At this point, what can't Cole Anthony do? The reigning EYBL regular season Defensive Player of the Year raised his level of play once again in North Augusta, completely dominating the competition en route to averages of 25.6 points (58.4 FG%), 5.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. The 6-foot-1 sophomore blends his scoring ability with stellar court vision, which has helped turn him into one of the best point guards in the country regardless of class. Anthony will be a favorite for next years EYBL Most Valuable Player, and will make PSA a major threat to return to bracket play.
Man, what a tournament for James Akinjo. The 6-foot-1 junior ran the majority of the circuit as an overlooked floor general, and he used his time in North Augusta to absolutely blow up. Akinjo averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals, guiding an underrated Soldiers' rotation all the way to the Peach Jam title. Akinjo did a bit of everything during his statistical domination, including hitting 46.3 percent of his three-pointers. His steady play proved pivotal for head coach Marshall Collins and the Oakland Soldiers, and you can be sure that Akinjo opened a ton of eyes at the high-major level.
Who saw this coming? After a steady regular season on the EYBL circuit, Jericole Hellems apparently stayed in the gym for the entire month of June. A promising, bouncy swingman from Chaminade HS in St. Louis, Hellems had everything clicking in North Augusta. The junior put up one of the best performances of the season against CIA Bounce, putting up 34 points and six rounds in a win - good for Peach Jam Performance of the Session. Hellems received over 10 offers after coaches witnessed his showings, and you can be sure that he'll be a hot commodity during his senior year at Chaminade.
Coming into the Peach Jam, there were a lot of detractors that said the Nike Phamily (AZ) was not worthy of a Peach Jam wildcard berth. Regardless of pre-existing opinions, the Phamily proved they belonged, racking up three wins in Pool A while narrowly losing to E1T1 and Howard Pulley. Marvin Bagley III was the reason the Phamily was at Peach Jam, and the 6-foot-11 junior big man did not disappoint, averaging 24.6 points (50.0 FG%), 14.0 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals. With Bagley, it's quite simple; he's the best player in America, and will be the number one pick in the draft whenever he is eligible.
Jalen Smith stepped up huge for Team Takeover in North Augusta, and it paid off in the win-loss column for head coach Keith Stevens and company. Nicknamed 'Sticks' due to his skinny stature, Smith used every ounce of his athleticism and physicality in North Augusta, even resulting in him being carried off the court due to cramps. The 6-foot-10 Maryland-commit was instrumental in Takeover's shocking comeback over Brad Beal Elite, as his play cemented why many scouts and prospects project his potential as sky-high. For the most part, it's a complete team effort for Team Takeover, but Smith definitely stood out from the pack at Peach Jam.