N. AUGUSTA, S.C. - The temperature outside the Nike Peach Jam is scorching and so were the games inside the Riverview Park. In the first session of games, college recruiters had a chance to see a number of competitive games. Seattle big man Jon Brockman led the way with a solid performance while a couple of Oklahoma prospects shined against Tyrell Biggs and company.
Friends of Hoop - Seattle 81, DC Blue Devils 79
Jon Brockman, the 6-foot-7 power forward from Snohomish, Wash., converted on an and-one bucket with less than 40 seconds to play and gave his FOH team the three point lead, which proved to be the game winning bucket. The go-hard or go-home interior player scored a 25 points and secured eight rebounds according to our stats in the win. He continues to be one of the few players in the country that muscle for every point and rebound.
Micah Downs, one of the prized Kansas commitments, continues to impress. He shot didn't have the shooting game he's known for but he did have one incredible dunk in traffic. The 6-foot-8 small forward came slicing through the lane and throw down a tomahawk dunk with defenders standing in the way. He still needs significant weight if he wants to do it in the Big 12 but on Wednesday morning, it didn't matter.
Martell Webster is back on the national scene after sitting out for nearly a year with injury. He looked good in this first showing here in the Deep South, scoring 13 points. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard had a dunk in traffic, sunk a couple of threes and didn't look too rusty.
Even with a number of class of 2005 super prospects around him, rising junior Spencer Hawes didn't miss out on the fun. The 6-foot-11 center is a legit high-major and knows how to work from block to block.
Point guard Mitchell Johnson did a good job of distributing the rock, with six assists. Not much of a shooter, the 6-foot-1 floor general knows how to find his man and make each possession effective. At least that was the story on Wednesday.
The D.C. Blue Devils led for the majority of the game thanks to the play of rising junior guard Tywon Lawson. The 5-foot-11 speedster put in a team high 21 points, knocking down four three pointers. He didn't rebound the ball like he's capable of but he was strong nonetheless.
Fellow class of 2006 prospect Kevin Durant had his moments but the physical style of play of FOH slowed the youngster down. Durant 13 points with a couple of set shots and around the bucket.
Athletes First 67, Metro Hawks 63
In the first game of the day, we found our first nice surprise of the tournament. Although Taylor Griffin isn't necessarily a come out of nowhere recruit, he still isn't a none name. The 6-foot-6 strong-bodied small forward isn't overly athletic but boy is he deadly around the basket and in the midrange game. The class of 2005 prospect worked harder than any player on the floor and plays extremely smart. He listed Oklahoma, Stanford, Penn State, Michigan State, Arkansas, Kansas State, Dayton, UNC-Wilmington and Wichita State. The last three school have offered. He scored 16 points and had six rebounds.
Class of 2006 shooting guard Obi Munell had a nice showing with his 17 points and five rebounds. He got to the bucket any time he wanted with off the dribble and his perimeter game is solid.
Another rising junior Keith Clark had 12 points and six rebounds. He played hard inside and did a good job of defending class of 2005 top prospect Tyrell Biggs. The 6-foot-8 forward continues to extend his game to the perimeter.
For the Hawks, another class of 2006 prospect shined. Jonathan Mitchell led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The lefty is an undersized power forward at 6-foot-6 but his reach makes him much bigger. He's not a great athlete or a fluid shooter but his energy gets him buckets inside.
Mitchell's teammate Biggs had 10 points and four rebounds while struggling against Clark. Biggs is a workhorse and his body is toned out. He'll tell you it wasn't his best game but with his play at the recent ABCD camp, Biggs should rebound later in the tournament.
Around the gym: The Georgia Stars, arguably the best AAU team in the country in terms of winning major tournaments, was blown out in their first game at the Peach Jam by the New Jersey All-Stars, 110-80. The boys from the Garden State were led by Paul Gause, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, scored 28 points while Rutgers pledge Jaron Griffin added 24 and Maurice Thomas contributed with 23 points. 6-foot-11 mammoth Lee Bynum entered the tournament with a lot of hype but struggled, scoring four points and pulling eight rebounds.
The Stars were led by their big two, Louis Williams and Mike Mercer, as they combined for 42 points. Williams struggled to find his shot and Mercer was his normal self.
In a battle of two of the top players in the class of 2005, Richard Hendrix and Keith Brumbaugh put in a ton of points combined. Hendrix scored 23 points and wowed everyone with his length while Brumbaugh put in 28 points.