Reebok ABCD Camp, Day Three
Oden vs. Caracter
Score one for Derrick Caracter. Up against the nation's top prospect in Greg Oden, Caracter brought his special game and then even raised his level of play another notch to score 17 points to Oden's 6 in a camp classic.
When it was over, a big time baseline spinner, a succession of 3's and the backing down of Oden in the post was enough to give the local boy the victory in this matchup. Now, that's not to say Oden didn't have his moments, but Caracter was the aggressor and clearly the victor. Oden's strength is defense and he took a pair of charges against Caracter. We've said it before and it proved true tonight: Oden is a go-to move away from dominance but in this one offense won out and it was Caracter who, like a well-managed portfolio, was diversified.
These two guys gave each other trouble. In the end, Green looked very athletic en route to 25 points but Tasmin Mitchell was no slouch with 21 points of his own. At times, Mitchell struggled with Green's athleticism and Green struggled with Mitchell's power. Not that camp games matter in the very least, but Mitchell's boys won the contest and he's got the edge in intangibles as his teams usually win.
Green's length gave Mitchell problems on both ends. Both guys made perimeter shots. Mitchell was able to back Green down. Green was able to go around Mitchell. It was one of those back and forth contests that was just fun to watch. Two highly rated guys going at one another using completely different styles. Fun stuff.
Monta Ellis, SG: Big time player and is one of the elite players at ABCD. Inevitably, the question has to be asked: what separates Louis Williams from Monta Ellis. The answer is simple: Williams is more athletic and explosive than his southern counterpart. However, Ellis could wind up being the better college prospect in the long run. That's right, Williams is likely to have a shorter life span in college and the Bulldogs could get more mileage out of Ellis than the Dawgs get out of Williams. On Saturday, Ellis had his way with the guards in the game we caught. He's as creative a guard as there is in the class.
Byron Eaton, PG: It's time to begin calling him what he is: a bonafide candidate for the McDonald's game. Against Jovan Adams (who is hard to guard in his own right), Eaton used his power point guard game to get where he wanted to go. For Eaton, that usually means in the paint and to the free throw line. Adams fouled him hard after Eaton picked him at midcourt and that seemed to set Eaton off. When it was over, this young man made a statement in front of a crowd containing enough votes to sustain his candidacy as an all-american.
John Garcia, C: This is why you go to summer camps. Garcia deserves some ink. Here's a kid who has bonafide post game. He's got a marketable body and he's got high-major game. He'll be in contention for a spot in the Top 100 and frankly, anybody who takes a bow to the lip, gets two stitches and comes back to play the same day merits extra consideration.
Leo Criswell, F: Reports are that he's had a big time camp. We seem to jinx him pretty good when we're around but on Saturday he showed flashes of why he's highly regarded. The young man is very athletic and talented. How he'll respond to structure in a college setting is a legitimate question but for now, he looks good when he's dunking and using his athleticism to gain an advantage.
Cameron Lewis, PF: Here's a kid with grades and the game to boot. He's a high-major prospect because he scores with his back to the basket, rebounds and blocks shots. Programs are missing the boat as he deserves more attention.
Brandon Rush, SF: You don't even have to watch an entire game to get the picture. When he goes from the wing to the rack in the blink of an eye and then hammers one down, you understand what the hype is about.
Jonathan Huffman, PF: Our first look yielded the following evaluation. He's got an excellent body, there's no disputing that. He's also got a decent skill set with includes some face up ability. The part he didn't show in the afternoon was the inside game. We'll be interested in seeing if it comes.
Derrick Brown, SF/SG: Unselfish guy. "I like competing," Brown said. "I don't have to score the ball to be a good player." OK, well said. He's a high-major with nice options. His body isn't mature yet and he's got upside.
Kyle McAlarney, PG: Solid, not spectacular point guard. Our first instinct is that he'll be a system guy who will take of the ball and be an extension of Mike Brey on the floor. We've got him slated a little high in our Top 100 list (as we do most point guards in the Class of 2005).
Cyrus McGowan, PF/C: The word on the street is that Oden took care of business against him Friday night. In Saturday's afternoon game, McGowan was a windex man on the glass and active during his court time.
Taylor King, SF: While Oden and D.C. played starring roles in their game; King was the supporting actor who almost stole the show. His rep took a hit during the spring and early summer but when he makes perimeter shots at the rate he did in this contest you have to admire his game and his fortitude.
Marshall Moses, PF: He's not big (just 6-6+) and this is probably his first taste of some national level competition. With that said, he's got some nice tools and if he grows, a big upside. His first half was much better than his second but we saw what we needed to see early.
Shelton Brown, PG: Thumbs up to the guy who knows how to play the position can shoot it some and is a quickster. Our first look was a good one and if speed kills then he's an assassin.
William Graves, SF: In an afternoon contest, Graves smoked 4 3-balls. He's gotten a little heavy and it's hurt his athleticism. Give him credit, his shot looked good on Saturday.
Major props to Jeremiah Bryant! On Saturday, he became the second player at the camp (of course Caracter got him) to score on Greg Oden. Seriously, that's a big deal because most of the time Oden erases guys attempts. Bryant snuck one in on him as he worked the baseline, got himself deep under the rim and eeked one up and under Oden. The first guy to score on Oden this summer was Eaton at NBA Camp. …
Jimmy Graham, a re-classed junior with an old school retro fro, is a hard playing guy who always gives the consistent effort. … Danny Green did a nice job of getting himself going with his mid-range game. … It's hard to say Greg Oden has an underrated part of his game but if there is one, it would be his ability pass, both out of double-teams and in regular offensive sets. …
Eric Devendorf is one tough hombre on the defensive side of the ball when he wants to be. … For whatever reason, Shane Clark has been struggling with his game in camps as of late. It'd be nice to see the old Shane return but we understand the weight of summer school might be taking its toll. … It seems like each time you see Kris Lowe he gets a little more offensive minded. …
Kahiem Seawright is a jack of all trades kind of player who will get looks across the board. …
News & Notes
And the big winner is … Reebok. They've got Nike in the uniform department. The red, white and blue unis are sweet duds to hoop in. … John Garcia is heating up. He says he's open to more suitors but that St. John's, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Rutgers are in the mix right now; each was in attendance today. …
Austin Jackson, a point guard and baseball prospect, says he's hearing from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas have shown some interest but none have offered. … In the crowd for Derrick Brown were assistants from Michigan State, N.C. State and Xavier. Syracuse has been trying to get in the mix. Sean Miller's hiring at "X" was a positive for the Musketeers. …
Tyrell Biggs says the biggest factor in his decision will be his fall official visits. Right now, UConn, Duke, Maryland, Pitt, Villanova and Virginia are in the mix. … Greg Paulus and Tyler Smith were co-MVP's of the adidas camp all-star game. …