The Super 100, a two-day camp for the top players in the Northern California area, was held this past weekend at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA. Here are my thoughts on some of the players who caught my attention over the weekend.
Drew Gordon, 6-9 SR C San Jose (Calif.) Mitty. Gordon has long been one of the more interesting prospects in the 2008 class. He's got a great body and exceptional athleticism, two attributes that give him a chance of becoming a very productive player in the Pac-10. However, his skill level has only improved marginally in his first three years of high school and his overall feel for the game is a long way from being college-ready. His ball-handling and passing ability need to get much better if he is to play in the Pac-10. His low-post game has improved slightly – although he didn't show it this weekend (spent most of his time on the perimeter) – but his footwork is still in the rudimentary stages. In terms of his fundamentals, he needs to start from scratch. As I said, he's an interesting prospect. On the one hand, you have this very impressive physical potential. But on the other, you have a lack of skill and feel for the game. He would be an ideal redshirt candidate his first season at UCLA, but the Bruins might not have the frontcourt depth to make that a possibility.
Reeves Nelson, 6-7 JR PF Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian. Nelson just returned from a two-month layoff due to a foot injury and he only played a couple games on Saturday. So I definitely didn't get anything close to a good look at him. That being said, from previous viewings, he might be the best offensive rebounder in the west. He's got a great nose for the ball, he's physical and relentless. He has good overall ball skills for a four, but not for a three. If he's to play any three in college, his shot needs to get much better. His handle is just fair for a perimeter player. He does have good vision and passing ability. The biggest issue for Nelson in the next two years will be how his body goes. He's already a big kid. While he's very bouncy, he's not real quick and my guess is that doesn't change. If anything, he's more likely to get bigger, stronger and slower as his body matures. For those reasons, I think he'll likely end up at the four in college.
Greg Smith, 6-8 JR C Fresno (Calif.) Edison. Smith only played on Saturday, but he did show off improved ball skills. He was handling the ball quite a bit – and doing it surprisingly well. He also made several nice passes in transition and knocked down several jumpers in the 18-19 foot range. Smith has the prototype body you're looking for in a college center. Huge feet and hands, great frame and an above-average athlete. He can be as good as he wants to be. And that's the question with Smith – just how good does he want to be? His focus and intensity level can go up and down. But he's still a young kid and the light turns on at different stages for different kids. As of today, he's still one to watch as a potential elite post prospect in 2009.
Matt Carlino, 6-1 FR PG/SG Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland. Carlino also played just the first day, but he demonstrated why he's so highly regarded in the 2011 class. An outstanding scorer, Carlino isn't just a shooter. At one point, he took his man in the mid-post and made a 15-foot fall away jumper. You just don't see that from high school freshman point guards. He's got a complete package when it comes to scoring. He's got a great stroke to the stripe, but also a solid mid-range game. He can get to the basket and he's surprisingly bouncy when he finishes. He's also extremely strong for a young kid. Very good frame with long arms. He's not especially quick, but he's so good with the ball that he's deceptive and he consistently goes by defenders who play him for the shot. He has excellent vision for a young point. While he definitely has a scorer's mentality, he made several passes of the spectacular variety when setting up teammates. He certainly will have his work cut out for him when he faces elite, quick guards, but I think his overall skill level and strength will allow him to be successful. He projects as an elite prospect in the class of 2011.
Ramon Eaton, 6-6 FR SF Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon. Eaton was easily one of the top couple prospects at the event. A long and slender pogo-stick, Eaton has a decent lefty stroke to the 17-18 foot range. But it's when he's around the basket that he really shines. He's very quick off his feet and he's got a nice touch in the paint. He handles the ball well for a kid his size and age, but he does need to work on his right hand. He's all left hand at this time. He's got a good frame and he should fill out nicely in the next couple years. He still has a lot of stuff to work on, but his physical gifts are obvious and he has a huge upside.
Jabari Brown, 6-1 FR PG/SG Richmond (Calif.) Salesian. Once Carlino went home after the first day, Brown was the best shooter in the camp. He's got a very solid stroke to the stripe, with no wasted motion and a consistent release. His court demeanor is outstanding. If you didn't know better, you might have assumed he was one of the seniors. Very self-assured and poised, with no nonsense in his game. He's just a fair athlete at this time, but he's still a youngster, so we'll see how his body goes in the next couple years. Assuming continued development, he has a chance to be among the elite prospects in the class of 2011.
I'll have more on some other prospects at the event in Part Two of my report….
Super 100 Camp, Part One
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