SUWANNEE, Ga. -- The shoe camp season is upon us. Kicking off a busy month, the folks at adidas started up their Superstar camp at the Suwannee Sports Academy in north metro Atlanta on Tuesday night and the five-star players got to work. Guys like Stanley Robinson led the way with his high-flying act and Javaris Crittenton played with confidence on the eve of his college decision.
Robinson is still rolling
Stanley Robinson decided he wanted to be the best player at the adidas Superstar camp on day one and he came close to succeeding. Robinson is feeling good about his game and it shows in his style of play. The 6-foot-9 pogo stick put on a dunkfest show, scoring 10 of his 14 points on two-hand flushes.
The other four came by using his spidery frame to inch to the basket with two dribbles from the top of the key to the basket for scores. His jumper wasn't falling but when you're scoring at will at the rim, why try anything else?
"I'm just trying to have fun," Robinson said after the win. "It's my first day at the camp so why not have some fun to start? I learned a lot from the NBA camp and the USA camp and I learned that you just have to let the game come to you no matter what happens."
The game did come to Robinson and he should fair well the rest of week in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see what coaches are sitting at his first game on Tuesday, too. His play in the closed period has high-majors curious.
Robinson rattled off a list longer than an Atlanta traffic jam but said the heavy hitters are Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia Tech amongst others.
"I'm pretty much going to wait and see who recruits me," Robinson said. "I'm taking it one day at a time and when the time comes for me to narrow it down I will with my mom and my uncle."
On the night before the decision
Javaris Crittenton put on a show in front of the home town Atlanta crowd in the first session of games. The 6-foot-4 guard gets to the basket whenever he wants and he's the master of the finger roll. He scored 21 points in a morning victory and dropped seven assists by our count.
On one possession, Crittenton snatched a rebound over the 6-foot-8 forwards, pushed the break and dropped off an assist for a trailing teammate who got the dunk. It was one of the best moments of the day.
Florida and Georgia Tech are his two finalists and the world will know who he'll play for tomorrow at a 10 a.m. press conference here at the Superstar camp.
Translation: Very good. That is how Lamar Falley played on opening night. He is back in the United States after a year long stay in Spain's Canary Islands at a basketball academy and he came back a different player.
The Las Vegas product shot lights out in an evening game rout, connecting on five three pointers en route to a team high 21 points. He was confident in his shot, pulled up from deep and burying just about everything he put up.
"I learned more about the fundamentals of the game," Falley said. "I used to be an AND1 kind of player but I went over there and really improved my shot and gained about 15 pounds eating all of that seafood and pasta. It was a great experience."
Not only did he return home a stronger player, he returned home to a heated recruitment. In his three weeks home, the schools came a calling. Falley said he's heard from Texas, Tennessee, LSU, Florida and Southern Cal. He said LSU is holding an offer for him if his academics improve at Laurinburg this year.
Since shining at the Southern Invitational in May, Lazar Haywood has been on a tear. The 6-foot-5 wing from Notre Dame (Va.) Prep is scoring at will at the big time events. He shined at the Southern, was all-tourney at the Tournament of Champions and has continued his scoring ways at the Superstar camp.
"It's been crazy since (the Southern Invitational)," Haywood said. "All of these coaches and magazines and scouts are looking at me know a lot more than they used to. I've been scoring more and playing better. I used to be a role player but now they say I'm playing like a superstar."
He's playing very well. So much in fact, Marquette, Pitt and Michigan are his top three at the moment and UConn is making a push. He said the Huskies are planning on watching him for the first time at adidas. Haywood said he's happy with those four schools at the moment.
Not the swamp but Speights is biting
Florida bound big man Marreese Speights may not be in Gainesville yet but he's doing damage on the AAU scene before he gets to SEC play. The 6-foot-10 forward showed off a nice soft touch inside and even buried a three en route to his 21 points in the early session of games.
On the defensive end, he's such a huge body in the paint, he thwarts shots away and contests those he can't get after. Still in need of a fire, Speights is headed in the right direction to becoming one of the top big men in the country.
Coaches are always looking for a skilled big man. There are plenty of under the radar guys here at the Superstar camp. Tennessee's Javris Varnado was one of them. He had 15 points and close to double digit blocks in an evening win.
He's long at 6-foot-9 but skinny at 190 pounds and he says he likes to play the small forward spot. Nevertheless, he's skilled and has room to grow in his game. Varnado said he's holding offers from Colorado, Mississippi State, Buffalo and Murray State while Tennessee, Xavier and Maryland are keeping a close watch.
Already possessing a college ready body, Canada's Robert Sacre is a promising 2007 big man. He's got solid footwork, a great frame, nice hands and a tough nosed demeanor to his game. The former Louisiana will certainly have some big-timers on him after the adidas camp.
Physically, Travis George has a high-major body. He's long, strong and uses his body to power over guys for rebounds and blocked shots. On Tuesday, he was more of the passer from the blocks and made things run. The Laurinburg product gave a list of Missouri, Kansas, Memphis, Marquette and Connecticut.
After opening some eyes at the NBA camp, college coaches will be drawn to Haymady N'Diaye. The 6-foot-11 center from Florida Prep has a body that will be turned into a pro physique, a knack for rebounding and blocking shots and an improving offensive game. He's got some funk to him that the big boys always like to have on their roster.
Ndiaye said he's holding offers from Baylor, Miami, Pitt, George Washington, Nevada and Florida State.
Notes from the notepad
D.J. Augustin connected on the pick and roll with UCLA bound James Keefe and then found a slashing Wayne Ellington for several scores. The team is just too loaded. They had their opponent up by 30 at the half and ending up winning by a margin of 50.
Matt Bouldin's team didn't help him out too much but the shaggy hair Colorado native showed off a textbook jumper, solid handle and great court vision.
There isn't a harder working player at the camp than Daniel Deane. The Utah product just bullies his way to the basket and clears out space inside the paint when he rebounds. He did float to the perimeter a little too much which is bit concerning considering the fact no one wants to mess with him inside.
Josh Guillory abused the rims in the early session. He's a high-flyer with great length and quick springs. He's moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta and is still trying to figure out what school to attend. The Peach State just inherited a high-major talent.
Gerald Henderson has pogo sticks for legs. On what looked to be an errant lob pass, the future Duke product skied for the pass and threw down a nasty one-handed dunk. He's scoring at will here and should have plenty more memorable high-flying acts.
Quincy Pondexter is one of the best pure scorers in the country. He uses his length well inside, can handle the ball well enough to create opportunities for himself to the basket and is still improving his jumper. It's no wonder ever Pac-10 would love to have him.
Venoy Overton may be a bit small but the 5-foot-10 point guard from Seattle is quick as a hickup and pesky on the defensive end.
St. Thomas More's Antonio Pena said Louisville, Georgia, Miami, St. John's, Villanova and Cincinnati have all offered.
Oh so young, oh so talented
A class of 2008 prospect to watch is Howard Thompkins. The Norcross (Ga.) Wesleyan product is next in line for the always-loaded Atlanta Celtics. program. Thompkins, a 6-foot-8 forward, said his recruitment is just taking off and he's received introductory mail from Cincinnati, Virginia, DePaul, Missouri, Tennessee and Baylor.
Demetrius Walker has received a lot of pub in Cali for his mature game and he certainly showed why so many on the West Coast are touting his game. The 6-foot-3 guard has yet to play in high school but he's got a body that most rising seniors lack. He's strong, aggressive, confident and talented. There will be plenty of compliments coming his way over the next four years. He's only a class of 2009 kid.
California is also home to Aaron Moore, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Fontana. This class of 2009 wing is a great rebounder, incredibly confident, a vocal leader on the floor and a great scorer.
Ohio's Yancey Gates has a body (6-8, 220) that college strength coaches drool over. He's got broad shoulders, big hands, spring legs and already cut arms. Basketball-wise, this big fella can handle the rock, create from the wing and rebound the heck out of the ball. High-majors get to know this class of 2008 prospect.
Faces in the crowd
NCAA coaches are not allowed to evaluate players until Wednesday July 6 but Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl got a jump start on evaluating players and one in particular. He was watching his son Steven play on opening day.
Former NBA player Detlef Schrempf is coaching the adidas international team, featuring players from China, Australia, Serbia Montenegro, Korea
Carlos Boozer was in the crowd watching his brother Charles play. NBA slam dunk champ and Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith was working the crowd.
Rivals.com will be back at the adidas Superstar camp on Wednesday and we'll kick off our coverage from the Nike All-American camp and the Reebok ABCD camp, too. It's the only place you'll have wall-to-wall coverage from all three major events. Stay logged on for the best and most extensive coverage in July.