Monday Night Live From Akron

Monday night's session at the LeBron James Skills Academy saw the intensity go up a couple of notches as a myriad of highly paid coaches monitored the gym. For a night, the James A. Rhodes Arena might have had the highest per capita income in the country given the combined earning power of the coaches in the building.

Once again, Phog.Net was on hand to watch a handful of potential Kansas recruiting targets take the floor under the eyes of Bill Self and Joe Dooley. But, it wasn’t only Kansas targets earning attention as several guys made impressions.


Xavier Henry - Seriously, as hulked up as he is the 6-6 wing could play in green paint, shredded jeans and ripped up flannel and look the part. Monday night, Henry got things rolling with a tough conversion at the rim, a deep three plus one and a nifty transition finish plus the foul. He admits that he’s in a bit of pain but he’s motivated to play through it and is proving that he’s not only talented, but tough.

Rodney Williams - According to some who were in attendance on Sunday, Williams started rather meekly before hitting couple of tough shots to win a late game. Monday night the super athletic wing was playing to his strengths. Getting loose in transition, Williams generated lots of oohs and aahhs with his transition fireworks. Perhaps even more impressive than his leaping ability, is his ability to shift into another gear and blow by guys when he needs to. His shot remains a work in progress, but it’s looking more and more likely that he will develop into a consistent threat off the dribble which would make him very tough.

Daniel Orton - After sitting early during the early session because of ankle pain, Orton showed up and brought it on Monday night. He’s really skilled as a passer, has soft touch and great hands. At the end of the day he’s a center who has a pretty advanced level of touch and feel. He can improve his footwork, but he’s made it pretty clear that he’s a major talent capable of big things.

Roscoe Smith - It was a relatively quiet night for Smith. However, he’s a very intriguing talent who is active, has some inside and out ability to go with his transition skills and also drips with potential. His lack of bulk causes his some problems now but he can handle a little and looks to have decent range on his shot. He’ll be among the premier wings in 2010.

Jereme Richmond - From a pure talent standpoint, Richmond should be considered the top wing in the class of 2010. He’s got great size, plenty of athleticism and is a terrific passer. He was active on Monday night and made plays all over the floor. He’s a well rounded talent and now it’s just a matter of developing some consistency.

Alex Oriakhi - Jim Calhoun is going to love this 6-9 225 pounder. A brute in the lane who has strong hands and a great demeanor, he rebounds, blocks shots and makes the most out of his scoring opportunities. Love seeing a young big guy turn to his opposite shoulder and also knock down left (off) handed jump hooks.’

John Henson - Speaking of left hands, Henson is so filthy with his that you almost wonder if he’s not really a natural southpaw. Not many high schoolers have come around in the past few years with his overall package of skill, feel for the game and potential. He’s still got room to improve as a shooter and needs to add more bulk to his waifish 183 pound frame. However, the positives easily outnumber the negatives with his game and he’s working himself into the discussion for the best prospect in the class of 2009. Didn’t even mention his shot blocking yet.


Iowa wing Harrison Barnes came out with a very aggressive approach on the offensive end. He swished home some deep threes, finished off an impressive play at the rim while being hacked and generally looked to attack a bit more than he has over the past month. As good as he is, he’s generally pretty patient and does his damage within the flow of the game. If he’s looking to initiate even more action, he becomes even more dangerous. … It’s important to point out effort and enthusiasm and 6-7 Glenn Bryant had that. A big time athlete who roams the floor in search of loose balls and dunking opportunities, he makes some plays happen. … Sticking with the enthusiasm category. Nobody is going to out-enjoy Texas wing Roger Franklin. The Duncanville (TX) High star plays with a huge smile on his face and as much on court commentary and zest for the game as anybody you will run across. Campers watching from the sidelines were in hysterics over some of Franklin’s primal screams and yells of encouragement to both his team and the opponents. If you’re lazy on D, he’ll call you out, if he thinks that the guys in the triple team that he just hit a wild shot on need to come at him a bit stronger then he’ll let everybody know that too. Bottom line, he’s a lot of fun to watch and teammates love him. … The single biggest roar of the night, though, came courtesy of maybe the most unlikely of guys. After struggling mightily, Chinese big man Dayu Zhang got it rolling a bit. The big fella pump faked a defender and then took one strong dribble past him and threw down a solid two handed jam. The last time a roar like that came from the sidelines at a Nike camp, 7-6 Canadian stiff Jerry Sokoloski (aka Suckalotski and The Overlord) was disrespecting a goggled Shagari Alleyne with two handed facial. …Finally, LeBron James has been in the building and accessible to the high school players and college players in attendance. Also rolling through the building to work out during the past couple of days have been superstar Chris Paul, lotto pick O.J. Mayo and a new teammate of James’, Darnell Jackson. … Top Stories