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July 7, 2005TEANECK, N.J. - There is an underclassmen feel to the first day of the Reebok ABCD camp. Guys like Alex Legion came to play while Taylor King did his thing and a host of new names emerged onto the national scene. Come inside this part two look from our coverage from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Legion of talent
One of the reasons why college coaches love Wayne Ellington so much is because of his smooth approach to the game, his ability to score from anywhere on the floor and because he rarely turns the ball over. Since UNC nabbed him in the spring, they can now shift gears and start recruiting a player with the same kind of capabilities in Michigan's Alex Legion.
The five-star prospect from the class of 2007 was hearing Ray Allen comparisons after the game and while most comparisons to NBA players are unjust to high schoolers, that one may be right on the money. Legion can score in a variety of ways, including a soft touch from the wing.
On one play, he came down the floor spun around his defender, did a step back dribble and knocked down a jumper off the glass. On another possession, Legion powered his way to the baseline only to stop on a dime and drilled a fade away pull up. He had 16 points in an afternoon session and showed that he is one of the elite two guards in the country.
"I'm just trying to get a feel for the ball on offense and come off picks on the defensive end of the floor so my man isn't hurting us," Legion said. "I'm playing hard and having fun."
On the recruiting front, it's not a big surprise to see the nation's elite programs on his list. He's holding offers from the two state schools Michigan and Michigan State as well as Illinois, he said. UCLA, Kansas, Connecticut, Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina round out his top nine.
"I can just see myself in that style of play at all of those programs," Legion said. "I'm not all that concerned with who is watching me (here at the camp). I'd rather just play hard and showcase my skills instead."
Well done young fella. They are noticing.
Other top performers
He's not going to win a dunk contest or be a guy that crosses people over, but Taylor King is a player that will win ball games, shoot from all spots on the floor and rebound the basketball. The former UCLA early commit always plays well in Teaneck and he's picked up where he left off over the last two summers. Against a frontline of 6-10 Phillip Jones and 6-9 Derrick Caracter, King pulled down eight boards. And against a team featuring 6-9 Bryan Davis and two other 6-9 forwards, King secured eight boards to go along with his 18 points.
Oklahoma fans are going to love Scotty Reynolds. The point guard can score with the best of them but he's starting to show he's just as good of a leader and rally man, too. Down by a dozen, Reynolds made sure his teammates knew what they needed to do, particularly on the defensive end, and came from behind for a victory. He and fellow OU recruit Damion James are combining for 30.5 points a game in the first two sessions.
Who is that kid? That was a common question when watching player number 138. At 6-foot-8, he's handling the ball, playing the point, rebounding, scoring from the wing and knocking down free throws. He's every bit a high major. The player? It was shorthaired Earl Clark minus his trademark cornrows.
Seth Tarver said Arizona, Oregon State and Miami remain as the schools he hears from the most and Connecticut is beginning to turn up the heat of late. Once the July period ends, the Portland, Oregon native said he'll start making plans for visits.
With his high school and AAU teammate making his college destination known on Thursday, DeSean Butler is sitting back and letting the recruiting process come to him. With offers from West Virginia, DePaul, Seton Hall and Rutgers and interest from Georgetown, Butler said he'd like to get out and make some visits this summer. He said West Virginia, Georgetown and DePaul are the three he'd like to trip to because he's already seen his other options.
St. John's assistant coach Fred Quartlebaum had a little smile on his face Wednesday. He should. The Red Storm landed one heck of a point guard in Doug Wiggins. The Connecticut native is incredibly quick, a true playmaker and one crafty of a scorer. In fact, he might just be one of the top floor generals in the nation.
Oh so young, oh so talented
With the big names having big games, there have been a couple of guys that emerged on the national radar especially in the younger classes. Take these guys for example:
Zach Graham, a 6-foot-5 small forward from Duluth, Ga., shined in the early morning session of games by scoring at will, playing sound defense and using his good size to snatch rebounds and deter shots. The class of 2007 product scored 15 points and stepped out and knocked down a three, something he's been steadily improving on.
The backcourt at New York's Bishop Loughlin has a bright future. With 2009 stud Lance Stevenson and 2008 point guard Darius Gabriel hold down the two spots, life is good.
Gabriel played much older than his grade and showed that he knows how to run a team by distributing the ball - evident by his camp leading six assists per game average - and the ability to grab rebounds amongst the big boys inside. This kid loves to run the pick and roll, too. He and Tom Herzog worked together on one play. Then it was Phil Nelson and Rob Thomas.
As good as he is as a set up man, Gabriel is a scorer, too. He can shoot it and sometimes he shoots it a little too much but with time, his game will mature and his decision making, which is already pretty good, will improve as well.
"I'm working on crashing the boards, playing defense and scoring the ball here. I'm trying to get my name on the map," Las Vegas prospect Billy White said. "I think I've been doing really good actually."
He has. The 6-foot-7 small forward from Green Valley High School is an intriguing prospect. He can really shoot the ball and picks his moments to shine. Still a bit of a sleeper, his school list is impressive. Arizona, Louisville, New Mexico State, Michigan and Texas Tech have all shown an interest early on.
California is always rich with talent and 2008 big man Drew Gordon will likely be one of the most recruited bigs from the West Coast in his class. The power forward from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose has the size, athletic ability, soft hands and nose for the boards. He runs the floor, fills the lanes and gets big in the post. Playing with the Oakland Soldiers, he'll be one to watch at the Big Time in Vegas. Gordon said he's already hearing from the majority of the Pac-10 as well as North Carolina and Florida.
Fort Wayne, Indiana native Eshaunte Jones said UCLA, Louisville, Miami and Kansas are recruiting him the hardest so far. The 6-foot-4 point guard from the class of 2007 is only getting better.
All stats are after two games played.
1. O.J. Mayo 19.5
2. Corey Stokes 18
3. Damion James 17
4. Paul Harris 16.5
5. Isaiah Thomas 14.5
1. Greg Oden 9
2. George Fotso 8.5
3. Kevin Love 8
3. Taylor King 8
3. Herb Pope 8
1. Darius Gabriel 6
1. O.J. Mayo 6
2. Brockieth Pane 5
3. Isaiah Thomas 4.5
3. Mike Conley 4.5