The best basketball players North Augusta has to offer weren’t at the Peach Jam.
Chandler Harrison, of North Augusta High School, and Fox Creek High School’s Marques Sumner played for AAU teams that didn’t qualify to play in the Nike Peach Jam. But both were still able to participate in the Peach State Summer Showcase, which was held in Aiken and Augusta last week.
“It was a good atmosphere and good competition,” Sumner said. “It’s a very high level of basketball so you have to be prepared and play hard. I played in front of a lot of future Hall of Fame coaches.”
Sumner played for the Southern Kings, a Georgia-based team. His team, which played a guard-oriented style, won the bronze bracket after struggling in the early going.
“Individually, I played team basketball and did whatever my team needed me to do,” Sumner said. “I played really aggressive and tough defense and offense came from good defense from not just me, but my whole team. We faced some rough times in the beginning but we regrouped and won the bronze.”
Harrison played with the Garden City All Stars, who struggled in the tournament and finished 0-4.
“I played pretty good,” Harrison said. “Not my best, but well enough. We lost four games and two of them by the buzzer.”
While his team didn’t have a lot of success, Harrison was able to play in front of representatives from the top college programs in the country.
“I noticed there are a lot of players just as good as me who have the same dreams, so it’s a must I work even harder,” Harrison said. “I saw so many coaches, it was crazy just to play in front of them. There were so many coaches and great competition. It was an amazing experience.”
Both Sumner and Harrison are rising seniors and leaders of their respective teams. Sumner hopes to take the intensity from the Peach State into his high school season.
“The speed of the game is way different,” said Sumner, who pointed out some aspects of his game that benefitted from playing in Peach State. “I think I will be able to push the ball more in transition and find my teammates or score the rock this season. It was a great event because of the chance to be seen and get exposure and it also builds confidence.”
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj.