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June 28, 2006

Emerging talents at the NBPA

The absence of some of nation's elite prospects at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp opened the door even more for some of the lesser-known prospects to grab the spotlight.

Rivals.com National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer had his eye on five emerging talents who showed improvement or potential at the camp. Here is a breakdown of each performance.

Karron Johnson, Richmond (Va.) Patterson School
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-7
Tourney PPG: 10.2
As only a 2009 prospect, Karron Johnson was one of the better prospects regardless of class at the NBA Players Camp.

Well built and athletic, Johnson was able to create scoring opportunities off the dribble with a quick first step and a solid crossover dribble. He finished off the dribble and also scored by posting up and making shots off the catch from behind the arc.

Defensively, he is capable of guarding post players and small forwards, and he is an aggressive rebounder.

A combo player with size and mobility, Johnson has the makings of an elite prospect.

Devin Ebanks, Queens (N.Y.) Patterson
Position: Small forward
Height: 6-foot-7
Tourney PPG: 9
Far from an unknown commodity as a 2007 prospect, Devin Ebanks, who is set to reclassify to 2008, displayed a versatile game that could position him as a five-star prospect.

Known more for his offensive play, the lanky wing was solid defensively throughout the camp, proving very difficult to score over. He guarded positions from the point guard to the power forward, keeping the guards in front of him and holding his own on the boards against bigger players.

Offensively, he handled the ball well and made positive plays in the open court while on the break. A constant match up problem, Ebanks shot the three over smaller defenders and also bigger defenders who gave him too much room. When crowded, he slashed to the basket.

Clint Chapman, Canby (Ore.)
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-10
Tourney PPG: 10
Clint Chapman has had the regional attention of Pac-10 schools, but at the NBA Players Camp, he proved his worth as a national prospect.

Finishing in the top 15 in scoring, Chapman has the sure hands and agile feet of a post player who can score with his back to the basket going to either shoulder. He also picked up points in transition and by stepping out and knocking down three-pointers. A confident offensive player, Chapman was poised with the basketball in his hands.

Whereas a lot of post players are further ahead defensively than offensively, Chapman is the opposite. As more of a finesse player, Chapman must develop his strength and become a more aggressive defender to avoid trading points like he did with DeJuan Blair in their match up.

Dashan Harris, Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Academy
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-foot-0
Tourney PPG: 5.3
No one wanted to bring the ball up the court against 2008 point guard prospect Dashan Harris.

By far the top on-the-ball defender at the camp, Harris forced guards like Kalin Lucas and Senario Hillman into multiple miscues with his pressure defense.

Offensively, Harris did a fine job setting up top scorers Corey Stokes and Nic Calathes off his quick and heady handling of the basketball. Although he was playing to pass first, Harris was also able to average a consistent 5.3 points per game, placing him right in the middle of all scorers.

In this area of score first guards, it was quite refreshing to watch a defensive oriented, pass first guard have such a significant impact on the game.

J.T. Thompson, Union County (N.C.) Forrest Hills
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-6
Tourney PPG: 10.5
Whether a small forward or power forward, J.T. Thompson produced at the NBA Players Camp.

The probable 2008 prospect finished as the seventh leading scorer, using his quick leaping ability to make up for any size deficiency around the basket. Thompson scored both on post up move and by attacking the basket on the dribble in the half court. A strong finisher, he also scored in transition.

Defensively, he is capable of guarding either forward position, and he is a formidable defensive rebounder.

Already a solid prospect as an undersized power player, Thompson is also making strides as a ball handler and perimeter scorer.

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