LeBron James Skills Academy Day Two

LeBron James Skills Academy Day Two
Jul 07, 2007, 11:33 pm
DraftExpress was on hand to cover Day Two of the LeBron James Skills Academy Camp, where many of the nation’s top high school and college players were in attendance. Top collegians Tywon Lawson, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, and Hasheem Thabeet joined high school studs Greg Monroe, Samardo Samuels, Tyreke Evans, Demar DeRozan, and new kid on the block John Riek. DraftExpress was on hand to provide detailed reports on all of the best prospects in attendance.

Top College Prospects In Attendance

As Nike does each year, they have brought many of the nation’s top returning collegiate prospects to the camp, allowing them to scrimmage against each other and perform drills in front of the abundance of NBA scouts in attendance. This year the players in attendance are Tywon Lawson, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Semih Erden, Hasheem Thabeet, Taj Gibson, Jeremy Pargo, Courtney Lee, Will Daniels, Sean Singletary, Patrick Christopher, Drew Lavender, Wesley Matthews, Drew Neitzel, Shaun Pruitt, Scottie Reynolds, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Jason Thompson.

DraftExpress will be on hand to evaluate these college stars over the next two days as they put their skills on display for NBA scouts and opposing collegiate coaches alike at the University of Akron.

High School Prospects Of Interest

Samardo Samuels, 6’9, 270 lbs., Power Forward, 2008, Louisville commit

Samuels showed off a much more toned frame from the last time we saw him in the spring, as he now owns a body eerily reminiscent of current Atlanta Hawk draftee Al Horford. He uses his body and length on both ends of the floor to completely change the game. The Louisville recruit’s long arms and strong lower body proved to be too much for opposing big men Saturday, as he was able to obtain whatever position he wanted on either end of the floor. If Samardo is able to keep up his overpowering style of play and improve his face the basket game, he is surely a player who will be an immediate candidate for going one and done after his first season for the Cardinals.

John Riek, 7’1, 222 lbs., Center, 2009

The next big thing to emerge out of the Sudan was put on center stage in Akron, as 7’1 junior John Reik put his stuff on display. He is one of the most freakishly long players that I have ever seen, owing a wingspan measured between 7’6 and 7’8, depending on whom you are talking to. He runs the floor very well and has touch that is uncommon for your typical raw, African big man. Defensively is where he is at his best, possessing good rebounding skills and doing an excellent job of keeping the ball high and utilizing his massive height. As far as shot blocking is concerned, John showed off outstanding timing, blocking at least five shots, while rarely committing any fouls.

By no means is anyone calling Riek anywhere near a finished prospect, as he still has a long ways to go on the offensive end of the floor. However, his defensive prowess has certainly allowed him to emerge as one of the elite big men prospects that the high school class of 2009 has to offer.

Demar DeRozan, 6’6, 207 lbs., Shooting Guard, 2008, USC commit

DeRozan is looking to distinguish himself as the top shooting guard here at camp, and his performance in the first game Saturday did nothing to disprove that notion. While he is certainly a volume shooter, the future Trojan hit just about everything he put up, from all angles of the floor. He is just so creative when he has the ball in his hands, weaving in and out of traffic throughout the lane and finishing with either hand near the rim. Demar shot the ball well from beyond the arc nearly out to the NBA three point range. On the downside, he did not seem to give his team much on the defensive end and was surely more concerned with when or how he was going to get his next shot up as opposed to putting the clamps on his man. Either way, it was still an outstanding performance by one of the truly special scorers in the class of 2008.

Al-Farouq Aminu, 6’8, 205 lbs., Small Forward, 2008

Farouq was outstanding Saturday, contributing in every imaginable area of the floor. He was great handling the ball in the open floor, making decisions with the ball in his hands, and scoring when the opportunity presented itself. Despite his slender frame, he did a great job guarding the stronger, more athletic Greg Monroe when the two were matched up. Also pleasing was Aminu’s improvement on his biggest weakness (his outside shot), as he knocked down at least 3 three pointers on the day by our count.

Greg Monroe, 6’10, 233 lbs., Power Forward, 2008

Monroe showed every college coach in attendance why many compare him to a shorter Kevin Garnett, as he did a little bit of everything imaginable out on the court today. He shot the ball consistently from 17 feet and in, showed the ability to break down slower big men from the perimeter, and proved to be a force on the defensive end with his shot blocking ability. The best asset that the Louisiana big man brought to the table was easily his passing ability, given that he finished with at least 6 assists in the game that we observed and could have had countless more had his teammates converted. Not only did he do an excellent job of passing out of the double team, but he proved to be a more than adept decision maker in the open floor. While Monroe’s immense talents were on display, he was not quite the dominant force that you would hope for out of the nation’s top prep prospect. It would be refreshing to see a player with his abundant talents to be more dominant on the high school level, especially given the fact that he is an immediate candidate at the moment for the first player selected in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Jeremy Tyler, 6’10, 240 lbs., Power Forward/Center, 2010

Only a freshman, Tyler already boasts a body and athleticism superior to many of the power forwards drafted in this past week’s NBA Draft. He is ridiculously long and athletic, seen doing windmill dunks from 12 feet away from the basket and completely making his presence felt on the defensive end throughout the game against players two years his elder. The California big man is not overly skilled at the moment, but he has three years before he will even be enrolling in college and four before he is even eligible to consider the NBA. James is surely a name that fans should keep in mind though, as he is currently the top post prospect that the class of 2010 has to offer.

Tyreke Evans, 6’5, 204 lbs., Point Guard/Shooting Guard, 2008

In the nightcap, Evans was outstanding scoring the ball and even dishing out a nice amount of assists. His style of play can be a bit frustrating for basketball purists, as he is an Allen Iverson type guard who dominates the ball every time he is out on the floor. Tyreke has the vision necessary to play point guard at the next level, but we are not necessarily sure if he will be able to be outstanding running a team at a bigtime collegiate program. Either way, look for Evans to put up huge numbers wherever he goes as a freshman and bolt to the NBA, if the opportunity presents itself.

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