July 8, 2006

Nike camp: Saturday's action

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Things are winding down at the Nike All-America camp and some guys just keep playing better and better. Some usual faces did what they do best while a couple of new faces took advantage of the opportunity that was before them.


Top dogs take big bite out of competition


Patrick Patterson, 2007 - Some things will never change. If it seems like every week during the summer, the term beast or warrior gets tossed around for the West Virginia native, it's because it's true. And for some reason, it doesn't hurt to keep reminding people. Patterson is one of the most coveted big guys in the country and a must see recruit for the likes of Florida, Kentucky, Duke, Wake Forest, etc, etc, etc. He brings out the head coaches and in the evening session, he gave them plenty to get excited about. Patterson's offense is coming along at a great pace and his offensive post play at Nike camp has been spectacular.

Jon Diebler, 2007 - Someone put his hand in an ice bucket. He had it dialed in, connecting on eight three-pointers. He just didn't miss as the rims were incredibly friendly on a couple of makes. Now, he isn't J.J. Redick but don't be surprised to see Diebler put up some crazy numbers from the perimeter when he gets to Ohio State. With so many guys demanding attention in Columbus, Diebler will have plenty of open looks to knock down the long ball.

Kosta Koufos, 2007 - One of the ways Diebler finds open looks is because of guys like Koufos. The 7-footer is a rare breed. He has mammoth size but he also has guard skills when it comes to shooting. There hasn't been a soul here that gives him fits when matched up one on one. He's taking it to people and leaving them in awe or frustration.

Adam Allen, 2007 - "So he's committed to Florida, huh? (Enter explicative here.)" That seemed to be the comment on coach's row after watching the hardwood warrior play. Needless to say, he would be a highly recruited kid if he was still open.

Keep in mind he is coming off a horrible high ankle sprain he suffered at the Tournament of Champions in May. After driving hard to the hole, he stepped on a defender's foot and went hard to the ground wincing in obvious pain. It was not a pretty site. A quick layover on the bench, Allen came right back in the game and played like he didn't miss a beat. Chopping wood in the humid heat in the Florida panhandle can teach a kid something about toughness. He took an offensive charge from Patrick Patterson shortly after hurting his foot. Allen was hitting buckets, running the floor and even showing off great athleticism. Needless to say, Florida has a guy that is ready to come into the SEC battled tested.

Solomon Alabi, 2007 - Alex Jacobsen tried. So did Bawa Maniru. Neither one of the centers could figure out who to stop the Montverde big man. Alabi backed Jacobsen down from 15 feet and did a pretty move to the basket and kissed it off the backboard for two. When Maniru, an Alabi in the making, tried to defend his elder center but had little luck doing it. Alabi just gets better by the game. This is his final summer showing and he is leaving the summer on a high note.

Corperryale Harris, 2007 - Anytime a skinny 6-foot-3 guard can get up and dunk on a sprawling center who is cheating 7-feet (Alabi), you tend to notice. But even after Harris's aerial assault on Alabi, he came back and buried back to back three-pointers.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning, 2007 - When the game is moving at a quick pace and players are filling the lanes, he is at his best. The future Washington Husky runs the floor better than most big guys and t 6-foot-8 and a freakish 7-foot-3 wingspan, the Englishman can do a lot of things because of his physical and athletic traits. He gets better each time out and when he gets to Washington, he is only going to get better.

Tyreke Evans, 2008 - A bum ankle has slowed him down a step while he played and the injury has even shelved him on Saturday. When he has played, he found ways to be effective like the great ones tend to do. He played well in two days of action, connecting on several tear drop jumpers. His trademark first step wasn't at its best, understandably so. His best games are later in the month. Now regulated to street clothes and playing cheerleader, Evans remained upbeat about his situation. On the recruiting front, Evans said North Carolina, UConn, Villanova, Louisville, Texas and Virginia are on him.

Pick a Chris Wright and you'll get rave reviews. The Dayton bound Chris Wright is in another dimension when it comes to athleticism and he has the top 10 dunks of the camp all by himself. If there is a burst of cheering, it usually started wherever Wright was playing. D.C. area guard Chris Wright mixed scoring and distribution the way point guards should do it. He played a complete game and looked like a guy that wants to get better each time out.

Keenan Ellis, 2007 - Saturday has been his best of day of action. He's been the brunt of a lot of criticism in the past because he doesn't always play hard and attitude and off the court issues. Putting all of that aside, Ellis was a good citizen on the court and not a bad basketball either. Offensively, he had it working with turnaround shots he kissed off the glass. He altered the game because of his freakish length and he encouraged teammates throughout the game.


Youth movement


DeMarcus Cousins, 2009 - Another day, another good showing. Once glance at the Alabama kid and you'll tell yourself he's a pure post player. Why not? He has a long, athletic body and should battle on the blocks every possession. Not so much. Cousins has shown an ability to knock down the perimeter shot, even consistently from three-point land. When you talk about the top players in the class of 2009, Cousins is a good place to start.

Brandon Knight, 2010 - For a kid that has yet to play his first high school basketball game, the 6-foot-4 guard from Pine Crest High School in Coral Springs, Fla., sure does have a mature game. He had his best game of the camp on Saturday night and shined as a passer but showed also made perimeter buckets in the second half. He has size, patience and time on his side. For his first major outing, Knight played himself onto the watch list for a host of people.

David Wear and Travis Wear, 2009 - When Taylor King leaves Mater Dei for Duke, the 6-foot-9 twins are going to step right in to the big wing that can flat out shoot the ball role. Heck, they might even do that this year. The Californians have played well at Nike and have shown just enough to make the high-majors from coast to coast to think "We gotta get those guys" but not publicly say it. The talent is there and the Wears seem to know how much better they are going to get. Travis said he and his brother are "a done deal" to play together in college. It looks like UCLA and Arizona are the major players in the early stages.


Hi, my name is…


Jordan DeMercy, 2007 - Day three was his best day. And it came a good time, too. The Norcross (Ga.) HS wing forward had the fun task of matching up with Kyle Singler. Why not save your best against the best? DeMercy blew by Singler with the dribble and went right to the rack for a two hand flush in traffic. Two possessions later he buried a three pointer, something coaches wanted to witness from his game. Two plays after that, DeMercy went back to the rim for an athletic score. Defensively, he gave Singler some trouble, too. Murray State and Arkansas State are his only offers. Toledo, East Carolina, Ole Miss and UAB lined up first. Give it a week or two. His list is about to change. Count on that.

Brandon McGee, 2007 - Okay, so he isn't a guy that is new on the scene. But it is fair to say that he has laid somewhat low since shining in April. Here at the All-American camp, the Chicago area forward is showing that his small forward skills are coming along at a nice pace. He has a comfortable looking jumper that has been consistent but also doing the dirty work around the cup as a four man. Quietly, the high-majors are moving in on him hard. McGee said he is hearing the most from UConn, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Iowa and DePaul.

Mustapha Farrakhan, 2007 - Here is a guy that should see his recruitment take on a lot of interest after the Nike camp. He played well enough at the NBA Players Association camp to draw big crowd of coaches and he'll hit a couple of shots along the way to make coaches want to dig a little deeper on him. Farrakhan said he has interest from Stanford, Oregon, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State and Indiana State but not an offer from any of them.


School lists


Kamyron Brown, 2007 - The Mater Dei floor general told us he has a top three - Oregon, Arizona and Washington. The visits will play a big part in his decision, he said, but nothing is set up on the visit front. That comes after the summer.

Mike Singletary, 2007 - For three straight years, Singletary has made his way from Kingwood, Texas to Indy for the Nike camp. The summer basketball veteran knows the ropes on the court here and in the media room. He was quick to give us his top five of Oklahoma, LSU, Texas A&M, Wake Forest and Texas. He said all but OU and Wake have offered.

Lavoris Weathers, 2007 - Making the transition from power forward to the wing is always interesting to watch. The 6-foot-5 Mississippi native has a power player's body and will do a good thing here and there down low. Whether or not he is a wing remains to be seen. Weathers has offers from UAB, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State while Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Illinois and DePaul are all showing interest, he says.

Aaron Johnson, 2007 - He's hungry for a Peach Jam title next week. Why not? His Illinois Warriors won the Real Deal on the Hill in large part to his play. As one of the smallest guys here (5-7), Johnson has utilized his speed to get to the basket and distribute the ball. Putting the size aside, he's not a bad mid-major prospect. Johnson said he has offers from UAB, Evansville, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Stony Brook, Lehigh and High Point while Wyoming and Fairfield are also keeping close watch.

Nate Miles, 2008 - We think he looks and plays like Rip Hamilton. He says he looks and plays like Francisco Garcia. Whoever the player, Miles is a guy that is long, athletic and a smooth shooter like the two pros. After missing a good part of the spring AAU session, Miles has picked his moments to shine at the camp. He said he has plenty more in the tank and is looking forward to the Peach Jam next week when he suits up for Team Texas. Miles said he Texas, Oklahoma State, Georgetown, Indiana and Kansas are some of the several schools recruiting him.

Jason Washburn, 2008 - Put his name on the big guys to watch in the junior class list. The 6-foot-10, 194-pound center from Battle Creek (Mich.) High School is an intriguing kid to watch in action. He's thin but he plays hard and tough around the cup. His footwork is strong and it appears as if the high-majors are keeping close watch. Michigan State (offer), Michigan (offer), Connecticut, Indiana, Miami and Florida are watching him, he said.

Clarence Trent, 2008 - The high flyer from Washington said his recruitment involves Gonzaga, Louisville, Arizona and Illinois. All four programs have been keeping close tabs on the 6-foot-6 wing from day one.

Danaris Robinson, 2008 - He came into the camp, beaming with confidence because of a good showing at the Nike Hoop Jamboree. He's since cooled down but he has turned the first page in his progression. His recruitment is progressing, too. In the last month, he said he has heard from Cincinnati, Kansas, Wake Forest, Clemson, USC and Florida.

Willie Warren, 2008 - For a guy that has missed the AAU scene since March because of an injured back, Warren looked pretty good. His back wasn't too shabby either. The North Crowley (Texas) product flied high in the air for an alley-oop that was tossed too far behind his head but grabbed the pass and thundered it home off of a ridiculously high vertical leap. He's still a bit rusty but showing flashes of why the likes of Florida, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Georgia and George Washington are showing interest. Warren said he's really high on Kansas State right now.

Chandler Parsons, 2007 - Before the camp, Parsons thought he was getting close to making a decision between Arizona State and Miami. His reasoning? He visited both schools and liked what each had to offer. But then rethought his decision and says he'd like to visit Virginia Tech and Wisconsin first. South Florida rounds out his top five. He's been on USF's campus so much, he could be a tour guide to incoming freshmen.

Michael Dunigan, 2008 - The Chicago big man said he is holding offers from Illinois, Wisconsin and DePaul while Iowa, Purdue and Wisconsin are keeping tabs.


Odds & Ends


For Big Ten observers, the match-up of Durrell Summers and E'Twaun Moore was a dandy one. Summers, the Michigan State commitment, and Moore, perhaps the most coveted guard by the conference schools, traded buckets in a highly competitive game.

Summers only missed two or three shots all game. Part of the reason was his high percentage shots. Summers slashed to the basket and scored with a couple of thundering dunks. The part that makes him such a great athlete is his superb body control. Summers absorbs the contact and just seems to hang in the air when bumped. He'll need to continue to improve on his defensive pressure and perimeter game but he showed that he can do both in spurts.

Moore was scoring off the dribble and creating plenty of opportunities to score the ball. He came up with big buckets at the end of the game and continued his great run here in Indy.



 

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