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Ticket Punched: Four Wild Card Teams Round Out Peach Jam Field

By D1 Circuit Staff, 06/05/16, 12:30PM EDT



Far and away the strongest team in this wild card group on paper, Spiece appeared poised to compete for the Division D title before a so-so weekend in Atlanta left their spot in Peach Jam up in the air for a few additional days. However, there was no doubt they would snag one of the final four slots and they have a as good a shot as anybody to win it all.

Top to bottom, Spiece boasts talent throughout their gigantic rotation, and the play of its dynamic guards will make or break their season. Jaren Jackson, Jr. is a legitimate star capable of putting the team on his shoulders, but with fellow studs Justin Roberts and Tyger Campbell alongside him, he likely won't have to. Look for big men Xavier Tillman and Brandon Johns to break out in North Augusta.

With its season on the rocks, King James came into Atlanta and made a statement, although losses to powerhouses Team CP3 and Cali Supreme nearly derailed their late-season rally for a Peach Jam slot. Now that they have made the field, the Shooting Stars are ready to cause a shakeup in the field with an upset or two.

While they have been riding the hot hands of big man Kyle Young and combo guard/team leader Markell Johnson, King James has neither the overall size nor the depth of the top teams in the field, so it would be a surprise to see this squad advance deep. That being said, Johnson, Young and company have the firepower to beat anyone in their pool. Jayvon Graves is one to keep an eye on, as they'll need his offensive production in July.

Despite having one of the most talented rosters in the country, Houston Hoops turned in a disappointing regular season that saw them dig themselves a deep hole in NYC and struggle to come back from it - even after adding star combo forward Billy Preston. They have a chance now to erase all the frustration and setbacks from the regular season to make a deep run in Peach Jam, and they have the talent to do it.

Preston, Jarred Vanderbilt, RJ Nembhard, and JJ Chandler lead a rotation that has everything from perimeter scoring to bruising, aggressive rebounding and look for Houston to be a tough squad to matchup with for just about every other team in the field. A dark horse contender if ever there was one, we know that Vanderbilt will not go down easily in his third Peach Jam, as he missed the last few games of last year's Peach Jam due to a concussion. 

With the loss of star Markus Howard before the season began, the Prospects had reason to worry offensively going into 2016. Though they finished 7-9, these young guns were competitive in every game they played in, and if a few plays go the other way throughout the season, they would have likely punched a bid to Peach Jam outright.

Led by lethal scorer Charles O'Bannon III, versatile lead guard Troy Brown Jr. and do-it-all forward O'Shea Brissett, the Prospects can get out and run. If they are connecting from deep early on, they can conceivably make it out of pool play with the right draw. Look for O'Bannon and Brown to take their games to another level in North Augusta.

24 Team Peach Jam Field