Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — After spending four nights here rooming with the honorable Tom Konchalski, I’m headed home to New York City today to see my wife and kids.
The semifinals are set for 9 a.m. with Kentucky-bound Michael Gilchrist and Team Final from New Jersey taking on Florida commit Bradley Beal and the St. Louis Eagles and then Duke-bound Michael Gbinije and Team Takeover meeting Kentucky commit Marquis Teague and Spiece Indy Heat.
The championship game goes off at 3 p.m. and will be shown on ESPNU at 7. The Sweet 16-and-under tournament final is at 1.
“Any time you have a chance to get on national TV and showcase your talents — that can only be a plus,” Team Takeover coach Keith Stevens, whose Washington, D.C., squad is the only one to win all six of its games so far here, told The Augusta Chronicle.
It’s a little odd to see signs all over the place that say “Elite Youth Basketball League” instead of “Peach Jam” but everyone seems to agree the league has been a huge success.
The league began its inaugural season with Nike’s 42 best travel teams. Over three weekends, those teams played a round-robin schedule in Hampton, Va., Houston and Los Angeles. Kevin Foley of Nike said the kids were going at it really hard in L.A. to get a spot among the 24 teams here.
Three of the top four seeds failed to make the quarterfinals: Howard Pulley, Each 1 Teach 1 and the Playaz.
None of the four remaining teams left has ever won the Peach Jam in its 15-year-history, although Team Takeover took the AAU national championship last year in Orlando.
One of them will win their first Peach Jam today.
“Our kids are pretty much used to this,” Stevens told the Chronicle. “It’s a matter of getting back there again. Our preparation has led us to this point.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.