Nike Notebook, Part I

INDIANAPOLIS--Arizona has two stars in attendance at the Nike All-America camp and both have a chance to become NCAA All-Americans with good seasons in 2002-03. Jason Gardner and Channing Frye were just two of the 20 college stars in attendance as camp counselors. Today, however, the group of college kids got together for a little pick-up action and things got interesting.

*Between the morning and afternoon sessions, the college stars, doubling as camp counselors, got involved in some serious scrimmaging. Those who played: Jason Gardner and Channing Frye from Arizona, Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson from Oregon, Aaron Miles, Nick Collison, Keith Langford and Wayne Simien from Kansas, Arthur Johnson and Ricky Paulding from Missouri, David West from Xavier, Ebi Ere from Oklahoma, Jarvis Hayes from Georgia, Emeka Okafor from UConn, David Harrison from Colorado, Chris Thomas from Notre Dame, Brian Cook from Illinois, Jason Maxiell from Cincinnati, Kyle Korver from Creighton, Antonio Gates from Ohio State and Marcus Hatten from St. John's. Zach Randolph, formerly of Michigan State and currently a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, also played. The most impressive three players had to be Ridnour, Okafor and Cook. As for Arizona's twosome, Gardner was very good, as he always is, and Channing was pretty good. Frye has really packed on some muscle in the upper body, especially in the shoulder area. He still needs some work, as was evident when he missed a wide-open two-handed dunk. He needs more explosion in his legs because he's not a great jumper like Okafor is.

*In an evening session match-up, Ndudi Ebi went against fellow big man Longar Longar. Both Ebi and Longar are African natives with a penchant for hanging around the three-point line a little bit too much. Ebi, in this particular game, shot no fewer than 15 threes while making maybe three or four of them. He has such dominant post moves that it's hard to believe that he wants to be a perimeter player. He's listed at 6-7 here at Nike and that's not correct, but neither is the 6-10 that he claims. I'd say he right around 6-8, maybe 6-9 while Longar is a legit 6-9. In this case, Ebi definitely got the best of the match-up with Longar but he was less than spectacular. He should stick to posting up more and gunning from 24-feet less.

*There were great matchups all day but one that most Arizona fans might find intriguing came early in the afternoon five-on-five session when class of 2004 point guard prospects Daniel Gibson and Jason Horton squared off against one another. Neither played so well that those in attendance would find it impossible to forget their names but neither played poorly either. The opinion here is that the taller Gibson (6'1" to Horton's 5'11") is the better prospect. He's bigger, stronger, more athletic and plays within himself better. I was going to use the word "smooth" for Gibson but it wouldn't be right considering the fact that his teammate, Chris Paul, might as well have the adjective copyrighted, patented and tattooed on himself.

*Ben's obligatory Devon Evertsen plug… Evertsen has holes in his game, that's obvious when you watch him play, but most of his problems are mental and fixable. But the 6-6 wing from Phoenix played really well today. In the morning's three-on-three session, Evertsen scored 10 straight points to help his team (featuring Chris Paul) come back and win. In the afternoon five-on-five games, he started off slowly but then rattled off another 10-point outburst on 4-4 shooting over a two-minute span. He shows flashes of brilliance at times, glimpses of what his game CAN become. In my opinion, Devon Evertsen is just beginning to scratch the surface of that double-edged sword called "potential".

*In the evening's final game, Tack Minor showed why many of America's best programs are staying clear of his recruitment situation. He got mad at his defender and played angry the rest of the night. Things finally came to a head when he got tangled up with Brandon Bell, the younger brother of former Michigan State star Charlie Bell. Minor and Bell exchanged words and Minor had his arms around Bell, reaching for the ball when Bell "created space" with an elbow that drew a technical foul from one of the referees nearby. However, don't judge Bell too quickly, it was clearly Minor who instigated the altercation. According to one prominent assistant coach in attendance, "no one likes Tack Minor, that's why only Cincinnati and LSU are after him".
It's too bad because the kid is an amazing talent and a tremendous student as well (1,240 on his SATs). More to come…

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