ABCD Camp: Friday Report

Teaneck, N.J. - It wouldn’t be the ABCD camp if there weren’t a number of posterizing dunks and a plethora of oohs and ahhs from the hard core hoops fans packed in the wooden bleachers at Farleigh Dickinson University. New York native Kiwan Smith provided the entertainment on Friday night with his acrobatic aerial assault. A number of players solidified themselves as elite performers while some new names emerged.
Smith had his “oh my goodness, did you just see that?” moments on Friday, dunking everything on everyone. But the one that stood out the most was his disregard for California big Rashad Austin. Smith nearly jumped over the 6-foot-7 forward and threw down the sickest dunk of the camp. That set the tone for the rest of the night.
Smith finished with a game-high 18 points. Don’t write him off as just a freak athlete either. He is displaying great range on his jumper by connecting on three three-pointers. In fact, the 6-foot-7 small forward from Laurinburg Charter (NC) put in a trio of threes in the early session, too.
Giving Smith room to roam was Texas elite wing Gerald Green. The 6-foot-8 future Oklahoma State Cowboy has been one of the top performers at the camp, if not the most impressive. He had games of 14 and 17 points, respectively. Green has a knack for the dramatic, much like Smith. On one instance, he almost pulled a Vince Carter by literally jumping over an opponent for an alley-oop but the pass was thrown too high. Nevertheless, he proved he can play in the air just as good as anyone.
Green is also putting in the three ball. He’s tough to defend because he is so long and he releases at the highest point on the jumper. Defensively, he’s a beast of a rebounder, pulling down eight in the night session. In limited minute games, that’s impressive.
Reps are made at the ABCD camp. For Brandon Rush, it’s almost expected to see a mind-boggling performance. The uber-athletic prospect dazzled fans with his trademark highlight film plays. When others go down because of gravity, Rush seems to have two extra seconds to do whatever he wants.
After shining at the USA Developmental Youth Festival last week, Rush is riding a high that many expected to see back in April. He’s shooting more from the wing (2-3 on threes) and he’s using the glass from the corners. In the night game, in front of a packed house, he dropped 19 points - his highest point total so far.
Speaking of reps being made...
After seeing Charles Little at the Atlanta Basketball Classic last week, we tried to make the point that the Cleveland, Tenn., forward was a big time player. 30 points later on Friday, word is starting to get around. The bruising rising senior scored 21 points in his encore. Ole Miss, Auburn and Dayton round out his top three but that list should nearly triple after his dominating performance at the camp. The kid gets to the line and sinks the freebies.
Dwayne Collins, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Miami, Fla., is putting together a terrific camp. He’s amongst the leaders in points (14 per game), rebounds (6 per game) and field goal percentage (66.7%). Not bad for a class of 2006 kid. Collins is an explosive player that loves the physical style of play. In fact, he reminds some of class of 2005 national stud Korvotney Barber (who is in attendance but out with a broken wrist). Collins will return to south Florida with a couple of scholarship offers. Bet on that.
Providence not only landed a talented forward when Jonathan Kale decided to pledge his services to the Big East program, they also got a player to build their interior play around. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound prospect had a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in the afternoon game and he’s been incredibly effective inside by setting high-picks, creating great space with his post skills and giving guards a wide target to hit. The Friars landed a good one.
It’s hard to call a fifth-year player a kid with a reputation on the rise but 6-foot-11 center Shawn Taggart is opening some eyes. The Richmond, Va., native has shown his knack for the defensive play with his long body. Athletically, he’s very impressive for a guy his size. Taggart, who is still mulling his prep school options between Hargrave Military, IMG in Florida, his home for the last two years Mt. Zion (NC) and others, will be one of the top centers in the class of 2005. Expect a late college decision, too.
Doing it and doing it well
Rick Pitino was on hand to watch three of his recruits Amir Johnson, Andre McGee and Clrence Holloway in action and the Cardinal head coach smiled biggest at Johnson’s stellar performance. The 6-foot-10 athletic big man from California is raising his stock and it could be argued that he is the top big man on the West Coast. Johnson used both hands inside, he runs the floor like a guard and is riding a wave of success dating back to the NBA Players Association camp.
When you look at Nate Minnoy, all 6-foot-3, 240-pounds of him, you see two things: an undersized power forward or a huge scoring guard. It’s time to put the face value aside for a moment and just see the player. Sure, he doesn’t have a defined position at the college level but the guy gets the job done. He scored 20 points (10-16 FG) in the early session with a combination of brute force and a soft touch from the wing.
Quietly, Monta Ellis showing why he’ll never fall out of the national spotlight. The Mississippi State bound scoring guard goes about his business with very little fanfare. He doesn’t run his mouth but he runs up the score while making his team better. Ellis put in 25 points when we saw him but you’d never know he had one of the top offensive games of the camp.
Taylor King blew up last year at this same camp. This year he’s living up to his early national rep. The rising sophomore is amongst his class leaders in scoring by doing it with his trademark jumper. He’s rebounding like he always does and using the glass as if it were required to score. In fact, he’s looked better here than anytime this reporter has seen him. King is in shape and playing great basketball.
Fellow California player Davon Jefferson is amongst the top class of 2005 players here in Jersey. He’s a jack of all trades and loves to play at the rim, in the midrange game and on the wing. Defensively, he’ll were out his battery. Schools up and down I-5 want him on their roster next year. Will he stay in Pac-10 country? That’s yet to be determined. Schools on the East Coast like what they’ve seen.
Odds & Ends
Michigan small forward Wilson Chandler is a legit high-major. He was considering Dayton and Xavier, and no dispect to the two Atlantic 10 powers, Chandler is playing himself into a bigger conference. Michigan State is still in the mix, too.
Can O.J. Mayo score? Check. Can O.J. Mayo pass? Check. Can O.J. Mayo defend? Check. Can O.J. Mayo rebound? He’s doing it here. The highly-talked about class of 2007 prospect is expanding his game and showing he can do it all. His eight rebounds in the early session were impressive. The kid is special.
Like Mayo, class of 2006 and the country’s best high school player, Greg Oden has been the target of every media member in attendance. After his games, the 7-footer has a throng of recorders near his mouth and the barrage of questions are a comin’. You have to love the soft-spoken kid. When asked how he sees himself amongst players like Dwight Howard, Oden said, “I don’t know why people want to talk to me. I’m just not that good. I’m really not.” It’s not an act either. He’s genuinely humble.
Expect the head coaches to come by the dozens to Teaneck on Saturday. They’ve made their rounds at the adidas and Nike camps, now they’ll head to Reebok’s event - which is proving to be well worth the trip. So far in attendance are: Rick Pitino of Louisville, Tom Izzo of Michigan State, Tom Crean of Marquette, Bo Ryan of Wisconsin, Herb Sendek of NC State, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Mike Davis of Indiana, Norm Roberts of St. John’s and others.
Top Scorers
1. Charles Little 18.5
2. Nate Minnoy 18.0
3. Gerald Green 16.8
4. Leo Criswell 16.0
5. Monta Ellis 15.3
5. Jonathan Kale 15.3
6. Lawrence Hill 14.5
6. Davon Jefferson 14.5
7. Scott Reynolds 14.3
8. Dwayne Collins 14.0
8. William Crews 14.0
Top Rebounders
1. Cameron Lewis 7.5
2. Chris Bethel 6.8
3. John Garcia 6.3
3. Shawne Williams 6.3
3. Jonathan Kale 6.3
4. Marquis Young 6.0
4. Greg Oden 6.0
4. Dwayne Collins 6.0
5. Casiem Drummond 5.8
5. Johnny Lett 5.8
5. Jeremiah Bryant 5.8
5. Chase Budinger 5.8
Top Assists
1. O.J. Mayo 4.3
2. Jay Dee Luster 3.8
3. Dave Fine 3.5
3. Keegan Bell 3.5
3. Marcus Lawrence 3.5
4. Willie Walker 3.3
4. Bobby Frasor 3.3
4. Marcus Walker 3.3
4. Mike Conley 3.3
4. Taskico Brown 3.3