CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.- The anticipated matchup between Brandon Knight and Kyrie Irving never materialized during the second session of the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp. Rakeem Christmas, however, made a statement with his inspired play on both ends of the court.
Rakeem Christmas (2011 center)- Christmas, who is known for his shot-blocking ability, immediately established himself as a defensive force to be reckoned with. Shortly thereafter he went to work on the offensive end. Taking advantage of the slower Alex Kirk, Christmas turned high-level post moves into dunks and even drained a nifty jump hook. With his developing offensive game, Christmas is one of the most intriguing big men in the 2011 class.
Fabricio de Melo (2010 center)- Now let's move to the most intriguing 2010 big man at the camp. de Melo has NBA size and an NBA offensive repertoire. He has consistently made 17-footers off the catch, attacked the basket off the dribble, hit pull-up jumpers and wheeled and dealed in the post. It looks like he is in the process of leap frogging some big men ranked ahead of him.
Brandon Knight (2010 point guard)- Knight's superior quickness, speed and outside shooting ability gave him a decisive edge over Kyrie Irving in their publicized matchup. Knight, who is leading the camp in scoring with 19.5 points per game, scored 15 points in typical fashion with pull-up three-pointers and bruising drives to the rim. Irving managed five points after scoring four points in the first session.
Stacey Poole (2010 small forward)- Poole has been one of the most impressive small forwards at the camp through two sessions. Ultra athletic and physically strong, Poole not only gets to the rim but finishes with authority. Active on the glass and on the defensive end, Poole is a jump shot away from being a five-star prospect. He is tied for sixth in scoring, Josh Selby, averaging 16.5 points per game.
Patric Young (2010 power forward)- Young is establishing himself as one of the more consistent big men in the 2010 class. His effort never waivers, he has a physique built to last and he is a physical competitor. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but there will always be a level of production from his effort on the glass and running the floor. He scored 14 points in each of the first day sessions.
Michael Gbinije (2011 small forward)- A great-looking wing prospect, Gbinije contributes in numerous ways with his skilled and heady play. He also has shot the ball well from the outside which has put him at No. 10 on the camp's scoring leaders.
Keith Appling (2010 combo guard)- Appling belongs in the same group as Knight, Selby and Joe Jackson, to name a few, as high-scoring lead guards. Appling has a smooth shooting stroke and the ability to create his own shot. His 16-point effort in the second session brought his scoring average up to 12.5 points per game, which ties him with Andre Dawkins at No. 17 in camp scoring.
Joe Jackson (2010 point guard)- Jackson has an athletic burst that can leave defenders in the dust and result in a dunk over helpside defenders. This athleticism and fearless attacking at the basket has produced a 15 point-per-game average which ranks eighth in the camp. More impressive than his scoring prowess, which has already been well established, Jackson passed the ball at high level in session two.
Eric Atkins (2010 point guard)- Atkins isn't going to beat anyone with athleticism, but he has passed the ball at a high level during the first two sessions and has knocked down three-pointers off the catch when open.
Juwan Staten (2010 point guard)- Staten had a solid opening day at the camp. He has a feel for penetrating and making the right decision in the midrange without dribbling himself into trouble. Let him get going to the basket with his right hand, and you're in trouble.