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2019 Peach Jam preview from a UK perspective

Like always, UK will have numerous targets playing in the final EYBL event of the year.

Basketball: Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Arguably the top high school basketball event of the year is set to take place this week in North Augusta, South Carolina.

The 2019 Peach Jam will be held July 10-14 and will mark the final stop of the Nike EYBL circuit. The top AAU teams from around America will make their way to South Carolina to try to win the title and get some exposure while they’re at it.

This last stop on the EYBL circuit will also be a live period, allowing coaches to have more interaction with the recruits than other times during the summer. There is sure to be a packed house of eager coaches in the audience each and every day until a champion is crowned on Sunday.

Per usual, the field is once again loaded with Kentucky recruits. So, let’s take a look at Kentucky’s top targets going into the event, starting with the EYBL 2019 MVP — Cade Cunningham.

Cade Cunningham - Texas Titans

It seems like a forgone conclusion that Cunningham will head to the Oklahoma State Cowboys after his brother was hired on the coaching staff. But according to Cunningham himself, his recruitment is still “wide open.” I seriously doubt that, but the Peach Jam will provide an opportunity for other coaches to provide their pitch.

Sharife Cooper - AOT Running Rebels

Cooper is another elite point guard and someone that could really fit in well at Kentucky. After earning USA Today Player of the Year awards last season, he picked up where he left off last summer by making the First-Team All-EYBL. The Auburn Tigers are a strong contender for Cooper, so events like the Peach Jam are important for UK to make their presence felt. With Kentucky focusing a lot of time and energy on players like Daishen Nix, it’s very possible that Cooper makes his pledge to the Tigers very soon.

N’Faly Dante - Mokan Elite

The precarious case of N’Faly Dante continues on for another day. The 6-foot-11 big man is still polishing his game, but has been a force on the Nike EYBL circuit where he also earned First-Team honors. Most people believe he is down to the Oregon Ducks and Kentucky Wildcats, and he left Lexington a few weeks ago without committing. So, fans will have to wait another day(s) to see exactly where Dante is on when and where to play his college basketball. Mokan Elite will play in Pool-C against Cooper’s team, and it would shock me not to see some UK presence during those opening-round pool play games.

Paolo Banchero - Seattle Rotary Style

Banchero is one of the few players in the class of 2021 to hold a scholarship offer from UK. He earned Second-Team All-EYBL honors this summer and is emerging as an elite prospect at his position.Bancheor hails from Seattle, Washington, so beating out the hometown Huskies will be a tall task for this elite west coast recruit.

Brandon Boston - AOT Running Rebels

BJ Boston is clearly a priority for the Cats, who appear to be battling it out with the Duke Blue Devils. He’s also teaming up with Sharife Cooper, and the two have talked about playing at UK. A backcourt of Cooper and Boston is something else. The AOT Running Rebels will be a tough out in this year’s Peach Jam.

Jonathan Kuminga - NY Renaissance

Another 2021 prospect to hold an offer from UK is the extremely talented Jonathan Kuminga. At 6-foot-9 he has been described as the best two-way player on the EYBL circuit. This is a name you should remember for the future as Kuminga has elite athleticism. His brother plays at Texas Tech, so the Red Raiders likely have the early lead in this recruitment.

Isaiah Todd - Nightrydas Elite

The top-ranked player in North Carolina was once a reclass candidate for Kentucky’s 2019 class, but he opted to remain in 2020. 247 Sports’ No. 3 power forward in the nation and the No. 20 player overall, Todd also has offers from North Carolina, Villanova, Virginia and Memphis. He’ll be teaming up with fellow 2020 UK recruit Scottie Barnes with Nightrydas Elite, though it seems UK isn’t much of a threat to land Barnes at this stage.

Cliff Omoruyi - New York Renaissance

One of the first big men to score an offer from UK in the 2020 was Clifford Omoruyi. Part of that may have been due to the fact that Omoruyi could reclassify into 2019 if he wanted, but it seems UK is more interested in him as 2020 recruit, which is where he’s staying for now. Omoruyi is a long, athletic big man who should become a great rim protector in college, but his offensive game is very raw at this stage.

Terrence Clarke - Expressions Elite

One of the best 2021 has to offer, Terrence Clarke is also a strong UK target who was one of the first in his class to get a scholarship offer from Coach Cal. The No. 3 overall recruit has also been mentioned as a reclass candidate, and UK has several crystal ball predictions.

The Peach Jam is one of the most recognized events in all of college basketball recruiting. Besides the names mentioned above, there will certainly be some players who make a name for themselves at the event.

Cam’Ron Fletcher - Brad Beal Elite

The most recent 2020 recruit to score a UK offer is Cam’ron Fletcher, who has been rising up the rankings this year. He’s now No. 37 overall at 247 Sports and has offers from North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State and Oregon among others. The athletic wing has previously said he wants to decide before his senior season. With many UK targets planning to announce in the spring, Fletcher may be the Cats’ best bet at a commitment before next season.

Other names to watch: Jaemyn Brakefield, Mady Sissoko, Hunter Dickinson, Lance Ware, Jamal Mashburn Jr, Jaden Hardy, Moussa Diabaté, Zion Harmon.

Go here for more info on all of the recruits playing in the 2019 Peach Jam.