EYBL PEACH JAM PREDICTIONS
Nike’s EYBL circuit allows elite high school basketball players (up to juniors) to showcase their ability against the best competition in the United States of America. There are 40 teams which were divided into 4 divisions. There are 4 sessions in which each team will play 4 games. After the 4 sessions, the top 5 teams from each division will advance to a final session in mid-July, Peach Jam. 4 other teams that just missed the cutoff will be able to play in and get a chance to compete in the last session as well. For those 4 teams, if you win that game, you are in and if you lose you get sent home early). The final session commenced this past weekend. Today I will be discussing my predictions for Peach Jam which will take place in North Augusta, South Carolina from July 12 to July 16.
First lets look at each of the teams that qualified from Peach Jam (bold indicates team that will have to win to get in):
Division A: All Ohio Red (13-3), Meanstreets Elite (Illinois) (11-5), New York Lightning (10-6), Oakland Soldiers (9-7), Houston Hoops (8-8), Team Final (Pennsylvania) (7-9)
Division B: Howard Pulley Elite (Minnesota) (13-3), California Supreme Elite (13-3), PSA Cardinals (New York City) (11-5), Albany City Rocks (10-6), NJ Playaz (9-7), RM5 Elite (Texas) (9-7)
Division C: Boo Williams Elite (Virginia) (13-3), Team CP3 (North Carolina) (13-3), E1T1 United (Florida) (12-4), Team Melo (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia) (9-7), CIA Bounce (Canada), NIKE Team Florida (8-8)
Division D: Bradley Beal Elite (Missouri) (13-3), Mokan Elite (Missouri, Kansas) (11-5), Expressions Elite (Massachusetts) (11-5), Team Takeover (Washington DC) (11-5), Team Penny (10-6), BABC (Boston) (10-6)
All Ohio Red- All Ohio Red is a talented group led by a pair of future Michigan State University players: guard Foster Loyer (17.5 ppg) and forward Thomas Kithier (12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg). They have a balanced offense, 4 players averaged 10+ points per game, and they shoot the ball very well from behind the 3 point line, as a team they shot 37.3% from 3 throughout the regular season. I think that in July, wing Vincent Williams will be this team’s X-factor. During the regular season, Williams averaged 12.4 points per game, led the team in rebounds with 6.2 per game, and shot 42% from beyond the arc. If Williams can knock down the 3 ball and grab rebounds as efficiently as he did in the regular season, this team can do some serious damage.
Meanstreets Elite- Meanstreets consistently brings an elite team to the circuit and this year’s team is no different. Darius Bazely has been a force in the post averaging 15.4 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game. Tim Finke, Damezi Anderson Jr., and Javon Freeman-Liberty also are key contributors to this team’s high-powered offense, all average at least 11.5 points per game. I think that Meanstreets matches up poorly with teams that have a lot of size, as Darius Bazely, 6’8”, and Damezi Anderson Jr., 6’7”, may be physically outmatched down low. For example, when they played Cal Supreme Elite, whose front line includes 7’2” Bol Bol, 6’10” Shareef O’Neal, 6’10” Nathan Mensah, and 6’10” Michael Wang, in session 3, Meanstreets lost 106-55, and all 4 of Cal Supreme’s big men scored double digit points. I believe this team’s X-factor will be Xavier Castaneda, who averaged 8.5 points per game and 5 assists per game. He is this team’s floor general and will need to continue to facilitate the ball well for Meanstreets to do well in Peach Jam.
New York Lightning- I think New York Lightning will struggle in Peach Jam. Jared Rhoden and co. have played well during the regular season. 8 out of their 10 players averaged 7+ points per game, which is very good balance on the offensive end. But this team lacks a true star player and also they don’t shoot the ball very well from beyond the arc. If the Lightning want to make a run, they will have to play very good defense, keep the game slowed down, and keep games low scoring. If they allow their opponents to dictate the tempo and get a lot of buckets in transition, the Lightning will be in trouble.
Oakland Soldiers- The Soldiers have a talented group, featuring class of 2020’s number 1 ranked player, Kyree Walker, as well as Taeshon Cherry and James Akinjo. Cherry has led this team so far averaging about 14 ppg, and 9 rpg, per game. The Soldiers had a very tough regular season schedule, as far as out of division teams go. They played teams like PSA Cardinals, Howard Pulley Elite, Cal Supreme, and of course, All Ohio Red and Meanstreets. They beat both Cal Supreme and All Ohio Red, so they have proved that they can beat better teams, however I don’t think that they can beat either of those teams again in July. Kyree Walker will be this team’s X-factor. He has great size, skill, and athleticism. If he utilizes those gifts to his full potential, he can take over any given game.
Houston Hoops- Javonte Smart (15 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 40% from 3) Antoine Davis (13 ppg, 1 spg, 45% from 3) and Jacobi Gordon (11 ppg, 4.4 rpg) are an elite trio that led Houston Hoops to a Peach Jam bid. They have shown that they can keep games against better teams close: they lost by 6 to All Ohio Red and by 7 to Cal Supreme. However, you don’t get anything for keeping games that you aren’t supposed to win close. Also, I think that if Houston Hoops runs into either of those teams in July, it won’t be a close game. Matthew Mayer (9 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 spg, 42% from 3) will be an important player for this team as he is capable of knocking down the 3 ball at a high rate and playing good defense,
Team Final- This Pennsylvania group is led by potentially the best duo on the circuit this year in Cam Reddish and Louis King. Both 5* recruits are 6’8” and averaging 20+ points per game thus far, and Team Final will go as far as Reddish and King will take them. However, when you look past Reddish and King on that roster, you won’t find a 3rd true weapon, which I believe that you need to succeed in July. If Reddish and King can score the ball even better than they have all season, they can possibly pull off an upset or two if they win their play-in game.
Howard Pulley Elite- Howard Pulley Elite is going to be very tough to beat in July. Tre Jones, younger brother of Minnesota T-Wolves point guard Tyus Jones, has led this group to a 13-3 record. This team has an elite offense with balanced scoring. 5 player average 10+ points per game, Jones averages 19 as well as 8 assists.Also, this is the one of the best 3 point shooting teams on the circuit, shooting just under 40% from beyond the arc collectively. Gabe Kaleschur and Tyhwon Pickford are knock down shooters, shooting 46% and 52%, respectively, from the land of 3. Also, Daniel Oturo cleans up the glass for this team, he scores 12 points per game and grabs 10 boards per game. I think that Kaleschur will be this team’s X-factor. He can put the ball in the basket as well as almost any player on the circuit and he is a true knock-down shooter. If he gets hot from beyond the arc, watch out for this group.
California Supreme Elite- Ever heard of Shaquille O’Neal or Manute Bol? You probably have as both were star centers in the NBA. They both have a son who is currently a 6’10” or taller and is also 4* recruit. Both of them also play of this star-studded team. Shareef O’Neal (15 ppg, 6 rpg) and Bol Bol (24 ppg, 10 rpg, 4.5 blocks per game, 56% from beyond the arc) form the most dominant front court on the circuit this year. Both of them can it all on the court, they can both score in the post, grab rebounds, knock down jump shots from midrange and even behind the 3 point line, and both are very good defensively. And if dealing with Bol and O’Neal wasn’t hard enough already, Spencer Freedman (11.5 ppg, 6 apg, 46% from 3) and Tevian Jones (10.5 ppg) form a lethal backcourt. Both can score in a variety of ways and Freedman is a very good facilitator as well. And rounding out their starting lineup is 6’6” Devonaire Doutrive, a versatile “jack-of-all-trades master-of-none” player, who averages 10 ppg, 5 rpg, and 3.5 apg. Also, when O’Neal and Bol get tired or into foul trouble, they have 3 other 6’10 players who can come in and play good defense, grab boards, and score a bit too, Nathan Mensah, Michael Wang, and Antwan January. It should be noted that during the regular season, Wang shot 10-16 (62.5%) from behind the arc. Finally, this team averages 80+ points per game and collectively shoots 42.5% from behind the 3 point line. This team is going to be very tough to beat in Peach Jam!
Shareef O’Neal (left) Bol Bol (right) are an elite duo
PSA Cardinals- Last year’s Peach Jam runner ups had a very solid showing this year in the regular season. Sophomore point guard, and son of Greg Anthony (former New York Knicks point guard), Cole Anthony is determined to lead this team back to the finals, and win the championship. Anthony averaged 16.3 points per game, 7 assists, and 2.6 steals per game throughout the regular season. He was PSA’s double digit scorer this year, and I think that if the Cardinals are going to make it back, a second man will have to step and score double digits every game. I think that Aaron Clarke is the best man for this job. Clarke averaged 7.3 points per game and shot 47% from beyond the arc. If Clarke can step up to this challenge, PSA will be dangerous. This PSA team is nowhere near as talented as last year’s team, but this team, nevertheless, can still make some noise in July.
Albany City Rocks- The City Rocks are another team with a balanced scoring attack; 5 players averaged 10.5+ ppg, during the regular season. Their leading scorer Naziah Carter, nephew of Jay-Z, has played very well so far; including a monstrous poster dunk on class of 2018 number 1 player in the world, Marvin Bagley III, during the 4th session. This team has very little size and will need to speed opponents up if they want to win in Peach Jam. Buddy Boeheim will be very important for this team, he can knock down the 3 ball and play very good defense (12.2 ppg, 47.4% from 3, and 0.8 steals per game). His ability to be a great “3 and D” player will be crucial for The City Rocks.
NJ Playaz- Another team with a balanced scoring attack. Jalen Carey has played very well scoring 18 points per game, shooting 44% from beyond the arc, grabbing 4 boards per game, as well as getting 2 assists and 1 steal per game. Also NJ Playaz has one of the founding members of JellyFam, Ja’Quaye James (10 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5 apg, 1 spg). James will be this team’s x-factor. I see this team getting knocked out early.
RM5 Elite- Another young team with a lot of talent and potential to make a deep run next year. Tyrese Maxey (15.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg, 1.5 spg), Chris Harris (11 ppg, 3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1 spg) De’Vion Harmon (9 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1 spg), and Avery Anderson III (6 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg) are all elite 2019 players that will form an elite core in next year’s EYBL Circuit. I believe they will struggle this year but next year will be dangerous.
Boo Williams Elite- Last year, top player in the 2021 class, Zion Harmon, played with We All Can Go in the EYBL as a 7th grader, becoming the youngest player to ever play on the circuit. This year, he is running the point for Boo Williams, and he helped Keldon Johnson (20.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.1 apg) lead them to a 13-3 record. This might be the best backcourt in EYBL this year as Johnson is a top recruit in the 2018 class and Harmon (12.7 ppg, 3.6 apg) is considered by some to be the best point guard in the country regardless of age, and he is an 8th grader!!! Aundre Hyatt and Keyontae Johnson have also played very well so far and will need to continue their solid play in July. This team does lack a knockdown 3 point shooter and don’t shoot well from beyond the arc collectively. Boo Williams Elite should be a tough out for anyone in July.
8th grader Zion Harmon has shown he can play with the best of the best
Team CP3- Led by a pair of future Tar-Heel guards, Coby White (22 ppg, 3 apg) and Rechon “Leaky” Black (9 ppg, 4 apg), Team CP3 is dangerous. Aside from White and Black, this team has 4 players averaging 8+ ppg. The most important in my opinion is Jaylen Hoard, a 6-8 power forward who can knock down the 3 ball, grab rebounds, and play good defense (14.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 1 spg, 0.5 bpg). If Hoard, Black, and White can continue their dominance, Team CP3 can possibly best last year’s semifinal run and go to the championship.
E1T1 United- This team has experience, its entire starting 5 played on last year’s team, which made a deep run in Peach Jam. #18 in the 2018 class, Emmitt “Dr. Slime” Williams, is an absolute monster on the court! He averaged 17.6 ppg, 11.6 rpg, and 1.3 bpg, also he shot 48% from behind the 3 point line, and has unreal athleticism for his 6’8” 210 frame; he is one of the best in-game dunkers I have ever seen. Will Richardson and Nick Honor are both very good scorers from the guard position, both averaged 12 points per game. I got to play against Honor last summer, and from personal experience I can tell you, this kid is one of the best 3 point shooters in the country. Their other starters are Antwann Jones and Samir Stewart, both of these guys are good role players to surround their 3 stars. I think that Honor will be the key to this team’s success in July, as he is a true sniper from beyond the arc, can get to the rim at will, and facilitate the ball well (4.6 apg). Believe me, this team is tough!
Team Melo- Noah Locke (18.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.6 spg, 50% from 3) is a star! He has a strong team around him that can potentially do some damage in Peach Jam. I think that they will struggle for they lack in size and that can cause them to struggle to get rebounds. If they run into a team like Cal Supreme, I can’t imagine them grabbing enough rebounds to keep that game close. However, this is one of the best shooting teams on the circuit, as a team they shot 41% from 3. Their success in July will be determined by their ability to play fast and get out in transition, as well as hit 3 pointers. Wynston Tabbs will be a key player for Team Melo. He scored 13 points per game and shot 44.5% from 3. He and Locke are a terrific backcourt.
CIA Bounce- Simi Shittu (#8 player class of 2018, 20 ppg, 10 rpg, 3 apg, 1 spg, 1.5 bpg) and Ignas Brazdeikis (22.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.3 apg) form an elite duo. But like Team Final, I don’t think they have a 3rd elite player that can make a real difference. Another team that I can’t see making a deep run this year.
Nike Team Florida- NTF is one of the youngest teams on the circuit. Headlined by a trio of top 10 players in the 2019 class: Vernon Carey Jr. (#2), Balsa Koprivica (#4), Trendon Watford (#8), this team can be dangerous if it wins its play-in game. Balsa (8 ppg, 5 rpg, 1.6 bpg) and Vernon (17.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 1 bpg) are a very intimidating front line, very similar to Bol Bol and Shareef O’Neal of Cal Supreme. Balsa is 7’2” and Vernon is 6’11, and both can do a little bit of everything (also I am friendly with both of them, not that it matters). Trendon Watford (13 ppg, 34% from 3, 5 rpg, 2 apg, 1 spg) is an elite slasher that can knock down the 3 ball. Kyle Sturdivant (10 ppg, 4 apg) and Trey Doomes (11.5 ppg, 3 apg) hold down the back court for this group. Also KJ Buffen (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Neftali Alvarez (6 ppg, 40% from 3, 2.5 apg) are very good off the bench. I said it before, this team can make some serious noise as an underdog if they win their play-in game.
Bradley Beal Elite- One of the only teams that can match the size of Cal Supreme. 2019 5 star recruits (both 6’9”) James Wiseman (10 ppg, 8 rpg, 1.5 bpg) and Francis Okoro (9 ppg, 10 rpg, 2 bpg) form a very good front line and #6 player in the class of 2018 Darius Garland (17 ppg, 5 apg, 1 spg) runs the point. Jerricole Hellems, Karrington Davis, and EJ Liddell all average over 8.5 ppg, as well. Kale Catchings and Shaun Williams both shoot over 40% from beyond the arc. This team is going to be dangerous for sure and has a lot of pieces for sure. I think that they could make it to the finals.
MOKAN Elite- Last year’s champions lost much of its core but Jontay Porter (18 ppg, 13 rpg, 43% from 3) is still here and has played like an MVP. Israel Barnes, Cooper Kaifes, and Malik Hall all average 10+ ppg. I don’t think they have enough star power to repeat as champions but they can definitely make a deep run.
Team Takeover- Team Takeover is always a very good team. Xavier Johnson (14.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg) is a very good player, but he doesn’t have enough talent around him to make a deep run this year. 2020 Jeremy Roach is definitely a name to look out for in the future. He is a very athletic wing with loads of potential. He still has 2 years left on the circuit after this year, and he can really play.
Expressions Elite- Expressions Elite went 4-0 in the 4th session to put them from a bubble team into a good position heading into Peach Jam. Marcus Zegarowski (15 ppg, 43% from 3, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1 spg) and Dana Tate (13 ppg, 6 rpg) are a dynamic duo, but like many other teams, they need one more piece to really make some noise.
Team Penny- Team Penny is tough. 2019 5 stars Chandler Lawson (12.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.2 spg) and DJ Jefferies (11.6 ppg, 5 rpg, .5 bpg). NBA Legend and Team CEO Penny Hardaway’s son, Jayden Hardaway is going to have to play a big role off the bench for this team. Don’t sleep on this team, they are very good.
BABC- 6’8” point guard Cole Swider is a stud. He averages 19.4 ppg 6.5 rpg, 3 apg, and 1.5 spg. Also, Jakigh Dottin (13 ppg, 6 rpg) and Shandon Brown (11 ppg, 3 apg, 1 spg are solid players. I think the 3 of them are a solid start, but they need more pieces if they want to be successful. I can’t see them winning their play-in game.
Projected Seeding (projected bracket article)
The official bracket hasn’t yet been released so I can’t predict each individual game. But I will give you my championship prediction.
Finals: Cal Supreme vs. Bradley Beal Elite
I believe that size will play a huge difference in the games leading up to the championship and Cal Supreme and Bradley Beal Elite have such dominant front lines. This game will probably be very exciting and should come down to the wire.
Champions: Cal Supreme
This team is built perfectly. Shareef O’Neal and Bol Bol should dominate the younger front court of James Wiseman and Francis Okoro. Also, Spencer Freedman is one of the most underrated guards in the country, I think he will make a huge difference in this one because of his ability to knock down threes when BBE will inevitably double team Bol and O’Neal in the post. Cal Supreme will win it all but don’t expect BBE to fold when Cal Supreme goes on a run, they will fight back and keep it close for sure.
Which team do you guys think will walk out of South Carolina as champions?
All information via http://www.d1circuit.com/