North Augusta, S.C. — This is the final AAU summer for Brony James, the son of NBA superstar LeBron James and the 6-foot-2 combo guard, who has impressed many NBA scouts and executives. Which was in Nike’s Peach Jam.
Every summer, the top teams from Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League descend on the city. The gyms are small and packed for every game, and it’s a one-of-a-kind environment to get an early look at the next level of NBA talent. For the James family, peach jam has always been a family affair.
Since it was Broney’s last summer before his senior year of high school, the entire crew turned out for all but one of his games. His mother Savannah, sister Zuri, grandmother Gloria and of course his father Bronny and his team, Strive for Greatness, were there to support him. His younger brother Bryce played on the 16U team, with the family walking around the gym to support both players. Last year, LeBron was on the bench as the team’s coach; He stayed on the sidelines this year, occasionally pulling players aside during free throws or dead balls.
To ensure a seat for one of Broney’s games, fans, college coaches and NBA staff had to arrive two games in advance before the gym reached capacity. One of the craziest AAU games of the summer came when Broney went head-to-head with five-star Duke commit Caleb Foster. Chairs were pushed aside to stand behind the bins. More than 30 professional photographers were scattered throughout the gym, recording Brony’s every move. There’s never been a game at Peach Jam where coaches and NBA scouts stand shoulder-to-shoulder the length of the gym and both baselines for essentially a few players to watch.
“The atmosphere was crazy and I’ve never played in a game like that before,” Foster told Yahoo Sports after the game. “It’s probably the top two of my career. Gym packs, NBA scouts, coaches, NBA royalty and fans all in one building. Nothing like Peach Jam.” [Anthony] come out and support us,” Foster added. “It means a lot and it shows that what I’ve been working on is paying off.”
Foster and his team, Team Thad, came away with a 92-74 win. The Duke-bound guard finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. James posted 16 points and added five assists.
“The most impressive thing about Broney at this age is his mindset on the court and how he consistently makes the right decisions,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “He’s a hell of a defender and you can see he’s starting to grow into his body a little bit more.”
Broney has been up and down during the spring and summer AAU season. Last week was the most consistent string of games he’s had all year. James left the Final Peach Jam with 16 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists in six games.
The biggest improvement to James’ game has been reading the pick-and-roll as the primary ball handler. In years past, he was a catch-and-shoot option with players like UCLA’s Amari Bailey, and NBA guards Ziaray Williams and Brandon Boston Jr. Created for him in the lane during his high school career. If his defender slips and there is no hedge, James lets him fly without hesitation. It’s very high-level, NBA-ready, and undoubtedly something his dad has been working on with him in the gym.
“You can see the improvement in his game from last year to this year,” another NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “He’s proving to be more than just a name and has a positive impact on the game whether it’s an extra pass or going down for a loose ball in the post on offense or defense.”
The final stops for Broney’s AAU career will be this week in Las Vegas for the big time finale tournament.
Broney will play his senior year at Sierra Canyon High School outside of Los Angeles. His recruiting has kept his entire career under wraps but the schools involved are widely known. Duke, Ohio State, Texas, Michigan, Kansas, Tennessee, USC and Kentucky have all expressed interest in Broney during his career. James will likely take his official visits starting in the fall but, like his recruiting, they won’t be announced or publicized.
It’s still undecided if Broney will be a one-and-done opportunity, but NBA scouts have noticed the way he’s improving his game. No father-son duo has ever played in the NBA at the same time, and it’s only a matter of years before that happens. Regardless, Broney has made a good impression on some NBA talent evaluators as his final AAU season comes to a close and he enters his senior year.