Three more games were played today, one a consolation game between the two losers from last night, and two in the nightcap, introducing the last four teams that we had not seen yet. There is very little question at this point that the pullout of 17 of the top prospects hurt the depth of this camp, even if there were still a decent amount of solid performers today, from at least a handful of players that will play in the NBA sooner or later.
It was nice to see that some of those performances came from players that were last-minute additions to the camp, showing the depth of this years senior class, which was lauded upon arrival for being one of the best high school classes ever four years ago.
The gym was still absolutely packed with NBA scouts, executives and general managers, as well as a ton of agents, meaning that an interesting conversation was never far away if anyone needed to take a moment to step away from the at-times rough action happening on the court. The networking opportunities alone makes this a very worthwhile trip, and weve definitely learned a great deal about this years draft class just from listening to the many experts that were all around us at all times.
All the players in attendance were measured upon arrival, and from conversations we had throughout the day, we were able to hear about some of the more interesting figures that came out of there. The longest wingspan of the camp belonged to Drexels Frank Elegar, a whopping 7-4 on a 6-9 ½, 215 pound frame. Arkansas Steven Hill also measured out extremely long, at a shade under 7-4 to go along with his 7-0 height and 230 pound frame. Ohio States Othella Hunter wasnt very tall at 6-8 ½, but his 7-2 ¾ wingspan more than makes up for that. Bryant Dunston at 7-3 (6-8 in shoes), Patrick Ewing at 7-0 ½ (6-8 ½ in shoes) and Gary Forbers at 6-11 (6-6 ½ in shoes) were also notable. No one measured much shorter than expectedPat Calathes is 6-10 ½ with an equal sized wingspan, Bo McCalebb is 5-11 ½ with a 6-2 wingspan, Reggie Williams is 6-5 ½ with a 6-9 ½ wingspan, Mark Tyndale is 6-5 with a 6-10 ½ wingspan, Mike Green is 6-2 with a 6-6 wingspan, Chris Lofton is 6-2 with a 6-3 wingspan, Josh Duncan is 6-9 ½ with a 7-foot wingspan, and Charles Rhodes is 6-9 with a 7-foot wingspan.
Day Two Standouts
In the first game of todays action, the losing teams from yesterdays two games faced off, with Charles Rhodes being one of the major draws. Unfortunately for Rhodes, he didnt start off the game playing with the same effectiveness he did yesterday, as he frequently ventured out of his comfort zone, dribbling more than hes accustomed to and forcing some very tough shots. He came back to earth in the second half, sticking with his bread-and-butter of one or two dribble face-up moves from 15 feet and in, and finished with a solid 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Rhodes teammate, Bo McCalebb, also didnt have the best second day, struggling to go 3-for-12 from the field, even though he showed a lot of encouraging signs. He showed nice changes of speed and direction on his dribble drives, and mixed in some nice explosive ability, but he struggles to make use of them on some of his more complicated sequences of moves, often getting deep in the paint into awkward positions where he isnt able to take advantage of his athletic abilities. While not a point guard, he showed some nice drive-and-dish plays here today, even though they werent always converted for assists. He also played very tough defense for the second day in a row, getting up in his mans face and showing good hands to pick off passes, getting him 3 steals on the game.
Brian Roberts showed off his credentials as a lights out shooter both from beyond the arc and from mid-range with his picture perfect stroke, only needing a glimmer of daylight to get his shot off, particularly when players dared go underneath screens. He creates separation from his man in the blink of an eye, which is an excellent skill to have, even if the other parts of his game looked like they still need refinement. He had 15 points, 5 assists and just 1 turnover.
On the winners side, Jiri Hubalek seemed to come down to earth a bit after his career-night 27 points yesterday, coming up with 9 points to go along with 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks on 4-8 shooting. He once again showed off his very nice looking stroke, complete with a high release point and excellent range, and also looked to be competing very hard once again. Its more evident though why he struggled the way he did at times in college, though, as his feel for the game and fundamentals clearly arent the best youll find here, and he at times looks wild with the shots he takes or the passes and plays he tries to execute. Hes a solid player at nearly 7-feet (although with a limited 6-10 wingspan), and could definitely have a nice career in Europe from what we can tell.
Othello Hunter had his second straight double-double, with 18 points and 10 rebounds (and 3 blocks) on 6-9 shooting and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. His skill level is clearly limited (particularly his footwork and mid-range jumper), but he finds a way to be productive thanks to his terrific combination of athleticism and length, along with his very high activity level, which goes a long way in this setting. He did a solid job running the floor, cutting to the basket, crashing the offensive glass and doing other little things to help his team out. Hes a guy that could be interesting to keep tabs on in the next few years, particularly if he finds a way to continue to add weight to his skinny 220 pound frame. He definitely still has plenty of upside left to tap into.
Gavin Grant, while not blowing anyone away, has shown flashes of ability that at the very least should making him a potential invite for the Orlando pre-draft camp. Grant scored 15 points on 3-7 shooting from the field and 9-10 shooting from the free throw line, while showing off some of his intriguing athleticism and versatility. His advanced scoring instincts for his size, along with his aggressiveness on offense got him into the lane where he was able to draw contact and fouls against defenders. The mid-range game was where Grant showed some nice promise though, hitting a couple of very smooth pull up jumpers from 15 feet out. His handles were a little sloppy, and will certainly be an area he needs to focus on in the upcoming weeks. Defensively he did not really stand out.
In the second game, we got a look at a new crop of players, headlined by Patrick Ewing Jr. Ewing played his trademark tough defense throughout, getting a lot of weak side shot blocks and steals in man-to-man situations, using his athleticism and anticipation skills well. On the offensive end, he hit one three-pointer, but didnt show much with his ball-handling skills, looking sloppy on some occasions, but also making good use of a few short dribble drives where he demonstrated his explosiveness. He showed more potential than most players here, and dropped some glimpses at times of being a better player than we were able to see at Georgetown. Hes someone to keep an eye on in coming games.
Joe Crawford was another of the better prospects in this game, particularly in the first half, which he lit up for 16 points on sparkling shooting. He showed a strong scorers mentality by taking the ball to the basket well going left or right for some strong finishes (with contact) or a pretty floater, and knocked down a number of shots pulling up from mid-range or beyond the arc. At times he appeared to be forcing the issue in the second half, finishing the game with 19 points on 6-14 shooting. Showing more of an all-around game in his next two outings would probably be beneficial.
Brian Butch did his thing on the pick and pop and finishing inside, to the tune of 17 points and 7 rebounds. Nothing he does is particularly graceful, but he looked very effective, especially with his perimeter stroke.
Mykal Riley is someone who had a good game here today, scoring 15 points with 4 assists and 3 rebounds, doing a little of everything for his team. He hit three threes, but also showed off some slashing moves he isnt that well known for, and played aggressive defense, showing good hands on occasion.
In the third game, Longar Longar stood out, looking more athletic than many previous thought he was, according to scouts we spoke with. His athleticism was evident, as almost every positive contribution he made was solely based on it, be it his four emphatic dunks or his four impressive weak side blocks. In terms of fundamental skills, he struggled with any back-to-the-basket moves he attempted. He was wise to stick to his bread and butterthe things that may get him in the league, but wed like to see some better rebounding in the next game.
Chris Lofton struggled in his first game here, forcing some tough shots inside and outside the arc, and not having much success in the early going. He heated up late in the game, hitting a three-pointer and a nice lefty finger roll, but didnt look very good overall, finishing with 12 points on 12 shot attempts.