NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — The Peach Jam serves as an elite circuit championship for a reason. Each year it hosts the top 20 performing teams comprised solely of the nation’s top basketball players. It’s an all-elite affair, filled with players who, quite frankly, aren’t used to coming up short.
That’s what makes rough results tough for many teens to take … and sometimes the most valuable lesson they’ll learn.
The 2015 Team Penny squad is an apt example. The team entered the Peach Jam after an impressive EYBL campaign only to run into a series of buzz saw teams in its pool. It was demolished by Team CP3, with the game much more one-sided than the final scoreline indicated. It hard a tough time with Arkansas Wings Elite, too, finishing Day 1 with an 0-2 record. Then it bounced back, with Friday victories against Mac Irvin Fire and the nightcap rout of Team Final.
Led by a legendary player who is pretty used to winning himself, the entire Peach Jam process, the transition from first day losses to has been a learning experience for Penny Hardaway’s young charges
“This is teaching me patience,” Penny Hardaway said. “This has been particularly tough for us because we’re missing four starters. So the guys on the bench have to come in and step up.”
The goal on Thursday’s losses was that the teens would quickly learn how to bounce back from tough setbacks, something Hardaway had to learn during his own career. If they don’t, the success they wish they were enjoying in North Augusta might be even more fleeting later, when it’s much more important.
“It’s been tough,” Paul Washington II said. “You have to keep fighting. That’s what we did so well today.”