Team Penny was rebranded “Bluff City” after program director/coach Penny Hardaway took the job at the University of Memphis. Bluff City may have lost it’s former namesake, but they kept up their winning ways, earning their eighth straight Peach Jam appearance. Bluff City heads to Peach Jam with an 11-5 record, going 2-2 in Dallas and Atlanta, while going 3-1 and 4-0 in Indianapolis and Hampton, respectively. They almost handed undefeated Team Takeover a loss during the opening session, and four of their five losses came by seven points or less. It took a bit for them to mesh, but Bluff City ended the season on a high note, putting together their most impressive four-game showing of the season. Junior stars James Wiseman and DJ Jeffries will be one of the best one-two duos in North Augusta, and they’ll have their work cut out for them in a loaded Pool A.
Bluff City features two stars; Wiseman (247 No. 1) and Jeffries (247 No. 39). Wiseman is the mega prospect at the top of the 2019 rankings. The 7-footer averaged 15 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 16 games. Equipped with a 7-foot-7 wingspan and pogo-stick hops, Wiseman oozes potential and versatility. Wiseman is coming off of a state championship with Memphis East, and is capable of turning in a special play every time down the court. He wins games, is accustomed to playing on big stages, and is used to being the best player amongst the elite. Wiseman takes more mid-ranges shots than you’d like for a player of his size, and he could also improve his aggressiveness on the boards (6.8 RPG). Regardless, Wiseman can score from three levels, grab rebounds no one else can, and block shots from all over the court. Jeffries, a Kentucky verbal commit, operates as the team’s leading scorer (16.0 PPG) and second-leading rebounder (6.9 RPG). Jeffries is one of the most versatile players in the league, and is capable of taking over a game offensively. If anything, he’s not aggressive enough, and the Legends may be better off if he looks to call his own number in July.
Bluff City’s backcourt doesn’t account for much of their scoring, but their thin group of guards prove their worth in different aspects of the game. Mark Freeman joined the fray after session one, averaging 8.9 points and a team-high 3.3 assists in 12 games. Freeman rakced up a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while tallying three steals a game. Freeman will be on the court frequently for the Legends, and his contributions are a necessity if they plan on advancing. Junior guard Keishawn Davidson hit a team-high 15 three-pointers, shooting at a 42% clip. The 6-foot-2 Davidson (5.9 PPG, 88% FT) played his best basketball during the season’s final session, and will operate as the best perimeter shooter on a team that leaves a lot to be desired from distance. Juniors Ashton Smith and Amorey Womack provide major sparks off the bench, with the former shooting 83 percent from the line (24-29). Womack shot 42% from distance in 24 attempts, and the Legends will be much better if he and Smith can get hot from the perimeter. Normally a swingman, Jeffries will see time at the shooting guard position when Bluff City goes big.
The strength is in the frontcourt for the Legends. Wiseman is as good as prospects get, and should shine in July. Jeffries flies under the radar, however he may be their most important player on both ends of the floor. Jeffries can create his own shot, plays strong defense and excels in transition. The same can be said of junior Chandler Lawson, a 6-foot-9 junior who leads the team in rebounding (7.0) and steals (1.8) per game. Lawson (247 No. 52) is just like his brother Dedric and KJ; long, lanky and filled with energy. On any other team Lawson would likely have bolstered statistics, and his individual sacrifices have helped the Legends turn into one of the favorites in July. Lawson’s presence is massively important to the Legends’ chances, as is the work of Malcolm Dandridge. Standing at 6-foot-9 and currently committed to Memphis, Dandridge (7.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG) carries broad shoulders and a sturdy frame in the interior for Bluff City. Just like Lawson, Dandridge (247 No. 123) would probably be beasting out statistically on other teams, but plays the perfect enforcer role for Bluff. Bluff City has arguably the most talented frontcourt on paper, the EYBL’s leading rebounding unit (35.6 RPG) will be a pain for Pool A.
Bluff City is a high-pedigree program with high major recruits up-and-down the roster. All five of their losses have come to Peach Jam qualifiers, and five of their wins came against Peach Jam-bound squads. They only lost one game by 10 or more points, which indicates that they will be highly competitive in July. Their Peach Jam chances are going to come down to the efficiency of two players; Wiseman and Jeffries. These two have the capability of leading Bluff City to a Peach Jam title, and they’ve proven the ability to win close games. They have one of the most impressive rosters & resumes on paper, and we expect them to contend for a bracket play berth and beyond.