- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NBA scouts probably didn’t come for L.J. Peak.

Over a dozen — three from the Los Angeles Lakers — watched Georgetown play No. 10 Kansas at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night. They likely traveled to Washington to observe the Jayhawks’ promising 17-year-old, Ukrainian swingman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.

Kansas forwards Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander, two of the top pro prospects in the nation, could also have been of interest.

Peak, a high school teammate of projected first overall pick Jahlil Okafor of Duke, isn’t on the NBA radar at this point. Or at least he wasn’t. The freshman forward scored 18 points in the Hoyas’ 75-70 loss to the Jayhawks.

Mykhailiuk, Oubre and Alexander combined for 14.

“L.J.’s definitely a hard-nosed cat,” said Oubre, who played on the same team as Peak in the Jordan Brand Classic high school showcase in April. “I love going against him because I know he’s going to compete every time he plays. And tonight, he just found his groove.”

Peak entered Wednesday’s action averaging 8.6 points per game as Georgetown’s third-leading scorer behind junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and senior center Joshua Smith. His scoring performance verses Kansas (7-1) was his second-highest of the season.

He dropped 23 points on St. Francis (N.Y.) in his college debut. Competent scoring performances of 10 and 12 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Robert Morris followed.

However, between then and Wednesday, he hadn’t eclipsed the double-digit scoring mark. Peak had shot 6-for-22 in Georgetown’s previous four games, including a combined 1-for-8 from the field in losses to No. 2 Wisconsin and Butler.

Those contests exposed his rawness. His effort against Kansas displayed his potential. He nailed three of his five 3-point attempts — after not sinking any in the previous three games, or more than one in a night all season.

Peak helped pick up the slack of the Hoyas’ leading scorer, Smith-Rivera, who finished the game with just 10 points on 3-for-15 shooting for Georgetown (5-3). He entered the showdown averaging 14.4 points per game and 18.5 points in his previous four, including 29 points versus Wisconsin.

He wasn’t permitted by the university to speak to reporters after the game, and Georgetown coach John Thompson III’s praise of the forward was measured.

“You know, I thought he was OK,” Thompson, clearly agitated, said. “L.J. … I thought he was OK.”

With two games left before Christmas — home contests against Radford and Charlotte — before facing Indiana in New York and beginning Big East play, Peak will have an opportunity to build off his impressive outing.

If Peak continues to score like he did on Wednesday, Kansas coach Bill Self said that Georgetown will be able to bounce back quickly.

“I think [the Hoyas are] good,” Self said. “You know, we got lucky because Smith-Rivera couldn’t make shots. But I think they have some nice pieces. I bet they have a big year if Peak can give them offensive production like that and give them a second perimeter scorer.”

• David Daniels can be reached at ddaniels@washingtontimes.com.

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