The Nike Peach Jam is very restrictive this year on who can attend the event, but there are plenty of Kentucky targets participating that fans will need to keep an eye on.
Held down in North Augusta, SC, in what will be its 11th year as part of the EYBL circuit, the Peach Jam is the place to be for the nation’s top high school hoopers. There was no Peach Jam last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s back this month and will be played without the general public and minimal media representation. Unfortunately, KSR’s credential requests were denied, so we’ll be covering from afar this year.
Luckily for us, everything is going to be live-streamed (FOR FREE!) on the Nike EYBL website, which you can find right here. The nearly two-week-long basketball extravaganza began earlier on Tuesday and will run through July 25. The first several days (July 13-18) will determine the seeding for the actual Peach Jam tournament, which is scheduled for July 21-25.
So who do Kentucky fans need to pay close attention to? Let’s break all of them down by class.
*Rankings courtesy of 247 Sports Composite Score*
Class of 2022
Jalen Duren – Team Final
No. 1 overall, 5-star center: 6-foot-10, 230 pounds. Kentucky, Memphis, Miami (FL), and the professional route are considered the favorites. This giant human of a man needs no introduction.
Dereck Lively II – Team Final
No. 7 overall, 5-star center: 7-foot-1, 220 pounds. Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke are considered the favorites. Taking into account the new head coaching switch-ups at both UNC and Duke, the ‘Cats have to feel good about where they stand with him. Lively II might be Kentucky’s top overall priority.
Shaedon Sharpe – UPlay Canada
No. 8 overall, 5-star shooting guard: 6-foot-4, 175 pounds. Sharpe recently received a Crystal Ball prediction to Kentucky and took a trip to Lexington in June for a surprise visit.
Skyy Clark – MOKAN Elite [COMMITTED]
No. 13 overall, 5-star point guard: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. The lone commitment for Kentucky from the classes of 2022 and 2023. The Peach Jam would have been a great opportunity to watch him in person, but he announced an unforunate tear in his ACL last week.
Brandon Miller – Brad Beal Elite
No. 15 overall, 5-star small forward: 6-foot-8, 200 pounds. Took an official visit to Kentucky in June along with Auburn, Alabama, and Tennessee. Appears SEC-bound.
Jaden Bradley – Team CP3
No. 17 overall, 5-star point guard: 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. The interest from Kentucky has seemingly grown quiet recently, but Bradley is still a high-level prospect at the point guard position.
Cason Wallace – ProSkills
No. 18 overall, 5-star combo guard: 6-foot-4, 185 pounds. No offer from Kentucky as of right now, but the ‘Cats, Tennessee, and Texas are after him the most.
Sadraque Nganga – Strive for Greatness
No. 19 overall, 5-star power forward: 6-foot-9, 205 pounds. While Nganga doesn’t hold an offer from the ‘Cats, he included UK in his top 11 back in May.
Zion Cruz – PSA Cardinals
No. 20 overall, 5-star shooting guard: 6-foot-5, 175 pounds. The interest from Kentucky has been minimal up to this point, but Cruz has spoken about wanting a UK offer in the past.
Vincent Iwuchukwu – Drive Nation
No. 24 overall, 4-star center: 7-foot, 220 pounds. Kentucky has shown some interest, but the consensus right now has him heading to Baylor.
Nick Smith Jr. – Brad Beal Elite
No. 27 overall, 4-star combo guard: 6-foot-4, 185 pounds. It’s tough to say where Kentucky stands with Smith Jr. at this moment, but there was serious interest in the past and even a Crystal Ball pick (from February) for him to pick UK. He announces in November.
Felix Okpara – MOKAN Elite
No. 47 overall, 4-star center: 6-foot-11, 210 pounds. Kentucky initially got involved back when Joel Justus was still an assistant and the new staff appears to remain in pursuit.
Class of 2023
*A majority of recruits from the class of 2023 will play on their respective U16 squads, according to theseasonticket.com, but that could potentially change by the time the games tipoff. Those players will have a note next to their team name indicating if they are in U16. If nothing is by their name, it means they are expected to play up in the top level of competition.*
Dajuan Wagner Jr. – NJ Scholars
No. 1 overall, 5-star point guard: 6-foot-3, 165 pounds. The connection between Wagner Jr. and Kentucky is obvious. His father was a superstar under Coach Cal at Memphis and most experts tend to agree that he’s a lock to eventually choose the ‘Cats.
Omaha Biliew – MOKAN Elite (U16)
No. 2 overall, 5-star power forward: 6-foot-8, 200 pounds. He’s constantly in contact with the Kentucky coaching staff, particularly Chin Coleman, and was hoping to set up a visit to Lexington in June that never happened. Regardless, he’s a top priority for the ‘Cats.
J.J. Taylor – Mac Irvin Fire (U16)
No. 3 overall, 5-star small forward: 6-foot-8, 185 pounds. Hailing from the Chicago area, Kentucky and the team’s two former Illinois assistants, Chin Coleman and Orlando Antigua, are all over Taylor.
Kwame Evans Jr. – Team Durant (U16)
No. 7 overall, 5-star small forward: 6-foot-8, 190 pounds. As one of the few class of 2023 recruits that has spoken directly with head coach John Calipari, an offer from UK will likely come at some point.
Mookie Cook – Oakland Soldiers (U16)
No. 9 overall, 5-star small forward: 6-foot-7, 200 pounds. Kentucky reached out to Cook last month to spark the connection, but it’s still early in the process between both sides.
Robert Dillingham – Team CP3 (U16)
No. 10 overall, 5-star point guard: 6-foot-1, 160 pounds. It could be difficult to pull Dillingham from his home state team of the North Carolina Tarheels, but Kentucky has made at least some form of contact.
Marvel Allen – E1T1 United (U16)
No. 19 overall, 5-star combo guard: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. Allen famously said back in 2019 that he planned on playing for Coach Cal one day, but two years later the connection doesn’t appear to be all that mutual.
Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn – Indiana Elite (U16)
No. 21 overall, 5-star point guard: 6-foot, 165 pounds. He heard from Kentucky back in June, but that’s about as much as we know about Gibbs-Lawhorn contact with the ‘Cats. He’s being heavily recruited by Indiana and Purdue right now.
Rayvon Griffin – Bates Fundamental (U16)
No. 22 overall, 5-star shooting guard: 6-foot-4, 180 pounds. There has been interest from Kentucky in the past, but it’s tough to say right now where both sides stand. Either way, UK has reached out to Griffin.
K.J. Lewis – Drive Nation (U16)
No. 26 overall, 4-star shooting guard: 6-foot-4, 185 pounds. Lewis told KSR back in June that he was in contact with Chin Coleman “almost every day” and he appears to be a prospect UK is actively recruiting more than most.
Bronny James – Strive for Greatness
No. 30 overall, 4-star combo guard: 6-foot-2, 165 pounds. He’s no Wagner Jr., but the son of LeBron James apparently has an offer from Kentucky that dates back to years ago. Bronny appears to have the talent to play Power 5 basketball at a high level, but his college decision is still far up in the air.
Brandon Garner – Team Thad
No. 34 overall, 4-star power forward: 6-foot-7, 185 pounds. Garner was one of several 2023 recruits contacted by Kentucky when the live period opened up in June. More notably, the ‘Cats were reportedly the first school to reach out to him.
Kaleb Glenn – Brad Beal Elite (U16)
No. 42 overall, 4-star small forward: 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. Similar to Geroge Washington III, who we’ll talk about below, Glenn is a standout recruit from the state of Kentucky who has at least heard from the Kentucky staff in recent months.
George Washington III – JL3 (U16)
No. 44 overall, 4-star combo guard: 6-foot-2, 165 pounds. Playing his high school ball up in Louisville, there hasn’t been any public communication between Washington III and Kentucky right now, but he’s a big-time local player with high-level interest.
Jeremy Fears Jr. – UNKNOWN
No. 48 overall, 4-star point guard: 6-foot-1, 165 pounds. Fears Jr. was another early contact from the UK staff once the live period opened back up, although it’s unknown at this moment how serious the relationship is.
A complete schedule for the entire event can be found here. Happy scouting, BBN!