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.
After USA Basketball, quick turnaround to Peach Jam for Cam Reddish, Louis King
Of all the high school basketball players across the land gearing up for the AAU circuit this month, Louis King and Cam Reddish may have the most dramatic story to tell.
After beating Spain in the FIBA U19 World Cup bronze-medal game on Sunday in Cairo, Egypt, King and Reddish must turn around and compete in a noon play-in game on Wednesday at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. If they and their Team Final mates beat Nike Team Florida, they will advance to the main draw at Peach Jam. If they lose, they will head over to the Peach Invitational Tournament in Augusta, Ga., with the other Nike teams that failed to qualify for Peach Jam.
“We knew they were coming back,” Team Final coach Aaron Burt said Monday by phone. “I mean, USA Basketball does a good job when it comes to scheduling around certain things like the Peach Jam, so we knew they would be back.”
It’s not uncommon for players with USA Basketball to head directly to the Peach Jam after a world championship, but it is rare for such players to have to compete in a play-in game on Wednesday at noon. College coaches aren’t allowed in until the regular games begin at 5 p.m.
“Cameron’s coming [to Philadelphia], Louis may meet us down there,” Burt said. “We have a walk-through [Tuesday]” at Peach Jam.
The 6-foot-7 Reddish out of the Westtown (PA) School is ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2018 by ESPN.com, while the 6-8 King from Hudson (N.J.) Catholic is ranked No. 16. Obviously, having both guys in the fold will help Team Final in the play-in game and then potentially make a run at Peach Jam.
“It’s important to have those guys confident, rested, understanding what we need to do and just ready to compete,” Burt said. “Fortunately, they are kids and their bodies can react a lot quicker than adults, so I just hope they understand the importance of the Peach Jam.
“We only have one guy that is returning that’s been there and that’s Cameron so he’s the only one that really understands the atmosphere of the Peach Jam so I hope the other guys can just figure it out quick.”
On the recruiting front, Reddish, who went for 10 points in the bronze-medal game, has narrowed his list to Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, UCLA and Villanova.
King is being courted by schools like Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Oregon, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Indiana and UCLA.
“It’s the same coaches and the same schools that’s looking at those guys, I don’t think anything too much has changed,” Burt said. “Indiana, UCLA, a lot of teams like Louis.
“With Cameron it’s the same schools, nobody really has changed.”
Both players are obviously coming off spending about three weeks with USA U19 and Kentucky coach John Calipari, something which was perceived to have given him a recruiting edge not only with those two but also with fellow high school players Romeo Langford and Immanuel Quickley.
King is the only one of the group yet to pick up a Kentucky offer.
“I think it’s an audition for both sides to see if those guys can play for a guy like Calipari,” Burt said. “Calipari can get the best out of those guys so I think it’s an audition for both with each of them.
“It’s just consistency, playing at a high level. Can they play at Kentucky? Yes. Is it a perfect fit for them? Time will tell.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.