West Coasters at ABCD: Part 1

There was a bigger west coast presence at the Adidas ABCD camp than at the Nike Camp, and probably more good performances, including those by Bobby Nash, Sean Marshall, Ekene Ibekwe and a couple juniors...

Lyndale Burleson, 6-3 JR PG, Seattle O'Dea. Burleson has the potential to be really good, with great size to go along with good quickness, but he's still a ways off. He showed flashes here, but lacks the discipline and skill refinement, which leads to mistakes and sloppiness. He showed a good natural feel and vision, and a strong enough handle, but he has to start thinking more about what he's doing.

Justin Hawkins, 6-6 SR SF, Lakewood Mayfair. Somewhat overmatched athletically here, Hawkins wasn't quite quick enough or springy enough at times to stay with many ABCD campers. He's a great shooter, generally, but didn't shoot the ball here really well, looking out of rhythm most of the time, which isn't hard in the type of up-and-down pick-up type games of ABCD. He mixed it up a little more than usual inside, and had a few moments where he looked more athletic, which is a good sign.

Thomas Gardner, 6-4 SR SG, Portland Jefferson. Gardner never got in the flow at the camp, not getting enough touches,and when he did, squandering them. He shot pretty well, and made a good percentage of threes, but was a little wild in driving to the basket and his ballhandling. He looks bigger and stronger, and even more athletic. He definitely has the potential to be one of the best at his position in the west and a clear high major.

Brett Collins, 6-5 SR SF, Phoenix Mountain Pointe. Collins struggled quite a bit, not getting many touches in a fast-pasted game and not asserting himself enough when he did. Rushed on his shot most of the time, he looked awkward shooting, and slow-footed compared to the rest of the camp. Hopefully he'll have a better rest of July.

Matthew Fournier, 5-8 SR PG, Rolling Hills Chadwick. A small, little scraper who wasn't intimidated by being completely out of his league, you have to give him credit for being unphased. He's small, obviously, and not quick, but with a decent shot – not a D-1 prospect. So, give him some props for being here and playing with heart.

Bryce Taylor, 6-3 JR SG, Studio City Harvard-Westlake. The guy who probably went from the most nowhere nationally to putting himself on the national map, Taylor had a fine camp. He's such a scorer, and can hit a jumpshot from anywhere on the court, that he adapted well to ABCD's frenetic pace and stayed disciplined in his shot. He averaged over 12 points a game, while shooting 50% from the floor, and 50% from behind the three-point line. He also took the ball to the basket well, and looked especially advanced in knocking down the mid-range pull-up like clockwork. He made the underclass all-star game and looked like one of the few playing under control.

Marcus Dove, 6-7 SR SF, Long Beach Millikan. It was really the first time that many coaches had seen Dove and they generally were impressed. He's still raw and learning basketball, but he's very long, athletic and can hit a jumpshot pretty consistently. He boarded well here, using his quickness to the ball and off the floor for rebounds. He's probably cemented himself on the lower end of the high majors as a result of his performance.

DeMarcus Nelson, 6-2 JR PG, Vallejo (Calif.) High. The early Duke commit was a bit of a mixed bag here. If he wasn't a Duke commit you might have considered his performance better, but being committed to the #1 program in the country, your expectations elevate, to the point that he didn't quite meet them. He scored in bunches, but took too many shots and hogged the ball generally. In the underclass all-star game, he tried to keep up with Sebastian Telfair, who is talented and an even bigger ballhog, and was exposed a bit both offensively and defensively. But again, only because he's committed to Duke are we expecting so much. But you could see in the all-star game that Nelson's quickness is somewhat limited, both in trying to defend a quicker guard and trying to break down a defender, and he needs to improve his handle. But still, again, we're expecting too much probably; he has great potential as a prospect with good size and skills, which will hopefully continue to refine.

Bobby Nash, 6-6 SR SF, Honolulu Iolani. One of the most pleasant surprises here, Nash probably has the most improved jumpshot on the west coast – so improved to the point that you'd have to consider him one of the best jump shooters in the west in his class. It's a very clean stroke, with a soft touch. And while he's not an explosive athlete, he is a decent athlete, and he was especially active on both offense and defense. He averaged over 14 points a game, and earned a spot in the senior all-star game, where he might have been a bit over his head. But he's proved that he's probably a mid to high major here.

Trevor Ariza, 6-7 SR SF, Los Angeles Westchester. Ariza was hindered a great deal since he was the tallest player on his team and had to play in the post, where he had to defend some of the biggest, burliest and most athletic guys in the country. Because of this, and because of the general sloppiness of the games here, Ariza was out of sync, especially since, on offense, he was posting up those same big guys he was defending on the other end of the court. When he got out on the wing, he had some good moments, especially in transition, where he really excels. Ariza, actually, showed again here that his best talent is to dribble penetrate and dish, finding the open man for a basket. He made the senior all-star game but only had a few moments in the game, which isn't saying anything at all since the game was a complete mess. But did he help his stock here? More than likely, he stayed about the same.

Tim Pierce, 6-5 JR SG, Oakland Fremont. Pierce again showed that he has some of the tools to be an elite player in his class. He has great size, a frame that could bulk up his skinniness, and has legit guard skills, able to handle the ball, break down defenders, drive, and especially, hit that outside jumper. In fact, Pierce is so good with his little skip and hitch of a jumper that he looked for it a bit too often here, but just about every other camper did too. A high major all the way, he and Bryce Taylor were the two juniors on the west coast that were probably discovered the most by national programs.

Sean Marshall, 6-5 SR SF, Rialto (Calif.) Eisenhower. The buzz was going when I arrived at Adidas on Wedneday about Marshall and even though it might have been a little over-hyped, he certainly did play well. Having really come into his own as a shooter, Marshall put it up here quite a bit, and hit a fair share. He then also, like he always has, took it to the basket with aggressiveness. That combo got many college coaches noticing him. He's at least, now, on the lower end of the high majors and could be inching into the clear high major territory.

Ekene Ibekwe, 6-8 SR PF, Carson High. Ibekwe had a good camp, one that will probably earn him more recruiting attention. And it was an appropriate camp for him—meaning that his weaknesses were very evident but his positives are strong enough that he's worth the negatives. The negatives: He just won't go inside offensively, mostly because he's still so light he'll get kicked around. So he likes to float outside too much. Positives: He's explosively athletic, so he's effective in rebounding and scoring on putbacks (when he's under the basket), and he's a good shot blocker. This is Ibekwe in a microcosm: In one game on Wednesday he had a really bad first half, where he got killed by skilled four man Ivan Harris. Harris scored on Ibekwe four straight times down the floor. Then Ibekwe came out and had the best second half of a game he's had in months. He played with intensity, blocked a Harris shot, knocked down two jumpers, ripped down rebounds and threw down to nice putback slams. He made the all-star game, but got lost amongst all the athletes. He, though, because of his explosiveness, has so much upside he's definitely moved up in our rankings to the #2 PF in the west behind Leon Powe.

Omar Wilkes, 6-3 SR SG, Los Angeles Loyola. Wilkes had a solid showing, despite being hampered by a bruise calf that had him hobbling up and down the court and jumping like an old lady. But when he wasn't injured, Wilkes was Wilkes, generally skilled and under control, especially in this camp. He shot the ball well, making 60% of his shots and 40% from three. He also took it inside and mixed it up – and did better at finishing on the days he wasn't hurt. But, to his credit, even hobbled, he took it inside. His steadiness and headiness was one of the reasons his team won the team camp championship (which also had Ibekwe on it).

Scott Cutley, 6-5 JR PF, Los Angeles Westchester. You would think against some of the best, big athletes in the country Cutley would be limited – and he was, to an extent, but not really that much. He still did the Cutley thing, which is overcome his lack of height and athleticism by his quickness around the basket. When his opponents started getting tired, especially later in the week, Cutley then really took more advantage of them, using his wide body to get rebounds and his quick hands to lay it back in before his tired opponents could get up to block it. If anything, it showed that Cutley can probably be moderately effective with his game against strong competition, and probably is a sure mid-major prospect now.

Ray Reed, 6-0 SR PG, Inglewood High. At a camp where everyone's looking to score, you can't slight a kid too much for doing it himself, and Reed did. He forced his play, shooting the ball a lot and driving wildly. He averaged as many assists as turnovers a game (2). With his athleticism, he averaged 11 points a game, but shot poorly. In such a loose structure, it made a usually semi-wild Reed even more wild, which didn't show well. He did show a great natural talent, but a lack of a sense in how to use it.

The second half of the west coast contingent at ABCD coming soon…


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