One problem many camps encounter, and this is true whether you're talking about huge, shoe-sponsored event or something more local, is too many players. Evaluations can become difficult or nearly impossible due to insufficient looks at players.
But the Lawson/Oladipo has solved that problem. With only six teams and approximately 60 total players, only one game takes place at a time and on only one court. That means every prospect gets watched by every college coach (and scout) in attendance, and the proceedings thus prove all the more beneficial to those on the court and those in the stands.
With that said, here's a look at day one's standouts:
Chris Clarke, WF — This utility forward, pictured above, looked far more like a wing on opening night than is frequently the case. He's always a defensive wing, mind you, thanks to quick feet and long arms that enable him to hound ballhandlers and create steals on the perimeter. But his offense frequently looks more suited to the post, or at least a nondescript rebounding and transition capacity. On day one, however, Clarke was able to put the ball on the floor some and slice to the rim for short bankers in traffic. He's unlikely ever to become a jump shooter, but adding just a little halfcourt slashing makes him more valuable than he already is. He has enjoyed a solid spring and summer.
Franklin Howard, WF — A future member of the Syracuse Orange, Howard had some ups and downs on day one but showcased why he's a big league talent. He's a fluid athlete who creates for himself on drives (usually to his right) and who finishes well off the glass. His body control isn't elite level but definitely won't hinder him, and he's a surprisingly good passer on the move. Meanwhile, he buried in big-time one-on-one three that suggests a potential professional future down the road. Burying contested shots is one way to put yourself on the radar for those scouting for the highest level, and Howard clearly has made progress. He still must round out his game, focus on defense and tighten his dribbling, but he could become an impact performer for SU.
Justin Robinson, PG — It seems lately at Scout HQ that we've been debating whether an ostensible point guard actually is a point guard, or if he's a combo or maybe even a full-time wing. Well, no such debate will ever commence with respect to Robinson. The southpaw floor general is exactly that: A halfcourt offense commander who keeps the machine running. His primary talent, intellect, will go underserved in any camp setting, but even here it becomes readily evident. Robinson is a terrific passer who's truly exceptional with bounce passing, whipping the ball through defenders and using english to deliver a soft ball to recipients in stride. His jump shot looks pretty mechanical and he's an okay, but far from great athlete, but nevertheless he'll make some college happy as a four-year, true point guard.
Kevin Dorsey, PG — Watching Dorsey — who has received a lot of ink at Scout.com recently — square off versus Robinson this evening proved highly entertaining. Dorsey is the more physically gifted of the two, boasting superior quickness, a far more accurate jump shot, and more versatile scoring around the rim. He also projects as the better defender. As mentioned above, however, Robinson is a pure floor general while Dorsey is a combo guard. Still, with a freshman season to mature and a coaching staff with patience, Dorsey's natural gifts should enable him to become a multi-year starter for a high-major program.
Shaun Kirk, WF — Kirk's jump shot found the net once tonight, from very deep, but overall he struggle from the perimeter. Nevertheless, coaches unfamiliar with his game had to be impressed by his quickness and length. He's actually a combo forward at this stage, a WF/PF, but long-term he should be able to transition to the wing full-time. Kirk is a fine athlete with spidery quickness and finishing ability who, on a good day, can stroke in 20-footers as well. He also can improve his ballhandling but has made significant progress in that regard over the past year. He's listed as a 2015 here but, after finishing his senior season in North Carolina, will attend prep school in 2015-16.
Matt Holba, PF — Like Kirk, Holba projects as a combo forward. We like him better defensively as a four-man, but he looked very sure-handed with the ball on the wing this evening. Holba is a one-footed leaper who makes a lot of plays in transition, using his leap for blocks, rebounds and slams. He's less explosive from a stationary position and thus doesn't have the first step to consistently beat opponents off the dribble, but he's certainly fearless when he gets to the bucket. Meanwhile, he knocked down a three and an 18-footer that looked smooth coming off his hand. He has attracted a solid range of collegiate interest and made a case for the high-major level on day one.
Tacko Fall, C — I'm always extremely suspicious of the jumbo big guys, and 7-5 Fall obviously is that. The mega-centers tend to struggle to the extreme with reflexes and mobility, and in many respects that concerns apply to Fall as well. On the other hand, he's a more capable and intuitive finisher at the rim than some of the mechanobots that have proceeded him. Fall catches the ball reasonably well and, once he gets it, engulfs it securely in his huge mitts and loves to slam it home. He also possesses a nifty little hook in traffic and even hit one nice turnaround jumper from 15 feet. Working on his foot position defensively could help him immensely, as at times smaller foes simply bend around him and he's unable to block the shot. Still, he literally made some eyebrows raise in the coaches' section on day one, and that's what the live evaluation period is all about.
Jordan Tucker, SG — A quick driver with a herky jerky style and a very quick release on his jump shot, Tucker possesses impressive talent for a youngster. He handled the ball far too much on day one and definitely is not a point guard, but when he took fewer bounces outside he made positive plays for himself. He banged home a pull-up three off a couple dribbles, drove left and right to apply pressure, and even when he missed those shots looked promising for the future.
Faces in the Crowd
Given that multiple events are tipping off throughout the nation, coaching turnout was outstanding tonight. By no means is this list exhaustive, but here's a look at some programs that I observed in the stands (head coaches in parentheses): Maryland (Mark Turgeon), Iowa, Kansas State, George Mason, Miami, Clemson, Oregon, Texas Tech (Tubby Smith), Minnesota (Richard Pitino), Penn State, Tulsa (Frank Haith), VCU, Ohio, Vanderbilt (Kevin Stallings), Tennessee, Central Florida, Georgia Tech (Brian Gregory), Toledo, Notre Dame (Mike Brey), Dayton (Archie Miller), Virginia (Tony Bennett), Boston College, Providence and Georgetown.