Nike Camp: Part III

INDIANAPOLIS – A few guys turned in some big-time efforts on Sunday. There were also a few surprises along the way. With the coaches in the stands for the first time the intensity level was turned up at camp.

Commitment News

Billy Donovan and his boys have themselves a shooter. MA SG Rashid Al-Kaleem committed to the Gators on Sunday. He had considered Temple, UConn, Boston College and Ohio State. He joins SF Matt Walsh and PG Anthony Roberson as commitments in the Class of 2002.

2002 Standouts

Rashad McCants, SG/SF There are only so many ways you can dominate a basketball game. As a 6-3 swingman, McCants pretty much uses them all. On Sunday, he drilled a few 3s, used his trademarked post-up skills inside and chased down a few would-be scorers who made the mistake of thinking they had wide open layups. McCants is the package: vocal leadership, charisma, poise, savvy, intensity, athleticism and skills.

Rashad Anderson, SG and Evan Burns, SF We mention them as a duo because in their evening game Saturday night, it was almost like a two-man show. Anderson reportedly made a ton of 3s in an earlier game. That's his shtick: shooting the trifecta. Burns, well he's just a pure talent. He's a great passer from his position, oozes athleticism and can score in bunches. These guys were just showing off on Sunday. They were tossing alley-oops to each other.

Sean May, PF Here's a kid who uses his body the way every big man should. He's great at positioning, has a super touch and quietly battles you. He'll lean on guys and get rebounds he shouldn't then stick back shots with a deft touch. He has a chance to be a real big-time inside scorer. He's very, very good.

Michael Thompson, C "Big Mike" is having fun and that's key for him. He's loose, relaxed and played the best game we've seen from him in four months. Amazing what a week at Duke Camp playing against the likes of Carlos Boozer and Casey Sanders can do for one's confidence. He went to work inside. Especially captivating was the drop step dunk. The fade away jumper wasn't bad either but it was really the aggression and purpose he played with that were truly impressive. He'll be a force at Duke in due time.

Cortez Davis, SF With Gary Williams on hand, Davis showed why the Terps took his commitment. He's an athlete in every sense of the word. As a slasher, he gets high marks. As a rebounder, he's very good. As a shooter he isn't bad either, and gets off the ground so high when he shoots it that his shot will never get touched. In transition he's a highlight reel.

Amare Stoudemire, C He's made his argument and after a short deliberation from the jury, the verdict is in. Unless something at adidas changes the outlook, this is the best prospect in the Class of 2002. Case closed.

2003 Standouts

Michael Jones, SG He's a junior from Thayer Academy in Massachusetts and he's got a chance to be really good. At 6-3, he's a fine athlete with a diverse offensive game. Off the bounce or from just about anywhere on the perimeter, this kid can go.

Brian Randle, SF Another junior and a future Midwest star. Randle isn't a good rebounder; he's a great rebounder. He has long arms and tips in a high number of shots with his effort and athleticism. He's a 6-6 stud.

JR Reynolds, SG There are some who say a commitment from this 6-2 guard to Virginia is imminent. The deal on his is that he can hoop and taking a commitment from him is a good idea. Though he has a rep as a driver, he was scoring it from the perimeter on Sunday. He was banging 3s left and right during one stretch. However, the mid-range game off the bounce is equally as nice.

2004 Standout

Brian Johnson, PF This 6-8, 211-pounder has star tattooed on his forehead. He obviously has been coached and does a lot of things well. He's an athlete who uses fakes, has some bounce and makes a lot of plays. He can shoot it extremely well to mid-range and is a skilled passer.

Surprises

Eric Hicks, Athlete Some guys don't have positions. Hicks is one of them. He's 6-6 and is a buster. Loaded with athleticism and hops, he had more dunks in one game than in any contest I've ever seen at Nike Camp. If he were a football player, he'd be a wedge buster. What he does is uses his speed and athleticism to create havoc. He gets on the glass and loves to get out and run. He's a super run/jump athlete. Charlotte loves this kid and that's the kind of style of basketball that suits his talents.

Brandon Bowman, SF Let's give credit to Virginia and New Mexico for offering him before camp. On Sunday, while he was in the process of having his national coming out party, Virginia assistant Tom Herrion and New Mexico assistant Joe Dooley had to be chuckling as they were one step ahead of the competition. Bowman is young, athletic and going to get better. On Sunday, he rained 3s and really created a little buzz with his performance.

Tristan Martin, CG He pumped himself up with a great 3-on-3 effort and carried it over into the remainder of the day. He's about 6-1 and is one of the best, if not the best athlete at the PG position in camp. He really attacks the rim with purpose and he isn't looking to lay it in. He also hit a plethora of 3s in the game we watched. However, as a PG he plays at one speed and needs to take his foot off the accelerator. If he can harness the energy, he's going to be very good.

Best Starting Five

These guys are on the same camp team and I'm thinking they could win a few games in any league next year: PG John Gilchrist, combo guard Tristan Martin, SG/SF DeAngelo Alexander, PF Sean May and PF Torin Francis.

Perfect Recruit

 I've said it before: Gonzaga couldn't have drawn up a better recruit for itself than the slightly built Sean Mallon. He's a worker and he's skilled. If he were a little stronger and heavier, some Pac-10's might have come calling earlier. As a result, Gonzaga knew what it was doing and nabbed him early.

News and Notes

Let's give credit to the early risers, especially the head coaches who don't have to be there on time and could have sent assistants for the early session. Among the very first college coaches in the gym on Sunday were SMU's Mike Dement, Arizona's Lute Olson, Iowa's Steve Alford, UNC's Matt Doherty, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Tennessee's Buzz Peterson and Kansas coach Roy Williams.

Doherty was in attendance early for Shavlik Randolph and Torin Francis. … Speaking of Francis, Georgetown head coach Craig Esherick trailed him for most of the 3-on-3 session. … Notre Dame, Stanford, Marquette and Illinois were among those in attendance to watch Rick Cornette. … Ben Braun was in the house putting in some face time with Hassan Adams. … Our sources tell us the team to beat for LA PF Theodis Tarver is Louisiana State. …

Arizona head coach Lute Olson watched Chris Rodgers and Brandon Lincoln shoot for the better part of an hour. … Sources say Villanova is in tight with Allan Ray and Jay Wright was on hand watching another top target, Denham Brown. … Mike Davis was protecting his potential super recruiting class all day long. Davis is putting in the effort to make the Gilchrist-May-Wright class happen.

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