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July 23, 2012

Recapping the Nike Peach Jam

The 2012 Nike Peach Jam was another top notch event pitting the top Swoosh sponsored teams from the EYBL against each other in a championship format. With the Oakland Soldiers coming away with the title in the third annual championships, the bar was set even higher for Nike's top competition. Xavier's Chris Mack, Travis Steele,and Ashley Howard all attended games at the event. Here is a quick recap of the performances of the top prospect that the staff watched.

E.C. Matthews - After dropping some premium recruiting news on Matthews in the message board, MusketeerScoop was able to catch a trio of Matthews games. The 6-foot-4 combo guard, and Rivals150 prospect, from Detroit was solid in his games with The Family, who made it to the quarterfinals. Matthews didn't score the ball exceptionally well, but his size and athleticism still make college coaches salivate. On Monday morning the staff officially extended an offer to Matthews. While it is unclear whether he projects as a point guard or shooting guard at the next level, Matthews has all the intangible skills to be a quality player in the Atlantic 10.

Wesley Clark - Fellow Detroit Romulus guard Wesley Clark has been one of the big surprises of the July recruiting period so far. The 6-foot-0 pure point guard from The Family is a tough lead guard who is known for out-competing his opponents. Clark is comfortable running the point and setting up teammates, attacking the rim with strength, and can also shoot the ball out to deep. While the offer has not been confirmed, Clark claims that a scholarship opportunity has been extended by Coach Mack. The point guard claims that Xavier is among his top schools, and plans on visiting the Musketeers in August.

Davon Reed - While Reed did not mention the Musketeers in his list of 4 schools recruiting him hardest, he did mention that Xavier is among his 8 finalists (and that no leaders have been established). Reed is an excellent prospect with versatility that fits the Musketeers style, and plays with a defensive swagger that the Xavier program is known for. As an offensive point forward who can create off the dribble, and is aggressive attacking the basket, Reed has influence on the game in every possession; something that college coaches emphasize. Xavier will be fighting the other 7 finalists for one of Reed's five official visits, look for the Musketeers to try and secure an August unofficial visit here.
Sterling Brown - Brown's stock has gone up and down over the last few months, at the Peach Jam, however, the Xavier staff did take time out to evaluate him. Brown is a tough guard who makes plays defensively, can beat people off the dribble, and is an overall glue player. While Brown might not be Xavier's top target in the 2013 class, the staff should continue to monitor his play.

Jamel Artis - Baltimore Elite combo forward Jamel Artis was the most impressive surprise of the Nike Peach Jam among Xavier targets. The powerful 6-foot-7 forward, who can play inside or outside, was closely observed by Ashley Howard in games against The Family and Meanstreets. The first thing that sticks out with Artis is his versatility, the second thing is his toughness. A hard hat and lunch pail type of player, Artis is a strong rebounder who can score in a variety of ways offensively; sort of like a more aggressive version of Andre Walker.

Mike Young - After Artis, it was Mike Young that took the coaches by surprise while running with the New Jersey Playaz. Young is a energetic rebounder who loves to get physical on the court; he's eccentric with his on court personality, but that can be a good thing. Young will be recruited hard by Ashley Howard in the hopes of becoming a CJ Anderson type of player down the line, as he continues to improve his overall wing skills. The competition will be fierce, however, as Florida, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and several other big name schools are more then just interested in Young.

Trevon Bluiett - The 2014 prospect from Spiece Indy Heat did not shoot the ball as well as he normally does, but still showed good things in his games at the Peach Jam. Xavier watched all of Bluiett's games, also monitoring JaQuan Lyle, and were joined by Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio State, Purdue, and just about every other Midwestern school. Bluiett is a pure scorer who has learned how to drive the ball, despite not being a great athlete. He has good size for his position, and showed that he can be productive playing against older players. Bluiett has visited Xavier, and plans to again soon.

JaQuan Lyle - A five-star 2014 guard who can play multiple positions, Lyle is beginning to look more and more like a 6-foot-5 point guard. Just about every Midwestern high major program has already extended offers Lyle's way, at the Peach Jam it was easy to see why. He can shoot the ball of the dribble, is a good athlete, shows nice court vision, and is willing to work hard as a defender. Lyle plays with great confidence on the court and shows signs of being a game-changer at the college level, who isn't afraid to try and take games over. Lyle mentioned that Xavier is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest.


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