Notes from Nike: Day One

Day One was like a lot of other first days I've spent orienting and acclimating myself to the events at Nike. The format of the event doesn't change much from year to year, but quality of the talent is better at times. This year's talent is way down from past years. Maybe it's just that most of the top-notch players elected to attend the Adidas ABCD Camp in Teaneck, NJ.

The Nike All-American Camp has been one of great high school basketball camps for many  years. this might be a banner year for talent, but it's still a great showcase for some of the nation's best high school basketball players and there is great deal of talent on display at this event, some as good as advertised and some surprises.

The As Good As Advertised:

Ndudi Ebi, 6-7 ½ forward from Houston (Westbury Christian), Tex., is the most dominating (at both ends of the court) forward at the camp. He handles the ball like a guard, shoots the three-pointer with great accuracy and can take his man down low and use his quickness to score in the paint. He is also the most dominating defensive player here. He's quick enough to guard smaller opponents and strong enough to defend the bigger post players. He goes after every shot and blocks his fair share. There seems to be no weakness to his game. Ebi is still considering Arizona, Duke, Texas and Indiana. Lute Olson was the only head coach missing at all of Ebi's games. Olson will be at the camp Tuesday.

Kris Humphries, a 6-8 forward from Hopkins (Chaska), Minn., has put on some serious muscle since last year at this camp and has given him a great deal of confidence. Like Ebi, Humphries can inside or out on the perimeter. However, Humphries doesn't have the inside moves to compete with the stronger players. He shoots the ball very well and plays solid defense. However, he needs to work on his ball handling to give him a versatile game. All in all, Humphries will be a dominant player at the college level playing for Duke.

Chris Paul, a 5-11 point guard from Lewisville (West Forsythe), NC, has played as the top lead guard at this camp. He's a combination of T.J. Ford and Aaron Miles; a quick playmaker who looks for his teammates first and his shot second. Paul can shoot the rock, but it's his playmaking ability that stands out most. He'll make Wake Forest a great point guard for the next four years. And he WILL start for the Deacons from the day he sets foot on campus.

Roderick Stewart, a 6-4 two-guard from Seattle (Rainier Beach), Wash., is surely the best wing guard at the camp. His athleticism is off the charts and he shoots it well enough to keep his defender honest. Stewart is great transition player and knows how to finish. He had some of the most memorable dunks in Monday's session. Stewart has USC leading Washington and a few others.

Some surprises:

Kyle Visser, a 6-10 center from Ada (Forest Hills), Mich., is not going to scare any of the nation's top post players but he is going make some coach a little bit better because of his work ethic. Visser just doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He has solid post moves and plays good defense. He's taken a visit to San Diego State and is also considering Central Michigan and Western Michigan.

Drew Naymick, a 6-10 center from North Muskegon (HS), Mich., was not sure until this summer if he wanted to pursue baseball or basketball. However, since stepping onto he court here he's now convinced he'll be a better basketball player. He runs the floor well, goes hard after every rebound and can face up or play with his back to the basket. He says he's down to four schools and he'll make a decision between July 18-21. Michigan State might be a slight leader over Michigan, Ohio State and Stanford.

Outstanding performances:

Kevin Bell, a 5-8 point guard from Los Angeles (Fairfax), Calif., is making a name for himself here. He's very quick, pushes the ball up court with authority and is a pass-first playmaker who knows how to get his team involved. He still needs to achieve a qualifying test score, but his schools include Pepperdine, San Diego State and UConn.

Gary Ervin, a 5-11 point guard from Brooklyn (Paul Robinson), NY, is lightning-quick but plays more under control than most points from the Big Apple. He has a great awareness of the court and finds his teammates in great position to make the play. He also shoots the lights out. Ervin has mentioned Arizona, but it's quite clear he'll be playing his college basketball on the East Coast.

Shannon Brown, a 6-1 two-guard from Maywood (Proviso East), Ill., is one of the top two-guards at the camp. He's a dominating offensive player who can score in any number of ways. He said in the interview room that Michigan State, Indiana and Marquette are his leaders.

Future Star:

Derrick Caracter, a 6-9, 286 pound center from Fanwood (Terrill Middle School), NJ, is coming out of the eighth grade a making a name for himself playing among the "big boys" here at Nike. Caracter has a game far beyond his years and as he hones his skills he'll become a dominating post player. He already possesses the skills to compete with the best at the camp. At 286 pounds, he needs to tone his body but he has great footwork for someone as young.


Missing in action:

Marcus Williams, a 6-2 point guard from Los Angeles (Crenshaw) who's planning on attending Oak Hill Academy this fall, sprained his ankle but should be back in action Tuesday.

Brandon Cotton, a 5-11 point guard from Detroit (St. Martin De Porres), Mich., sprained his ankle last Wednesday during the team camp and was sent home. Cotton has already committed to Michigan State.

Vakeaton Wafer, a 6-4 guard from Homer (Pineview), La., is fast becoming the premiere two-guard in this class. However, he missed the day due to a thigh bruise. He should return to action Tuesday.


Channing Frye and Jason Gardner are Nike Camp counselors. Frye is leaving directly from the camp to compete with an Under-20 team that will play for two weeks in Italy. St. John's head coach Mike Jarvis coaches the team. Gardner was on the team last year.

This year's team will also include Arizona forward Dennis Latimore, Gonzaga guard Blake Stepp, and Missouri wing forward Ricky Paulding.

Former Wildcat Richard Jefferson was in the crowd at courtside. When asked why he was attending, Jefferson coyly said he thought it was his duty to be here to help recruit Indy Ebi.

Lute Olson, who was at the ABCD Camp Monday, will be flying to Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon Ebi is the Wildcat's top priority and you can bet Olson will make his presence known by attending every game Ebi plays while he's here.

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