Nike Update: Day Two Morning

There is but one priority in Indianapolis for Arizona: Get Ndudi Ebi, period. The superstar recruit from Houston has a shadow and its name is Josh Pastner. Pastner, the newly-promoted assistant coach for the Wildcats is hoping to get his Houston connections to work for him in an attempt to land Ebi, a top five recruit nationally. Ebi is taking notice.

INDIANAPOLIS--This morning's highlight came courtesy of Hassan Adams' Westchester High School teammate Marcus Johnson, a sophomore-to-be next year.

During the three-on-three games this morning, Johnson got past his defender, drove through the lane and exploded up and over 6-10 Longar Longar for a resounding one-handed dunk.

Longar's teammate, Luol Deng, started laughing at what had happened and then teased him about it the rest of the game. The team that those two highly rated big men play on in the 3-on-3 competition is by far the best in the camp. Their other three teammates are PG T.J. Bannister, SG Jason Rich (a sophomore) and Sonny Troutman, a 6-4, 196 pound SF from here in Indy.

*Josh Pastner is making it VERY obvious who Arizona's top priority is. He is front and center any and everywhere Ndudi Ebi goes for all of his games and even drills. Yesterday he wore a bright red Arizona shirt and today he has on a very noticeable white shirt with a big "ARIZONA" on the front in blue. Ebi has definitely noticed.

On the other hand, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been watching a lot more of Luol Deng than he has Ebi. RubenD and I kept an eye on Coach K this morning when Ebi played on the court right in front of him and we noticed that K and his assistant Chris Collins had their heads turned to the court next to Ebi where Deng and Longar were playing.

*Channing Frye played very, very well in this afternoon's college pick-up session. He made every shot he took and blocked a shot from Emeka Okafor, Channing's growing rival from UConn. The difference between the two sophomore centers is that Okafor is absolutely RIPPED muscularly. If Channing ever winds up looking like that, he'll be unstoppable because his offensive game is much more advanced at this point.

Jason Gardner played well too, getting three quick assists in limited action while making one of his two shots. He played in the same backcourt with Luke Ridnour and that got people pretty excited. Gardner played the point so that the team could take advantage of Ridnour's exceptionally quick release and scoring ability from the outside. No one at this entire camp has the quick release that Ridnour possesses. That's why he is able to be the scorer that he has become.

*Richard Jefferson also played in the pickup game today but on the opposite team than Gardner and Frye. He shot poorly but was more aggressive than I've seen him in a long time.

*Class of 2003 uber star recruit LeBron James made a cameo appearance during the college pick up games this afternoon also. He was sporting an elbow-to-wrist cast on his left arm after breaking his wrist in a recent tournament. He still shot well and he still dunked with authority, using his right hand. When he showed up, all the conversations in the stands stopped and every eye was on the No. 1 pick in NEXT year's NBA Draft.

More later...

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