Peach Jam: UNC Recruit Evaluations

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. --- Heading into the summer, the general consensus was that the Peach Jam would emerge as the top event of the July evaluation period. After spending three days at the event after several other stops this spring and summer, it's safe to say that Peach Jam delivered.

Walls lined with coaches and bleachers filled with media and fans were treated to a great event loaded with top flight players. Included amongst the group were a slew of known and potential North Carolina hoops targets.

Kendall Marshall – At this point, there's really not a lot left to talk about with the future Tar Heel. Not that he isn't worthy of praise, he's just been so closely evaluated that we won't be breaking any ground here. This time around, it was nice to just watch and enjoy his talents, rather than try to break his game down. He's a leader, looks focused and remains a great passer.

Harrison Barnes - Despite mangling a pair of fingers on his non shooting hand on Sunday night, Barnes was thoroughly dominant from beginning to end – and Roy Williams was courtside for every game. Barnes has been a workout machine all summer and while he remains relatively lean, he has certainly added strength and explosion. A true three man whose strength is slashing from either wing, he also rebounds, posts and plays the mid range game at a high level. His jumper looks good from deep and even when the shots aren't falling the shot never changes. This kid is No. 1 in his class for good reason.

Terrence Jones – Even the college coaches who were watching him can't seem to agree on what position he plays. Whether you want to call him a four man, a combo forward or a three, the common thing that comes up is that he's very versatile and does a lot of things well. The lefty had his jumper falling at a pretty good clip at the Peach Jam and when combined with his size, skill with the ball and natural instincts he looked terrific. Think of him as a more under control, but less athletic, version of Julian Wright.

Michael Gilchrist and Rakeem Christmas – Exactly how or if they'll fall onto the UNC radar is a question, but the Tar Heel staff did appear to be watching them quite a bit in North Augusta. Both members of the class of 2011, they are each high level prospects and perhaps even the top two prospects in their class.

In Christmas you have a beastly dunker and shot rejector with incredible length and a good motor. He doesn't stray far from the post, he just uses his natural quickness, strength, athleticism, aggressive nature and some incredibly long arms to cause damage on both ends of the floor. Then there's Gilchrist. Insanely quick and blessed with incredible body control for a near 6-foot-7 wing, he's equally competitive and smart. He goes full bore on every possession, can defend and really handles the ball. The jumper is still a work in progress. But, we're talking about a kid that won't even see his 16th birthday until late September. A total stud and perhaps the best prospect in all of high school basketball.

Brad Beal - Prior to the summer, UNC had made some contact with the 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Saint Louis and the Tar Heel staff followed him closely at the Peach Jam. An effortless perimeter scorer who wastes little, if any, motion, Beal is equally comfortable launching threes, pulling up from 15 feet or getting all the way to the rim. Perhaps the best prep talent from Saint Louis since Larry Hughes in the class of 1997, Beal is just scratching at the surface of his potential. Young for his class, he's still growing physically and has become much more explosive over the past six months. The question will be whether or not it's too late for a school like UNC to really start to get involved now with a recruitment that may be nearing an end.

Johnny O'Bryant - Another class of 2011 talent, the 6-foot-8 power forward hit the Jam with the Jackson Tigers. Clearly a long and athletically gifted talent, he can really run the floor, is quick around the rim and skies for rebounds. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to tell much more about his game because his teammates seem to refuse to include him in the action. It's hard to show much offensive game when all your guards do is jack contested jumpers or drive wildly with their head down into the lane. On the other hand, he's getting to the age where he needs to start taking it upon himself to impose his will on the game and hanging around the three point stripe and joining in on the parade of jacked jumpers isn't the best way to do it.

Michael Gbinije – It was a very nice outing at the Peach Jam for the 6-foot-6 junior to be. After some real up and down performances, he looked pretty consistent in North Augusta. He's a very good spot up jump shooter with easy range to the three point line. While not a traditional high flyer, he is plenty athletic and has really improved his first step. Also improved is his ball handling. Having bounced around several schools over the past few years, there is justifiable concern about his stability as a prospect and that could be a key obstacle with regards to UNC.


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