USA Fall Mini-Camp: Day One

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Basketball's first-ever fall mini-camp opened this weekend. While the weather was dreary outside, inside the gym high-level players were the order of the day. Among the early standouts were Michael Gilchrist and Johnny O'Bryant.

"We aren't going to lower our standards," USA coach Don Showalter barked. "We're not going to lower OUR standard."

Showalter was in his element on Saturday at Team USA's first-ever Fall Mini-Camp. Fresh off last year's 16U FIBA Americas gold medal performance, 20 camp participants gathered to take part in what USA Basketball hopes is an annual event.

"It shows the rest of the world that we're taking (the world championship) seriously," said Sean Ford, the national team director.

Michael Gilchrist, Scout.com's top-rated junior, is sure taking it seriously. Gilchrist was not on last summer's squad but figures prominently into future rosters. "I gotta get that gold (medal)," Gilchrist said during his first USA practice.

The camp gives USA Basketball a chance to evaluate the players, take inventory of the improvement and provides the team with another opportunity to bond in advance of next summer's world championship. It's a new era of USA Basketball, one that not only involves commitment from the Olympians but a year-round focus from the next generation.

Michael Gilchrist, SF: You expect three things out of Gilchrist: competing, winning and devastating transition play. On Saturday, he excelled in each. Plus, this was his first taste of USA Basketball and its clear he's comfortable as a leader. During a brief scrimmage he had nine points, three boards and three assists. The camp's top dog is going to be a major piece for the red, white and blue for a long time.

Johnny O'Bryant, PF: He's put and an emphasis on improving his jump shot and it shows. One of the most athletic players here, O'Bryant tends to do everything with speed. Once he develops a little pace instead of trying to get into his moves quickly, his game will take another step. Improved since the summer and he's super athletic for his size and frame.

Marquis Teague, PG: Another USA Basketball first timer, Teague replicated what he does well here at camp. Extremely difficult to guard that first step to the rim is all he needs. He continues to develop the runner and floater, which are becoming major assets in his arsenal.

Adonis Thomas, SF: Competitor. He's the guy who does all the little things well plus a few exceptionally well. He's a high-level athletic finisher, excellent board man and he's armed with a basketball IQ.

Quinn Cook, PG: Banged up his knee but played well in the scrimmage as he mustered up three athletic finishes for nine points and three assists. Like how the jumper is coming along.

L.J. Rose, PG: Must be pushing 6-foot-3. Rose has a Kendall Marshall-esque way about him. Exceptional feel for passing, sees the floor and makes distributing the ball a priority.

Tony Parker, C: In three on three and the scrimmage, Parker got the touches he needed and delivered with a soft hook shot multiple times. If he catches in the middle of the lane, he's cultivated his signature shot.

Brad Beal (ankle), Andre Drummond (ankle), James McAdoo (shoulder) and Norvel Pelle (knee) are in attendance but not participating. McAdoo has only done non-contact drills. …

L.J. Rose and Johnny O'Bryant gave up great seats for the Florida-LSU game to make the trip to Colorado Springs. … Chasson Randle will visit Iowa State next weekend. … Michael Gilchrist will visit Kentucky for Midnight Madness then he'll visit Oregon and Villanova is also in the mix with others still tagging him. …

L.J. Rose could measure out at 6-foot-3. … Kyle Caudill has trimmed 25 pounds since June. … The best communicators we've seen in camp so far: Gilchrist, Quinn Cook and Justin Anderson. … Sterling Gibbs said he's dedicated time to working on his quickness and it shows. … Most athletic guards here: Marquis Teague and Kevin Ware. … Justin Anderson has a lot of Chris Wright (Dayton) in his game. Exceptional leaper and athlete. Plus, Anderson has the desire to be a major defensive player and full time energy giver. …

Angelo Chol takes care of business in his area. Puts himself in position for rebounds and the motor runs high. … Kyle Anderson is now 6-7 and 215. It's not out of the question his body affords him the chance to be a uniquely skilled four man. … Perry Ellis was solid in the scrimmage. … Brandon Kearney hasn't defined his position and could play SG or SF. … Chasson Randle would like to work towards being a point guard. Currently, the strength of his game is his perimeter shot which he smoked in the morning session. …

O'Bryant said head coaches from Memphis, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Florida and Harvard saw him this fall. Oklahoma, Baylor and Miami are on the list and there may be more. …


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