LeBron: Day One Rundown

AKRON, Ohio – John Henson stepped up and set the bar at the 2nd annual LeBron James Skills Academy. The opening day of the recruiting period meant high-profile coaches were in town.

John Henson, PF – I'll date myself here with the cartoon reference but here it goes. Henson has Inspector Gadget arms; they keep going and going. His opening day play at LeBron sticks him smack dab in the conversation for top overall prospect in the class. Completely different player than Derrick Favors but a scintillating talent nonetheless. Favors is power and defensive dominance, while Henson is skill and boundless potential. Both guys compete hard.

Henson challenges everything and despite what at times appears to be a frail body, initiates contact. Sensing Henson's roll, DaShonte Riley was forced to make a stand and the future Hoya fared well. It wasn't his fault Henson was in the midst of another breakthrough performance. Riley dunked on Henson and the next possession, Henson returned the favor.

Brandon Paul, SG – Slow and steady wins the race and his progress has been consistently measurable. There are plenty of guys out on the road who are too aggressive but few we'd say have earned the right to be more assertive. There's no denying that his jump shot has improved – as has his confidence in it – since the spring. If he wants to pull a few more for heat checks, fine by us.

John Wall, PG – Solid overall by his standards, exceptional in the speed category and spectacular with the day's top dunk. This is going to be a big summer and at the end of the day everyone will draw the same conclusion: this is the fastest kid in the country with the ball and the rest need roller skates to keep up.

Wall dropped a slew of assists in his opener then hammered down a gem in the nightcap. What was particular interesting was his response to adversity. He got picked twice and each time on the return trip a fast break ensued. His jump shot wasn't falling and when he needed a hoop it was go-time off the bounce.

Royce White, F – It's amazing what happens when you bring the effort and intensity to a camp setting. The Minnesota pledge was finished plays, rebounded and was a topic of conversation.

Aaron Dotson, SG – Another youngster who was on the tip of everyone's tongue. For starters, he's uncommitted so immediately he's of interest. After finding bottom with his stroke and showing off a well-built frame he's got a chance to make his move.

Nolan Dennis, SG – In our mind, he wasn't comfortable this spring and early summer. With the commitment to Memphis now in the rear view mirror, Dennis finally settled in and looked like his old self on Sunday. His effort was high and his confidence in his own game seemed stronger than last month.

Jamil Wilson, F – Always tantalizing as a prospect on the national scene he's kept everyone on the hook because of his long-term ability. Today he was effective at both ends from all areas of the court and laid the foundation for a good week.

Wally Judge, PF – It took him until the second session to really get it cranking but he did. When his focus begins inside he's at his best. Toss him in there among the top players nationally and he looks the part.


Barnes' Roll Continues
Harrison Barnes, SF – By the time the morning workout was over, Barnes was on the tip of everyone's tongues. After one round of games the genie is out of the bottle. Talented, athletic and smart he looks every bit like the top player in his class at the SF position. His poise is uncanny. When given the opportunity to drive his way into a tough chance at the rim, Barnes simply stopped and smoked the mid-range jumper. Textbook.

Roscoe Smith, SF – He looks young, competes hard and has plenty of upside. He's been missed on the national scene and this is his chance to let it out and show we he can do. Smith has plenty of tools and talent. Tagged as a Top 15 talent that's sounding just about right through one day of action.

DeShaun Thomas is finally a Buckeye. "I've been committed," Thomas said. "I had (the decision) since 3-4 weeks (ago). I sat down and talked to the coaches." Why Ohio State? "Ohio State been on me and the other schools haven't been doing that. I finally locked it." The drama is over and he'll join Jared Sullinger in Thad Matta's Class of 2010. …

Speaking of Ohio State, LeBron James plugged the program by sporting OSU shorts in the evening session. … Spent time with Harrison Barnes. He's clearly a guy getting a lot of attention and he's going to need time to process. There are lots of suitors and indicated Iowa State is coming strong and Kentucky has done the same as of late. To say he's got lots of admirers would be an understatement. …

You feel for Xavier Henry. He's been banged up from spring to summer (cracked ankle) and we probably won't get to see him at the apex of his game this month. Having said that, a banged up Henry ain't too shabby. … UAB's DeMarcus Cousins has big, soft mitts. …

Jason Morris' first half in the early game grabbed the attention of onlookers. It was a burst of energy summarized in one play. Seemingly only a step inside the 3-point line he launched himself at the rim and finish with a smooth layin. … Rodney Williams hit a twisting jumper off a spin move to win a game in overtime. … Dante Taylor hawks balls around the rim. He's among the best offensive rebounders we've seen in this glass. …

Lane Adams, a senior shooter, has an offer from Tulsa and he attended Wichita State's elite camp. Gonzaga, Oral Roberts, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri State and Colorado are looking. … Andrew Fitzgerald has offers from Texas A&M, Baylor and Pittsburgh. Oklahoma, Louisville, Tennessee, Georgia and Boston College are evaluating him. "I'm tired of Maryland; I'm ready to get out of here," Fitzgerald said. …


Coaches Watch Wall
Xavier Henry's first July audience: John Calipari, Kansas coach Bill Self and Georgia Tech skipper Paul Hewitt. … John Wall's early crowd: Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, Kentucky's Billy Gillispie, KU's Self and an array of assistants from Baylor, Duke and Oregon. … Iowa State coach Gregg McDermott isn't about to let his natural resource out of town. Where Barnes was, McDermott was close behind. … Clemson's Oliver Purnell was front and center for Milton Jennings. …

Roger Franklin had Utah's Jim Boylen and SMU's Matt Doherty staring at him. … Connecticut's Jim Calhoun was joined by a variety of Big East assistants (Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville) as he watched Dante Taylor. … Yes, Thad Matta had DeShaun Thomas in his sights. … Tom Izzo and Duke's Steve Wojciechowski were among the crowd for Jamil Wilson. … Daniel Orton had Calipari, Self and Oklahoma's Jeff Capel taking in his game. … Mike Krzyzewski had an obvious eye on recent pledge Andre Dawkins. He also found time to talk USA hoops with an attentive LeBron James. … South Carolina's Darrin Horn trailed Lakeem Jackson and there were lots of eyes evaluating him. …


The summer goal is to lose (not gain) weight. Everybody has their thoughts on food. My standby is Subway. After one day here's the report. Total number of Subway Subs: three. That's right, breakfast, lunch and dinner.


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