North Augusta, SC (Future150) -- While the first night of Peach Jam was short, it wasn’t short on talent. While there was just two sets of games there was plenty of talent across the board as the 16U teams took the court and kicked off one of the top weekends of the summer. Here are some of the players who stood out:
Elijah Thomas, 2015 PF, Team Texas: One of the bigger names of the night, he was featured in an individual matchup with fellow 2015 big man Diamond Stone. Although Stone was the bigger name coming into this battle, Thomas did not back down and ended up locking down Stone throughout the night. Not only was he impressive on the defensive end, but had 18 points and 10 rebounds as well. Simply put, Thomas came to play when the lights shined their brightest.
Josh Jackson, 2016 SG, The Family: In a game that saw the family trail throughout Jackson was their best player. Team Texas held large leads that Jackson seemingly erased every time he stepped onto the floor. The 6-foot-6 wing is an elite slasher and showed the ability to create shots for himself and others all night. Don’t be surprised if he ends up as one of the top performers of the weekend.
Ja’Keenan Gant, 2014 SF, Southern Stampede: A high level forward that excels at finishing well above the rim, Gant looks every bit the part of a high major wing. While he didn’t showcase a jump shot tonight it wasn’t for a lack of skill as he was seemingly in the lane whenever he wanted. Defensively he is long and active and hits the glass hard. Mark Fox (Georgia) and Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech) were both front and center.
Marcus Stroman, 2014 PG, Southern Stampede: The Stampede have a talented group of wings but it is Stroman that makes it all work. At 6-foot-3 he has great size and quickness for the position and always has his head on a swivel. The future South Carolina Gamecock should make the fans very happy as he is the kind of high IQ, tough nosed guard that Frank Martin covets.
Austin Grandstaff, 2015 SG, Team Texas: Grandstaff is an elite level shooter that has unlimited range on his shot already. There were a couple of times where he hit shots from well past 25 feet out. If he gets his feet set you can pretty much put those points on the board. In addition, Grandstaff showed the ability to create for others off the dribble, something that will make him even more attractive to college coaches.
Dennis Hogg Jr., 2014 SF, Team Texas: The surprise of the night came from this sharpshooter, who effectively created Team Texas’ first lead on The Family; one that they could not recover from. Hogg spaced the floor with his shooting ability and made the right passes throughout the night. He is a high IQ guy who can shoot over smaller defenders with his size and is crafty off the dribble. While he didn’t blow anyone away with his athleticism or strength there is no doubting that Hogg put on one of the better performances of the night.