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July 18, 2006

Peach Jam top performers - Part II

The Mean Streets Express boasted an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt at the NIKE Peach Jam. Five-star guards Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose led their team to the title at the event.

In part two of a look at the best of the Peach Jam, National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer ranks and breaks down the top half of the ten top performers.

5. Blake Griffin, PF, Edmond (Okla.) Oklahoma Christian
AAU Team: Athletes First
Peach Jam Stats (event rank): 21.3 points per game (7), 9.3 rebounds per game (2), 5.6 assist per game

Nothing short of a warrior in the paint, Griffin could only be slowed down by sagging zone defenses and a lack of touches.

When Griffin did get the ball inside, either a bucket or free throws seemed inevitable. Beyond his high scoring and rebounding average, Griffin also produced a high number of assists with his poised passing ability.

Griffin's top output was a 31 point, 14 rebound, five assist and one block effort against Friends of Hoop.

4. Tyreke Evans, SG, Aston (Pa.) American Christian
AAU Team: Team Final
Peach Jam Stats (event rank): 23.4 points per game (3), 3.6 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game

Very difficult to guard off the dribble, Evans proved impossible to guard when he had his long range jumper falling.

A rhythm shooter, who is best off the dribble, Evans gets defenders on their heels and then leans back for the three. When defenders lunge forward to prevent the jumper, Evans rips right by them to the basket. Also an electric passer, Evans is a threat to deliver an assist pass from anywhere on the court.

His big basket after big basket in a heartbreaking two point loss to the Mean Streets Express was a sight to behold.

3. Kyle Singler, SF, Medford (Ore.) South Medford
AAU Team: Portland Elite Legends
Peach Jam Stats (event rank): 19.8 points per game (9), 7.3 rebounds per game (6), 2 assists per game

Singler, who most of the crowd referred to as Dirk during the event, did everything imaginable for the Portland Elite Legends.

He scored by posting, rebounding, shooting from outside and creating off the dribble. And most enjoyable to watch was how Singler's teammate just took off down the court once Singler snagged rebounds and immediately punched the ball out on the dribble to lead the break.

His most impressive performance was a 29 point, 10 rebound, four assist and one block effort against Boo Williams.

2. Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Simeon
AAU Team: Mean Streets Express
Peach Jam Stats (event rank): 14.4 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game, 6.4 assists per game (4)

Running the point the majority of the time for the Mean Streets Express, Rose masterfully distributed the ball while also finding opportunities to score the ball.

Nothing evoked more fear in defenders than having Rose and Gordon barreling down the court on the break. Not only did Rose have some fantastic finishes on the move in the open court, he also delivered some of his most impressive passes while on the break.

Rose's most complete performance came in the semifinals in a three point win over Boo Williams where he finished with 24 points, seven assists, three rebounds, one block and only two turnovers.

1. Eric Gordon, SG, Indianapolis North Central
AAU Team: Mean Streets Express
Peach Jam Stats (event rank): 24.3 points per game (2), 6.4 rebounds per game (8), 3 assists per game

Gordon provided a big time scoring punch and a good bit of rebounding support to help the Mean Streets Express take home a championship.

Primarily scoring from behind the arc and around the basket, Gordon masterfully uses his physical athleticism to create openings on the move. His blend of strength and advanced footwork make it impossible to keep the ball out of his hands, and his explosive first step gets him quickly in scoring position where his strength and body control allow him to down shift speeds and finish difficult shots.

Gordon also complimented his scoring and rebounding prowess with some timely passing.

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