Stars strut their stuff at McKale

The stars were out in force at McKale on Friday. Five NBA Wildcats were on hand, as were a number of current Cats, to add a special element to the Arizona Elite Camp. A number of the high schoolers on hand ran with the big boys.

Richard Jefferson, Andre Iguodala, Luke Walton, Jason Terry and Mike Bibby returned to the McKale hardwood for the action. Also on hand to play were current and future Wildcats Kirk Walters, Hassan Adams, Chris Rodgers, Marcus Williams and J.P. Prince. Jason Gardner, John Ash and Harvey Mason were in attendance but did not suit up.

The action was fast and furious. At one point there were three games going on simultaneously, but it soon whittled down to two games, with one "main game" where winners held the court.

There were a number of standout performances, but no player made a bigger impact on the crowd than Jason Terry. The speedy point guard was late getting there but once he hit the floor there was no stopping him. He made a number of threes and played to the crowd after each and every one of them.

He was hamming it up before he even hit the floor. After stretching he raced from one end of McKale to the other egging the fans on. Maverick fans will be glad to know that he was decked out in green Maverick shorts and a Dallas playoff shirt. On Thursday he was wearing Atlanta Hawks gear.

Terry was thrilled to come out and help out at the camp.

"When I hear that voice in that phone call, I come running," Terry noted. "That's daddy there. Papa Lute. ... I love coming back. There's camaraderie. It's family."

Speaking of Terry's family, his brother Curtis was on hand. The UNLV sophomore-to-be showed off a great stroke from the outside. Hard to believe he only averaged 3.7 ppg for the Rebels. Last year.

Mike Bibby trotted out a number of the members of "Team Dime", his group of friends and family members who help run all of Bibby's business affairs.

Bibby was impressive on the court, but was really surprising was just how muscular he was. He looked like he could be a running back. This was the first time I have seen him play in person and I was not prepared for how rocked up he was.

Another player who looks a lot different was Andre Iguodala. After just one year in the NBA his game has improved. He is a much more reliable shooter and I dare say, he's more athletic than he was when he played for the Cats. As you may expect he threw down some ridiculous dunks and after a number of breakaways he almost seemed to run out of acrobatic things to do in the open floor.

Richard Jefferson had a number of impressive dunks as well. He seemed to play a lot more in the team concept and did a nice job getting the younger players involved. He had a few nice passes and was a beast on the boards.

Luke Walton seemed to be taking it a bit easy. He was more content to pass and was not as aggressive on defense as he was when he was a player at Arizona. Part of that, heck, a lot of that is due to the fact that he became a restricted free agent on Friday morning and can't really risk injury.

He went up against current Cat Kirk Walters in a number of games, and while he did not punish the Wildcat center, he did force him to go over him. He did not allow Walters to get to the hoop. Walters responded. He had his jump hook falling and showed a nice shooting touch.

Walters has struggled a bit at the Summer Pro League, but looked much better on Friday. He seemed more confident and more determined. It helped that the perimeter players in the pick-up were much more adept at getting the ball to him in a position to score.

Walters showed off the athleticism we've been hearing so much about when he finished a break by slamming home a lob from Jefferson.

If Walters was more impressive as he has been at the TSPL, then Adams was less impressive. He was still high flying and high scoring, but his outside shot was off.

Adams was a great ambassador with the recruits on hand. He talked to guys like Chase Budinger and Brandon Jennings for a bit and spent a good half an hour with Jerryd Bayless.

The pick-up marked the return of Chris Rodgers to the public eye. With a blue bandanna on his head, Rodgers showed that he has the athleticism to be a super star, but he just has to put it together. If he embraces what the coaches tell him, watch out!

Of the newcomers, Marcus Williams was the most impressive. He really hung in there with the older guys. He was on from the outside and had a few really nice buckets inside.

J.P. Prince was not as big a scoring threat, but he had two great passes. He hit Adams on a long lob that looked to be out of reach for anyone but Superman. I guess the 6-4 Adams is pretty close to the man of steel. He also had a sweet half court bounce pass that found his man under the basket.

Not to be outdone, Iguodala had a ¾ bounce pass a few possessions later.

Fendi Onobun was on hand but did not play after a finger injury the night before.

The freshmen did not fare well against the older players, but they did play hard. Early on a lot of high schoolers were taking their shots at the NBAers, but after a few games there were just a handful of young guys taking the floor.

Two of the smallest players were the ones playing the most. 5-10 Brandon Jennings and 5-8 Percy Miller played the entire session. Jennings, one of the top prospects in the 2008 class had a few nice plays, including some nice buckets at the basket and scoop shot alley-oop to Adams that brought the crowd to their feet.

Miller was not as strong, but he worked his tail off. He missed an open lay-up in one of his only shot attempts, but moved the ball and played tough defense.

Miller is a solid basketball player, but he's better known as a performer. He's also a rapper known as Lil Romeo and a lot of his female fans were on hand. Whenever he took the floor you would hear girls scream "Romeo".

Bayless was impressive. His outside shot was falling and he had a nice dunk or two. At one point he, Mike Bibby and Richard Jefferson were all on the floor at the same time. Three of the four best players to come out of Phoenix in the last decade.

High school freshman Jeff Withey played tough, despite being overmatched. He never backed down and tried his best to hang with bigger, stronger players. When he adds three years and thirty pounds he will be something special.


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