NORTH AUGHOSTA, SC – In the last two summers, NBA scouts have been allowed to attend Nike’s Peach Jam and get to know early on the top upcoming talent, particularly the upcoming high school senior who could be eligible to enroll in a short two years. In the case of Shidon Sharpe, The most mysterious player in the 2022 NBA Draft, Peach Jam was the only place NBA scouts were able to see him play in a five-to-five competitive mode because it sat all season in Kentucky.
Last week, several NBA teams were represented and the entire event remained as the top players from Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League competed in the 15U, 16U and 17U divisions of the Peach Jam.
When I asked the NBA talent evaluators about the best odds, none of the 17U’s top teams were, it was a pair of 15-year-olds new to the scene: Cooper Flagg, 6-foot-9 striker from Maine, and Cameron Bowser, 6-foot striker and 8 outside of Florida.
“This is the first time I’ve spotted a player with a mouth full of arches,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “They are young and there is plenty of time for both of them [Flagg and Boozer]But there’s a lot they like about their game.”
Flagg was a gold medal winner representing Team USA in Spain for the U-17 Basketball World Cup and has been the most popular name since he hit the AAU circuit in April.
“It was just a good experience to come out and represent our country,” Flagg told Yahoo Sports. “This spring and summer has gone by like a blur, pretty much. But I just try to take it one day at a time and focus on staying in the gym and keeping working out.”
Modifications to the rule of the only thing implemented soon
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he hopes to change the current 19-year-old’s maximum rule that requires players to be separated for one year from high school when he spoke to the media earlier this month. During his annual press conference at the conclusion of the league’s board of governors meetings, Silver said: “I think there is an opportunity [to change it]. “
“that it [based on] Bigger conversations than just going from 19 to 18, but I’m on record: When I balance all of these different considerations, I think that’s going to be the right thing to do and I hope it’s a change we make in this next collective bargaining cycle, which is going to happen in the next couple of years.”
With this information fresh in the team’s mind, a priority was to draw attention to the first wave of players who could effectively transition from high school to the pros, something that hasn’t happened since 2005. The group in question is Flagg and Cooper’s 2025 high school class.
That’s why, for the first time at Nike’s Peach Jam, there were several NBA scouts (some of whom arrived 30 minutes earlier than tip) lining up on court benches for 15U games.
Yahoo Sports breaks down the 2025 best high school prospects who topped Peach Jam and five other high-profile prospects who have done well in the prestigious AAU Championship and are potential future NBA players to watch.
6 feet 8, forward
Columbus High School (Miami), Class of 2025
Boozer is the son of former NBA player Carlos Boozer and broke into the scene last fall with his twin brother Kayden. Cameron is an early favorite to be the number one player in his class and sounded his turn during Peach Jam.
His body is already starting to plump and he is moving well with his 6-foot-8 frame, without any heavy movement, and he already has good movement in the driveway. When playing alongside other players in his class, he seems to like the man among the boys and bullies his way to the edge easily.
At just 15 years old, it’s too early to make comparisons in the NBA, but if he continues to develop his surrounding game and tap into his natural sense of paint, he’ll be a player on many teams’ radars if and when the solo action rule is repealed in time for a draft Eligibility.
Duke, Florida, Miami and Michigan are all early Bowser, with Duke coach John Scheer and two assistants and Michigan coach Joan Howard keeping an eye on him last week.
6 feet 9, forward
Monteverde Academy (Florida), class of 2025
No player has exploded onto the scene quite like Flagg. Originally from Newport, Maine, the 6-foot-9 winger caught the attention of Power Five coaches during the first session of Nike’s EYBL in April. His first big shows came from Iowa and Duke. Michigan, UCLA, and West Virginia soon followed.
Similar to Boozer, Flagg also plays alongside his twin brother, Ace, which makes him a unique dynamic when the pair are on the court. Thanks to his size, Cooper can easily maneuver the fairway around defenders. He loves confrontation, pulling defense close, and going forward to do the movement in the paint. He has a soft outside jump that makes him a threat on the wing and picking up pop and he can drop 3 pointers with ease.
He is the most annoying defensively, scoring 11 pieces in a single match at Peach Jam. His timing in position and the way he chases players in transitions make him one of the best edge guards in high school basketball, no matter the class.
“You can already tell at such a young age, the game comes too easy for him,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “He’s really an elite edge protector, he has good shooting mechanics, and again, it’s still early days, but that’s a solid Flagg benchmark for all of us seeing him for the first time.”
St. Mary’s Prep (Michigan), Class of 2025
McKenney is the first high school student ever introduced by Juwan Howard in Michigan and he’s coming for a good cause. McKenney is a full on the field dog with a solid and sturdy build at 6 feet 4 inches. NBA scouts lined up at the small gym To see him play so many times and was impressed with the way he creates a break with dribbling and the high basketball IQ of such a young goalkeeper.
“I just want to show all the coaches and scouts that I’m versatile and can play anywhere on the ground and affect the game on both sides,” McKinney told Yahoo Sports.
McKenney already has a few major offerings, including Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Ohio and Missouri. One of the top three players in the 2023 NBA Draft, Scott Henderson, traveled to North Augusta to see McKinney’s play and have plans to hit the gym and work out this summer.
Other notable prospects were the NBA scouts watching
Justin Edwards, Class of 2023
A petite striker at 6 feet 7 feet tall, Edwards is one of the best transitional defenders, regardless of class, with his long wingspan and athleticism. The next big player has recently committed to Kentucky State and will be joined by five-star guards Rob Dillingham and Red Shepherd. Edwards averaged 16.3 points and seven rebounds during the Peach Jam, including his best game where he scored in all three levels, and finished with 24 points (8 to 14 from the field).
DJ Wagner, Class 2023
Wagner is the son of former NBA player DaJuan Wagner and grandson of Milt Wagner. DJ has been a standout player in his class ever since he hit the scene in eighth grade and is still among the top players heading into his freshman year. The 6-foot-3 combo guard loves to take to the slopes and is cunning on the trail. His outside shot still has room to develop, but he still finds creative ways to score with the ball in his hands. Wagner averaged 15.6 points and 4.5 assists per game last week and is still hesitating, with his top schools Kentucky, Memphis and Louisville.
Simeon Welcher, Class of 2023
Wilshere is one of the best decision makers on the field with the ball in his hands and he is a strong goalkeeper whose first step has improved. The committed five-star point guard to North Carolina State last October seems like the perfect player to step in and fill Caleb Love’s boots once he makes the jump to the league. Wilcher is a 6-foot-4 guard outside of New Jersey who dominated the entire Peach Jam, averaging 19.2 points (53.8 percent of the field) and 5.2 assists per game.
Dylan Harper, Class of 2024
Harper is the son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper and averaged 15.5 points and 4.7 assists in the Peach Jam. He’s very powerful with the ball in the lane and has great body control around the edge, absorbing friction from opposing attackers. For a player of his age, he smoothly finds the open man if he pulls a second defender off the screen, and throws accurate pocket passes to players who collapse when leading the baseline. The scout encouraged his readings from the wing and the way he left the match, without forcing anything.
JJ Jackson, Class of 2023
Jackson recently dropped his North Carolina commitment and opted to reclassify the degree and is now heading to South Carolina in a year. Jackson was the #1 player in the high school class of 2024 before he made the leap this summer and looked confident playing alongside two stronger and bigger players in the 17U for CP3, Chris Paul’s AAU team. Still a raw 6-foot-9, Jackson is a solid edge protector and one of the most exciting players on the open field with the way he manages a winger of his size. Jackson still had plenty of room to grow and it was a prospect that piqued the interest of many NBA scouts who watched him play.