A team event always attracts more fans, and even the court orientation was altered to accommodate a busier slate of games.
The Showdown primarily was a regional event, featuring numerous squads from Philadelphia, New Jersey and down into the Baltimore/D.C. metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, however, Florida and other southern states also contributed to the mix. The result was even, competitive play in a team setting, and we were able to watch some of the prior Breakout campers with their more familiar travel teams.
LONDON BUILDS ON REEBOK SUCCESS
Makinde London received attention in this space during the Breakout Classic, and he gets even more following The Showdown. His offensive game didn't click here during our viewings, but his defensively versatility — he's among the best-equipped forwards in the class to defend against screen and roll — and elite closeouts make him a potential defensive weapon.
London also can handle and pass well enough for the wing, and his jump shot is capable if not a thing of beauty (low release and he pushes it).
Another carryover from the Breakout, big-time Devin Robinson looked more comfortable with Squires Richmond than he did for his camp team. He played in the high post versus a zone defense and made several sharp passes through traffic. He also finished high above the rim and used his length to block shots.
He didn't shoot as well in Philadelphia as he did early this month at the LeBron skills academy, however, and that's something to watch going forward. Nevertheless, his recruitment continues to expand heading toward the latter half of July.
Promising junior Dwayne Bacon also demonstrated his high-major promise. He best classifies as a power wing forward, someone who utilizes his advanced strength and shoulders to move defenders on his way to the rim. He's also an above-average athlete and possesses a jump shot that works well from medium-range and appears it will stretch to the three-point line.
Bacon already draws expansive high-major interest and isn't likely to have those programs flee as he enters his junior season.
Barford, McDuffie Make Their Case
For 6-2 SG/PG Jaylen Barford, speed is the name of the game. A solidly built combo guard at Jackson (Tenn.) South Side, Barford loves to sprint ahead of the field with the ball and finish at the basket. He appears to model his game of John Wall in that respect, and although not a talent of that order he does make things happen in the open court.
Two questions accompany his success at The Showdown. First, how does he shoot it? He didn't seek many jump shots during the game we watched. Also, will he become a better finisher? At times, he speeds a little too fast for his own good and ends up missing makeable layups due to fullcourt drive careening out of control. Still, he's at least a good mid-major prospect.
Going toward New York from Philly, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony guard Markis McDuffie has the look of a potential high-major target. The 6-6 wing forward is only a rising junior and thus has plenty of time to fill out his slight frame. He already knocks down contested baseline jump shots and is a talented passer.
He possesses some athleticism as well and should become more explosive as he develops naturally over the next year.
Moving to the post, 6-9 junior C Chris Silva impressed with his mobility and conscientious work on the glass. The Roselle (N.J.) Catholic product also carries a strong frame and surprised on one occasion when he got ahead of the pack and finished with a spin move.
Silva doesn't appear yet to have much in the way of post offense, and he's a little stiff through his shoulders. But he has played with Syracuse-bound freshman Tyler Roberson and other big-timers during the past year, which will only further his development.
MOORE COMPILES STRONG LIST
Quadri Moore definitely helped himself in Philadelphia. A muscular and rugged center, he uses his power and improving skill to bowl over taller, yet skinnier big men. Moore also possesses some offensive tools and proved that he belongs athletically on a court surrounded by other high-major prospects.
His recruitment reflects his positive summer:
Moore certainly seemed to enjoy his team experience more than the individual camp portion of his summer.
"Those camps aren't really made for big men," he said, "because it's all about the guards and we don't get as many touches. It's different at a (team) tournament, though."
COACHING TURNOUT REMAINS STRONG
No one would blame you for assuming that high-major coaching staffs — or, at least, those outside the Northeast — would have skipped town following Reebok camp.
But in fact, we spotted representatives from Michigan, Notre Dame, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Maryland, South Florida, Villanova, Marquette, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Penn State, Xavier and Rutgers, among many other mid- and low-majors.