Think there is talent here? In one drill you have Brandon Jennings going up against Jerryd Bayless. That's one of the best 2007 guards going up against a kid who may be the best point guard in the 2008 class.
They have loads of talent but are different players. Bayless is thicker, taller and more explosive. Jennings looks a bit quicker and is actually a better ball handler, which is saying a lot as Bayless is no slouch. Both can shoot the ball.
There is a bit of a friendly rivalry brewing as well. Jennings got the best of Bayless at the NBA camp, but Bayless seems intent not to let than happen again.
Percy Miller is a nice surprise. The son of rapper Master P is a small, quick guard with a nice handle. He actually reminds me of the guards on the Houston Hoops. They have a load of short, fast guys. I wonder if he has a floater as good as Jai Lucas'.
While other guys are getting water, Memphis' Joe Watkins was challenging Reggie Geary to a brief bout of 1-on-1. He seems like a hard worker and that he really wants to make a name for himself.
I just realized that Andre is the only NBA guy here at the morning session. He has been participating in drills, pushing some of the kids. Justin Wessel, Jason Stewart and Miles Simon are also helping out.
Out of the corner of my eye I see someone sky to swat a shot that was at least two, maybe three feet over the rim. I wheel around to see which of the recruits has that kind of raw athleticism. Only, it's Andre. So much for discovering a recruit with unreal athleticism.
Richard Jefferson just showed up. That makes two millionaire NBA small forwards on the floor at once. Hopefully Chase Budinger is paying attention. The last three starting forwards for the Wildcats are going to be at the camp and all three are making big bucks in the NBA. Actually, Hassan has been around and he's exactly a year away from a big payday.
I always forget how explosive Jerryd Bayless is. That is until he attacks the rim. He just explodes off the floor and can really throw it down. It's more impressive since he's only around 6-3.
Bayless just ran a 3-on-2 fast break drill with RJ and Iggy. That's two of the three best athletes to come out of Phoenix running the floor at the same time. By the way, Mike Bibby will be here this afternoon. Add those three with Channing Frye and you have the makings of a pretty nice team. Phoenix does not crank out basketball players like other big cities, but the ones that do come out are pretty special.
Oh yeah, Walton showed up a few minutes ago.
Brandon Jennings got too fancy on a drill and Lute admonished him by saying, "that is something Richard Jefferson would do for style points. Don't hang out so much with Richard." The former Wildcat and current New Jersey Nets standout was in earshot and laughed at the remarks.
Bayless is playing well. His shot is on and he's doing a lot of good things both with and without the ball. He looks like he would be comfortable at either guard spot. He and Jennings are still going at it whenever they are matched up. Nice to see the competitive juices flowing.
The pros are not dominating like they could, but every once in awhile they are compelled to strut their stuff. Iguodala used a shake and bake move that sent his defender reeling. The poor kid was on his butt while Iguodala was at the rim.
Walton takes some time to talk to some day campers who are in the building. There are a lot of summer camps going on around the University and this bunch of eight-year olds got out of the heat and took in some basketball. Luke said a few encouraging things and then one of the kids blurted out "are you going to win a championship next year?" No, there are no high expectations among Laker fans.
Josh is standing off to the side with Budinger. They are both all smiles. Hopefully things are going as well as they look.
They are putting the campers through a rigorous shooting drill that has them running up and down the floor with little rest. After a couple minutes a lot to jumpers are starting to come up short. A sure sign that guys are getting tired.
This is a drill the Cats do at the end of practice and is intended to get guys nearly 100 shots in 5:00. No wonder the Wildcats are in such great shape.
The kids who were talking to Walton have become the Andre Iguodala fan club. One was wearing a 76er jersey (although it was the other A.I.'s). All of the kids keep chanting "Iggy, Iggy, Iggy". Iguodala has responded by throwing down a variety of highlight reel dunks for them.
Mike Stoops has entered the building. He spent a few minutes with R.J. and J-Stew. My guess is that he was on his way to the locker room to change for his daily run. Oh yeah, the running shoes in his hand were sort of a giveaway. It's a pretty common sight to see Stoops running across campus in the heat of the day.
Justin Wessel stops to say hi to Coach Stoops. Justin may be a Wildcat through and through, but he has never strayed from his Iowa roots and loves the former Iowa defensive back.