Nike camp comes to a close
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The Nike All-American camp is in the books and the kids are headed home after a good week of hoops in Middle America. Guys like James Johnson, one of the surprises of the camp, closed the week off with a bang and Delvon Roe played well enough to make nearly every high-major coach that watched him want to put him on the must get list for 2008.
Seniors close out All-America camp
Donte Green, who was spectacular all camp long, scored an early 12 points which helped press row award him with the MVP award. As a body of work, he certainly earned the award but it was another committed forward that got it done on Sunday.
Future Texas Longhorn Gary Johnson finally looked like Gary Johnson. He had been uncharacteristically quiet here in Indy but closed the camp off strong with 19 points on a near perfect eight of nine shooting from the floor. He played with his non-stop energy and sheer hustle all the while grabbing a team high five rebounds.
His AAU teammate Jai Lucas was the stabilizing force in the backcourt with nine points and six assists. Fellow point guard Chris Wright scored 10 points. Capping off a very strong week was Memphis point guard Maurice Miller, who scored nine points and distributed four assists.
Perhaps the real story of the all-star game was Wyoming forward James Johnson. It was a stellar week for the 6-foot-7 combo forward and he didn't disappoint in the up and down, no defense all star setting. Johnson put in an athletic 16 points but went to work on the glass, snatching 10 rebounds. He came to the camp with interest. He'll wake up on Monday with offers.
Indiana forward Scott Martin probably played as good as he ever has on the national circuit from start to finish at the Nike All-American camp. He did just about everything, scoring on the wing and going to work around the basket with his athleticism. Martin ended the camp with 12 points in the all-star game, including a pair of three-pointers.
AAU teammate E'Twaun Moore was one of the top guards at the camp all week long and didn't let up with a hard earned 10 points. Don't be surprised to see him continue where he left off at Nike camp down in Augusta for the Peach Jam. He's rolling right now.
Mustapha Farrakhan, one of the nice surprises of the camp, hit a hot streak in the first half. He connected on back-to-back three pointers en route to eight points. He snatched five rebounds and three assists.
Roe, Warren shine in underclassmen game
As soon as the ball tipped, Delvon Roe went to work and quickly claimed his stake as the top player in the underclassmen all-star game. The 6-foot-7 tweener from Ohio scored 15 points, including a perfect two attempts from deep. His all-star game performance capped off a stellar week in Indy with a stellar game on the final day.
He had help from Nasir Robinson, who came alive in the second half. He did a little bit of everything thing (try 15 points and four rebounds) to help his team come back from a slight deficit at the half.
With 16 points on seven of 13 shooting, big man Samardo Samuels went to work in the paint. He scored tough baskets and grabbed seven boards to boot.
Willie Warren was named co-MVP as he put in a game high 22 points on eight of 13 shooting from the floor. The muscular Texan put in four of seven three-pointers and showed that the rust is flaking off of his game. Keep in mind, he hasn't played on the national circuit since March.
Is there a hotter 2009 prospect than Dexter Strickland right now? He was one of the top point guards at Nike and certainly proved that in the all-star game scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds. He's rolling folks and his play is almost begging the elite schools to come see him play.
Know this much about Murphy Holloway: No one is going to out-work him. He's fun to watch every time he's out. He scored a fun 13 points and doesn't make the game fun for anyone that has to guard him.
Other news & notes from Sunday
Donte Green, 2007 – No one had as much fun as him from the time he got to camp and until the time he left for the airport. And no one played as good as him either. There is high-major good and there is elite high-major good. Green was sitting at the peak of the latter. His perimeter jumper was falling a la Kevin Durant but he didn't resort to shooting threes all game. The future Syracuse forward did just about everything a player could do here at Nike. He was the foundation for his team's championship run and raised the level of play the minute he got to camp a day late. When he was on the bench, Green was the biggest cheerleader at the camp, encouraging his teammates to play at their best. It's always fun to see the good ones be even better on and off the court.
Malcolm Delaney, 2007 – Green's home town guy had himself a good week here in Indy. Delaney did three things very well: made shots, defended and dropped off assists. Sounds like a good recipe for a point guard, right? He played well enough to make schools in the ACC take notice.
Kyle Singler, 2007 – It was a brief appearance for the Oregon native and he showed flashes of why so many people love his game. He's a lot like Thaddeus Young from the 2006 class when it comes to versatility. Except Singler is a better passer and Young is a better athlete. Singler can do so much, hurting teams inside, outside and offensively and defensively. He'll compete with anybody. Dante Green tried to beat Singler to the basket for a dunk but missed. On the next possession, Singler looked for Green and threw his body on him on the blocks.
John Roberson, 2007 – You have to like a kid that comes up big in big games. And if winning a 5A state championship in Texas isn't enough to prove that he is a winner, Roberson is a guy that is begging for the ball in the final minutes of a tight game and he'll deliver. The Texan shot the ball efficiently and was nearly perfect under two minutes in crunch time. He put together a good week at Nike and now he's eying a decision. It's down to Oklahoma and Utah.
Greg Monroe, 2008 – Here's the deal. He's looking a lot like Dante Green did this time last year. And it looks like Monroe is working on his game to be at the level Green is at right now. When it comes to being a prospect, he has the tools and a ceiling that will rival the skyscrapers in downtown Indy. There has been little debate about his standing as the top rising junior here.
Terrell McKenzie, 2007 – He might be headed to Brewster Academy (N.H.) next year but he's still a Jersey kid and still Jersey tough. McKenzie lined up under the basket and took a number of offensive charges and kept players from getting to the basket. He didn't seem to mind who was rumbling down the lane and almost seemed to like the contact. Plus, he made buckets all week long.
Keenan Ellis, 2007 – For the first time in a long time, he's smiling an ear to ear smile. He should. He's played his best basketball in a while. Offensively, Ellis was knocking down shots from the wing but also showing skills in the post. His recruitment holds interest from UAB, Tennessee, Dayton, Syracuse and UConn, he said.
Rasanti Harris, 2008 – The 6-foot-8, 242-pound power forward from Columbus, Miss., opened eyes with his muscle and girth. It makes since that the Southern schools are looking at him early. Harris said Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas, Florida and UAB have contacted him.
Mike Coburn, 2007 – Rutgers and South Carolina have offered, he said, while Virginia, Cincinnati and Wake Forest are keeping in contact.