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July 9, 2003
Observations from the Nike Camp
Some of the Faces in the Crowd:
Coach Smith, Kentucky... Coach Self, Kansas... Coach K, Duke... Coach Boeheim, Syracuse... Coach Pittino, Louisville... Coach Sampson, Oklahoma... Coach Olsen, Arizona... Coach Montgomery, Stanford... Coach Brey... Notre Dame... Coach Sendek, N.C. State... Coach Prosser, Wake Forest... Coach Davis, Indiana
Player Analysis on Yesterdays Top Performers:
*** Desean White (Cardinal Dougherty H.S. Philadelphia, Penn.) 6-foot-6, 253-pound small forward
This rugged big bodied 2004 prospect can do a little bit of everything from leading the break to pounding the glass. He is an adept passer, and we love his mid-range pull up jump shot. There are few players at this camp who look as comfortable White banging in the lane and playing with finesse on the perimeter.
*** Charles Thomas (Lanier H.S. Jackson, Miss.) 6-foot-7, 220-pound small forward, No.85 in Rivals150
This versatile 2004 prospect, receiving interest from LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Oklahoma, was a scoring machine yesterday. One possession he would hit a three, the next possession he would post and score, later he would score on a put back, and then get loose in the open court for a 12-foot pull up jumper. He has a tremendous scorer's feel for the game, and really knows how to use his body for positioning.
*** Brian Johnson (Bishop O'Connell H.S. Glenarden, Md.) 6-foot-8, 238-pound center, No. 23 in Rivals150
This 2004 prospect, mulling over offers from North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Miami-FL, and UCLA, put on a low post clinic, scoring on an array of powerful back to the basket moves. He even stepped out to the three point line and knocked down a shot. Johnson possesses a potent combination of athleticism, skill, and desire for a big man, making him a threat anywhere within 20 feet of the basket.
*** Dion Dowell (Texas City H.S. Texas City, Texas) 6-foot-5, 184-pound shooting guard, No. 53 in Rivals150
This athletic Texas commitment was all over the floor, leading his team with both hustle and skill. He is outstanding in the open court both with the ball and running the wing, yet can play just as effectively in a half court game. He can shoot it from behind the arc, and has that rare combination of athleticism, size, and skill to make things happen inside the arc.
*** Charles Rhodes (Lanier H.S. Jackson, Miss.) 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward, No. 69 in Rivals150
This Mississippi State commitment is a scorer around the basket. Explosive enough to finish with dunks, he also can score with his back to the basket. He can also drive it to the basket, but he does not see the floor. His lack of court vision and shooting range limit his effectiveness away from the basket.
*** Al Horford (Grand Ledge H.S. Lansing, Mich.) 6-foot-8, 211-pound power forward, No. 119 in Rivals150
This 2004 prospect, considering offers from Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Rutgers, and Xavier, is an extremely strong back to the basket player. He effectively uses his big, long body to get an edge on his defender and then finishes. He is not, however, a good jumper, and he is a step slow. Lack of perimeter skills relegates his play to around the basket.
*** Greg Paulus (Christian Brothers Academy Manlius, N.Y.) 6-foot-1, 181-pound point guard
This 2005 prospect had every big time coach in the gym salivating as he thoroughly controlled his evening session game. His feel for the game and his court presence is truly special. Not only do his teammates enjoy playing with him, but it looked like even his opponents enjoyed being on the court with this savvy showman. An assist is an instant away when the ball is in his hands, and the ball is never safe if he is near it defensively. The only question about his game is his outside shot. We will scout him closely for an answer to this question.
*** Pierre Niles (Treadwell H.S. Memphis, Tenn.) 6-foot-6, 230-pound small forward
There is nothing small about the play of this 2006 prospect. Niles neither looks like a rising sophomore nor plays like a sophomore. With poise, he stroked shots from behind the arc and from within the arc. Possessing the body control to be a very special player, he is strong with the ball and can make the finesse pass.
*** Vernon Macklin (Norcom H.S. Portsmouth, Va.) 6-foot-9, 191-pound power forward
This wiry 2006 prospect is athletic and skilled with the ball. He needs to improve his outside shooting.
Back to Reality:
After solid showings Monday night, Nolan Richardson, III struggled yesterday, as did Florida commitment Corey Brewer, and super sophomore Greg Oden, Jr. Both Richardson and Brewer were overwhelmed by the physical strength of their opponents. Al Horford exposed Brewer's lack of strength by continuously pounding him for buckets in the low post. Horford then capped off his dominating performance by emphatically flushing one on Brewer.
Oden's problem yesterday was that he was lost on offense if he was not rebounding or dunking. Granted he is very good at these aspects of the game, but the strong competition limited his effectiveness in these areas. He is not an effective post up player in that he lacks back to the basket moves. This lack of skill leaves him standing and watch for long stretches, thus taking away his aggressive rebounding as well.
Dunk of the Day:
6-foot-2 Daniel Gibson, a Texas commitment and No. 11 ranked player on the Rivals150, woke up the gym with a thunderous slam on a hustling, yet extremely unfortunate 6-foot-9 Mohamed Tangara. Many in the gym were left wondering if they had ever seen a dunk of that magnitude. The gifted Gibson also demonstrated that he is more than a leaper by hitting some deep, clutch jumpers and extending his presence defensively.
Questions of the Day:
Can Indiana commitment Robert Vaden create his own shot off the dribble?
Can point guards Greg Paulus and Jordan Farmer, a UCLA commitment, shoot the ball from the perimeter?
Can Michigan State commitment Marquise Gray be effective in a half court game when he is not running and dunking?
Will athletic 2006 prospect Curtis Kelley from New York, New York develop the skill and toughness to be an impact player on the high major level?
Is Al Jefferson on the verge of demonstrating why he is the No. 1 center in the Rivals150?