1. Ndudi Ebi, 6-9, 192 WF (Houston)-Josh Pastner was Ebi's shadow the entire first few days at Nike. Everywhere Ebi went and played, Pastner was front and center so that the Houston superstar would take notice of the man with the ARIZONA shirt on in the front row. And when Lute Olson got to town, he did the same thing. His regal silver hair and ever-commanding presence could be seen and felt when he walked into the gym and watched Ebi play.
2. Mustafa Shakur, 6-3, 180 PG (Wynnewood, PA)-Rodney Tention was at the ABCD camp and he made his presence felt when Shakur took the floor. Our correspondent Aaron Jones said that Shakur looked great, especially on Day Three. Here was his take on 2003's best point guard:
"Shakur is the best point guard here. Arizona really needs to get a lock on him. He's really very good. He's probably a better 15-17 foot shooter than he is a three-point shooter right now but he can stroke it. His penetrating skills are unbelievable and he's as athletic as can be. He's always looking to get an assist and he's more of a pass-first point guard."
3. Mohammed Tangara, 6-8, 222 PF (McDonough, GA; Mt. Zion Christian Academy)-I could only see Josh Pastner (and about 100 other coaches) smile when they watched Tangara play. He attacks the ball and the hoop with a ferocity rarely seen in this sport and he's athletic and strong enough to be dominant once he polishes up is offensive game. Might have been the most talked about player at the camp (underclassman category).
4. Marcus Williams, 6-2, 175 PG (Los Angeles)-Williams was injured and didn't play at Nike but we hear that he's still "one to watch" for the Cats.
5. Gary Ervin, 5-11, 166 PG (Brooklyn, NY)-We loved him and it sure seemed like Lute Olson did too when he saw him. Pastner watched a lot of him (when Ebi wasn't playing or he was on the bench) as well. He gets great lift on his shot and hits the deep ball like it's nothing.
Gabriel Pruitt (6-2, 157 2004 PG from LA), Marcus Walker (5-11, 145 2005 PG from Kansas City, MO), Marcus Johnson (6-5, 180 2005 SF from Westchester High in L.A.), Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben (6-1, 161 2005 PG from Troy, NY) and Shawn Pruitt (6'7, 210 2004 SF from Aurora, IL).
Oh...and DANIEL GIBSON (6-1, 182 2004 PG from Houston). Gibson is the best player at his position in his class, Sebastian Telfair included. Arizona loves this kid as was evident by the reactions of the staff when he played. Personally, he amazed me and he is head and shoulders above Jason Horton as a PG prospect from that class, though Horton will still be looked at.
*Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun shadowed 2003 PG Churchill Odia Ehis at all of his games. The Lagos, Nigeria native is in America on a temporary Visa so it's unclear as to whether or not he'll be allowed to stay to play college ball. He may have been the best passer/playmaker at the Nike Camp.
*Michigan State might get a commitment soon from 6-10, 225 pound big man Drew Naymick, a part-time baseball player as well. Naymick is from North Muskegon, MI and is considering Michigan, Ohio State and Stanford as well as the Spartans. ...Spartan head coach watched Charlie Bell's younger brother Brandon (5-11, 180 2003 G) play a lot on Wednesday morning. He must know his game well because everytime Bell shot a three, whether it was at the line or back around 26-feet, Izzo would say, "bucket". I'll tell you what about Brandon Bell, his stock exploded at this camp.
*Duke had three coaches at Nike, Coach K and Chris Collins at first and then Wojo on Wednesday. K and Collins seemed to watch only Luol Deng and Duke commit Kris Humphries on the first two days but then Wojo split between Deng and Ebi on Wednesday. The opinion here is that Duke has prioritized Deng ahead of Ebi.
*Indiana head coach Mike Davis sat next to Doug and me during Wednesday's three-on-three games watching Ndudi Ebi play. When the game came down to a free throw shootout and Ebi had a chance to win it with a make, I jokingly said, "If he makes this you know he automatically can't go to Duke, right?" Davis just laughed.
...Texas head coach Rick Barnes and his staff joined Pastner and Olson as the only schools to not miss a single minute of Ebi's games.
*Oregon State, with new head coach Jay John, is fast becoming a hot school with recruits. John has his eyes on 6-6 2003 WG Devon Evertsen (Phoenix), 6-11 2003 C David Padgett and 6-3 2003 SG D.J. Strawberry. If the Beavers can land ANY of those three prospects, it would be a huge first step in the rebuilding process in Corvallis. John is the man to do it though.
*UCLA has made it clear that the four prospects out of the class of 2003 that it is taking the hardest looks at are Curtis Allen (6-0, 177 PG), Aaron Brooks (6-1, 175 PG), Trevor Ariza (6-8, 215 SF) and Charlie Villanueva (6-9, 235 F/C). There are others on the Bruins' list as well, of course.
*Word is that Arizona is LOSING ground on Padgett. He seems to be favoring going to school with good buddy Omar Wilkes (6-2, 170 2003 SG from Loyola, CA) at either Kansas or Stanford. Oregon is seriously in the mix as well, but most likely just for Padgett.
...Word is also that Arizona might go ahead and try to sign a point guard out of both the 2003 AND 2004 classes. In the day and age of Early Entry into the NBA, elite level schools can never take anything for granted and are almost forced to recruit positions on top of one another. Imagine a roster in 2004-05 with Chris Rodgers, Mustafa Shakur AND Daniel Gibson on it. If it were to ever happen, it would be at Arizona. They don't call it "Point Guard U." for nothing, right?
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E-mail Ben Hansen at AZPointGuardU@yahoo.com