Peach Jam preview: Players to watch this week
The AAU season concludes this week, and college coaches are expected to flock to North Augusta, South Carolina, where Nike's EYBL Circuit will hold its annual Peach Jam tournament. Cuonzo Martin and the rest of the Missouri staff are expected to be in attendance, and I will be, too.
Before getting to the players I'll be watching at Peach Jam, a note about the tournament format: Twenty-four teams qualified for the event based on their records during three weekends of play on the EYBL circuit. Each team will play five games (one against each team in their pool), and the top two teams in each of the four pools will earn spots in a spot in an eight-team bracket. The champion will be crowned Sunday. There will be a separate tournament for teams in the 16-and-under division with a similar, but not identical, format.
Peach Jam may be the marquee event, but it isn't the only AAU Tournament going on in the area this week. Those EYBL teams that didn't qualify for Peach Jam will compete in the Peach Invitational, which will also take place in North Augusta. Several Missouri targets are expected to participate in that tournament, including 2019 guard Rocket Watts and 2020 guard Josh Christopher. Finally, the Under Armour Association will be hosting its circuit-ending championship, the UA Challenge, in Atlanta. Not as many Tiger targets are expected to play in the event, but I will try to swing by there as well.
Here are the players to watch at each event, listed with their AAU team:
Peach Jam — U17 Division
The first 2019 prospect on Brad Beal Elite's loaded roster who Missouri had offered, Terrence Hargrove Jr., recently committed to Saint Louis. However, you can bet the Tiger staff will still be well represented at all of the team's games this week, as Liddell and McKinney might be the staff's two highest-priority targets in the 2019 class. Throw in 2020 star Moody, and Brad Beal Elite has the firepower to make a deep run in the bracket.
After the first weekend of the EYBL circuit, Hall received offers from the likes of Villanova, Louisville and Notre Dame, and it appeared he could be headed for five-star territory. Since then, however, he's been steady, but not phenomenal, on the court, and his recruitment has followed suit. Still, Hall figures to have the attention of a hefty crowd of coaches this week. Wilson has reclassified to the 2020 class, a move that will likely benefit the slender big man by giving him more time to develop. Last we heard from Mosley, it seemed Missouri had pumped the brakes on recruiting him, but it will be worth inquiring whether the staff's interest has returned since Hargrove committed elsewhere. Braun doesn't have a Missouri offer, but his older brother, Parker, recently committed to the Tigers as a preferred walk-on.
Team CP3: Antavion Collum
Collum, a 6-foot-9 wing who can also play point guard, recently included Missouri in a list of his top 7 schools. Team CP3 is another of the likely favorites to contend for the tournament title.
MeanStreets: Tray Jackson
Jackson is a relatively new addition to the Tigers' recruiting board, having received a Missouri offer after taking an unofficial visit to campus in early June.
Peach Jam — E16 Division
Missouri jumped into the fray early by offering the St. Louis trio during the spring, and since then, Love has flown up recruiting rankings. After an impressive performance at the Nike Elite 100 camp in June, he jumped 42 spots to No. 41 in the most recent Rivals 150 rankings. Fletcher has been slowed by a foot injury lately, but he, too, has seen several new offers arrive during the AAU circuit. Kasubke, known for his shooting ability, took an unofficial visit to Missouri's campus earlier this summer. Like the 17U team, this Brad Beal Elite squad should have a chance to win the whole tournament.
Las Vegas Prospects: Josh Christopher
The cousin of Missouri strength and conditioning coach Nicodemus Christopher has solidified himself as a top 15 prospect in the 2020 class, and he's repeatedly stated his desire to visit Missouri in the near future.
Watts has turned a lot of heads by averaging 25.3 points per game so far on the EYBL circuit, but Missouri was in on his recruitment early, so the Tigers figure to at least still be in the running for the 4-star prospect. Carr, the son of Missouri assistant coach Cornell Mann, has a Missouri offer — but not for basketball. The prized wide receiver prospect has already taken an unofficial visit to campus during which he met with the football coaching staff. He's stated previously that he would like to play both football and basketball in college.