Peach Jam provides peace for Juwan Gary
NORTH AUGUSTA — Whether his future takes him to Tuscaloosa, Columbia or anywhere else can wait another few days.
Right now, Juwan Gary is just a kid having fun on the basketball court.
Gary, a rising senior at Columbia’s Gray Collegiate Academy and a four-star recruit for the Class of 2019, finds peace of mind out on the floor. There, he’s away from the phone calls, texts, tweets and constant attention coming at him from all directions with his college commitment looming.
His choice – Alabama and South Carolina are the favorites according to the experts, with 247Sports giving Alabama a 73 percent shot at landing him – will come this weekend, after he and Team United have completed pool play at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam.
In the meantime, he’s doing what he can to prove to the dozens of college coaches in attendance – like Alabama’s Avery Johnson and South Carolina’s Frank Martin, both of whom were in Gym 3 for Team United’s Thursday game against Drive Nation – at Riverview Park Activities Center why he’s so highly rated.
Adding to the fun he’s having on the court is that, after a travel ball circuit that has taken him all over the country, this one’s close to home. Gary, a 6-foot-6 forward, is joined by Gray Collegiate teammates Dallaz Corbitt and Khalil Robinson on the Team United roster in addition to a host of players from the Charlotte area.
“It’s a very good thing. You know, having my family 45 minutes away coming in to see me play is a very good thing,” he said. “Seeing everybody from California, North Carolina, all that ... just seeing the good word, the good vibe everybody has around South Carolina. So it’s a good thing.”
Gary and his teammates have played in the area before, as Gray Collegiate was a Region 3-AA opponent of Fox Creek before the most recent South Carolina High School League realignment.
Now he’s playing on a much bigger stage, one he studied in the past and someday hoped to reach. That time is now, and he’s enjoying the process of competing in the EYBL’s crown jewel.
“The crowd’s going crazy. The phone’s been blowing up, my own fan base has been blowing up, my family’s been blowing me up,” he said. ”... Just getting my motivation up, getting my spirits up, just going out there having fun and at the same time trying to compete.”
Team United closes out pool play with two games Friday, both of which will be played in Gym 3; at 10:30 a.m. against Houston Hoops and at 7:30 p.m. against Seattle Rotary.