Peach Jam champions still have their star

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The Team Takeover 17U squad is coming back for another title at the Peach Jam, but with only one returning player, the team is going to look a little different.

Team Takeover's James Robinson (front) celebrated after his team won the Peach Jam championship last year. Robinson, one of the nation's top recruits, is the only returner on the Washington team.   Corey Perrine/File
Corey Perrine/File
Team Takeover's James Robinson (front) celebrated after his team won the Peach Jam championship last year. Robinson, one of the nation's top recruits, is the only returner on the Washington team.

Fortunately for coach Keith Stevens, James Robinson is that one player.

The 6-foot-3 guard, who's one of the nation's top recruits, was clutch in the 2010 Peach Jam championship game, hitting all 10 of his free throws and scoring a team-high 24 points in the final.

After dominating in 2010, Team Takeover, out of Washington, is 15-0 this season in Nike Elite Youth Basketball League action heading into the Peach Jam, which runs July 12-15 at North Augusta's Riverview Park Activities Center.

Once again, Robinson is Team Takeover's coach on the court.

"It's no different than last year. He's our leader. He's the guy who makes us go," Stevens said. "He does whatever he needs to do to win. He's not a scorer, but if need be, he can be. He's not a rebounder, but if need be, he can be."

A rising senior at DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, Robinson helped his school win both the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and the City Title this past season.

According to Rivals.com, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Virginia are Robinson's top three schools. Robinson said he wants to make his decision before DeMatha's season begins.

Though the guard didn't name a favorite, he did say distance will not be a key factor.

"My family is pretty spread out and I think my parents will come out and support me wherever. Georgetown is the closest, but it's not a negative that it is close."

Stevens said this year's Takeover squad is a little more aggressive and physical than the previous group.

Those attributes often showed up in the box scores during Nike EYBL games. In one contest, Team Takeover took 38 more free throws and won the rebound battle 52-30.

Three Team Takeover U17 players are on Rivals.com's top 150 for the Class of 2012, with Robinson at No. 56.

DeMatha teammate Jerami Grant at No. 61 and Arnaud Adala Moto ranked No. 128.

BeeJay Anya, a third DeMatha player on the Team Takeover U17 team, is No. 16 for the Class of 2013.

Even with all the talent, the 15-0 record and a title to defend, Stevens isn't seeing the Peach Jam as a source of pressure.

Instead, he's going in knowing this is simply where Team Takeover wants to be and expects to be every single year.

"I don't think it creates a lot of pressure," Stevens said. "We got a mindset to take it one game at a time. We kind of recycle -- last year we were good, this year we're good and next year we'll be good."


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