West Coasters at LeBron

The campers played their first games at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, Saturday, and three west coasters -- Demar DeRozan, Hollis Thompson and Jeremy Tyler -- turned in performances that showed they're elite prospects...

The campers at the LeBron James Skills Academy at the University of Akron played their first games Saturday. With it being a camp environment, there's going to be some considerable inconsistency, as most of the players showed Saturday. There were two sessions of games and there weren't many who played exceptionally well in both sessions.

Among the 70 players participating, three west coast players definitely were among the best performers of the day.

Demar DeRozan, the 6-6 senior forward from Compton (Calif.) High who is a soft verbal to USC, was very impressive in his first game of the day, hitting his outside jumper under control while looking quick and agile off the dribble. In his second game, LeBron James himself played with DeRozan's team and DeRozan kind of deferred to one of the best players on the planet. It's funny, too, a player like DeRozan, who looks big physically as a prospect, looks young and small standing next to the huge James. DeRozan did enough in his first game to create a good buzz, and prove that he's worthy of the high rankings he's generated since April – and probably kick up more interest from some more elite high majors nationally.

Hollis Thompson, the 6-6 junior wing from Los Angeles Loyola, also had one very good game and one average one. But, like DeRozan, he did enough in his first game to get college coaches talking about him. He hit a couple of threes and a soft mid-ranger with his very quick release, made a number of very good passes in the half-court and in transition, and created some turnovers. In this environment, when players are mainly looking for their own shot, Thompson stood out as the guy who was actually passing and moving and making the extra pass. Hopefully, this summer, with this being Thompson's first experience playing at events at this level, he won't get infected with the me-first approach. What's most interesting about Thompson is, with his length, he has a chance to be a very good defender and can easily stay in front of typical two guards – giving him the potential versatility in college to play either the two or the three.

Jeremy Tyler, the 6-9 sophomore center from San Diego (Calif.) High, definitely had a day with two different results. In his first game of the day, he struggled a bit, mostly playing against a very physical Michael Dunigan, the 6-9 senior center from Chicago (Ill.) Farragut. Dunigan got in Tyler's head a bit, and the young post spent most of the game flustered – and close to getting a T for talking. There was also a moment when he got in a mini-argument with his own teammate. We've seen this from Tyler before, where he gets emotionally wound up and it affects his play. In his second game of the day, however, he was very impressive, going against Demarcus Cousins, considered one of the best post players nationally in the class of 2009. Tyler did it both inside and outside, stepping out to 15 feet and hitting a couple of nice jumpshots, and then spinning on Cousins in the post to score with his left. He also finished well inside, catching and going up quickly for some strong dunks. Tyler is young, so we expect him to get his emotions in control as he matures. His second game was probably another coming-out party for him in front of many college coaches that hadn't seen him yet.

Other west coasters:

Travis Wear and David Wear, the 6-9 juniors from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, were also a little inconsistent, but showed generally they're stepping up to the talent level and playing physically and aggressively. Again, you'd like to see them playing in the post but they're playing as wings in this camp.

D.J. Seeley, the 6-3 senior guard from Modesto (Calif.) Christian who is committed to Cal, sat out his first game with what looked like a sprained ankle, but then played in his team's second game, and did well. He smoothly hit a couple of jumpers after being fed the ball by LeBron, and made a couple of nice passes to set up teammates himself.

Jordan Hamilton, the 6-6 small forward from Compton (Calif.) Dominguez, went up against DeRozan in his first game, and did pretty well. Hamilton's issue offensively is shot selection and ball-handling, and he took a couple of bad shots and over-handled the ball at times, which is the nature of these camps. But he also buried a nice three in rhythm in the corner, and drove the lane to dish to a teammate. There's so much potential here with Hamilton; if he could just play more within the flow of the game and not try to force getting his own he'd have a chance to be a very elite prospect.

Other west coasters participating:

Brad Tinsley, 6-4 senior guard, Oregon City (Ore.) High
Mike Harthun, 6-2 senior guard, Medford (Ore.) South Medford
Andy Brown, 6-7 junior post, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Matt Simpkins, 6-8 post (class to still be determined), Berkeley (Calif.) High
Drew Gordon, 6-8 senior post committed to UCLA from San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty, is out with a broken hand


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