However, let’s not digress too far and remember that this is still about the players and there were plenty of kids doing their thing on Thursday. While the ABCD camp doesn’t feature many Kansas targets, there were still some noteworthy performances.
SPOTLIGHT ON DAVON JEFFERSON
One player who is mentioning Kansas is Lynwood (CA) High standout Davon Jefferson. The 6-6 WF got off to a very good start on Thursday and is one of the camp’s top 10 scorers after averaging 15 points an outing on the first day.
Right now, Jefferson is in the process of proving that is game is about more than just athleticism and he is doing an adequate job. He stepped out and hit a few jumpers and it looks like he has been doing some work on his ball handling.
“Shooting, taking my man off the dribble more and pulling up for jumpers, stuff like that is what I’m working on,” Jefferson told Phog.net. “I’m also trying to work on my handles and defense on the perimeter.”
The perimeter work is a good idea because Jefferson has a bright future on the high major level if he can iron out some flaws and become more consistent. He’s slender, but will fight in the lane for rebounds and blocks a surprising number of shots from the wing. Jefferson does enough damage in the post right now to be considered a combo forward, but his future is on the wing.
Some pretty high profile schools have jumped into the fray when it comes to his recruitment.
Jefferson would like to decide in the fall and will look at each school’s overall atmosphere, community and of course the strength of the basketball program. However, he hasn’t taken either standardized test yet so he can’t take any official visits until he gets either the ACT or SAT out of the way, and it could ultimately delay his decision process.
With specific regards to Kansas, Jefferson has been on the campus each of the last two years for the Jayhawk Invitational and he is interested. However, he isn’t sure how interested Kansas is in him and would like to learn more about them.
“My coach talks to them (Kansas) a lot more than I do, so I’m not sure about the interest,” said Jefferson. “ I do like the whole environment and being out there, plus I like the team too.”
ABCD DAY ONE STANDOUTS
Leo Criswell- To his credit Criswell knows that there have been a lot of people questioning his abilities and he was on a mission to repair his reputation on Thursday. So far so good as Criswell is the second leading scorer in camp through one day after averaging 18.5 points per game. He’s been knocked for being soft but was bringing it in the low post today and seemed to enjoy trading a few elbows. What sets him apart though is his ability to handle the ball and pass from the wing at 6-9. It is probably fair to call him a combo forward and it is amazing how much better he is when he gives a total effort and plays from the inside out.
According to Criswell, he will more than likely stay in Durham to attend Mt. Zion for his senior year after taking a few summer courses there. He’s also left KC Pump N’ Run and will finish the summer playing with future Mt. Zion teammate and fellow KC native Brandon Rush and Rocktown. His current top five reads UConn, UNC, Marquette, Miami and Oklahoma State. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to play like this for the entire camp.
O.J. Mayo- Even though he is only a rising sophomore, there aren’t many kids who have gotten as much hype as O.J. Mayo, bottom line he is worthy of every good thing that has been written about him. Taking things a step further, the 6-4 PG is arguably the single best high school player in the country regardless of class.
His numbers on the day were somewhat pedestrian (12.5 points per game), but even the town idiot can see that he is on another level. He does pretty much whatever he wants to do when he wants to with the ball in his hands, and more importantly he doesn’t rely on athleticism -- something he has plenty of -- he is fundamentally sound. He isn’t as good a prospect as LeBron was at the same stage, but there is a real possibility that he will receive more attention that King James did and he is already remarkably poised around reporters.
Nate Minnoy- Here’s a guy that you probably wouldn’t expect to be leading the camp in scoring, but after scoring 20 per game Minnoy holds the lead for at least a day. Honestly, he isn’t a guy that you would expect to be much of a player at all upon first glance because he is a very hefty wing who is only 6-3, and that may even be generous.
Sooner or later though, you just have to give a kid credit for being a player even if he isn’t a traditional wing and all Minnoy does is get the job done. He isn’t a particularly dangerous shooter from deep, but he does score on pull up jumpers and is an absolute beast when it comes to getting to the basket. He beats the crap out of other wings who want to show off their 40 inch verticals and he is proving that he is worthy of high major love. Surprisingly, he turned in what might have been the best dunk of the day when he got medevil on Notre Dame bound Zach Hillesland for a vicious fast break jam plus the foul.
Gerald Green- Man oh man does this kid have superstar written all over him if, and this is a very sizeable if, he is willing to play hard each time he takes the court. He played tough during the early session of games and the results for the 6-7 Oklahoma State bound WF were absolutely spectacular.
Green hit on several deep jumpers, showed better ball handling than ever before and threw down some sinister yokes off of lobs during a 24 point outburst. He cooled off a bit in the evening session and played a bit soft but there is no denying that he is a big time talent capable of developing into an NBA wing guard before it is all said and done. If he plays with the right frame of mind Big 12 fans are going to hate seeing him line up against their favorite school.
SOME OTHER GUYS MAKING NOISE
D’Andre Bell- This is the first chance that a lot of people have had to watch this very talented 6-5 WF from Pacific Palisades (CA) Palisades and he has been very impressive. He’s got a body to die for, big time hops and a sweet lefty stroke from downtown. Odds are that he is going to turn a lot of heads before the camp ends.
Bobby Frasor- It looked like the future Tar Heel was going to continue his recent slump after a rough outing where he looked totally out of it during the early session. To his credit, the 6-2 WG bounced back in a big way during the evening session and played a very nice game. He looked newly energized and put on a moving without the ball and shooting clinic during a nice 14 point outing.
Byron Eaton- The 5-10 PG from Dallas (TX) Lincoln really needs to have a good camp in order to make sure he can retain/restore his once lofty reputation and so far so good. He looks like he is shedding some pounds and he is playing under control and concentrating on setting up his teammates. His strength will always allow him to get to the rim, but it is a good sign to see him handling the ball with care.
Lawrence Hill- Truthfully, there the 6-7 Hill who recently committed to Stanford had been very disappointing during the first part of the spring and summer. That certainly wasn’t the case on Thursday when Hill got hot with his perimeter jumper and focused on hitting the offensive boards. He isn’t a super athlete or a creative ball handler, but he is smart and has a knack for being in the right place at the right times and taking wise shots. He’s young for his class (2005) and it looks like he has really been working on his game.
Danny Williams- When it comes to freaky athletes, there aren’t many guys who can hang with Williams. He’s a 6-2 combo guard from Fremont High in the Los Angeles area and he has some serious jets. He’s also got a beautiful stroke from deep and some lock down defensive capabilities to go along with his athletic tools. He will be in need of a prep school year and if you think of him in terms of being a 2006 kid, he has a chance to be one of the premier guards in that class.