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July 14, 2011

Robinson takes over Peach Jam

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - Day two of the Nike EYBL finals at the Peach Jam brought more of the same action that marked day one. The day's action was highlighted by a night duel between Team Takeover and Houston Hoops, as James Robinson and Rasheed Sulaimon each tried to will their team to victory after Alex Poythress dazzled in the preceding game.

Wednesday Peach Jam standouts

Alex Poythress, PF/SF, Georgia Stars- It's been an impressive Peach Jam for the 6-foot-8 four-star. He used his length, attacked the glass and tried to dunk everything in sight during an impressive 24-point and 14-rebound effort during a win over All-Ohio. For good measure, he added in five assists and a few blocks. When his energy is like it's been in North Augusta he is a threat in transition and as a baseline scorer.

James Robinson, PG, Team Takeover- The nation's 56th-ranked player in the class of 2012 played as well as a point guard can play on Wednesday night. His team needed a lift and he gave them one as they fought through a sluggish start to hold off a game Houston Hoops squad. A big and physical floor general, he continually bullied his way to the rim and looked to score more than he usually does without ever forcing a shot. He's one of the best winners in the country. Robinson finished with 25 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Rasheed Sulaimon, SG, Houston Hoops- A five-star who has committed to Duke, Sulaimon has gotten stronger and played with an element of physicality not seen before. He's always been a good jump shooter and was certainly making them with range, but it was his aggressive drives to the basket and how often he made them that was a bit of a surprise. His Hoops fell short, but not because of a lack of effort from Sulaimon, who logged 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting.

Archie Goodwin, SG, Arkansas Wings- Goodwin probably isn't yet 100 percent after his left wrist injury, but he still took the floor in North Augusta. Wednesday morning, Goodwin was focused on attacking the rim and he didn't seem worried about any collisions. An electric first step is a weapon and he can change directions to elude defenders. The 6-foot-5 five-star was outstanding the few times he actually got a pick and could play screen and roll. Arkansas' Mike Anderson was joined by two assistants, Memphis coach Josh Pastner was there as were assistants from Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and several others.

Jabari Parker, SF, Mac Irvin Fire- A candidate for the top spot in the class of 2013, there really isn't anything that Parker doesn't do well on the floor. He is an outstanding rebounder, plays strong in the lane, can finish and is becoming more adept at creating for himself. Perhaps he can become a bit more consistent as a deep jump shooter, but it's not like he struggles there. Tom Izzo, Bruce Weber and Lorenzo Romar were among those front and center as he racked up 51 points and 24 rebounds in two games.

Nerlens Noel, C, BABC- At this point, why is anybody even bothering to shoot the ball near the rim when he's around? The rising junior put on one of the most astounding shot-blocking displays in recent memory throughout the first two days of the Peach Jam. He runs the floor, has good hands and will be fine offensively when it's all said and done. All he lacks now is strength and when he gets that he could develop into an Alonzo Mourning-type big man.

More Wednesday notables

Jerami Grant, SF, Team Takeover- Grant was just one of several Team Takeover guys who elevated their play along with James Robinson. The lean combo forward played strong around the rim and dominated the paint as an interior scorer. If he couldn't muscle in a shot, he got to the free throw line (18 times) and the usually poor free throw shooter did a good job of making important charity tosses. He finished with a team-high 26.

J-Mychal Reese, PG, Houston Hoops- Providing a good complement to Sulaimon, Reese has a nice game in the evening as well. He freed himself off the dribble for pull-up jumpers and navigated his way through traffic to make plays around the rim. LSU coach Trent Johnson was bird-dogging him closely along with Texas A&M's Billy Kennedy and assistants from several other schools.

Daquan McNeil, SG, Baltimore Elite- While the Hoops and Takeover were battling on one floor, next door McNeil was leading his team in their own battle with the Oakland Soldiers. A tough 6-foot-3 combo guard from the class of 2013, McNeil took on all challengers as he got to the rim and hit lots of key shots. It wasn't quite enough, but he finished with a game-high 26 points and five rebounds.

Jaron Blossomgame, PF/SF, Georgia Stars- The Clemson commitment had his future coaches smiling with his effort. He's not really a four and he's not really a three either, he's just a guy you throw on the floor and he goes out and tries to make plays. A good transition finisher, he rebounds, defends and plays with infectious energy.

Terry Rozier, PG, All-Ohio- The point guard from Ohio's game has come a long way since April. Speedy with the ball, he seems most comfortable when he's looking for his offense but that doesn't mean he's selfish. More and more, he's pushing himself into high-major territory as a prospect.

Jake Layman, SF/PF, BABC- One of our contemporaries dubbed Layman "40-love" because he moves like a jumbo sized tennis player. Boston College and Providence have been well represented for him and Maryland appears to be making a push while Texas is looking to get involved. He shoots, moves extremely well for a 6-foot-8 guy and seems to have high upside.

Rapheal Davis, SG, Spiece Indy Heat- Davis and his team were getting worked, there's no other way to put it. Then, Davis initiated some trash talk that led to a double technical and it appeared to be an intentional ploy to ignite his team. Spiece picked up the play after that and almost rallied from 19 down. The Purdue commitment can score the ball and was spending a lot of time with the ball in his hands and he elected to use his physicality to attack the rim rather than settle for jumpers.

Final Wednesday notes

Jarnell Stokes really is the model of efficiency for a big man. The 6-foot-8 beast always shoots at a high percentage and never strays outside of his comfort zone. Coaches for Memphis, Tennessee and Arkansas were there every step of the way on Wednesday and he delivered big in an evening win over the Playaz Basketball Club, going for 18 points and 12 rebounds. ... Georgia Stars guard Kenny Gaines was strong in an evening game. Quick and athletic, he found his way into the lane and pushed the issue in transition. ... While Rodney Purvis and Brice Johnson continued their inspired play for CP3 - with namesake and benefactor Chris Paul looking on - point guard Madison Jones gave them a boost. The 6-foot-1 floor general probed defenses and allowed CP3 to play in another gear because it was able to put multiple playmakers on the floor. Jones was good for nine assists to go with 14 points during an evening win over Cal Supreme. ... We need to get another look at Cal Supreme wing Marqueze Coleman. A good athlete, he's wired to score and is always in attack mode. Coleman put up some big numbers and is at least a WCC-level prospect, maybe even higher. ...

If you need a guy who can knock down a shot from the perimeter, then Patrick Holloway is a pretty good option. More of a two-guard than a point at around 6-feet tall, Holloway is a lights-out shooter who is clever away from the ball and doesn't make mistakes on those occasions that he does handle. His presence as a shooter means that his defender can't help away from him or a shot is getting knocked down. ... Hopefully mid-major programs are catching onto athletic Houston Hoops forward Damyean Dotson. His role is to use his length and athleticism to make plays on the glass and in transition, and he does it well. He was really productive in his 15 minutes, notching 11 points and six rebounds while throwing his body all over the floor. ... As they had been through the first three games of the Peach Jam, Dominic Artis and Brandon Ashley were again strong as they combined for 43 points. But, they got some help from 2013 wing Isaac Hamilton. Hamilton doesn't always play with the Soldiers so he's not the primary scoring option like he usually is, but he was able to get loose for a few knockdowns and was much more aggressive offensively than he'd been during earlier games. ...

One of the most pleasant surprises of the Peach Jam has been the play of Memphis YOMCA wing Martavious Newby. His teammates look to him for leadership and it's clear that he has their respect. With his steady, tough play and added scoring he's likely earned the respect of lots of college coaches.


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