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July 12, 2008

Peach Jam: Saturday morning

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The action is under way at the Nike Peach Jam. The guard play has been fun to watch while some of the younger players in the field had some big time coaches watching on.

STAR POWER

New York City guards receive a lot of glowing press on the grassroots circuit and it is certainly justified. And the New York Gaucho guards receive plenty of ink in the national media. That is certainly justified, too.

However, Johnnie Lacy wanted to get in on the action, too. The 5-foot-9 point guard with the Playground Elite team out of Wisconsin earned rave reviews with his stellar play in a 65-62 overtime win over the Gauchos on Saturday morning.

Lacy, a Rivals150 prospect, scored a team high 16 points and was a jet with the basketball in his hands. He made things happen with his blazing speed and gave the Gauchos defense headaches with his afterburners.

Lacy said Tennessee, Texas, Marquette, Indiana and Minnesota (offer) were on him the hardest. All but the Hoosiers were represented on the sidelines and Bruce Pearl and Tubby Smith saw Lacy work his magic in the win.

BABC big man Alex Oriakhi is one of the hottest big men in the nation right now after his sizzling showing at the LeBron camp. The future UConn post rebounds, blocks shots, defends and always seems to have a reserve tank of energy nearby at all times. He played well against a big frontline of The Family.

However, it was his longtime teammate and fellow UConn pledge Jamal Coombs that stepped up down the stretch to help BABC claim a big win.

Coombs's ability to make difficult shots was on display. The 6-foot-6 wing was herky-jerky all the way to the iron and challenged anyone that wanted to step into his way on defense.

Combs has enjoyed a big season on the grassroots circuit and for whatever reason, his name isn't tossed into the hat for the top performers amongst his peers as it probably should be.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

After taking the LeBron camp by storm, 14-year-old Mike Gilchrist picked right back up on the first day of action at the Peach Jam. While he only scored eight points, his impact was certainly felt. The 6-foot-7 class of 2011 prospect was a monster on the boards. He probably ripped down 15 rebounds in a hard-earned win against the Arkansas Wings. Gilchrist, at times, was also the primary ball-handler for his club during the game, too.

His play at the start of the month was so good, the likes of Memphis's John Calipari, North Carolina's Roy Williams and a host of other coaches on hand for the 16 and under action. Gilchrist has clearly made his case this summer and looks to be right there with the likes of LaQuinton Ross and Tony Wroten in the 2011 class.

Nearly all of the attention for the Birmingham Storm blows towards DeMarcus Cousins. Rightfully so. However, Reggie Spencer seems to be brewing into the next star for the Alabama program.

The 6-foot-6 class of 2011 prospect scored a modest 10 points for his Storm team against the Georgia Stars. He's an active player on the glass and was the perfect wingman for Cousins on the glass. The rebounding advantage put the Stars on the rope for the majority of the game. Spencer is a talent and looks to be next in line with the better big man the state has produced of late.

The Georgia Stars 16 and under team is stacked deep with prospects and leading the way in an impressive victory over the Alabama Challenge was Chris Grier. The 6-foot-4 wing scored a dozen points and he looked good doing it. Grier is turning the corner in his development and looks to be guy that could very well pick up a high-major offer or two after the Peach Jam.

Teammates Devonte White and Aloys Cabel make for a nice fire and ice duo at the point guard position. White is a quicker and better scoring point guard while Cabel is a street tough defender. White scored 18 points in the win while Cabel chipped in with eight. Big man Adrian Hubbard put in 15 points in the victory.

HI, MY NAME IS…

The Arkansas Wings 16 and under team is a good-looking young team. With a roster full of unselfish players and guys that aren't afraid to get their jerseys saturated with sweat, it is easy to see why this team is a challenge to play.

Paced by 19 points from Preston Purifoy, a good-looking 6-foot-5 wing, the Wings took one on the chin against Team Final. Purifoy didn't disappoint in the defeat though. He's a talent. It didn't come as a big surprise that a number of SEC schools were represented on the sidelines. Odds are, he'll be playing in that conference in a couple of years.

Team Final power forward George Harper plays a lot like Michael Glover a former American Christian teammate of his. Glover is now at Seton Hall and Harper, a strong-as-an-ox 6-foot-6 forward, could very well be on the same track as his former teammate.

Harper is a monster on the boards and an aggressive and intimidating player in the paint. It doesn't come as a big surprise that Georgetown, Seton Hall and LaSalle are interested early.

NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD

  • There may not be a better passer in the gorgeous Riverview Park center than BABC point guard Paul Pressey. The 5-foot-8 rising junior can sniff out the open man better than search dogs.

  • Scoring is never a problem for Birmingham Storm big man Demarcus Cousins. He can score with little problem. However, his passing skills are outstanding. The UAB bound stud looked a lot like JaMarcus Russell on a couple of occasions with his outlet passing.

  • Future Michigan State big man Derrick Nix enjoyed a big first half paired against Oriakhi. Nix scored 13 points in the first half and made it look easy. Whenever he would seal off his man, Nix was automatic. Oriakhi isn't an easy player to score on either. Nix's hands are his best attribute.

  • When Kenny Hall focused his efforts as a rebounder, the momentum shifted towards the Stars and it neutralized Cousins in the post. Hall's second-half effort was important in the victory. The future Vol played well when he needed to.

  • Glen Rice, Jr. said his recruitment looks like a three-horse race at this stage of the game. An ACC school is in line to earn a commitment from him. Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida State are in the final hunt.


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