PHILADELPHIA - The separation from good and great at Rbk U is a huge gap. On Monday night, the gap continued to grow as some new names continue to shine while the old faithful continue their ascent.
Class of 2008 top performers
It is easy to see why high-major programs love the long term potential of J'Mison Morgan. Naturally strong, blessed with soft hands and a big Texas-sized body, the South Oak Cliff product is one of the best centers in the nation because he knows what he is, what his strengths are and just how effective he can be. Not really the quickest or most explosive, Morgan sets up shop and utilizes his big body for position and boxes out everybody that flies at him. After a scary moment on Sunday with a knee injury, Morgan was steady on Monday and returned back to form.
Two of the top overall prospects in the camp traded buckets and didn't need to do much to say a lot. Elliot Williams and William Buford are heads and shoulders better than the rest of the two guards in the camp so when the two faced each other, it was fun to watch. Neither one really outshone the other as both did what they do best ? score the ball on few shots. Williams had 14 on five of six shooting. Buford went for 13 on six of seven shooting. The rest of the elite guards in the camp should have taken notice by their effectiveness and delivery. Neither one plays with a pompous approach and go about their business with little "look at me" attention. They have been refreshing.
Playing with a bulldog mentality, Mesquite (Texas) Horn power forward Quincy Acy has found his groove and playing to his strengths. Much like Ole Miss bound forward Malcolm White, Acy is an all-energy, highly athletic big guy that flies to the rim, scores at close range with power, crashes the boards and blocks shots. He scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the night cap and had a number of coaches giving him approving nods for his effort.
When it comes to inside-outside forwards Kevin Jones is one of the better guys in the country. The 6-foot-7 New Yorker has done a great job all year of proving he can be just as effective around the cup as he can as a face up shooter out to the three-point line. Mix that with a great motor, long arms and a good understanding of the game and you have a college-ready prospect. Jones has been consistently impressive all week.
Another game, another wow performance
The ascension of John Wall continues. No one has been hotter in the camp than the class of 2009 point guard from North Carolina. The 6-foot-4 speedster might be the fastest player in the camp from baseline to baseline and he's playing with a confidence to him that few are demonstrating. The Raleigh native scored 24 points on 12 of 19 shooting from the floor and did it all at the basket. No one can stay in front of him because of his burst of speed and long strides to the rack.
Don't let the scoring numbers fool you though. He's also setting guys up and understands his role as a set-up guy. Wall has been one of the most consistent players in the camp as well. Game to game, he's bringing it and the coaches continue to line up on the sidelines to see what all of the buzz is about. As good as he's been playing, there are still plenty of things that have yet to be seen with his game, particularly a jump shot. Everything he has made has been a creation of his wheels and craftiness to the rack.
Wall will certainly have a big following throughout the month with his D1 Sports AAU club as the high-majors try to identify the best point guards in the class of 2009. N.C. State, Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech are in early. Expect that list to take on a more national feel by next week. Wall's body of work in Philly has been outstanding.
Hi, my name is?
While Wall continues to shine as one of the best breakout guys from the class of 2009, Allan Chaney is doing that on a smaller scale from the class of 2008. The 6-foot-8 forward from Connecticut has established himself as a must-find-out-more kind of guy at the camp. He showed on Sunday that he can do the dirty work inside. On Monday, he showed that he's a pretty solid offensive player to boot. Different facets of his game are shining through each time he rolls out. Thought to be a good mid-major player on Sunday, more high-major schools are taking notice.
Credit is given to where credit is due. Georgia native Justin Brownlee, an original class of 2006 member now in 2008, is enjoying a strong outing at the camp. The athletic and burly 6-foot-6 forward has been good to great each time out. The Tift County (Ga.) native is scoring whenever he wants to inside the paint with power drives to the hole and doing a fine job crashing the boards.
Lamar Patterson of Lancaster (PA) McCaskey has proven himself as one of the top shooters in the camp. The class of 2009 prospect has a good looking stroke and a strong 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame to boot. His form and technique could be used as a model for all of the camps as they try "to get back to the fundamentals." Patterson has quietly emerged with his play. He shouldn't go unnoticed.
Illinois well represented
In an eight minute span, Verdell Jones might have had the best overall performance for a point guard on Monday. Paired with Brandon Jennings, Jones stepped up to the challenge of locking horns with the best overall point guard in the camp. The lanky 6-foot-4 point guard scored 11 of his 13 points in the span and handed out six pin point assists. Jones was in a zone and didn't seem too rattled by the situation and the pesky defense that Jennings was bringing.
We've been a big fan of John Moran since first seeing him in the spring and playing at the Rbk U camp, the Northern Iowa bound guard is certainly putting his stamp on his spot in the event. When he's playing with his Illinois Wolves AAU team, Moran is the consummate point guard. Here, he's shown a good ability to score the basketball and play more of a two. Whatever the position, UNI has a potential all-conference level player in the Missouri Valley. Don't be surprised to hear his name a lot in March when Moran is in college.
One observer called Josh Crittle a "mean old meat eater." In strange way, that fits perfectly. The bid bodied bully from Chicago enjoyed a strong game in the nightcap, scoring in the post, rebounding in traffic and was clutch in the home stretch of a tight game. Crittle's efforts put his club over the edge.
Joseph Bertrand has prospect written all over him. The long-armed 6-foot-4 guard has a basketball body despite his frailness (165 pounds roughly) and when he fills out, watch out. Bertrand is a smooth ball-handler with a great feel for the game. The class of 2009 guard from Sterling (Ill.) High School can really shoot it from the wing and isn't afraid to bring it inside where the big boys are. He's been quietly effective at camp as an underclassmen. When he's a senior, chances are his play will seem a little louder.
"I'm interested in?"
After dealing with an injury that kept him out of action early on, Philly native Nurideen Lindsey got into the swing of things on Monday. He took a while to get rolling but the Overbrook High School combo guard is one to watch in 2009. Northeastern schools are. St. Joseph's, La Salle, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville and Memphis are amongst those looking early.
Blue collar Californian Frank Otis has already made good friends with the trainers. The high-energy undersized power forward took a shot to the temple that gave him a boxer's wound after a nasty spill on the first day of action. His no-nonsense approach has attracted the likes of St. Mary's, SMU, San Francisco and Cal.
Brandon Knight, one of the top 10 players to watch in the class of 2010, is being hit hard by the Florida schools. The Gators, Hurricanes and Seminoles are in hot pursuit. Texas A&M and Duke are also taking peeks.
His teammate David Loubeau is also hearing from the Florida programs and Texas A&M. Ohio State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech are also looking.
Class of 2009 point guard Justin Cobbs from Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif., is hearing from Stanford, Clemson, Southern Cal, Washington, Washington State and Tennessee.
After a strong spring, Montrose Christian (Md.) forward Isaiah Armwood is entering the July period with a healthy list of Villanova, Louisville, Connecticut, Miami, Georgetown, North Carolina and Texas.
Odds & Ends
Pittsburgh bound guard Ashton Gibbs scored a game high 23 points and faired well against the likes of John Wall and Malcolm Lee. Teammate Jamal Wilson did a fine job scoring, too. The 6-foot-4 Philly native added 17 points and only missed two shots in the game.
Mike Shanahan continues to shine as a fundamentally sound player. He scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds, handed out four assists and didn't shy away from the physical play of Acy.
Renaldo Woolridge should return home from camp with a handful of offers. The 6-foot-7 wing has been one of the most consistent scorers in the camp. He continued his great play with a 22 point performance on Monday night. He connected on four three-pointers in the contest.
With Coach K watching and a new Duke offer in hand, Kenny Boynton scored 19 points and righted the ship after a shaky start to the camp.