Roughly 150 players participated in the event and the quality of play, as is typical of most camp settings, was pretty abysmal. There was very little team play, too many selfish players jacking up bad shots and few players with an understanding of how to play the game. If anyone wants to understand why the rest of the world is gaining on the U.S. when it comes to producing quality basketball players, spend a weekend at a camp or AAU event. To put it simply – our young players are spending way too much time practicing bad habits and playing in an environment where nobody teaches them how to play the game.
That being said, it's still our job to identify those players with a chance to play someday at the D1 level. Here's our take on some of the players we thought showed promise as potential college players down the road. As always, this is by no means a comprehensive list.
Alex Stepheson, 6-8 SO PF North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. Alex has grown a couple inches in the last year and he's still trying to get comfortable with his added size. But he's already very skilled and coordinated for a young, big guy and he might even end up skilled enough to play the three. He's very long and mobile, with excellent hands, very good feet and a developing face-up game out to about eighteen feet. He's got a nice frame; as he adds bulk/strength he should become a very good scorer in the low-post. Stepheson has a chance to develop into an elite, high-major recruit.
Jerryd Bayless, 6-0 FR PG Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. Bayless is a very precocious, and impressive, young point guard. Solid frame, with excellent quickness and leaping ability. He consistently broke down defenders at will off the dribble, showing the ability to finish himself or find teammates. Great vision, terrific passer and ball handler. He even played some defense – a rarity in this camp – and showed the potential to be a great defender if he puts his mind to it. Move very well laterally. He gets great elevation on his jumper off the dribble – very good at 15-17 feet. He's not yet consistent beyond the stripe – rotation could be better and stroke is a little long. His shot selection was not good in the first game we saw but, when we pointed it out to him, he took it well and did a much better job distributing the ball the rest of the weekend. With development, Bayless projects to being an elite, high major recruit.
Jamel McGuire, 6-3 SO SG/PG San Diego (Calif.) Steele Canyon. The younger brother of Cal freshman Dominic McGuire, Jamel is a terrific prospect in his own right. Very slender and long, he might have been the most impressive athlete at this camp. Reminds us a bit of Arizona St. guard Jason Braxton, in terms of his length, explosive quickness and style of play. Like Braxton, McGuire thrives in an up-tempo, open court game. His outside shot is a work in progress, but it's not terrible and he has a chance to be a decent shooter someday. Projecting his ultimate level is difficult, as he's still very raw and his game needs quite a bit of refinement. The raw tools are there, though, for a player.
Barshawn McClellan, 6-6 FR PF Fresno (Calif.) Edison. Big-bodied post with soft hands and surprising ball skills. Very good feel and a terrific passer – great vision. Moves well – more nimble than he looks. Potential high major recruit.
Kevin Galloway, 6-5 SO SF Sacramento (Calif.) High. An impressive athlete with a very good body, Galloway handles the ball well for his size and shows a decent stroke. With continued skill development, a possible high major prospect.
Bennie Rhodes, 6-5 SO SG Alameda (Calif.) St. Joseph's. Very versatile wing with some point guard attributes. Long and rangy – moves well. Deep range on his shot, although with a somewhat low release. Shot selection was very shaky this weekend, but he's gifted and has a chance with better decision-making.
Blake Wallace, 6-7 SO SF Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. Very skilled forward who looks to still be growing. Shoots and handles well. Not a great athlete, but fairly long and moves well . Excellent feel for the game.