NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Tyrese Maxey knows how this will be hard to believe but coming into Nike Peach Jam this week he had to be reminded that it was an NCAA live period, which allows coaches to come out and evaluate players.
“I know that sounds crazy,” said Maxey, a combo guard with Houston Hoops (Texas). “But I don’t even keep up with that stuff anymore.”
Such is the life of an elite recruit who’s already picked the college he’ll suit up for.
Maxey committed to Kentucky in early May, which means he couldn’t relate to any of the pressure his uncommitted peers have inevitably felt with nearly every college coach in the country watching their every move from their courtside seats.
“I’m stress-free,” Maxey said. “It feels great. The biggest benefit is that now I can focus on the important stuff.”
Maxey and Houston Hoops didn’t it to tournament play at Peach Jam, but he made a strong case for accomplishing his other two goals this week in South Carolina: Prove that he’s the best guard in the country and continue to work on luring Bluff City Legends (Tenn.) center James Wiseman to Kentucky.
“I definitely feel like I’m the best guard in the country,” said Maxey, who is ranked No. 6 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019. “I just stay within myself and play my game, but I’m always ready for any test.”
Perhaps his biggest test came Wednesday evening when Maxey, who was named Nike EYBL’s Defensive Player of the Year, matched up against PSA Cardinals (N.Y.) point guard Cole Anthony, the top ranked player in the Chosen 25 for 2019 who was named MVP of the Nike EYBL.
In the end, Maxey led Houston Hoops to a 68-65 win over Anthony and the PSA Cardinals.
Maxey posted 18 points and five rebounds in the win. Anthony had 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
“Me and Cole are cool,” Maxey said. “We won a gold medal together last month with the U18 National team and he’s a great player. When we step on the court, I come at everyone the same though. I’m coming for whoever is in front of me.”
His approach as it pertains to reeling in Wiseman, who is ranked No. 2 overall in the Chosen 25 for 2019, is a bit less direct these days.
“I’ve been giving him his space recently,” Maxey said. “At first I was talking to him more, but I know how it was when I was in the process. It’s a business decision so I want him to do what’s best for him.”
Maxey was quick to add that he thinks it’ll bode well for the Wildcats that Wiseman’s favorite player is Anthony Davis who led the Wildcats to the 2012 national title.
“That’s a good thing for us,” Maxey said. “My favorite player is John Wall and I picked Kentucky. I feel good about getting him to Kentucky. We’ll see what happens.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY