Big Men Do Battle
*The match-up of the day came when Luol Deng's Washington team met Chris Richard's Oregon State team. It was the premier game featuring the camps' best big men. Deng (6-7, 221 WF) was joined by Corey Brewer (6-7, 165 SF from the '04 class) and freshman-to-be (‘06) Derrick Caracter (6-9, 286 PF from Fanwood, NJ). Richard (6-7, 229 PF) was teamed with Class of 2004 PF Mohammed Tangara, a 6-8, 222 MONSTER from McDonough, Georgia, 2003 C Courtney Sims (6-10, 223 from Roslindale, MA) as well as 2003 SF J.R. Giddens (6-5, 183 from Oklahoma).
It really doesn't make any difference which team won, so I'll just say that Deng is the best player of the bunch and Tangara plays like no one I've seen before. Tangara attacks the glass in a way that would make most players afraid to challenge him. He has explosive leaping ability and he doesn't care if someone is in his way when he's going up. The ball is his, and that's all there is to it. He needs some work on the offensive side of the ball, like most players here do, but he's an animal everywhere else on the floor.
Luol Deng vs. Ndudi Ebi
*Deng has been constantly compared to Arizona recruit Ndudi Ebi, mostly because they both are native Africans and are about the same size with inside-outside games. Both have legitimate three-point range and can hit with good accuracy from time to time (Deng might shoot fewer threes but does so at a higher percentage) and both can put the ball on the floor and drive (Deng is also better in this area). The areas that Ebi is clearly better in are shot blocking and rebounding.
I think Deng is slightly ahead of Ebi right now but Ebi could very well wind up being better down the road. Duke is almost surely favoring Deng at this point. Coach K and his assistant Chris Collins have made it a point to attend each of Deng's games.
Josh Pastner: "The Shadow in Ndudi-anapolis"
*Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner has been following Ebi so closely these past couple days that he could be called "The Shadow". In fact, only Texas has made its presence felt at Ebi's games on anywhere close to the same level as Pastner. Actually, there's no way humanly possible to out-do Josh in that department. You should see him. He stands up the entire time right in Ebi's line of sight while wearing very conspicuous ARIZONA t-shirts. I'm not exaggerating when I say that everywhere Ebi has gone, Josh has been there every step of the way. The guy is earning his paycheck here in Indy while trying to get Ndudi to become a Wildcat.
Players of the Day
*Kris Humphries stole the show in my opinion. The Duke recruit from Minnetonka, MN is the most complete player at this camp. He can shoot, he can pass, he can rebound and he is athletic. He's not fast and he's not a huge leaper but he can more than get the job done in all areas of the game. In his first outing this afternoon, he scored 20 points (which is like 40 because of the mandatory 12 minutes each player must sit out), had five boards, three assists and two blocks against the team featuring Richard, Tangara, Sims and Giddens. If the Blue Devils do wind up signing both Humphries and Deng, that will be an amazing recruiting class, whether or not they are joined by anyone else from the 2003 stable of prospects.
*Others worthy of mention on Day Two were Deng, Ebi, '03 PG Gary Ervin (5-11, 166 from Brooklyn, NY), '03 WG Torre Johnson (6-4, 193, Milwaukee), '04 PF Juan Diego Tello Palacios (6-7, 256, Centereach, NY), '03 WF Devon Evertsen (6-6, 181, Phoenix), '03 SF Corey Gibbs (6-6, 228, Lithonia, GA), '03 SG Gary Forbes (6-5, 197, Brooklyn, NY), '05 PG Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben (6-1, 161, Troy, NY) and '03 PG Churchill Odia Ehis (6-4, 175, Ikeja, Lagos in Africa).
Odia Ehis is a wonderful passer/playmaker lead guard from Africa but he's here in the United States on a limited Visa and will have to return at some point. He has been one of the most talked about, albeit secretly, players at Nike.
The Splendid Nine (Thru Tuesday)
- Kris Humphries
- Luol Deng
- Chris Paul
- Tack Minor
- Mohammed Tangara
- Ndudi Ebi
- Shannon Brown
- C.J. Anderson (6-4, 180 SG from Cincinnati; ‘03)
- Rodrick Stewart
There are a ton of other players to talk about but I'll save most of it for another day when I can go much further into detail and actually describe these guys' games for you. The most fun will come in the underclassmen stories. Also, if you want to talk about these kids and even just the Nike or ABCD camps in general, respond on the message boards about these articles we're writing. We're going to be doing some chats in the near future but we need to see the interest level spike a bit first.
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E-mail Ben Hansen at AZPointGuardU@yahoo.com