-2 from the 3-point distance.
What also stood out was his leadership in the final minutes of a close game that his team pulled out, 83-79. He not only called teammates together for instruction, he managed the offense in a point forward role, setting up a couple key baskets in a late game victory. He was also very active defensively and finished with a game high three blocks.
Indiana was represented by assistant Rob Judson in the morning session and head coach Tom Crean arrived in time to see Wilkes and his team open the evening session.
Wilkes stayed hot in the evening, scoring 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting (2-for-3 on 3FG).
The Hoosier coach then moved to the adjacent court for the final round of games where he saw Paul Scruggs of Southport.
Scruggs had perhaps his best stat line of the week in front of coach Crean, one of just a handful of head coaches at the game. Scruggs had 18 points including 3-for-5 shooting from 3-point range in a 80-77 win. He also dished out six assists versus just one turnover.
Indiana recruiting target David Beatty is listed by as a point guard and does have a good handle but this week he’s looked more the part of a shooting guard. The 6-foot-3 Philly native had three 3-pointers in both his morning and evening games.
Sid Wilson continues to have big games. The 6-foot-7 wing from the Bronx has finished with 17 points in all three of his games thus far. The 2018 wing is considering an August visit to Indiana.
After spending the morning in Charlotte, assistant Rob Judson made the roughly two hour drive to Spartanburg, South Carolina to take in action at the adidas Gauntlet Final.
The No. 2 overall player in 2018 by Scout.com, New Albany High School’s Romeo Langford helped get his Eric Gordon All-Stars off to a good start with a 66-49 win over a cross-state rival, Indiana Elite Central. They’ll be back at it 9 this morning against K-Low Elite, a game that Peegs.com plans to attend.
— Mike Pegram contributed to this report.null