Easily one of the most highly anticipated events of the summer, the annual NBPA Top 100 Camp kicked off play in Charlottesville, Va. on Thursday. Among those on hand and taking part in the camp were more than a handful of guys who have popped up on the Florida radar. Also included in the field was 2010 commitment Patric Young who spent the day wrecking rims inside of the John Paul Jones Arena.
Florida Targets From Thursday's NBPA Action
Patric Young- Fightin' Gators was able to spend some time talking to Young and it's clear that he understands the role of a big man. He wants to rebound, set crushing picks, run the floor and then try to tear the rim off the backboard with violent slams at each and every opportunity. He's fully understanding that he needs to continue to work on his skill, but the strong and bouncy 6-foot-8 insider also understands that during games isn't the time to experiment. Terrific effort from the big man who has a chance to work his way into the Mickey D's AA Game conversation by summer's end.
Brandon Knight- Lined up against Joe Jackson in the morning session and Kyrie Irving in the evening session, Knight left no question as to who the top dog is at the PG position. A strong kid who plays the game fast, he attacks with straight line speed that can't be stopped by any point guard on the high school level. Not only is he speedy, he's determined, hits jumpers from between 12 and 20 feet in flurries and finds some time to make plays for others. At times this spring/summer he's gotten caught up looking for his own shot a little too much, but there was none of that on Thursday. Wherever he ends up, he plays immediately and he's likely going to be the most talented player on the floor (for either team) more often than not.
Fab Melo- It was this author's first look at the gigantic Brazilian big man and man was it an impressive one. Not only is he big, but Melo is incredibly skilled. He can pop out and shoot jumpers comfortably to 18 feet making him a terror in pick and roll. In the post, he's capable of wheeling to either shoulder and finishing with either hand around the rim. He still needs some toning up, but he's easily one of the truly elite big man prospects in the class of 2010.
C.J. Leslie- Riding a huge spring thus far, Leslie was relatively quiet on Thursday. He showed off his incredible athleticism and quickness in the post at times, but he also spent some time wandering around the perimeter and not so involved. At his best working from the inside/out, Leslie gets a lot done when he puts his quickness to use around the rim. He runs the floor well, has the skills to face up and attack off the dribble and will likely make plenty of noise before camp finishes.
Roscoe Smith- Smith was another guy that was tough to get a good read on during the first day of play. A long armed wing, his athleticism is clearly high level and he makes some things happen around the rim despite his very lean frame. He runs the floor and plays hard, but his jumper looks to be a question mark and his results are consistent. In fact, you almost have to wonder if he really isn't more of a natural power -- with some faceup skill -- than small forward at this point.
Stacey Poole- Somewhat surprisingly – at least given national reputation – Poole was one of the day's top performers. A strong athlete on the wing, he attacked relentlessly off the dribble in both transition and halfcourt settings. An athletic finisher, he also knocked down some tough jumpers. More importantly, he played the game under control. After a strong April and May, Poole's stock should start to skyrocket as he continues to put up big outing after big outing.
Phil Pressey- Frankly, the diminutive point guard never really seemed to get into rhythm at all. His shot wasn't dropping and there were times that his teammates were flat gunning so it's hard to fault him for not getting into a good routine on Thursday. He is quick, but it's also starting to become apparent that he's a bit right hand dominant.
Trevor Releford- The Gators have been showing the Kansas City point guard more and more attention lately (he's hoping to make an August visit) and the late add to the camp was solid on Thursday. A very crafty and entertaining ball handler, he used his burst and handles to beat defenders off of the bounce and either finish at the rim or find teammates with clever passes. The question with Releford remains how big of a threat he is as an outside shooter.