4931MOKANCelebration.JPG

MOKAN Elite players celebrate with peaches after their overtime victory in the 17U Peach Jam championship game.

Nike announced Saturday night that it is canceling the remainder of its Elite Youth Basketball League season, including North Augusta's Peach Jam.

"As we continue to navigate the evolving impact of COVID-19, we are cancelling the remainder of the 2020 EYBL season," read a statement posted to the Nike EYBL website. "This was not a decision taken lightly, but the health and safety of our athletes, families, fans and employees is our top priority. We look forward to bringing the EYBL back in 2021.

"We understand EYBL has provided a platform for intense competition, showcased some of the sport’s greatest talent, and gathered a strong community to celebrate their shared love for the game. To fill the void of play, we are creating an access-only, online portal of game footage for coaches, launching in June.

"The 2020 EYBL athletes will always be part of the EYBL family."

Peach Jam, the crown jewel of the Nike EYBL circuit, is one of youth basketball's most prestigious tournaments and has brought the game's best teenagers to North Augusta's Riverview Park Activities Center since 1996, when it debuted as the Nike Peach Basket Classic.

The tournament has consistently expanded and now includes 17U, E16 and E15 divisions. Policies, attendance, participation – even the venue itself – have all undergone massive upgrades over the last two-plus decades, as North Augusta has become the place to be in mid-July for basketball fans and college coaches.

That's all wiped out for this year, as Peach Jam and the rest of the EYBL circuit join the list of coronavirus-related cancellations.

Kyle Dawson covers sports for the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @ItsKyleDawson.