Wildcat elite camp is a success

The Arizona Elite Camp just began and it is already a success. A number of big time prospects have ventured to Tucson and a number of NBA Wildcats have also returned to Tucson. The staff has put together a great experience for these talented basketball players.

The camp kicked off Thursday night with a talk by former Wildcat great Steve Kerr. The talk centered on the importance of hard work and the five-time world champion used Michael Jordan as a reference. He talked about how much time and effort Jordan put into getting better.

After that the staff put the campers through what was essentially a Wildcat practice. This was no day camp, this was serious. The players were expected to hustle and if they did not do what they were supposed to there were sit-ups to do.

The real highlight is just who is teaching at the camp. In addition to Lute Olson and his staff, former Wildcats A.J. Bramlett, Jason Terry, Jason Gardner, Jason Stewart, Justin Wessel and Miles Simon were on hand with instruction. As the night wore on Luke Walton, Richard Jefferson and Andre Iguodala showed up as did Corey Williams, Kelvin Eafon, Hassan Adams, Jesus Verdejo and Mohamed Tangara.

Mike Bibby is expected to be on hand on Friday.

Players were put through a series of drills, with an emphasis on defense the first night. As Olson explained concepts he kept saying that this was the "way we do it."

Another emphasis was a series of drills where the players could not shoot until at least five passes were made.

Needless to say, fundamentals are being stressed.

After the drills the players were allowed to scrimmage for about 45 minutes. They played a series of games played to five. One court housed most of the bigger name prospects as well as the three incoming freshmen. Unofficially Marcus Williams was the high scorer making nine buckets in three games.

After that the floor was opened up and players could just shoot around. Top prospect Chase Budinger, who is sidelined with a wrist injury, played horse with Josh Pastner. Fendi Onobun, who had to ice his hand at one point, played 1-on-1 with Iguodala and lost on a controversial play when Iguodala ruled that there were no out-of-bounds in the game.

During the open floor freshman-to-be Marcus Williams spent nearly 30 minutes working on his mid-range jumper. He kept repeating the same drill over and over. He would use the pump fake, take a dribble and shoot a 16-footer.

On Friday the camp goes the entire day. In the morning the players will get a tour of the weight room and training facilities before hitting the hardwood. They will then go and have a discussion on academics and recruiting in general.

The highlight of the day, and possibly the camp, will be an open gym session that will se the recruits, the current Cats and the alums go at it in pick-up games. That should get started around 2:30 and is open to the public.

Saturday will have the final practice session, a question and answer session and then the camp all-star game.


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