Peach Jam Brings Syracuse Targets to South Carolina
After the first week of a busy July recruiting season in the books, this week brings the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in South Carolina, perhaps the most high-profile event of the month. It was at this tournament that Michael Carter-Williams exploded in 2010, causing frustration to many fans who would only then find out that he committed to Syracuse eight months prior. Playing guard for BABC, Carter-Williams made a huge splash in his team’s first game, scoring 44 points. Showing his aggressiveness, he also attempted 35 free throws in his first two games. Rakeem Christmas may be the freshman with the easier path to playing time this season, but thinking back to that event brings plenty of excitement over Michael-Carter Williams.
This week’s tournament will bring many of Syracuse’s targets to one gym. The Albany City Rocks feature a pair of players with whom Syracuse fans are already plenty familiar – DaJuan Coleman and Ricardo Ledo. Their pool includes several teams with players who are already committed to Big East schools, if they’re not still being pursued by them, so there may be a glimpse of what is to come in the college ranks.
In a few years, we may look at BABC, Carter-Williams’ old team, as one of the primary conduits for SU talent. I say that because one more target out of the Boston area, Goodluck Okonoboh, will be in action. He’s just a rising high school junior, so he’s still a ways away from his collegiate debut but planting a flag and developing relationships with players before they hit it big is important to recruiters’ chances.
Going back to 2012 targets, forward Jerami Grant is expected to suit up for Team Takeover, perhaps the biggest juggernaut in South Carolina this week. The field is very talented, but in a way, it’s a bit of a shame that there aren’t Team Takeover intrasquad games, because then you could truly see the best going against one another. There’s also Ricardo Gathers, who is now rumored as being a reach for Syracuse due to geographic factors (being from Louisiana), but he’s another big man to keep an eye on.
For the most part, our exposure to these amateur talents is limited to reports from tournaments with questionable levels of competition and YouTube highlight reels set to awful stock hip-hop beats, but the championship of the Peach Jam will be televised Friday night on ESPNU, so keep your fingers crossed that some Syracuse targets help their teams toward the prize.