The 2015 Nike Peach Jam is in the books and it proved to be another great year full of young talent and promise that the game of basketball is in good hands. With that, as our friend Paul Biancardi asked, “what do you know, what did you see, and who do you like?”
Well, here is part one of our best answer to those very questions…
Jayson Tatum (St. Louis Eagles– 2016 6’8″ SF): Minutes after competing in a semi-final ballgame that saw teammate, Jordan Barnes, hit an incredible three pointer to defeat Team CP3 at the buzzer, the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year sat down courtside and announced his decision to become a Duke Blue Devil while Coach K and staff stood tall over the crowded court. Tatum was a big part of his team’s comeback win over a CP3 team that many would have picked to win prior to the tip off.
Tatum is by the far the best mid-range player at the Peach Jam and even in the 2016 class. While many players will disregard developing this area of the floor in their offensive game, Tatum has made it his comfort zone. While watching him work the middle of the floor assures you that the art of the mid range game isn’t quite dead at the high school level, he will need to continue to develop his slashing abilities– which he is more than capable of doing. He tends to settle for jumpers as opposed to using his skills to attack the rim or if he can’t do that, then pass the ball out and either reposition himself or move without the ball to a spot where the defense is weak and exploit it. The instincts to be an alpha dog are there, but he can also tend to defer or not demand the ball like a player of his caliber needs to. His ball handling is solid so he should have no trouble becoming better off the dribble. Tatum is a very capable defender who can guard multiple positions.
Needless to say, Duke got another good one.
Davion Mitchell (Georgia Stars 16U– 2017 6’1″ PG): Mitchell was by far the most explosive player we saw in the under-16 division. He scored at will and helped lead his team to the 16U title in North Augusta this week. Davion does an excellent job getting to the rim. He uses his size, strength, and willingness to take contact and attacks. His slashing ability opens up his pull up jumper. When he has his jumper going, he was really tough to defend. He showed he could pull up from mid and long range areas with confidence. There is a definite swagger in the way he plays the game. He makes his defender have to account for him and put opposing defenses on their heels all week. He’s a capable playmaker and we would challenge him to use his physical tools and skill to create more opportunities for teammates and not always look to be an aggressive scorer. He did, however, show flashes of knowing when to attack and when to get others involved so we know he’s capable of it. Defensively Mitchell competed and moved well laterally. Overall, we were impressed with Mitchell’s toughness and his upside makes him a player many coaches will want to track after this week.
Marques Bolden (Nike Pro Skills– 2016 6’11” C): Bolden might be the 2016 center with the most upside that we saw at this year’s Peach Jam. He has NBA length and a college ready frame. He has great hands inside and even showed the ability to be able to put the ball on the floor and make a athletic move to the rim with good explosion. He did, however, seem unsure in the post and had some struggles passing out of the post– areas that should be cleaned up with time and reps. Bolden hasn’t quite developed a consistent jumper and his free throw shooting needs work. He’s a solid rebounder and is quite mobile. On the defensive end, he moves very well for his size, talks on defense, and showed good lateral movement. He blocked shots either in help defense or guarding one-on-one. Marques plays with a good feel for the game and should be quite productive at the next level.
Mitchell Robinson (Alabama Challenge– 2017 7’0″ Center): Robinson has a long, lean frame. His skill set is still pretty raw offensively. A lot of his points came from tip ins, put backs, and dunks. We got see him shoot some in warm ups, but that part of his game didn’t show up once action was live. He didn’t look to post very often and played primarily in the middle of the floor. Defensively he moves well for his size, covering a lot of ground– in most cases from the rim out to the free throw line area. He proved to be a viable shot blocker and someone who could protect the rim for his team. On the glass, he was solid. Strength is needed to help him hold box outs and to get better position once the ball goes up. Explosion was another area of concern. While he demonstrated being able to rise up quickly on open dunk opportunities, in traffic and when rebounding is where you notice the lack of explosion. Overall, Robinson is still pretty raw but has some building blocks that make him a project worth developing.
Wendell Carter (Georgia Stars 17U– 2017 6’10” F/C): Carter is ahead of the curve for his position in the class of 2017. He has good hands, catches well, and can finish strong around the rim. He can play with his back to the basket and showed good feet when working down low. We feel he must improve his touch around the rim and continue to develop his post game. The tools are there, more reps and time is what’s needed. He showed a solid face up game out to the free throw line area. Carter plays with good explosion and when he’s in attack mode he can be tough to stop at this level. He must continue to stay aggressive as that part of his game seemed to fluctuate at times. He’s mobile and athletic enough to rebound in and out of area, but in area was where he excelled best. We felt he could do a better job of boxing out and making sure to look to put a body on someone when the ball goes up so he can use his size and strength to carve out the space needed to get the rebound or to create an opportunity for a teammate to grab it. As time goes along, he should develop in to a good post threat that will combine: power, strength, skill, and good feet.
John Petty (Alabama Challenge– 2017 6’6″ G/F): Petty proved to be a very solid scorer for the 16U Challenge squad. While he shot needs more reps, he showed good outside shooting ability, the ability to post up and score, as well as a pull up jumper. He rebounds well and has good leaping ability. We like Petty best when he’s in attack mode on offense. We he’s getting to the rim and finishing, the energy transfers more on the other end and on the glass. He competes consistently at just about every aspect of the game. His aggression tends to go up and down and that must change. He’s still a straight line dribbler who tries to use size and athleticism to get to the bucket. He’ll need to be a better ball handler going forward. He’s a solid passer, but is capable of being a very good playmaker if he can put together his full offensive game. He can play high above the rim in transition and on put back dunks. He has the size and athleticism to be developed in to a solid defender should he choose to really emphasize that part of his game. Overall, once Petty can complete his game he has the type of upside that could seriously separate him from other wings in the 2017 class.
Andrew Jones (Nike Pro Skills– 2016 6’4″ SG): Jones is a spot up three point shooter for this Texas-based group. He proved to be a reliable catch and shoot player from range. While he is capable of scoring in the middle of the floor, he primary scoring positions came from either catch and shoot threes or the occasional dribble-drive. Jones has a rather thin frame, but room to fill out and strength will be needed to improve his ability to get to the rim. While he played some on the ball, we felt he needs more reps to really learn the lead guard spot. He had times where he did make good decisions– such as keeping his head up and advancing the basketball to create easier transition buckets for a teammate. He did tend to over dribble and we have concerns about his overall explosion (first step) and overall athleticism.
Dylan Painter (Team Final 17U– 2016 6’9″ C): Dylan was a pleasant big to watch. He competed hard on both ends and played with a very high motor. There wasn’t an area of the game where he did not try and assert himself. Painter is a good, athletic shot blocker who doesn’t give up on plays. He rebounds well in and out of area and did his best to keep balls alive. He has quick feet for his size and reacts to the ball rather quickly. He covers some really nice ground defensively. Offensively, Painter has some promise. He shows good post instincts in terms of making good moves to get to the basket, but his ability to finish wasn’t always on par. Additionally, he did show the ability to face up and make a jumper. Dylan showed good, quick bursts that allow him to finish above the rim. We like that when he gets the ball near the rim he doesn’t just try to lay it in, he aggressively goes up and tries to finish strong above the rim. He doesn’t shy away from contact on either end and ran the floor hard. Overall, Painter is the type of big that will give a coach a lot to work with which should result in him being pretty productive on the college level.
Marvin Bagley (We All Can Go– 2018 6’11” Wing): Rated the No. 1 overall player in his class, Marvin Bagley showcased a point forward skill set. Wearing the number 35, it’s clear that a certain NBA player may have a certain influence on his game. Bagley showed an ability to be a multidimensional scorer and a capable defender. While he can shoot the three, he will have to continue to get reps up to make this a truly dangerous part of his game. He posts up well and demonstrated a smooth fall away jumper from 10-12 feet. Getting to the rim isn’t a problem giving his ability to handle the ball and his long arms. However, he did tend to settle for high angel layups and finger rolls. We’d like to see him use his body more to initiate contact and turn layups in to an extra free throw opportunity. Free throws did appear to be an area of concern that he will have to spend time getting better at. Bagley can block shots either one-on-one or in help at this level, but isn’t necessarily a shot blocker. He is a capable rebounder and given his ability to handle the ball he can quickly turn a defensive rebound in to a transition opportunity. Strength is an area of concern as well and once added should allow him to take more contact and still allow him to be the type of finisher that he project to be. Overall, Bagley is explosive and is quite skilled for a rising sophomore and should be a lot of fun to watch in the coming years.
Ty Jerome (PSA Cardinals 17U– 2016 6’4″ PG): The first two things you’ll notice about Jerome is his toughness and his craftiness. He isn’t the quickest or most athletic guard, but he certainly knows how to get to his spots and be effective. He competes, he communicates on the floor, and plays with good energy. He sees the floor very well and there doesn’t seem to be a pass he can’t make. He’s a very skilled playmaker and has a good understanding of the game. While he does play below the rim and lacks the explosion/athleticism needed to be more of a slasher, he can shoot from the perimeter well. He showed to be a solid team defender and was where he needed to be to help. He’s a smart player who proved to have a good understanding of the game. Strength is needed and he has room to fill out and must do so. Overall, Jerome does what a coach would ask of his lead guard: create offense for others, make open threes, and lead your team on both ends and should be a welcomed addition to Virginia.
Ibrahim Doumbia (PSA Cardinals 16U– 2017 6’8″ PF): Ibrahim is still a very raw player, but plays with a good level of activity. He rebounds at a pretty high level, is a very capable shot blocker especially in help. Offensively he’s still putting that part of his game together, but he showed flashes of being able to catch and finish well above the rim. He has some good basketball instincts and plays with a high motor. Overall, he will be able to impact the paint on the glass and in rim protection and he has it in him to be a solid passer and rim running big who can finish strong.
Part two will be posted tomorrow (7/13) so please be sure to check back and follow us on Twitter @HWHoopsCentral for more updates.