July 1, 2006

Arizona Skill Camp: Thoughts on Friday's action

Friday at the Lute Olson Advanced Skill and Development Camp had some entertaining sessions the players had an opportunity to work with the coaches in a nice learning atmosphere.

Here are some player evaluations and thoughts from day two:

  • Chase Budinger looks extremely relaxed in shooting drills. You can tell that his shooting ability is very natural, though he obviously puts a lot of work into it. He showed nice range and was the best player of the day, which was especially impressive because he probably did not even play up to his full capabilities.

  • Jeff Withey is extremely athletic and is a pleasure to watch in drills and during the pick-up games. He runs the court very well for a big man and is able to power it through when the situation calls for it. Needless to say, we were impressed.

  • Laval Lucas-Perry is certainly a good player. He is very good at handling the ball and you can tell that he has the ability to knock down a shot. The main problem with his shot is that he often does not get enough lift into it. The coaches recognized this and after bringing it to Perry's attention, he came out and hit three shots in a row. He is certainly one to watch as Arizona continues to recruit players at his position.

  • Luke Babbitt finished his day on a much better note than he did on Thursday night. He did not have a spectacular day but he was very solid and the coaches were full of compliments. He runs the court well and once again showed a nice ability to hit a long-range jumper.

  • Zane Johnson played better in the afternoon session. He had a rough morning and while his shot was not falling, the Arizona coaches had to be impressed with him. We have seen his shot fall before, so we are not bothered by the fact he simply was not hitting. Since he is fighting for a scholarship, we expect him to go out with a bang on Saturday.

  • Demar Derozan and Elston Turner played well, but were not spectacular. They did not really do much to stand out, but it is hard to ask a player to stand out every time they touch the ball, especially with the talent that was at the camp. We are still impressed with what we have seen these two days from the both of them.

    Derozan is fun to watch every time he touches the ball because as soon as he gets in the air, you know you are getting a show. Turner, on the other hand, is not as athletic but still continues to show off his strength on the ball and his ability to play defense as well as he plays offense.

  • The more we watch Jordan Hill, the more we think he can make an impact as a freshman. He is very raw but very aggressive in the way he goes to the basket. In fact, it could actually be a knock on him, in that it seems at times that he is playing too hard. Once he gets the correct coaching and settles into a role, he is going to be a good player at Arizona.

  • Nic Wise is going to really push for a major role on the Arizona team next season. He simply has shown that he will be too good to leave off the court. He is very crafty with the ball and seems as if he can't be bothered by opposing defenders. His shot was not falling during the pick-up games but the range and ability is certainly there.

  • Alex Jacobson played well on Friday. He is a much different player than what we are accustomed to seeing on the AAU circuit and he looked more comfortable in running drills. He was much more aggressive than we have seen him in the past and we liked what we saw from him on Friday.

  • Once again Jamelle Horne was impressive. It seems as if his jump shot gets better every time we see him. He showed a very nice ability to hit long-range jumpers in drills and he is easily one of the top few players at the camp.

  • It may have been a pickup game but Marcus Williams is simply amazing. It almost seems as if he does not miss and it looks as if he is working on adding to his offensive arsenal. One thing we have noticed during these past two days is that Williams seems to be more vocal and he may indeed be taking on that leadership role that he said he was looking forward to.

  • Lastly, the pickup games were once again a success. It is always a treat for fans to watch some of Arizona's best players of the past go up against the best current players and possibly future Wildcats. You could tell that the Arizona players were having fun, as evidenced by Andre Iguodala and Salim Stoudamire making cracks at each other throughout the games.

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