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Peach Jam's impact bigger than ever, but changes could be on the horizon

(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 11, 2018 at 10:55 PM EDT
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Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 / News 12 at 11 o'clock

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Today, thousands of new faces and the nation's top high school basketball players arrived to kick off a week of hoops.and that impact means big bucks.

In the CSRA, the Masters is king. But in second place it's--Nike's Peach Jam.

"It's sports tourism at its finest. It's families, parents, fans, athletes, all who aren't from this area, coming here to compete," said Michelle Naval, a senior community coordinator with the Augusta Sports Council.

Naval says--from an economic perspective--the direct impact is huge.

"It's about four point one million dollars from this five day tournament...that's everything from transportation, food, lodging, extra expenses that they spend and put back into our community," she explained.

One of those players who isn't from around here is Davonte Davis with Woodz Elite form Arkansas. His team placed second here last year.

"It's actually pretty fantastic," said Davis. "It's big--a different environment than where we're from."

Davis told News 12 his team stays nearby, and that they always enjoy coming to North Augusta.

"A lot of kids don't get the opportunity that we do now--so we're going to take it in and take this opportunity...and show our talent," he said.

When asked about today's news that the Commission of College Basketball is thinking about preventing recruiting at tournaments like this one in the future, both Navar and Davis say--that wouldn't be the play to draw up here.

"It will affect the kids. I mean, we need them to come and watch us play and things like that," Davis said.

"If they're coming to a tournament that doesn't have coaches--that's a negative effect," said Navar.

For many players who don't get invited to camps--Davis says this exposure is crucial for their college prospects.

Navar also adds the area could lose players--and money. With two new gyms in north Augusta--that's something they don't want to happen.