USA Basketball: Day Two Standouts

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The bulk of the action on the second day of the Men's National Team mini-camp consisted of full court drills, 4-on-4-on-4 and scrimmages. Who stood out? Josh Jackson, Mohamed Bamba and Wendell Carter were among the players that raised their play.

It took Jonathan Isaac a day to get going, but once he did he impacted the game in a major way. Isaac, a 6-foot-10 versatile combo forward, plays the game with energy. At that size, Isaac is fluid and runs the floor with ease. He’s long, active and a very good athlete. Isaac was looking to face the rim and attack the rim and he did that successfully. But he also has good form on his jump shots and he connected on mid-range jump shots and a three-pointer during scrimmage play.

In a camp setting, it’s often times tough for post players to get touches on block. On day one, Marques Bolden, a 6-foot-10 post player out of DeSoto (Tex.) High, didn’t get thrown the ball much. During the two sessions on Sunday, Bolden had more opportunities and he certainly took advantage of them. Bolden has good strength and it allows him to play well through contact. He has very good touch around the basket and dropped in multiple jump hooks with his left hand.

Of all the 2018 prospects in attendance, Darius Garland made the biggest impact on the second day of action. Garland, a of Brentwood (Tenn.) High, was arguably the best shooter at camp and he shot a terrific percentage from behind the three-point stripe throughout camp. Garland is also crafty and creative when he has the ball in his hands. He likes to get out in transition and possesses good quickness, a high IQ and is a quality passer.

The most eye opening effort of the day came from 2017 prospect Mohamed Bamba. The long, lanky 6-foot-11 big man ramped up his motor, raced up and down the floor, rebounded in and out of his area, swatted shots and finished off plays around the basket. He also showed good touch on his short and mid-range jump shots. In four scrimmage games, Bamba missed just three of his 21 field goal attempts. Bamba has been on the steady incline as a player since Scout first watched him last December and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Much like Bamba, Markelle Fultz has improved a great deal over the course of the last year. After not playing Varsity basketball until his junior season, Fultz is now arguably one of the best guard prospects in the 2016 class. At 6-foot-4, maybe even 6-5, Fultz makes the game look easy and effortless. A terrific athlete, Fultz glides up and down the floor and changes speeds as well as anyone in his class. Fultz is a nifty finisher that adjusts shots well at rim, but is also more than capable of turning the ball over and throwing down an impressive dunk. To go with all of that, Fultz is also a quality passer and good shooter from both mid-range out to three.

Josh Jackson had a great week in Colorado Springs. On Saturday, Jackson told Scout he thinks he plays harder than anyone in his class and he certainly backed up that claim during the two-day USA Basketball event. Jackson plays with an edge and was clearly one of the competitive players at camp. He made effort plays, got after it on the defensive end and aggressively went to the glass.   

A few months ago at the USA Basketball 16u Trials, Wendell Carter used the camp at a springboard to prove himself as one of the country’s top talents, regardless of class. He only solidified that claim on Sunday. For such a big body, Carter is extremely quick off his feet and uses that ability to block shots and rebound his area at a high level. He finishes well around the rim and is even capable of hitting jumpers. The amount of ways he impacts the game makes him very effective every time he steps on the court.

Troy Brown is one of the most versatile prospects in the country. He’s the rare prospect who can help his team at the one, two and three and wherever he goes to college, he’ll likely be used at all three positions. He always plays hard, has a competitive instinct, has good athleticism for his size, ball skills, can get to the basket or is a threat with his jump shot. Defensively his size, motor and instincts give opponents fits. He had a very successful weekend in Colorado Springs.

You can make the argument that there wasn’t a player in camp who rebounded his position better than Jarred Vanderbilt. He has the size at 6-foot-7 and is a good athlete, but his motor and instincts as a rebounder make him explode to get some boards way out of his area. Not just a rebounder, Vanderbilt can defend both forward spots, blocks shots and finishes around the rim. He has a very high floor due to his defensive and rebounding ability.

Michael Porter was somewhat slow out of the gate on Saturday, but by the time that camp was over he was playing terrific basketball. He’s pushing 6-foot-8 and can really handle it and shoot it for his size. Not just a shooter, Porter also is a strong passer for the position and his size and athleticism makes him a threat on the glass and around the rim. He’s a more consistent motor away from really taking his game to the next level.

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