Peach Jam Day One: Evening Report

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The evening session may have lacked the drama of the morning, but several Kansas prospects still managed to shine as the first day of competition at the Nike EYBL Finals came to a close.

2012 Prospects

J'Mychal Reese - 6'1 PG, Houston Hoops - Given that this is the probably the Kansas staff's prime target in North Augusta, it's hard not to write about the terrific lead guard. In talking with a few other writers during the game, they asked me to describe Reese in one word. My answer? "Sharp." Everything about Reese's game is sharp - whether it's sharp, pinpoint passes, or sharp, breakneck crossovers - and he's impressing in every game.

Unfortunately for Reese tonight, he struggled with his jumpshot. The shot itself is a bit awkward, as Reese's hands are close together. That, in turn, forces his shots to come off with sideways spin and making him prone to long droughts from deep. Even with the less-than-ideal fundamentals, he's still an above-average shooter from all over the floor, so it's not something for college fans to be overly concerned with.

Brandon Ashley - 6'8 PF, Oakland Soldiers - Going up against top 2013 PF Julius Randle, Ashley set out to show people why he was once considered the top PF in the country. With long arms, fantastic athleticism, and even a solid ability to control the ball on the break - Ashley dominated the matchup from start to finish. Randle could not get past him (and 2013 teammate Aaron Gordon), nor could he stop the arsenal of moves from Ashley.

There wasn't much that Ashley didn't show tonight. He did it all, from spins over both shoulders to mid-range jumpers to ball handling in the open floor. Whichever school wins his services is getting a college-ready four with the complete package.

2013 Prospects

Brian Bridgewater - 6'6 PF, Houston Hoops - On a team dominated by talented small guys, Bridgewater's strength and toughness manages to stand out. He's not particularly tall or wide for a power forward, but he displays elite strength and athleticism down low, giving him the ability to flush dunks in traffic with regularity. He's also tough to stop - at all - when given the ball in good position down low. With such outstanding passers in Reese and L.J. Rose, Bridgewater knows his game is to get in position for dump-downs and finishes almost everything thrown his way.

As he moves forward, he'll have to develop his overall skills. He rarely looks to shoot jumpers and he doesn't have much of a back-to-basket game to speak of.

Matt Jones - 6'4 SG, Texas Titans - It's really hard not to like this kid. He plays the game so well for someone so young, never seeming to get too aggressive or too passive. He takes - and hits - big shots and defends his tail off on every play. His jumper is a bit unorthodox, coming from the side of his head a bit, but he gets it off quick and needs little space to do so. Because of that release, he can be a bit streaky, but you absolutely do not want to give him space.

What may be more impressive about Jones is his ability to attack both sides of his defender. His first step is equally good to the left and right, and he already has a good feel for hesitation moves, especially off screens.


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