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2012 PEACH JAM REPORT — DAY I
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
While the 17U action for the EYBL crown will have to wait until Thursday, the 16U play kicked off Wednesday night. NBE was focused on Pool D for the night and had the chance to watch all four teams in the pool. The early game featured Southern Stampede defeating Each 1 Teach 1 while the night cap was a Texas Elite victory over The Family. A bunch of players managed to shine in the double dip led by a 2015 big man from Texas.
Top Performer of the Night:
Elijah Thomas (Texas Elite 2015) – In a head to head matchup with highly touted big man Diamond Stone, Thomas got the best of his friend who runs with The Family. He made a point to mention after the game that he was looking forward to the contest with Stone because he felt Stone had outplayed him earlier in the season at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St Louis. Thomas wanted another opportunity to prove that he was every bit the player and prospect that Stone is and did just that on Wednesday night. He’s an ambidextrous player who I legitimately thought was left handed for the entire first half until I watched him shoot his free throws right handed. Thomas is big, strong, and finishes everything in the paint with his left (off) hand. He welcomes and often initiates contact in the lane showing an ability to draw a foul and then finish anyway. Thomas can continue developing his game by expanding his range and furthering his set of moves on the low block but is already a very effective big man on strength alone.
Sleeper Performance of the Night:
Dennis Hogg Jr (Texas Elite 2014) – Hogg was a pleasant surprise as an unknown name coming in who showed a variety of skills from the forward spot. The 6’7” combo forward made at least four or five shots from behind the arc and also was extremely active and effective on the offensive glass. It’s unique for a player, especially one so young, to already excel at long range shooting and rebounding. Hogg’s eventual position will be determined by how much his off the dribble game expands because he can already defend either forward spot. He’s certainly a player NBE will be keeping close tabs on going forward.
Josh Jackson (The Family 2016) – The only 2016 prospect in the entire 16U field at Peach Jam, Jackson also might be the best long term prospect in the field. The 6’6” wing is already a very confident scorer from the perimeter consistently driving past his man off the dribble and finishing at the rim. He’s a very smooth, fluid athlete who made the electric play seem effortless in the paint. Jackson’s outside shot needs significant work as he seems to have a bit of a hitch in his jumper but is clearly an elite prospect likely in the top 10 range of the 2016 class.
Ahmed Hill (Southern Stampede 2014) – Hill is a smooth, scoring wing who has a great middle game for a young player. He repeatedly used 1-2 dribbles and then pulled up for midrange jumpers over the outstretched arms of defenders. While the ball didn’t always go in the basket Wednesday night Hill’s stroke is pure and is clearly an area of strength to his game. He also competes on the defensive end and appeared to be an excellent teammate.
Marcus Stroman (Southern Stampede 2014) – verbal to South Carolina – While Southern Stampede is loaded with rangy, athletic wing players somebody needs to run the show and set those guys up. That somebody is Marcus Stroman and he did a fantastic job of leading on both ends of the floor. He’s an absolute pest pressuring the ball and always has his teammates in the right spots offensively. A true pass first point guard, Stroman knows how to run a team and keep his teammates happy.
Austin Grandstaff (Texas Elite 2015) – Grandstaff has a reputation as a knock down shooter and he certainly lived up to the billing. He made multiple shots from NBA range looking quite comfortable in doing so. Grandstaff is not a great athlete but uses a high basketball IQ to get to the spots he needs to on the floor and showed solid vision to create for others.
Edmond Sumner (The Family 2014) – A long and wiry 6’3” point guard, Sumner has a very high upside. He was nearly unstoppable off the dribble featuring a gorgeous spin move in the lane and finishing at the cup with more than a few finger rolls. He also got the ball where it needed to be continually slowing things down and giving big man Diamond Stone touches in the post. I need more viewings to be sure but early returns suggest Sumner can contribute at the high major level in college.
Cedric Turman (Southern Stampede 2014) – Turman is very raw offensively but his physicality and brute strength down low cannot be ignored. At 6’9” he has a physique that seems unnatural for a 16 year old as he looks physically ready for the college game right now. As of now Turman mostly rebounds, protects the rim, and runs the floor. Those things alone make him a mid to high major player given his physical skills and he could become a clear high major guy if his basketball skills can catch up.
Ahmed Hill (Southern Stampede 2014) – Hill is already well known by high major head coaches and has been hearing from plenty since June 15th. He mentioned Indiana, Marquette, Connecticut, Florida State, and Texas as the schools coming after him the hardest right now with all but Texas having offered already. Indiana had man Tom Crean and UConn assistant Glen Miller were among the many high major coaches watching Hill on Wednesday. He plans to make a decision next summer after completing his junior season and is looking for a school that makes him feel wanted and has a strong family atmosphere.
Elijah Thomas (Texas Elite 2015) – It’s still very early for the big man but that hasn’t stopped a bunch of the country’s elite programs from expressing their interest. Thomas mentioned Kansas, Arkansas, Duke, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Illinois, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, Marquette, UCLA, Nebraska, and Colorado as programs that have already reached out. He’s a long way from making a decision and may see that list get longer before it gets shorter.
Diamond Stone (The Family 2015) – Another massive big man who is still in the early stages of recruitment, Stone also has an impressive list of schools who have already expressed interest. He mentioned Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgetown, UCLA, Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, DePaul, and Kentucky as programs that are already involved. Head coaches Bo Ryan (Wisconsin) and Roy Williams (UNC) were courtside on Wednesday along with assistants from Michigan State and Indiana. Stone will eventually have his choice of just about any program in America as the 2015 big man is clearly one of the best in his class.
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