Nike Day Four, pt. 1

INDIANAPOLIS – The monotony is starting to set in at the camp. Everyone has seen the same players and for the most part knows what they can do. At this stage of the game you aren't so much looking for new players, but slotting the ones you have seen. Here is a recap of the morning's events.

Rudy Gay is clearly one of the top forwards in the camp. He is a true combo-forward and should be a top-15 player by the summer's end. Gay has a list a mile long, including Syracuse, Maryland, Indiana, Marquette, UConn, Villanova, St. Johns and Arizona. Arizona and Indiana are the only non-East Coast schools on his list and it sounds like it could be tough to pry him away from the East.

"Pretty much, yeah," Gay said in regards to whether he preferred the East Coast. He did add that he will go to the school where the team most feels like a family.

Vernon Macklin, a talented player from the 2006 class, has two very early favorites: Maryland and Arizona. He could be one of the top players in the '06 class, but don't get too excited. We've already heard he would be a candidate to go pro if the circumstances are right (assuming the 20-year old rule isn't in place).

Expect to start hearing the name Robert Rothbart. The seven-footer from Cupertino, California, has shocked some people with his athleticism. He's fairly mobile and when he gets his butt down he can score down low.

He's on a team loaded with inside players and they've been forced to split time on the wing. Last night Jamal Boykin played the three and for much of today's game Rothbart did. He took a few outside shots and has a nice stroke. He's clearly an inside player, however.

He's on a team loaded with Arizona recruits. In addition to Boykin, Amir Johnson is on the team and all three are always on the floor together. Boykin and Johnson are turning heads. Boykin is a versatile four who is very aggressive. He compares himself to guys like Ben Wallace or Elton Brand, but he's a better scorer than Wallace. Johnson is a nice post player who could be a monster if he adds some bulk.

Davis Nwankwo continued to have foul troubles. He fouled out of a game last night and had to sit down during an afternoon game. He has a lot of promise, but is still a little rough around the edges.

We talked to a lot of parents today. Tyler Hansbrough's dad is an orthopedic surgeon and despite being a former Missouri track athlete, won't pressure his son to become a Tiger. Tyler likes Arizona a lot and has mentioned a fondness for the coaches.

Josh McRoberts is a third generation basketball player. His father and grandfather both played at Butler, but Josh won't follow in their footsteps. Josh announced a tentative top-six and the teams came as a surprise to his father. Arizona was in the mix and the elder McRoberts has followed the Cats since befriending Jay John during his time at Butler. The Cats have to battle the likes of Kansas, Indiana and Duke for the big man's services.

We reported that Harvey Perry Jr., may not be the type of combo guard the Wildcats are looking for, but that does not mean they aren't still looking at Perry. According to his father the Cats are still interested. Wildcat coaches were watching his team play this afternoon in a game that featured Perry, Brian Johnson, McRoberts and a few '05 players. The Cats need a true combo-guard and it will be interesting to see if Perry fits that mold. He has good size at 6-4 and is very quick. He handled the ball quite a bit on offense and played some wing on defense when his team slipped into a 2-3 zone.

Johnson, a 6-9 power forward, continues to shine. He is one of the stronger players in the camp and he added to that a few nice three pointers from the corner. During station drills he showed the kind of athleticism and skills that make college coaches drool.

Rumors have surfaced that Malik Hairston is a lock for UCLA. While the Bruins are clearly in the hunt, we've asked around and it sounds as if Hairston is still wide open. Whether or not he's a package deal with Joe Crawford is speculative, but if he is then it would seem that UCLA and Arizona are out. Hairston maintains that he is still looking around and a decision will likely come in the fall.

Power forward Darnell Jackson made it sound as if he had some academic woes when he said he would trip in the spring. It turns out he has apparently misspoke. We talked to his high school coach and he told us that Jackson is a solid student and expects Darnell to trip in the fall. Jackson likes a number of teams, including Arizona, but he isn't ready to pull the trigger.

Junior-to-be standout Martell Webster is making a name for himself. Arizona coaches watched him play, but they weren't alone. Coaches from Duke, UCLA, Washington, Kansas and Michigan State were all in attendance. Webster is serving notice that he'll be one of the top wings in the '05 class and comparisons to Marvin Williams continue to surface. He loves Arizona and don't be surprised if the UA goes after him hard in the very near future.

Mohamed Tangara continues to be up and down. When he's aggressive he's one of the better big men at the camp. Too often he stands around and doesn't get down in the post in an effort to receive the pass. He's very strong and if he is coachable he could develop. More to come from the night session…

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Contact Brad with at Heymtymte@cs.com

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