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Nike Peach Jam Breakout Performer(s): Kihei Clark & Jalen Hawkins

By D1 Circuit Staff, 07/18/17, 8:00PM EDT


If you're wondering how a 9-7 squad - who to rally to even qualify for Peach Jam -  rallied to claim the Peach Jam title, look no further than the Soldiers' Kihei Clark. The diminutive point guard was solid for the Soldiers in pool play, but he clearly saved his best work for last. 

Clark scored in double-figures in all three bracket play games, including an 18-point, 3-assist performance in the Peach Jam title win over Team Takeover. The performance earned him ESPN Game Most Valuable Player honors.

The opposition had trouble staying in front of Clark, who used his quickness and court vision to carve up numerous defensive looks.

Clark knocked down seven-of-eight free throws down the stretch against E1T1, helping the Soldiers start their upset run. 

The 5-foot-9 point guard is already verbally committed to head coach Jim Les and UC-Davis, who was clearly watching Saturday and Sunday's bracket play with a smile on his face.

Jalen Hawkins turned in a special series of performances in North Augusta, and quite frankly, it's very confusing as to why he's not receiving more college interest.

His five-game stretch at the Peach was something special, as Hawkins almost doubled his scoring average (5.8 PPG to 11.8 PPG), while nearly improving in every statistical category across the board.

While his offensive greatly improved, Hawkins' most impressive skill in North Augusta was his defense. The 6-foot-3 combo guard locked down the likes of Tre Jones, Will Richardson and Noah Locke, and more than held his own. Hawkins averaged 2.2 steals per game at the Peach Jam, often turning his defense into efficient offense (2.4 APG). 

Hawkins is at his best when he's aggressive and attacking, and he would undoubtedly be a good fit for numerous programs across the country. Asked why Hawkins isn't getting the notice he deserves, Director Dana Dingle summed it up quickly: "He's not ranked, no one's writing about him."

Well, we're writing about him now. Our work is done, and Jalen is constantly adding to his growing resumé, so now it's take for scouts and coaches alike to follow suit; give a look to Mr. Hawkins before it's too late.

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