This week the Siegel Center in Richmond, VA is host to one of the premier grassroots basketball events of the entire summer. Gathered on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth for the NBA Player’s Association Top 100 Camp are a horde of America’s top high school ballers. With shoe affiliations, theoretically at least, thrown out the window the Camp doesn’t lack for starpower.
Among the players on hand are several guys who find themselves on the Kansas radar, and Jayhawk commitment Dwight Lewis. The 6-5 WG from the Big Easy made his summer circuit debut on Wednesday evening and was just on of many guys doing their thing.
LEWIS AND OTHER KU TARGETS
Dwight Lewis - The first thing that catches you about sharp shooting wing is that for a guy who has missed a few months due to mono, he looked to be in good shape. He’s not huge, but he’s got a well-proportioned frame and moves well easily on the court. Playing alongside OJ Mayo – who by the way was unreal – he wasn’t afforded that many looks at the hoop.
Immediately after checking in he found high flying 6-8 WF/BF Stanley Robinson with a no look bounce pass through the lane for an easy jam. Two trips later, Lewis spotted up on the left baseline for a three that hit nothing but the buttom of the net. He would later score on a sweet reverse layup with some contact, grab a few more boards and knock home a pair of free throws.
Not a mind blowing first outing, but certainly one where Lewis proved he can play. Given his long layoff it should be expected that he’ll need some time to blend in. Also, he’s playing next to a pro in the backcourt who is clearly on another level from any other guard in Richmond in Mr. Mayo. Nice first outing.
Darrell Arthur - Big night for Slim Shady who showed a little bit of everything. He connected on a pair of deep three’s and had several others that looked good rim out. Around the basket he’s far too quick and athletic for defenders and was attacking the rim with regularity. Oddly enough his most impressive play may have come after a missed dunk in the open court. After missing a showtime jam, Arthur gathered himself and sprinted back down the court before anybody else showing off some incredible speed for a big man. Now that he’s for sure going to college for at least a year, things are going to get interesting.
Donald Sloan - The 6-3 combo guard from Texas drew the unenviable task of trying to stop Mayo and he certainly didn’t back down. Even though Mayo was getting it how and when he wanted on the offensive end, Sloan made him work for it and countered with some offense of his own. He hit on a few deep threes, showed off his explosive leaping ability for jams and even made a few nice passes. The talent to be a top 50’ish player is all there, it is just a matter of finding a measure of control.
Jerryd Bayless - The athletic 6-2 guard looked a little out of sorts running the point Wednesday night. Sure he made some plays, took care of the ball and caused trouble defensively with his quick hands. It’s just that he looked so much more comfortable when he slid over to play the wing. His pull-up jumper is a deadly weapon and he’s got a nice bag of tricks off the bounce.
Cole Aldrich - On his first shot, Aldrich wheeled through the lane for an eight foot jump hook that missed by a wide margin. Soon after he blocked a shot, got a tip dunk, finished a short jumper with contact and it was on. He ran the court for dunks, finished with either hand around the basket including a sweet lefty scoop. This is probably the first time he’s seen competition like this and it was impressive to see him go to work like he did.
OTHER STANDOUTS AT NBPA
As was mentioned above, OJ Mayo was clearly the star on night one. The 6-5 PG/WG from Cincy put on one of those displays that you read about all the time, but don’t often get to see them live. He hit jumpers from any angle or position in the gym, beat defenders on athletic drives to the basket and generally looked like a pro. He gives it to you on the defensive end too and you can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking about now that there is an age limit….Paul Harris is the closest thing to Ron Artest that there is in high school basketball. A wild man who plays with passion and a crowd pleasing style, the 6-4 WF had them oohing and aahing after a pair of crossovers that led to facials of Eric Wallace and Alex Tyus….
Willie Kemp’s stock is going to soar this summer. He doesn’t shoot particularly well, but he runs a team, gets to the rim and plays tenacious defense. Tywon Lawson got him for a few early baskets before Kemp really locked in and put the screws to Lawson. The future Tar Heel still got his at times, but the 6-2 Kemp had a tit for each of Lawson’s tats in an entertaining head to head battle...Ever heard of Hamady N’Diaye? You have now, the beanpole 6-10 C was a pleasant surprise Wednesday night. He’s long and a bit mechanical, but he had several blocks, a ton of rebounds and even threw in some offense with tip dunks, and some up and under moves…
Maybe not on his heels, but perhaps positioning himself behind OJ Mayo as the #2 in prospect in 2007 is 6-8 stud Michael Beasley. An incredibly fluid lefty with inside/out game, Beasley imposed his will on Andre Stephens and broke the athletic 6-8 lefty from Mississippi’s spirits with a dazzling offensive display…Wayne Ellington is a lefty killer with his silky mid-range jumper. The future UNC Tar Heel is noticeably stronger since last winter, using his athleticism more, and learning to go right just as well as he does left. Basically he’s a stud and didn’t damage his claim to being the premier guard in the class of 2006…Looking ahead to 2008, remember 5-11 lefty Brandon Jennings from Compton (CA) Dominguez. He’s a waterbug with a clever handle, exceptional vision and a surprisingly true jumper...A fitting player to finish with is another 2008 stud, Tyreke Evans. The feel for scoring, frame, confidence and mid range arsenal that this kid has are borderline unbelievable. He does everything on the offensive end, and he does it well.