Saturday, July 6, 2013
The crown jewel of the summer circuit is once again set to take place in North Augusta.
It is the Nike Peach Jam, which has been a staple at Riverview Park Activities Center for the past 17 years. It is part of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and showcases some of the top talent in all of youth basketball.
“People can expect the best players in the country, 80 percent of the college coaches in America and probably some of the best basketball they’ll see live without having to travel to Atlanta or Charlotte,” said Jeremy Jiunnies, facilities and programs supervisor at the park. Juinnies has gotten the nickname “Mr. Nike” during this time of the year due to his heavy involvement in the tournament.
The Augusta Sports Council has put an economic impact of the area at $2 million, said Rick Meyer, director of the park.
“One of the great things that has happened with the Peach Jam and the college coaches already being in the area is that we have had two satellite tournaments pop up,” he said. “You go from 40 teams being at Riverview Park Activities Center, and you add another 200 teams from these satellite tournaments in the CSRA during Nike Peach Jam week.”
“Then you add on 400-plus college coaches, families that travel, recruiting analysts, media, officials, stat people and all kind of support people,” he said. “(It’s) very difficult to get a hotel in the North Augusta, Augusta and Aiken area that week.”
Terra Carroll, president of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, noted that the hotels are sold out from here to Thompson, Ga.
“It’s an economic boom, and just having Nike as an industry in our community is amazing,” she said.
Juinnies said the teams will be split into four pools in the four gyms with six teams in each pool. The top two teams in each pool advance to the tournament, and from there they play a single elimination bracket until the EYBL champion is crowned.
“Everyone wants to be in the Peach Jam,” he said.
The Nike Peach Jam will take place July 10 to 14 at the Riverview Park Activities Center, 100 Riverview Park Drive.
The cost of admission is $5 per session and each session has at least three games in a time frame. For more information on the teams, visit www.nikeeyb.com.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.