Here is a rundown on the 23 west coast prospects that participated in the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis this week.
Micah Downs, 6-7 SR SF, Bothell (Wash.) High. He was probably the best small forward in the camp. He did it all, and did it well, sometimes taking over games single-handedly. He's definitely a triple-threat, and is most dangerous after a step and he can either pull up or find an open teammate. He doesn't look like he's gotten a lick heavier, but it doesn't really matter. Not to be negative about Martell Webster, but Downs could very well be the best small forward in the west coast class of 2005.
Martell Webster, 6-6 SR SF, Seattle (Wash.) Prep. Webster is still getting back from his injury, and he's doing it in stops and starts. He needs to probably lose a bit of the weight he gained, which will improve his quickness, and just generally get back the sharpness in his game. He's shown spurts, though, of the old Webster, at times here.
Jon Brockman, 6-7 SR PF, Snohomish (Wash.) High. Two Washington players, once again, are probably the two best prospects in the west coast class – Brockman and Downs. It's been written so many times that Brockman is a warrior, but watching him you just want to keep repeating it. He did struggle a bit sometimes against the most elite, top-flight talent in the country, such as when he matched up against Tyler Hansbrough in the 3-on-3, with Hansbrough matching Brockman for aggressiveness but surpassing him in athleticism. But Brockman consistently, again, brought the toughness and relentless to every game.
Chris Oakes, 6-8 SR PF/C, Oakland (Calif.) Castlemont. Probably the prospect in the west that helped himself the most, Oakes established his level of play in the first half an hour of play here Wednesday night and didn't let up all week. His listed weight was 177, but we would suspect it's more around 190ish. But it's a pretty tough 190. Oakes is thin, and narrow-shouldered, but he's very quick, and quick off the second jump, which gets him rebounds, block shots and putbacks. It was a who's-who of players on the list of guys that Oakes blocked this week. He also doesn't back down physically, posting up, setting screens, and has a good sense of the game and scoring instinct. Clearly a high major prospect, it will be interesting to see what level of school now gets involved with Oakes after his coming-out performance here. Pac-10s will be involved, as will high majors from around the country.
Jerryd Bayless, 6-1 SO CG, Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. One of maybe the five best guards in the camp, regardless of class, Bayless is an excellent prospect. He not only has uncanny skills for being just a rising sophomore, able to shoot, handle and pass, but his athleticism enables him to do so much. His hops give him such great elevation on his shot that his mid-range is practically indefensible. He'll be listed among the top 20 players in the 2007 class after this week's performance.
Diamon Simpson, 6-7 SR PF, Hayward (Calif.) High. Another west coaster who helped himself significantly, Simpson, while still pretty thin, showed a great feel and physical presence around the basket, in both scoring and rebounding. Quick-footed and with very good hops, Simpson scored repeatedly on spin moves and explosive first steps around defenders, and jumped over them for rebounds. He also has a solid jumper. He'll get recruited at the high major level now. Some Pac-10ers will be involved.
Mitchell Johnson, 6-0 SR PG, Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea. He had a solid week, distributing the ball to his teammates and taking his shot when it came to him. During a long stretch Thursday he didn't seem to miss a shot attempt. Johnson struggled a bit against quicker guards, but seemed to realize his limitations and didn't put himself in risky situations. Stanford and Washington will probably fight it out. Being teammates and good friends with Brockman makes him a big priority for Washington.
Kevin Love, 6-8 SO C, Lake Oswego (Ore.) High. Being just a baby and probably not used to this level of competition, Love struggled some against the athleticism. He did, though, consistently show his advanced offensive skills and also didn't back down physically. We've never seen this advanced of an offensive set of skills on a such a young post, and it's going to be very entertaining to see how his game continues to develop over the next three years.
Jamal Boykin, 6-6 SR PF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Boykin played here at Nike as he does most of the time – with good aggressiveness and passion. There were times when he struggled against the high level of athleticism – in trying to score around the basket and also having to get his shot off more quickly, but he also had his moments, too. He's learned to be very crafty around the basket, and his passing continues to be an asset.
James Keefe, 6-8 JR PF, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. Also probably being his first time playing with this level of talent, Keefe at times was beat by opponents, but as the week went on he seemed to adjust and fare much better. On Friday he had a very good day, being relentless around the basket, setting up his teammates with great passes from the perimeter, and shooting pretty well from the outside. His performance here certainly will maintain his rep as one of the top 40 players nationally in the class of 2006.
Spencer Hawes, 6-10 JR C, Seattle (Wash.) Prep. Hawes had a very good week, and like other young west coasters, improved as the week went on and he got more comfortable. He was probably the best prospect on the floor in his afternoon game on Friday, getting rebounds and putbacks above the rim, hitting jumpers, and scoring on some nice turnarounds. He's continued to get bigger, and obviously getting better, and if it continues at this rate he should be among the top centers in the country next year. The Pac-10 will definitely be on him, and high majors from around the country.
Don't be shocked if the Wildcats get involved in this player. In their travels to Washington they have seen him, now they know what he can do.
Christian Polk, 6-2 JR SG, Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. Polk had a good overall week, with a couple of good games and couple just okay. In one game, he really passed and scored well, finding seams in the half-court defense to penetrate and dish. His body continues to get bigger and his quickness seems to keep improving, and as his skills continue to come along he's one of the best wings in the west for 2006.
Kyle Singler, 6-6 SO SF, South Medford (Ore.) Medford. One of the most enjoyable kids in the west to watch because his skill level is so advanced for his age. He has one of the prettiest jump shots, and is almost automatic in his mid-range. He's so baby-faced and looks so young it wouldn't be surprising if he continued to grow. If he does, with his skill set, he has a chance to be an elite national recruit.
Joe Darger, 6-6 SR SG, Riverton (Utah) High. Darger had struggled at times this spring, but in the couple of games we saw him play here in Indianapolis, he looked good. His soft touch was back, hitting jump shots whenever he had open looks. He also was very good at passing around the basket to his bigs.
Brian Morris, 6-7 SR PF, Portland (Ore.) Jefferson. Morris continues to be an interesting prospect. He must weigh around 260ish, with a very big lower body, and he could lose some weight, which would improve his mobility and athleticism. He does, though, throw around his weight pretty well, punishing defenders with his backside in the post. When he gets a look anywhere within 15 feet he shows a nice stroke. He's also a very mature player, being very vocal in calling out screens and help defense, just like his college coach will want him to do. Some Pac-10s will probably be involved.
Stephan Gilling, 6-2 SR SG, Chino Hills (Calif.) Ayala. Gilling, in the games we saw, was one of the best outside shooters on the floor. He's very good at finding space to spot up, and has a nice, quick release. He really plays aggressively on offense, but intelligently, finding his picks with sharp cuts, and finding seams to pull up and get off his shot. He handles it just okay, but seems to recognize that, knowing that he's primarily a spot-up guy. Mid-majors will be involved.
Omar Leary, 5-9 SR PG, Portland (Ore.) Lincoln. Leary played hard here at Nike, but was probably a bit out of his level. He's very slight physically, and has just decent quickness, which made it difficult for him sometimes here. He does work hard at creating for his teammates, and does have a good, pass-first mentality.
Joseph Johnson, 5-10 JR PG, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Johnson looked pretty slight out there among the big Nike Camp bodies. He measured at 5-10, which was probably an inch bigger than we would have guessed. He had some moments, mostly passing the ball. He's a mid-major.
Ed White, 6-3 SR SG, Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. White shot the ball well in stretches, and plays a smart game. He was another that was a bit out of his element athetically here, but he brought some good, much-needed team-oriented game to Nike floor.
Ray Reese, 6-3 SR SG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Reese probably looked better here this week than the last 10 times we've seen him. He did everything pretty well, shot it well, passed it well, and played very good defense, jumping into passing lanes for steals. He definitely helped himself here enough to get mid-major looks.
Michael Gerrity, 6-0 SR PG, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Usually Gerrity gets in trouble when he tries to do to much, specifically score himself. But this week, probably recognizing that he had some serious talent around him, he looked to distribute more, and penetrate to create for his teammates rather than forcing bad shots himself. It made him quite a bit more effective as a point guard.
Jerard Moret, 6-3 SR SF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Moret has a nice, big, square-shouldered body, which he uses well against slighter wings. He looked to shoot a bit excessively this week, but redeemed himself by playing tough, most notably at times on defense.
Kelvin Wilson, 6-0 SR SG, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. A fairly good shooting guard with a decent stroke and good handle, he's just limited by his size and average quickness.