Peach Jam week 2019 has arrived in North Augusta and the transformation of the Riverview Park Activities Center into the Nike EYBL Championship Basketball venue is complete. For the 24th consecutive year, Nike brings the best elite youth basketball teams to compete for the coveted Peach Jam crown.

Branding is a big deal to the Nike brass and nobody does it better than the folks from Oregon who wear the swoosh. It’s worth the price of admission to come inside the doors to take a look at the world of Nike basketball. The proof is in the pudding and Nike spares no expense to create the ultimate atmosphere for the best high school basketball players in the land. The theme for this year’s tournament is “Own the Game.”

When is the best time to come down to the Activities Center to watch some of the tournament? The morning sessions are less crowded and spectators have an easier time finding seats in the gym or an open space on the track to catch the action. Evening sessions are quite crowded and you will need to get here early if that is your plan. The evening sessions can be quite exciting as the large crowds roar their approval of an outstanding dunk or buzzer beater and the sounds vibrate across the facility from each of the 6 gyms.

Where do I park if I plan to attend the tournament? Public parking for this year’s event is available in the asphalt parking lot on the right of the Activities Center for the early arrivers, in the asphalt parking lots between the tennis courts and playground area, the back asphalt parking lots in the park, and designated areas of overflow areas.

How much does it cost? The cost for daily sessions is $15 per day or you can buy a tournament pass good for the entire event for $50. Tournament passes are only sold on Wednesday. All tickets are purchased at the front door of the Riverview Park Activities Center under the white tent.

What college coaches will be in attendance? Just about every college coach you can think of from every school across the country will be here, yes that means Roy Williams of North Carolina, John Calipari of Kentucky, Bill Self of Kansas, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, Frank Martin of South Carolina, Brad Brownell of Clemson, Tom Crean of Georgia, and Josh Pastner of Georgia Tech.

What NBA players will show up for this year’s Peach Jam? Last year there were over 12 active NBA players in attendance that included Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kenyon Martin, Victor Oladipo, Demarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Rodney Hood, and former NBA All-Star Scottie Pippen.

What makes the tournament so special in North Augusta? First and foremost, it’s the venue that has six temperature controlled gyms under one roof with state of the art LED lighting and quality wood floors. It’s the hard-working professional staff of the Riverview Park Activities Center who have the experience and knowledge in working major events. It’s the people of our community from First Baptist Church and TrueNorth Church who serve meals to the players and coaches throughout the tournament. It’s the valet parking of all the teams, it’s the fresh peaches from Edgefield County that the coaches love. It’s the passion of the spectators who fill the bleachers and line the track to get a glimpse of the stars of the future.

Opening day for the Riverview Park splash pad is drawing closer as all the water features have been installed. Great Southern Recreation crews are now working on the vault, hooking up the electrical and the final site work. The site work will include the installation of a shade structure that will cover the splash pad area where the younger kids will play. Hopefully in next week’s column we will be able to announce our grand opening date, stay tuned!