The end of the summer circuit is drawing near as its penultimate event kicked off. The top Nike-affiliated teams in the country have converged upon North Augusta, SC for the Nike Peach Jam EYBL Finals.
The morning session started out with the probably the biggest grudge match of the week, with Chicago-centric Mean Streets and Mac Irvin Fire squaring off. That was followed by the first upset of the week, as the talented All Iowa Attack fell early. There was even early drama - Athlete's First point guard Stevie Clark was fouled shooting a 3 with 0.8 seconds on the clock, giving him 3 free throws (which he hit) to seal a win over the Georgia Stars.
J'Mychal Reese - 6'1 PG, Houston Hoops - If there is someone in the 2012 class that is quicker with the ball in his hands than Reese, I'd sure love to see it. Reese is an absolute blur with the ball, moving his hands and hips far quicker than defenders at this level can handle. His ability to beat seemingly any man off the dribble is invaluable, given that he draws fouls constantly and is a very good free throw shooter. Of his 17 points in the comfortable win, 12 came from the line (12-13 FT).
Archie Goodwin - 6'4 SG, Arkansas Wings - With his hand in a solid brace that appeared to limit some of its mobility, Goodwin struggled to carry his overmatched Wings team against Reese and the Hoops. He struggled to shoot from deep and his wrist seemed to bother him enough that he could use his typically devastating first step. It will be interesting to see if Goodwin is able to adjust his game to the brace through the week.
Jordan Woodard - 6'0 PG, Athlete's First - The athletic lead man was in control of his team through a gritty win over the physical Georgia Stars. He hit some early shots to help build a lead, then used his ball-handling skills to help manage the game late. For Athlete's First to keep winning, Woodard is going to have to be at his best through the rest of the tournament.
Jabari Parker - 6'7 SF, Mac Irvin Fire - For my money, there isn't a better prospect in the country. With the spotlights squarely on Parker and his rival for the 2013 #1 spot, Julius Randle, Parker was strong in his first game. He didn't score the ball well (5-14 FG, 0-4 3PT), but he used varied skill set to constantly impact the game. Whether it was a key rebound or a sharp pass, Parker provided when needed.
Matt Jones' long distance shooting was on full display this morning, going 5-7 from beyond the arc on route to 27pts in a loss to Spiece.