AUGUSTA, Georgia -- The annual Nike EYBL Peach Jam took place in Augusta, GA from July 17th-24th. Forty Nike-sponsored AAU teams from across the country play for a chance at the Peach Jam championship. These teams play on the EYBL circuit for four sessions throughout the spring and summer before they head to Augusta. This tournament draws media attention from the country’s biggest outlets as well as almost every Divison 1 basketball coach in the nation. NBA scouts were also in attendance to check out future draft picks. Peach Jam also drew the likes of NBA players such as Lebron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony.
I was in Augusta for three days watching high-level basketball and the future of basketball at the college and professional levels. In this article, I will recap the best forwards that I saw during my time at Peach Jam.
Cooper Flagg/2025/Maine United 15U
It is hard to put Flagg in the forward category because he really embodies this new era of positionless basketball. At 6 foot 9, Flagg towers over everyone else in his age group but has the skills of a guard. He carried the primary ball-handling duties for his team and effectively ran the offense. He hit threes off screens and showed a polished post-game all while conducting the offense. Flagg is also a generational interior defender who has great anticipation on blocks. He also does a great job staying down on pump fakes and forced his opponents into a ton of turn-off turnovers. He will transfer to the well-renowned Montverde Academy this upcoming fall. Flagg has picked up offers from schools such as Duke and Michigan and should have every school in the country gunning for his talents.
Justin McBride/2023/Drive Nation 17U
McBride was the best player on the floor for both games that I watched him. It is rare to see a guy shoot as well as McBride did at his size. He hit threes off the bounce, catch, and all in rhythm. At 6 foot 9, McBride has a textbook shooting stroke that is a pleasure to watch. In a gym packed with high major college coaches, McBride lit up the floor with 30 points. He also showed off his post-hook game and used both hands inside. Don’t be shocked to see the offers pour in for McBride after a great Peach Jam performance.
Liam McNeeley/2024/Drive Nation 17U
While watching McNeeley play, you wouldn’t think that he is playing one year up. He is a really smart player who made great decision after great decision. He was able to handle pressure and facilitate the ball around a man or zone defense. McNeeley is an elite passer and floor general who is only going to get better. He was also able to get to his spots and hit consistently on the offensive end. He showed flashes of being a true three-level scorer. The consensus 5-star prospect has unlimited upside and is one of the best in 2024.
Jahki Howard/2024/Team Thad 17U
Another impressive performance from someone playing a year up, Howard has a real two-way impact. He has all the physical tools to dominate the game on both ends with his athleticism, length, and size. Howard is a monster in the glass and a disruptive defender who thrives in transition. He is really good around the rim and can finish through contact. A really explosive athlete who had numerous dunks off cuts and putbacks. A top 25 prospect in 2024 who signed with Overtime Elite and has all the tools to be a potential NBA lottery pick.
TJ Power/2023/BABC 17U
At 6 foot 7, Power is a matchup nightmare who can fill it up in a hurry. A lights-out shooter who has all the confidence in the world and can knock down a shot from anywhere on the floor. His length and size allow him to shoot over defenders. Power has a really quick release that is hard to stop. He moves great without the ball and gets to his spots. He has been one of the biggest stock risers over the month of July and picked up offers from North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and UCLA all in the last few weeks. A current 4-star prospect who will definitely climb the rankings soon.
Devin Royal/2023/All Ohio Red 17U
Royal had a really good showing at Peach Jam and displayed his full offensive skillset. He was hitting from deep when the defense gave him too much room and was still able to work inside. He is really good at getting post position early and once he catches the ball deep in the paint, Royal is almost impossible to stop. He is also able to initiate offense without finding a guard which is a good skill for a forward to have. One of Ohio’s top players recently cut his list down to Alabama, Clemson, Marquette, Michigan, Miami, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Ohio State, and Penn State.
Ladji Dembele/2023/ New York Renaissance 17U
A true stretch big who was dominant on the offensive end, Dembele showcased his inside-out scoring ability. He was great on picks and pops and consistently knocked down shots from long range. He was also able to work inside off of post-ups and free throw line isolation situations. Dembele also rebounded the ball really well and played solid interior defense. He currently holds offers from DePaul, Xavier, and Wake Forest but many more could come soon.
Coen Carr/2023/Georgia Stars 17U
Carr was an electric wing who did a little bit of everything for Georgia Stars. He is a freak athlete who threw down multiple dunks in transition. He was excellent at cutting to the rim and opened up a lot of space. Carr was active on defense and came up from a couple of blocks at the rim. He showed flashes of being able to knock down a jumper but really thrives at the rim.
Carlton Carrington/2023/Team Melo 17U
Carrington’s natural length allowed him to be really effective as a pull-up shooter. He is a great shot creator off the bounce and excels in the mid-range. Carrington is really good at creating separation which allows him to have space to shoot over the top of defenders. He was able to put the ball on the floor when needed and converted at the rim. Carrington will be an issue for ACC defenders when he suits up for the Pitt Panthers.