NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – From King James Shooting Stars (Ohio) wing V.J. King settling into his role as a star to neon colors being the new fashion statement for elite hoopers here’s what we’ve learned so far at the Nike Peach Jam.
Loud colors are in
It wasn’t hard to be seen this week at Peach Jam, but not for the reasons you’d think.
Most players opted for loud, neon colored shoes instead of basic colors. It’s a trend that’s been growing for the last year and seemingly has become the standard at Peach Jam this week.
Houston Hoops wing Justise Winslow has noticed the shift in baller fashion of late.
“Fashion is just going through the phase where everything is just different,” Winslow said. “LeBron (James) has been saying that for a while. I’m not in to shoes that are neon and just one color, but I like a bunch of different colors in my shoes. It’s just our thing right now. I think the biggest thing is that everyone wants to be seen. Those loud colors don’t hurt that.”
Oubre smells a national title
Recently, Kelly Oubre announced that he was transferring from Bush (Richmond, Texas) to Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) for his senior season.
Oubre’s move was for one reason: to win a national title.
“I think we’ve got a great shot at winning a national title,” said Oubre, a small forward who is ranked No. 20 in the ESPN 100. “They almost got it done last year!”
The Pilots lost their only game to St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.) in the semifinals of the National High School Invitational.
They finished 35-1 and No. 3 in the final USA Today Super 25 poll.
Oubre said that this year’s team has the talent to get over the hump.
“That’s why I came,” said Oubre, who is running with Houston Hoops at Peach Jam. “That and my relationship with Coach JYD (Jerome Williams). He’s always been great, and I love how hard he wants players to work. I know that with what we’ve got there we can get it done. I can’t wait!”
Young King cool under intense scrutiny
Most freshman hoopers would lose their lunch if college basketball giants like Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo and Bill Self sat courtside watching them play.
But most freshmen aren’t V.J. King.
King, a wing at St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio), has long been dubbed “the next big thing” by scouts and is ranked No. 4 in the ESPN 25 for 2016.
He recently helped the USA U16 National Team capture the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Uruguay.
That kind of clout gets you accustomed to the proverbial microscope.
“I don’t mind it,” King said. “I just come out and relax and play my game. I love the game so I tend to forget that all of the coaches are on the sidelines.
I just think it’s fun playing against older competition. I love that.”
King runs with the King James Shooting Stars (Ohio) 16-and-under squad and has helped lead his team to the Peach Jam Final Four today.
“We’re gonna try and get this thing done,” King said. “I just try and get better every time I play. I know there’s something that I can always do better so I focus on that. The attention from the coaches; that’s cool too. Like I said, I don’t mind I’m just having fun.”
Players adjust to “freezer” gym
Outside of the Riverview Park Activities Center the temperature hovered in the 85-90 degree range throughout the day, which made watching players, coaches and parents walking inside the gym for Peach Jam quite baffling.
Armed with long coats, sweat pants and even blankets, they all made their way to their seats and covered up inside the frigid venue.
“Is this Peach Jam or the Christmas tournament,” yelled one female spectator. “This is insane!”
The players shared those sentiments.
“That gym was freezing,” E1T1 (Fla.) guard D’Angelo Russell said. “It was like a freezer. I don’t know why they make it so cold in there. The only thing that we do is stretch a little longer and warm-up a little longer to get loose. We just tried to get our body heat flowing really well and it’s just another adjustment that we had to make. But, trust me, that was one of the coldest gyms I’ve ever played in. Whew!”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY