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Prepping for Peach Jam takes work

Posted: July 10, 2013 - 8:32am
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Basketball players outside the Riverview Park Activities Center with a freshly painted Nike swoosh painted on the lawn in North Augusta Tuesday afternoon July 9, 2013.    Michael Holahan / Staff  MICHAEL HOLAHAN
MICHAEL HOLAHAN
Basketball players outside the Riverview Park Activities Center with a freshly painted Nike swoosh painted on the lawn in North Augusta Tuesday afternoon July 9, 2013. Michael Holahan / Staff

Each July, hundreds gather at Riverview Park Activities Center to see some of the most talented teen basketball players in the country play in the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam

“The most interesting part is seeing the names and then watching three years from now and look at the (NBA) All-Star game and saying, ‘he was here’,” said Jeremy Jiunnies, the program and facilities supervisor for North Augusta Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services.

“The guys we see here, we’re going to see on TV either with the best college basketball teams in the country or, in some cases, in the NBA,” added Recreation Director Rick Meyer.

Hosting the event takes a lot of preparation. Staff members meet about the Nike Peach Jam at least three months prior to the event.

“It does take a while for us to prepare for a big event like this,” said Meyer. “It doesn’t just happen.”

Leading up to the event, the staff performs maintenance such as pressure washing the building, ensuring the grounds are clean and maintained, and refinishing the gym floors.

“I like to say it’s kind of like the song out there – You’re trying to put your shine on,” he said.

This year’s event, which kicked off Tuesday, also includes satellite events which are held at other locations in Aiken, Richmond and Columbia counties, said Meyer.

Nike Peach Jam games are being held through Sunday.

“This tournament is Nike’s premier event,” said Meyer. “You have to qualify to get here. The best teams, the best players and the top coaches are here. It’s a big deal.”

Each day during Nike Peach Jam, staff and volunteers begin their day at 8 a.m. and are on the go until about 11 p.m., said Jiunnies.

There are more than 200 people who volunteer in some capacity during the event.

“It’s a team effort,” said Jiunnies. “… At the end of the day, we’re all a part of how it works and why it works.”

For a schedule of games, visit www.nikeeyb.com.

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