Featuring Jamal Boykin, Lance Thomas, and Uche Echefu
The evening session kicked off with a chance to watch the ‘Nets', featuring Boykin, Thomas, and Echefu in action. This turned out to be the best game of the day for our money, and the big three certainly didn't disappoint.
Jamal Boykin- 6-foot-7, 225 pound PF
Turned out to be the best player on the floor for the Nets. The Los Angeles native finished with a game high 14 points to go along with 3 rebounds, two steals, and several assists in the camp rules' allotted 20 minutes per game per player.
While many have labeled Boykin as a ‘project' on the offensive end, there may be some re-thinking as far as analyses go. For starters, he's unafraid of assume the role of team leader on the court. Today he was barking out orders and defensive assignments, calling out screens, playing tight defense, and helping out inside.
Though the box score allotted him just a pair of steals, the 6-foot-7 big forward knocked the ball away from opponents numerous times, which led to easy transition buckets for his team on the other end of the floor.
In addition, Boykin appeared to be very comfortable with the ball in his hands, often times receiving good passes from Thomas while making hard cuts to the basket. He also was able to routinely take his man off the dribble to either finish at the rim, or find the open man in a dump off pass when the defense collapsed.
Boykin is a throw back when it comes to effort and desire – he plays the game with a fire and intensity that makes him a better player than he probably should be. Today was no different as he routinely out-worked his opponents and even conjured up visions of former Blue Devil Shane Battier by slapping the floor to set the tone for his team's defensive stand.
Lance Thomas- 6-foot-8, 205 pound SF/PF
Lance had a really quiet game, finishing with six points and just two rebounds, but like Boykin, he really understands the team concept, and plays accordingly.
Though he's a very good shooter, Thomas recognized that teammates Echefu and Boykin were both on fire offensively, so he willingly changed his game to be a more complementary player, which helped his team roll.
Sometimes shooters, you see them demand their fair share of shots during the flow of the game, but that is not the case with Thomas. Instead he moved well without the ball and made any number of good passes that led to easy buckets for his team.
Like teammate Boykin, Thomas prides himself on giving a complete effort on the court, taking a tremendous amount of pride in his defensive ability. Today he routinely picked up and stopped transition opportunities with good positioning and defensive technique. He was also willing to take over for Boykin when it came to being the team's vocal leader, and really seemed to embrace that role in the team huddles.
Despite hovering around the 6-foot-8 mark, Thomas shows the ability to play anything from the off guard to the power forward, much in the form of a Luol Deng, or Josh Childress style of player. He has an explosive first step, understands offensive spacing, moves without the ball, and generally has a very high basketball IQ. In short he's certainly going to be a high-major prospect.
Uche Echefu- 6-foot-8, 220 PF
This kid has high major written all over him. He probably measures right around 6-foot-7, and maybe 200-215 lbs, but you can just look at his body and see that he's primed to fill out his frame.
When you catch a glimpse of the Nigerian native, you don't really think that he's going to be an effective player in the post because he doesn't look anything like your traditional big guy. However, he PLAYS like one. He's got great hands, and knows how to use his body to seal off his man when posting up, and he can finish around the rim.
Tonight he finished with six points, eight rebounds, two steals, and a block while also logging a number of deflections and shot alterations that led to fast breaks.
Whomever decided to place these three guys together would be a heck of a college coach, because the team routinely played terrific basketball, keeping the game flowing. Uche was a big part of that, playing a tough brand of defense that saw him man the paint, and always seem to know when to rotate over to collapse on the baseline and with weakside help.
Aside from that he's just a really aggressive interior player who's not afraid to battle to grab rebounds while implementing a ‘take no prisoners' attitude when he's in there.
Look for this guy to shoot up in a number of rankings, as well as on a number of recruiting boards all over high major programs.