NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — There are whispers at an event like the Nike EYBL Peach Jam. There are coaches and evaluators everywhere. They talk to each other, quietly, in hushed tones. Covering their face when they do so. You almost have to watch their eyes to see what they’re really interested in, to cut through the misdirection. Yet, through it all, there are trends that emerge. Amidst the whispers.
One of the trends on Thursday has been percolating throughout the 2015 Nike EYBL circuit. DeAndre Fox, long a top echelon recruit, but perhaps not THE top recruit in any particular way, appears to have made the leap.
Fox turned in another typically dominant two-game performance on Thursday, particularly in Houston Hoops one-sided nightcap against Albany City Rocks. Houston Hoops won by 20, 77-57, but the game wasn’t even really that close.
As usual, Fox was predominantly the reason why, filling up the stat sheet with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 6 assists, many of them to teammate Robert Williams (who also had 18 points) and super junior Jarred Vanderbilt, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Before that, Fox had 28 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in Houston Hoops’ first game Thursday morning.
Fox entered the Peach Jam leading the circuit in assists and steals and has been one of the top-scoring point guards. He doesn’t plan to change his dual-threat, gun-and-serve approach any time soon, though he did tell USA TODAY High School Sports that he’s spent his summer focusing on his distribution. Improving his assist-making has been a constant theme for Fox all spring, as has more tenacious defense.
He’s also completely at ease playing in front of the panoply of high profile coaches, something he’s been doing since he was a freshman. It doesn’t hurt that nearly all of them are recruiting him as well.
“Honestly, I played in front of Coach K (Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski) and Coach Izzo (Michigan State coach Tom Izzo) and Calipari (Kentucky coach John Calipari) way back when I was a freshman, because of the three All-Americans we had on that Houston Hoops team,” Fox said. “I’m used to it. This is nothing new.”
Losing is new, which made the morning session’s narrow 84-76 loss to fellow Texas power Proskills Elite (some would characterize as a significant upset) an uneasy and uncomfortable pill to swallow.
Luckily for Fox, he had another game hours away, even if it felt like much longer than that.
“That loss yesterday, or I guess it was this morning,” Fox said. “Man, it feels so long ago because it hurt so bad. It was hard to get over, but we came out tonight and got on the right track.”
Fox appears to be on the right track to a whole lot more national recognition thanks to the kind of performances he put in again Thursday in South Carolina.