July 11, 2006

NIKE All-America Camp top performers

After four days of non-stop basketball, Rivals.com's Justin Young sifted through his notes from the Nike All-America camp and identified the top five players from the event in Indianapolis.

Three 2007 big men and a pair of talented 2008 players made the cut.

Donte Green, SF, Baltimore Towson Catholic
No other player evoked compliments more than the Syracuse commitment. He was the best player at the Nike camp from start to finish and seemed to raise the level of his play each time he stepped out on the floor.

He was draining everything from the wing like the three-pointers were lay-ups. His shot was smooth and confident. His ability to score on the wing seems to improve each event and to listen to the Big East coaches that have to guard against him, that's not such a great thing.

Moreover, he is as relaxed as anyone here. And that conformability with where his game is at shines through when he plays. Green is smiling, encouraging other prospects to raise their level of play and taking on a leadership role that he is perfectly happy to take on.

His game still has some refining to do in the post but when shots are falling that far away from the basket and no one can defend it, why change what is working? Green opened July off with a bang and certainly sent a message about what is in store down the road.

Kosta Koufos, C, Canton (Ohio) Glen Oak
Is he a center or a skilled four? That was a good debate from the peanut gallery. However the consensus was this: the 7-footer can flat out play and quite simply there aren't any other players in this class that can match him up with size. Since coming back from a foot injury, he's bigger and stronger but he's still realizing his physical attributes inside the paint.

Koufus still maintains his offensive skills with the ball, including his three-point range that made him such a hot commodity prior to his commitment to Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Koufos still knocks down the long ball and pulling the opposing size far away from the basket.

Pairing him with other stellar talent headed to Columbus is not a good thing for the Big Ten. Koufos creates so many match-up problems it's almost depressing. And to think he's not even 100 percent yet. Scary.

Patrick Patterson, PF, Huntington (W. Va.)
Head coaches from some of the top programs in the country watched his every move in Indianapolis for a reason. Patterson is playing some of the best basketball in the paint than anyone in the nation.

Offensively, he had it all working. His baby hook shot was his go to move and his trademark blue-collar play kept defenders at bay. Who wants to take a 6-foot-8, 228-pound shoulder to the chin anyways? Patterson was just as good as a rebounder as he was scoring the ball around the basket. Don't sell short his athleticism either. He can fly once he sees an opening to the basket.

Mix his basketball skills with a high academic pedigree and you have yourself a guy certainly worthy of the attention he has been receiving. Head coaches from Duke, Kentucky, Florida, Wake Forest, Virginia and a host of others all spent time on the bleachers taking part in the best see and be seen session camp.

Greg Monroe, PF, Harvey (La.) Helen Cox
Like Green, Monroe is showing he can beat teams both inside and out. The New Orleans native came into the camp with high expectations with and a big time rep. He didn't disappoint and certainly lived up to the hype that has followed him around this season.

The lefty spent a good amount of time facing the basket and looked comfortable out to elbows. He will knock down a three-pointer here and there but does his best work driving the basket and scoring 12 to 15 feet away.

There is a fascination with big men that run the floor well and those that can handle the rock like a guard. Monroe does both. What's not to like about that?

There has been a countrywide search in the 2008 class for the top player. Monroe did enough at the Nike All-America camp to make a very strong and convincing argument. He's raised the bar. How he finishes the month out says a lot about him and what kind of player he really is.

Delvon Roe, PF, Euclid (Ohio) St. Edward
As good as Monroe was, Roe might have been the most consistent player in the class of 2008.

What is he though? A small forward? A power forward? He's figuring that out right now. This is what he is: a guy that can burn you inside and out and make you smile because of the game he plays from start to finish.

There weren't many prospects at the camp that drew a head coaches crowd like he did. Name an elite level school and they were there. Roe did it all and his perimeter game was flowing probably better than we've seen it.

Roe played a great brand of basketball and left little doubt he is for real when it comes to being an elite level guy at the next level. He had it all rolling.



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