Girls and boys teams, their families, support personnel, and N.B.A. scouts crowded into the bleacher seats, far more spectators than had watched James, who will be a high school junior this fall, play on Tuesday when mask wearing was more infrequent. Anthony and Jonathan Kuminga, an expected lottery pick in next week’s N.B.A. draft, sat courtside in seats apart from the bleachers. A security official went around the gym on Wednesday night, handing out masks and instructing spectators to wear them. In some other games on Wednesday, players were asked to wear masks when they were on the bench.
The 120,000-square foot recreation center could be even more packed on Friday when hundreds of men’s college coaches arrive for the final live recruiting weekend of the summer. (The N.B.A. permitted its scouts to attend Peach Jam on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — when college men’s coaches were not permitted — to get an early look at players who might be in the 2023 draft.)
Adidas and Under Armour have also sponsored youth basketball competitions this month, but those have been spread out at different sites over three weekends. The Adidas event concluded last weekend in Omaha and the Under Armour tournament near Indianapolis will finish this weekend. Nike instead squeezed its 2021 boys summer travel season into a two-week window.
As a result, Peach Jam, unlike the other tournaments, required players and coaches to submit coronavirus tests 72 hours before the event’s start and have been tested each day, according to several parents and players. According to a participant who requested anonymity because tournament directors told them not to speak to reporters, if a team is scheduled to play before 2 p.m., they are tested in the afternoon. If the game is set to be played after 2 p.m., the players are tested in the morning.
Filipowski, who had been one of the best players here, is one of four members of the New York Rens who were sidelined Wednesday because of positive tests, according to an official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the cases. Filipowski’s twin brother Matthew, a 7-foot-1 center, did play.
Starling’s father, Patrick, said his son tested positive for the virus on Monday and initially had a headache and fever. According to Patrick, none of J.J.’s teammates had tested positive. Isolating in his hotel room, the younger Starling streamed his team’s Wednesday game on his phone and his dad provided orange juice and flu medicines. Though J.J.’s feeling better, the Starlings may have to remain here until he can test negative in order to fly home. His next test was scheduled for Friday.
“He’s hurting by not being out here playing,” Patrick said. “He’s been waiting for two years to be able to compete here. All these players deserve to be here. It’s the biggest opportunity of all.”