Elite Camp Night 1

The Lute Olson Advanced Skills Camp has been very successful in terms of getting players to commit to the program. Over the past two camps no fewer than half a dozen players have committed to the Wildcats after attending the elite camp.

In year's past players like Zane Johnson, Laval Lucas-Perry, Chase Budinger, Brandon Jennings, Jeff Withey and Jerryd Bayless all attended an Advanced Skills Camp before committing.

With a great crop of players on hand, Wildcats fans have to hope that lightning strikes again.

The camp really serves several recruiting purposes. First and foremost it allows players to see the campus and interact with the coaches. Secondly, it allows the coaches a chance to work with players and see how they react to coaching and instruction.

It is a chance for the staff to impress the elite players and for players to impress an elite staff.

A few players do not need to impress the coaches. Two committed and a signed player are taking part in the camp. Freshman guard Lucas-Perry took part in the drills at the first half of camp, but skipped the pick-up portion in the second half of the evening session. He had two nice buckets in fast break drills, the first a very acrobatic lay-in and the second a tough take to the hole with a lot of contact.

Withey and Lavender are both committed for the 2008 season, but couldn't resist a chance to work with their future coaches. For Withey it is his third elite camp appearance.

And what an appearance it was. He was simply outstanding. His inside moves were nearly unstoppable, his jumper falling and beware any guard venturing into the lane. Granted, he was the tallest player on the floor, but there were some good, albeit young big men in attendance.

At one point during a break, Withey picked up a ball and launched a 25 footer that found nothing but the bottom of the net.

Lavender was solid. His shot was better than I had seen the last few events and he was very willing to work with the Wildcat coaches.

Now onto the recruits…

Maybe the most interesting pairing is Peyton Siva and Abdul Gaddy. Not only are they arguably the two best 2009 point guard prospects on the West Coast, but they are also both from the state of Washington. One might think there'd be a rivalry between the two, but they appeared to be quite friendly, going so far as to laugh over a text message that Siva received.

Of the two, Siva was the more noticeable. He is certainly the more flashy, entertaining of the two. He made a few sweet no-look and wrap around passes that led to some easy transition buckets. He's very fast, very quick and loves to attack the rim. He didn't take many jumpers, but his shot looked good.

Gaddy was not as noticeable. He is more of a pass first point guard and did not attack the hoop like Siva did. He does make smart decisions and has a very soft jumper.

The verdict is out on which one is better, so it could take a few more sessions for one to separate himself from the other.

A few wings really stood out. Hollis Thompson is long and athletic and has all the makings of a superstar. He was at his best down low. He's very active and showed nice timing and anticipation in getting several putbacks. His outside game was also solid as he knocked down a few long jumpers.

Kendall Williams is a 2010 guard and played well. He never took over any of the pick-ups but held his own with the older players. He seemed more comfortable on the perimeter and knocked down several three pointers.

Another 2010 prospect on hand was Daniel Bejarano. The Phoenix (North) product has a very mature build and is clearly a player to keep an eye on in the state.

Russell Byrd loves his jump shot, but it really wasn't falling for him. The Indiana product has a good build and work really hard, but has to show a better shot selection.

Gary Franklin joined the main court game a little late, but made an instant impact. He looked good on the AAU circuit, but really looked at home going up-tempo. He made several great passes in transition that led to easy buckets.

The wear twins have always been intriguing, but they were very impressive on Thursday. Travis Wear was very aggressive. He scored 14 of his team's 24 buckets in the scrimmage session. He scored inside, outside and on the break.

David Wear also played well. Thanks to the presence of Withey on his team, he did not get the number of touches his brother did, but he did show off some versatility. He scored on a dunk, a hook, a reverse lay-in and three jumpers.


*Harvey Mason spoke to the campers at the beginning of the night. He was joined in the stands by former Wildcats Jud Buechler and Matt Muehlbach.

*Current Wildcats and future Wildcats on hand were Chase Budinger, Nic Wise and Jerryd Bayless.

*Matt Carlino is expected to get to the camp on Friday.

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