There's little doubt this crop of Hoop Jamboree campers will eventually feature a number of prominent up and coming talents. Some kids used the event to step outside of their comfort zone and expand their games while others simply took center stage and announced themselves to their peers. Everyone who attended received a realistic view of where each stacks up against his peers and by the end of the week; a campers were beginning to separate themselves.
The four-day event was riddled with outstanding performers but for our purposes we'll give you the lowdown on some of the consensus talents from camp. We'll leave some guys out who invariably will go onto stardom and surely some guys we chatter up won't be able to sustain their momentum.
However, here's a first hand account of the consensus top talent from the 2006 Hoop Jamboree which took place on the campus of St. Louis University. Much like when dinosaurs ruled the world, it was the big fellas who worked it out the best on the rims at Simon Rec Center.
It didn't take long to figure out that DeMarcus Cousins (2009, Alabama) was one of the top talents in camp. He's a 6-foot-9+ aircraft carrier who not only is big but he's a good athlete, can make some jump shots and attacks the rims strong. He was on a short list of the best players here.
Joining Cousins atop the center rankings were two kids who made tremendous strides with their games since the spring. Michael Dunigan (2008, Chicago, right), after a tremendous awakening at camp, will be a high-major priority recruit. Kenny Frease (2008, Ohio) might have been the single most improved player here from last season to the present. These two guys were studs all week long, just ask the other campers.
This position proved to be one of the deeper at camp. Henry Sims (2008, Baltimore), Kyle Hardrick (2009, Oklahoma) and Ty Walker (2008, North Carolina) were movers and shakers. Sims gets better each time we see him and Walker not only measured out with the longest wingspan but he had the highest reach and his confidence level grew each time he took the floor.
Lookout For – Brett Thompson (2008, Illinois), Tony Woods (2008, Georgia) and Jared Berggren (2008, Minnesota) each performed well at times throughout the week.
If Cousins was the top center, then Jeremy Tyler (2010, California) was his rival at the power forward slot. Flip a coin because these were two top overall prospects in camp and to think that Tyler (right) just finished the 8th grade is rather silly. As impressive as Tyler 23-point opening game was how he handled drills and instruction during a workout hosted by guru Ganon Baker. Tyler is a bonafide stud.
Some won't be able to spell his name and others will butcher the pronunciation but no one can overlook Alex Oriakhi (2009, Massachusetts). Oriakhi (left) was consistently excellent as was Danarius Robinson (2008, South Carolina). After that trio, there was plenty of competition.
Lookout For – Stephan Van Treese (2009, Indianapolis), Isaih Armwood (2009, Maryland), JaMychal Green (2008, Alabama), Daniel Orton (2009, Oklahoma), Will Brown (2008, Texas) and Anthony Jones (2008, Texas).each had their moments.
Murphy Holloway made the most of his chance at camp. The 2008 South Carolinian (right) played as hard as any camper we spotted, was a great teammate and continued to show improvement. For our money, he was the standard at this position for the entire week.
Not too far behind Holloway was the play of Jordan Hamilton (2009, California). A solidly built wing with athleticism to boot, No. 75 was easy to spot after just one session. Terrell Vinson (2009, Maryland) was the same way. Scoring was easy for him all week long.
Lookout For – Among the other consistent standouts were Kevin Foster (2008, Florida) and Christian Watford (2009, Alabama). Ernest Watson (2008, Maryland), Ferrakohn Hall (2009, Memphis) and Brandon Moore (2008, Arkansas) closed camp playing their best basketball of the week. TaShawn Mabry, a 2010 product from North Carolina, is worth noting because he didn't carry himself like a rising freshman and he's got game.
It took him two days but once he got comfortable there was little doubt who the king of the wings was: Travis Releford. The 2008 Kansas native commanded the basketball and finished up camp on high note, proving he's one of the best wings nationally.
While we didn't think anyone rivaled Releford (left), others played well. Andre Jones (2008, Virginia) is an impressive kid, leader and scorer. He had one of the best weeks of anyone at camp. Lorenzo Brown (2009, Georgia) might have more natural talent than anyone at his position and should he harness it consistently the sky is the limit.
Lookout For – Durand Scott (2009, New York) who is a gifted scorer and athletic guard. Scott Suggs (2008, St. Louis) is a weight program away from being a very good player. Chicago's Matthew Humphrey (2008) was playing out of position most of the camp but impressed us with how capitalized on his chances while being miscast in the role of point guard. Matt Gatens (2008, Iowa) was steady all week and plays the game intensity and smarts.
It was tough settling in on a top prospect here but there was little doubt who the top performer was. Rotnei Clarke (2008, Oklahoma) was far and away (and everyone in the gym agreed) the most prolific shooter at camp. Not only did Clarke (right) win the "Knockout" contest easily, he led the event in scoring by draining 3-pointers from way behind the arc. The kid works hard on his shot as evidenced by the 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning shoot around his father put him through before camp even began. He's cut from the Archie Miller-mold of point guards whose strength is dialing in from long distances.
Leslie McDonald (2009, Memphis) might be a combo but either ways he's a good one. Patient, poised and a strong shooter he's a name to look for in the future.
Lookout For – Tony Chenault (2010, Philadelphia), the shooting of Michael Harthun (2008, Oregon), the size and presence of Luke Loucks (2008, Florida) and the spunk of Jamal Fenton (2009, Texas). Tommy Mason-Griffin (2009, Texas) closed with a big scoring game.