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July 2, 2007

NBPA Camp top performers: Top 5

The National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp is over, and five prospects played their way into the spotlight with tremendous showings in Charlottesville, Va.

It shouldn't come as a big surprise that the elite performers are all five-star players.

Rivals.com's Justin Young breaks it all down in this look back at the camp.

NBPA Top 100 camp top performers: Top 5
No. 1 Elliot Williams, SG/PG, Memphis (Tenn.) St. George's School
11.9 points per game (4th in camp)

There were times when Williams was simply unguardable en route to the basket. He was too strong, too quick and too elusive to stop. He took advantage of his skills by attacking the basket time and again.

Williams, an athletic 6-foot-4 player, shined at both guard positions and protected the ball well. Offensively, he scores at all levels. When he is matched up against point guards, Williams uses his size to his advantage. When bigger wings defend him, Williams blows by them with the dribble and scores inside.

He can score points in a hurry, but doesn't do it in a fashion where he looks like he's trying to do too much. The five-star guard has the total package in the backcourt, and has certainly earned a spot for himself in the postseason all-star games with strong performances – like this one – on the travel circuit.

No. 2 Samardo Samuels, C, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's High School
11.3 points per game (6th in camp)

Use any cliché you'd like for the way Samuels played down low. They all work. Every bit the blue collar guy, the five-star big man took full advantage of having his jersey laundered after every game. Samuels simply wore down defenders and muscled through any defensive pressure that came his way.

Samuels has good strength in his hands and a soft touch around the rim. On the final day of the camp, the future Louisville big man dominated B.J. Mullens, an Ohio State bound center. Samuels used his quickness to repeatedly get to the basket.

Coming off a commitment to Rick Pitino, Samuels could have easily mailed it in and coasted through the camp. However, that isn't his style. Samuels put his mark on the camp with a great week of work.

No. 3 Tyler Zeller, C, Washington (Ind.) High School
11.8 points per game (5th in camp)

Due to prior obligations at home in Indiana, Zeller showed up a day late to camp. Odds are the rest of the big men in Charlottesville would not have protested if Zeller cancelled his trip entirely. The five-star center was outstanding in his abbreviated time at the NBPA camp. He wasted little time in showing he is an elite prospect at his position.

Zeller had little problems in his matchups. Two things really shined through for Zeller. One, he has incredible hands. He seemed to catch everything that was tossed his way, regardless of speed or accuracy. Two, he sprints the floor like a guard. There isn't a center that can get up the floor quite like Zeller.

The big man continues to impress with his play, and he's doing a great job of earning a spot in the upper echelon of rankings for the class of 2008. Zeller has made a strong case for a spot at the top of the center rankings.

No. 4 Brandon Jennings, PG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Oak Hill Academy
13.5 points per game (1st in camp)

Jennings dominated games with his sprinter speed and creativity with the ball.

Jennings was the quickest player with the ball in the camp and was probably the quickest player - present or future - that was on Virginia's campus. That includes Sean Singletary and a host of former NBA players that worked the camp.

Jennings, an Arizona commitment, shined in one-on-one settings. He did his best work around the basket, despite his thin 165-pound frame. Jennings does a fine job of working the offensive boards. As a distributor, he was outstanding when he penetrated and made simple passes to cutting teammates for scores.

No. 5 Derrick Favors, PF South Atlanta (Ga.) High School
10.7 points per game (9th in camp)

He might have been one of the youngest players in the camp, but he certainly didn't play like it. The long and athletic prospect from Atlanta was very productive around the rim.

He scored with both hands on the inside. If official stats were kept for field-goal percentage, odds are he would have been in the 75 percent range for the week. On the offensive glass, Favors did a good job of boxing out opponents in order to grab loose balls and put them back in for two easy points.

Favors is becoming a shut-down defender in the post. He has taken on the best and frustrated the best. Favors may have an even-keeled demeanor on the floor, but he plays with a high-motor and does not get intimidated.

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