RICHMOND, Va. - With the nation's best prospects at the NBA Players Association camp at Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday, it wasn't hard to find great competition. There were several players that shined at the prestigious event.
As one of the few class of 2007 players in the event, O.J. Mayo didn't look like one. His court sense was poised and patient while his passing was pin-point. Defensively, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard from North College Hill (Ohio) High School held his own against Marques Johnson, Gerald Henderson and Doneal Mack. It's just the beginning of Mayo's dominance on the summer circuit.
Mayo's North College Hill teammate Bill Walker has been one of the top scorers at the event. The 6-foot-5 athlete has put on a mind-boggling show of sheer athleticism. He's long and gets up and down the floor with great speed and grace. He's doing a heck of a job of making his case for top ten honors in the class of 2007.
Kansas can rest assured they have a superstar coming to Lawrence at the point guard position. Even though Mario Chalmers's Kings team lost by 30 points to the underdog Lakers, the Alaska guard had his jaw dropping moments. Example number one: 6-foot-10, 215-pound forward Amir Johnson attempted to take one right to the rack for a two-handed dunk but Chalmers, all 6-foot-2 of him, met Johnson at the rim and sent the attempt, and the Louisville commit, away. Example number two: Chalmers' hands are the quickest in the class of 2005. He pick pockets opponents at mid court nearly every game. Defensively, he's as good as they get.
On paper, the point guard battle between Jovan Adams and Bobby Frasor looked like a must-see but the two top 20 players never had a chance to show a true one on one game. Adams, a speedy floor general can knife through defenses and did on two occasions. Frasor, fresh off of his commitment to North Carolina, has the opportunity to show that he can run a high-octane offense with the likes of Chad Millard, Tasmin Mitchell and Calvin Miles at his disposal. Frasor's showing against Adams was not noteworthy but it wasn't disappointing either.
One of the best match-ups of the day was between Ryan Wright and Eric Boateng. Wright , a 6-foot-9, 215-pound power forward from Loyola Catholic from Mississauga, Ontario, relished in his rare United States appearance and did it against one of the top big men in the country. The athletic and aggressive power forward had 12 points and 10 rebounds against Boateng, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound center from St. Andrews (Del.), struggled with foul trouble and let Wright get the best of him.
A.J. Abrams, a 5-foot-10, 140-pound guard who is committed to Texas, had a great night against rising junior Mike Conley. Abrams scored 17 points, including a three pointer with seconds left on the clock to help seal the victory for his Mavericks squad. Abrams is a dead-eye shooter and he was at the top of his game on Sunday night. Conley scored three points in the game by sinking a long ball in the closing ticks of the game.
Odds & Ends
- Tasmin Mitchell displayed a nice mid-range game but he could have taken advantage of his defensive match-up against Joe Darger.
- Calvin Miles didn't assert himself on the offensive end in terms of shooting and scoring but his ball handling and passing skills showed flashes.
- You gotta respect a player that takes charges, dives on the floor and plays out of his mind defense. That's why Anthony Mason, Jr. stood out. The 6-foot-6, 195-pound wing did a little bit of everything. He could be one of the top risers after this camp.
- Quietly, Chicago point guard Jeremy Pargo is having one heck of an AAU season. He's showing he can run the show each time he plays and has great athleticism.
- Alfred Aboya loves the pick and roll. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center has great size and clears space for not only himself and the point guard running the play.
- Korvotney Barber is known for his dunking abilities and he came close to shattering a backboard at VCU in the night games but his passing skills are developing into his second best trait.
- Rising senior point guard Jejuan Spillman gets to the basket extremely quick with his dribble. He's opened some eyes here with his first step.
- With Spillman running the point, Atlanta's Javaris Crittenton slid over to the two guard position and looked very comfortable playing as the off guard. He sliced through defenders, shot the three pointer with confidence and was a vocal leader even as a rising junior.