Bayless Back On Track

Jerryd Bayless turned his fortunes around in a matter of weeks. Coming off, by his standards, a subpar NBA Camp performance, Bayless was dazzling at Nike Camp. Bayless proved that being healthy does matter.

No one knew just how banged up Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's 2007 guard Jerryd Bayless was at the NBA Camp. As it turns out, Bayless wasn't himself and struggled mightily at the camp.

"After we played [O.J. Mayo's] team that was the most frustrated I had ever been in my life," Bayless said.

"Both of my knees were messed up from the Nike Skills Camp. Me and Tywon Lawson bumped knees twice and then I did it again with Ramar Smith. I was feeling real tentative on the knees."

With the NBA Camp performance behind him, Bayless knew it was time to look forward and take care of business at Nike Camp; it was time to get healthy.

"I was going in to prove something," Bayless said. "I just took time off after that. I got back into it and I knew at Nike Camp I was ready to go."

Ready to go? Bayless was better than that. Athletically he looked superior to the other guards. His game was dramatically different than it was the NBA Camp. Things were looking easy for him. He was healthy from the rest and he was outstanding. After the first two days, college assistants couldn't stop talking about him. He was the rage.

"I knew I could play like that. I had Brandan Wright on my team, a great big man. It was a perfect setting for me. We ran the pick and roll."

Bayless has a huge reputation as a scorer. While he's fine with that, long-term he's got other plans. "I want to be a point guard, that's what I want to be. With my team I've had to score so much but I've really been working on my point guard skills.

"I think it'll be better for me to be a point guard than a shooting guard. I'm 6-foot-3, that's tall but not tall like Tracy McGrady."

It could be a tall order to mine him out of Arizona. Bayless admitted that there is tons of pressure for him to stay home and play for the Wildcats. "Everybody wants me to go to U of A," Bayless said. "But in the long run I have to do what's best for me."

The guard termed the past few weeks the "craziest couple weeks of my life." Well, Jerryd, get used to it because the hits are going to keep coming.

Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois and Indiana are coming the hardest. Bayless says each has offered, though he said UNC offered through an assistant. He also likes Kansas. After Nike Camp there was much speculation that Duke might move on him, however Bayless said he's never talked to a member of their coaching staff.

Looking forward, Bayless will run later this week with the Arizona Magic at the Reebok Big Time. If his Nike Camp performance is any indicator of what he's capable of doing, the second half of July should be quite exciting for the rising junior.

Best Player Bayless Has Faced? " Kevin Durant – He's 6-foot-10 and can do everything a guard and big man can do. He's ridiculous with some of the stuff he does."

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