Nike’s EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina is the hottest spot in basketball recruiting every year. College coaches from all over the country fly in to watch the nation’s most elite high school basketball players in a five-day event, the biggest stage of the summer.
By now you know all about the participants and the coaches in town to watch them play, but unless you’ve been to the Peach Jam and taken in the whole scene, you don’t know anything about the many other faces in attendance. So today I present to you a KSR special: a behind-the-scenes look at The Real People Of The Peach Jam.
The Angry Parent
We all know “the angry parent” (if you don’t, you are the angry parent) and the loudest and craziest in the country gather here in Augusta for the Peach Jam. With the highest level of high school basketball comes the highest level of insanity in the stands.
The Assistant Coaches Who Are Overly Nice To Everyone, Hoping To Land A Better Job
This is a big weekend for the recruits, but it’s also a big weekend for that hungry youngster looking to climb the college basketball coaching ladder. Lowly assistants from the Vermonts, Furmans and Toledos of the world can be seen hobnobbing with head coaches of bigger programs whenever the opportunity presents itself. For example, I watched one aspiring young chap do everything but massage Bill Self’s shoulders as they sat courtside during the afternoon session. Self was not interested in the rook’s many attempts to strike up a conversation, but he wasn’t going away without giving his two cents about every player on the court.
The People Who Were Told To Not Stand In The Corner But Didn’t Listen
Fire Marshal, anyone?
The People Who Were Told To Not Stand In The Corner And Listened
Birdseye view of the action.
The Kids In The Lobby Who Need Supervision
Seriously, who is watching all of these kids? One of them threw a piece of a pretzel at me earlier. This isn’t free daycare. Get these kids out of here.
The Old Man Using The Gym Because It’s His Gym And A Basketball Tournament Won’t Stop Him From Getting His Wednesday Workout In
Maybe the most bizarre moment of the trip happened Wednesday in Atlanta when an old man walked out of the locker room in nothing but his briefs and a towel draped over his shoulder to watch the end of the game. I guess the Suwanee gym was still open to its regular members and he wasn’t going to let AAU basketball ruin his weekly routine on the StairMaster.
The Jersey Chaser In Training
Just as the Peach Jam is the beginning of a bright future for the boys in jerseys, it’s also the beginning of a lifelong thirst for the girls who like the boys in jerseys. Young groupies make their presence known outside the locker rooms.
The Fat Guy Carrying A Sweat Towel
One prominent head college basketball coach once told us there is always a massively overweight friend of every AAU program, standing in the corner near the bench, wiping his face with a sweat towel throughout the game. Coach K, I mean, that prominent head college basketball coach, was exactly right, too. There is always one Biggest Loser candidate in every gym, every game.
The Guys Who Think They’ll Strike Gold With A YouTube Video
Someone has to make all of those YouTube videos we watch religiously throughout the recruiting periods. You’re looking at the masterminds behind those videos, the guys who hope to get one with 100,000 views so they can pay rent.
The UK Fan
Go in any of the four courts, make one quick scan of the crowd, and I guarantee you you will find at least one Kentucky fan. Decked out in a UK polo or a ’12 National Championship tee, the UK fan is often here alone, further proving their dedication to the Cats. Ridge Runner, one of our favorite KSR commenters, makes the solo trip to the Peach Jam every year, although we missed him on Thursday.
Also, a special shout-out to the gentleman who watch Jaylen Brown, Diamond Stone and Doral Moore in Atlanta Wednesday night. I don’t know who you are, but you were cheering for the UK targets like they are already commits, and your enthusiasm did not go unnoticed.