Thursday marked the beginning of the July evaluation period, as it was the first day coaches were allowed to roam from gym to gym in hopes of impressing some of the elite high school basketball phenoms.
Mario Chalmers, a 6-foot-1 point guard, was one of the many standouts on Thursday as the Adidas Superstar Camp in Atlanta got under way.
Coaches arrive Thursday for Adidas superstar camp
After an uninspired performance the night before, more than 200 prospects arrived at the Suwanee Sports Academy Thursday with an extra bounce in their steps, hoping to impress some of the nation's top college programs.
Highly-ranked players solidify their status
Chalmers, a Kansas commitment, did nothing to diminish his reputation as the top point guard in his class. He settled in as a floor general by running a quick and balanced attack and, although his teammates had trouble finishing, he set them up with several easy opportunities. With good instincts and quickness, Chalmers showed why he is also one of the best defenders in the country by pressing his man from baseline to baseline.
Houston small forward Rashad Woods was especially effective on the offensive end in both games, posting 24 and 17 points, including nine three-pointers. While Woods, 6-foot-6, has somewhat of an awkward shot that comes from the top of his head, he also has a quick release and adequate range.
Physically he is as impressive as anyone in the class, and his quick feet and instincts make him a strong defender when he chooses to be. A lot of people are missing the boat on this one.
Power forward Gary Flowers led his team in scoring with 27 points and added eight rebounds. Flowers, 6-foot-9, has a wiry but strong frame that enables him to step out and knock down the mid-range shot or post strong. Defensively, he did a nice job on the boards while also managing to block a few shots. His energy level was at full throttle as he hustled down the floor and played a solid team game.
Rick Pitino has a great eye for talent, and the Louisville head coach might have gotten the steal of the 2005 class when he snagged small forward Lamar Roberson, who is getting back into playing shape and showing the potential to be a break out prospect. Roberson, 6-foot-7, ran the floor well and showed three-point range in addition to his ability to post or hit from 17-feet and in. A leaner, more aggressive Roberson has the ability to play inside or outside.
Fresh off his strong showing at the 16-and-under nationals, class of 2007 point guard Nolan Smith showed why he is one of the brightest stars in what is turning into be a solid class. Smith, 6-foot-2, did a little bit of everything on the offense side by running the offense, getting to the basket when needed and banging in a smoothly released deep ball. His stats on the night included 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. With size 18 feet, he is expected to add a few inches in the next couple of years.
Off to a slow start
Seattle small forward Terrence Williams had trouble finding his shot in his first outing, scoring only two points, and followed that with a five-point effort in the nightcap. Williams, 6-foot-6, is a good athlete who has a knack for the big play, but has trouble bringing the ball up the floor against his defender.
Class of 2006 point guard D.J. Augustine never got into the flow of the game early on. Part of that was due to the defensive effort of Kashif Watson, but Augustine, 6-foot-1, also made some bad decisions in transition and struggled while the offense ran through him. The Louisiana native made a couple of nice passes and showed promise in his night effort.
Matching up with Chalmers is never an easy task, and Atlanta point guard Javaris Crittenton found that out first hand. Crittenton, 6-foot-4, had trouble shaking the lighting-fast Chalmers, who forced him into making unwise choices and unforced turnovers. However, late in the game, Crittenton used his nice size to get to the basket.
Texas Tech commitment Justin Wilkerson couldn't get his face-up jumper to fall and at times had trouble getting an open look. Wilkerson, 6-foot-6, looked frustrated trying to find a spot where he was comfortable and struggled on defense when guarding on the perimeter and the post.
Couldn't help but impress
Although Wilkerson might have struggled, another Texas Tech commitment, Terry Martin of Louisiana, proved to be one of the more unappreciated talents in the class of 2005. Martin, 6-foot-5, displayed everything you look for in a floor general, including the ability to make players around him better. With nice size, good handle and the ability to see the floor, Martin has the potential to be the complete package.
UCLA commitment Darren Collison was a late arrival but showed in his first game that playing in the Pac-10 isn't going to be a problem. Although small Collison, 5-foot-10, has a great feel for the game and the quickness and handle to penetrate with ease. Add his ability to keep you honest with a solid outside game, and the Bruins have added nice compliment to 2004 signee Jordan Farmar.
Las Vegas point guard Kashif Watson locked up Augustine on the defensive end, but also played under control on offense as well. Watson, 6-foot-3, has a knack for making the right decision and, instead of forcing the action, lets his shot and assists come to him.
Quick, fast and in a hurry
Duke commitment Greg Paulus totaled 14 points, four rebounds and four assists while also limiting his turnovers. The scuttlebutt has Paulus possibly playing football in college, but it appears he will stick to the hardwood.
Class of 2006 combo forward Stanley Robinson lists Alabama, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Memphis and Tennessee as his favorite schools. Duke rounds out his top six, although he has yet to hear from the Blue Devils.
After dropping close to 40 pounds since last summer, Louisiana power forward Kenneth Cooper is seeing his stock rise for college recruiters in the South. LSU assistant Butch Pierre was front and center for his early game.
Class of 2006 power forward Alex Stepheson has offers from most of the Pac-10 schools, including Arizona, California and UCLA, although he is currently shying away from naming favorites.
Kashif Watson has scholarship offers from Minnesota, Oregon State and San Diego with Illinois, Nevada and USC showing heavy interest.
Xavier Crawford, a class of 2006 big man, is expected to be of the top bigs in the Midwest and currently favors Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rutgers, Southern Illinois and Xavier.
Atlanta combo forward Rashad Chase indicated that he could be closing in on an August commitment between Alabama, Florida State and Tennessee with Indiana and Miami on the outside looking in.
Boston College, Clemson, DePaul, Memphis, Miami, Pittsburgh, UConn and Virginia make up the extensive list for shooting guard Antonio Anderson.
Texas power forward Jeremy Mayfield currently favors Baylor (offer) and North Texas (offer) with LSU, Texas and Texas Tech rounding out his top five.
One of the Northeast's top 2006 prospects, Wayne Ellington, has Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Notre Dame, UConn, Villanova and Wake Forest at the top of his list.
Brandon Costner favors Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina State, Seton Hall and UConn.
Coaches from Florida, Kansas, Louisville, Memphis and Texas were seen watching 6-foot-11, small forward Ricky Sanchez in his first game.
Former Duke standout and current Bull Jay Williams was seen shooting his patented jumper before the counselor practice at the end of the night.
Former Adidas standout and the recent first round pick of the Atlanta Hawks, Josh Smith, was in attendance taking in the action.
It wasn't a big day for head coaches in Atlanta but Texas Tech's Bobby Knight, Memphis' John Calipari and Mississippi State's Rick Stansbury were seen on the sidelines.