Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
Woodz Elite ready for another run at Peach Jam
Chris Moore runs Friday, April 12, 2019, during play at Fayetteville High School.
Three members of the 17-under Woodz Elite are looking to win a second Peach Jam championship with the help of several newcomers.
The tournament in North Augusta, S.C., is the championship for the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Play starts Wednesday and ends Sunday.
University of Arkansas forward target Chris Moore, Oklahoma State point guard commitment Davonte Davis and combo guard Caleb London led Woodz Elite to the 16-under Peach Jam title last year.
Moore, 6-6, 220 pounds, of West Memphis led Woodz Elite to a 10-3 record in EYBL play this spring. The team is ranked No. 9 nationally by prephoops.com and indihoops.com.
Moore was named to the All EYBL third team after averaging 17.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 blocks a game while shooting 66.4% from the field.
The first NCAA evaluation period for July runs Thursday to Sunday. Peach Jam is expected to see hundreds of college coaches, including those from Arkansas, in attendance. Coaches will be back on the road July 23-28.
Woodz Elite Coach Dion Real said the team is upbeat going into this week’s Peach Jam.
“They’re all excited,” Real said. “The group that was a part of the 16-year-old championship is really, really pushing and is encouraging … and telling them what it’s going to be like.”
Davis, 6-4, 170, of Jacksonville is averaging 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He appears to be recovered from an injury that hampered him in the spring.
“He’s going back to where he was last year,” Real said. “It’s a big, big relief for us to have a talent like that healthy.”
London, 6-4, 190, of Conway has offers from SMU, Tulsa, Southern Miss, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas State University and Abilene Christian. He’s averaging 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game.
Two of Woodz Elite’s losses were to No. 2-ranked Texas Titans 83-80 on April 27 and No. 6-ranked Mac Irvin Fire 79-70 on May 25. Both opponents also qualified for Peach Jam and will be key roadblocks to a second title.
Two Arkansas targets — guard Cade Cunningham, 6-7, 215, of Montverde Academy in Florida, and forward Greg Brown 6-9, 195, of Austin (Texas) Vandergrift lead the Titans.
“The Titans are a very talented group, but everybody in the league is,” Real said. “If you qualify for Peach Jam, it’s a privilege.”
A key addition to this year’s squad is Fort Smith Northside center and Arkansas target Jaylin Williams, 6-10, 220. He recently was named to the All-EYBL Breakout team.
ESPN rates Williams a four-star prospect, the No. 15 center and No. 89 overall prospect in the 2020 class. He has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Connecticut, Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU and others.
Real believes Moore and Williams are an imposing pair in the paint.
“He’s just been a solid anchor,” Real said of Williams. “I tell people this — and again, I’m very, very bias — that’s probably the best front court in the league.
“Just because they do so much for us and help our team so much. All around, not just down low. Jaylin shoots the ball so well behind the arc, helps us bring it up sometimes. Those two have been very, very valuable.”
Williams, who recently took an official visit to Oklahoma State, is looking to officially visit Arkansas and Auburn.
Moore — who has more than 25 scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Florida, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Ole Miss and Auburn — has added recent offers from Texas A&M, St. John’s and Wichita State.
He plans to narrow his list to 16 schools this weekend and is expected to finalize plans for official visits soon.
“Chris Moore has been awesome,” Real said. “He’s been our anchor, so we’re definitely depending on him.”
Wingman Collin Moore, 6-5, 180, played for the 17-under Woodz Elite last year. He plans to attend Sunrise Christian Academy Prep School in Kansas in the fall after playing at North Little Rock this past season. He’s drawing interest from Murray State, DePaul, New Mexico State and others.
“He’s a special athlete and does so many things,” Real said.
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