NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – This time last month when Bryson Warren was prepping for his move up from Mokan Elite’s (Mo.) 16U team to the 17U team for Peach Jam, he was eager to team up with elite point guard Skyy Clark, a rising senior.
Warren, a rising junior point guard, had dominated the competition all spring with the 16U team, averaging 20 points and seven assists a game, so he felt like the two-point guard tandem would wreak havoc on the opposition in Augusta, S.C.
“It would’ve been tough!” Warren said.
But two weeks before Peach Jam commenced, Clark, a Kentucky commit, suffered a torn ACL during a workout and will be sidelined for at least the next six months.
“I was disappointed for sure,” Warren said. “I felt like that would’ve been a lot of fun to play together, but I knew it just meant I’d have to step up and do whatever it took to get the job done.”
Warren had some experience at the 17U level last year, but readily admitted the competition at Peach Jam is “way different” from what he experienced.
“It’s the best of the best here,” Warren said. “Every game is against an elite guard, but I love it this way. I put in a lot of work and I’m confident in my ability, so it’s just about learning and adjusting. The biggest differences are speed, quickness and strength.”
Last week in Nike EYBL play, Warren averaged 11.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game. His best game this week was a 16-point, seven-assist, six-rebound, three-assist outing in a win over Albany City Rocks (N.Y.) on Wednesday.
“My confidence is at an all-time high,” Warren said. “I had to make some adjustments, but that’s what the game is all about as you go up levels. I like to learn so this was a chance for me to get out there and figure it out. I think that’s the best way to grow. It felt great to qualify for Peach Jam last week, but now we want to win it.”
Last season at Central (Little Rock, Ark.), Warren averaged 27 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals a game and led the Tigers to their best record (23-5) since 2001. Warren shot 57.5% from the field and 43.6% from the 3-point line.
Auburn, Kansas, Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma State and others have been parked courtside at his games all week.
“It’s cool to have the coaches out, but it’s just basketball either way,” Warren said. “I’d go hard whether they’re there or not. Skyy was here with us last week and he was giving me pointers telling me to use my mid-range game more and things like that. He’s been a big help. I’m locked in and more confident than ever.”