WSU coaches Mark Turgeon, Tad Boyle, Mike Rohn and Jean Prioleau were mixing and standing courtside showing certain players some love. In fact, it was rumored in the gym that WSU may have extended some scholarship offers on Saturday. Although I'm not savy in the recruiting industry, the camp seemed to me to be a great example of how an aggressive, up and coming mid-major uses the existing rules to recruit the best talent in the region. Surely it was no accident that three out of the top four AAU teams closest to Wichita were at the camp. Turg definitely has a plan and it is only a matter of time before he is really pulling in the best regional talent, especially when the new arena is finished.
Recruiting analysts Eric Bossi and Jerry Mullens were there as well. Bossi made the rounds, mixing easily with all the top talent. Local hoops players Jamar Howard, Jamie Sowers and Taj Gray were also hanging out, and hamming it up. Phog.net's very own Julie Jamison also put in an appearance along with a few Phog.net regular users.
For those that aren't already painfully aware, I do not pretend to be any kind of skilled evaluator of talent. I am simply a fan of basketball. I like to watch it and talk about it. Keeping this standard disclaimer in mind, here are my thoughts about what I observed.
The first game of import that I watched was the KC Nets v. Athletes First from Oklahoma. Unfortunately, neither Jeremy Case nor JR Giddens were playing. Giddens was out with an ankle injury while the Athletes First coach reported Win Case felt the trip was uneccessary for Jeremy. Still it was a competitive game, and it featured a matchup between two Kansas recruits, Keith Wooden and Darnell Jackson. Wooden dominated this matchup from the start. Wooden used his quickness and ball-handling skills to repeatedly take Jackson off the dribble and score. Wooden's quick hands and aggressive play also accounted for several offensive rebounds. Unfortunately, I did not get to see the second half of this game.
I watched several other games involving lesser teams that don't bear much mention. However, KC Premier had a 6'10" kid who is reportedly bound for KSU. Other than being really tall, he did not overly impress me, but to be fair, I did not pay close attention to his games.
The afternoon contest between the Nets and the Springfield Heat turned out to be a great game. Wooden was dominant again in the first half, scoring probably 16 points, hauling in 8 boards, and doing it against good competition. On the strength of Wooden's offensive game, the Nets ran out to a large halftime lead. Only the hot shooting of the Heat's Spencer Laurie kept the Nets from running away with the game. Then foul trouble and fatigue forced Wooden and rugged shooting guard, Ryan Rundberg, to sit on the bench for a good portion of the second half. The Heat caught fire (no pun intended) and came back to take the lead with less than two minutes to play. However, a big 3 pointer by Brandon Coleman tied the game, and a baseline jumper by Wooden sealed the game for the Nets.
The last game of the day was a rematch of the Nets and Athletes First. This was the fourth game of the day for both teams, plus the two games from the night before. Play was sloppy to say the least. But yet again, Wooden was more than Athletes First could handle. In a one-on-one situation, he was too quick for anyone to stop.
Again, I am not a talent scout, so please don't take anything here to be more credible than any analyst who has evaluated a player. I'm just a hack watching high school hoops. These are the players that impressed me the most.
Keith Wooden 6'9 BF (KC Nets)
He is a stud. When he plays aggressive, he is flat-out fun to watch. He is extremely quick and has the ball-handling skills of a guard. He also has a tremendous slashing game with the ability to finish. I've never seen a KU player over 6'5" during the Roy Williams era that can handle the ball as well as Keith. His passing in the high post was impressive as well. Also, Keith has grown since I saw him last summer. It was rumored that NIKE measured Keith recently at 6'9". The attractive thing about Keith is that he is only 16. As good as he is now, he still has tremendous upside. Once he gets more physically mature, I think it is reasonable to expect that he will be more explosive off the floor, and have the confidence to shoot from anywhere on the floor.
Keith will have another chance to prove himself at NIKE. If he gets high marks again this summer, that should eliminate the naysayers. If Roy has a shot at Keith, it would be a crime to let him get away. Players with his size, quickness, athletic ability and skills are rare. Its even rarer when you find it in your home town. Since Kansas is taking a class of five players and Kris Humphries is out of the picture, Keith would be an excellent pickup as a combo forward - especially if Roy can also land a legit post player like David Padgett.
Mike Jefferson 5'9 PG (KC Nets)
A lighning quick point guard who has great handles and a solid all-around game. He can penetrate and dish, he can shoot it well from the perimeter, and he can guard. Also, for a guy his size, 5'10" or so, he can really get off the floor. He had a real good game against Laurie.
Adrian Carson (KC Nets) A very athletic wing who relentlessly attacks the rim. He had some spectacular scoring drives against the Heat.
Brandon Coleman (KC Nets) Another athletic wing who can also shoot it well from the perimeter. He hit a big shot against the Heat to tie the game.
Ryan Rundberg G (KC Nets) A muscular shooting guard who also has good athleticism. If he's left open, its money. His upper body strength also allows him to drive and create space for his shot. He is a nicely skilled player.
Darnell Jackson (Athletes First)
DJ is just a rising junior. He is about 6'8" with decent athleticism. He has an impressive physique and is very strong. I would say he is about the same size that Latimore was in high school. Jackson is not as stacked as Lat, but about the same size. His game is still raw though and he was not a real factor offensively against players the same height. He got used by Wooden on defense. I watched him play in three games. Based on that limited basis, it would appear that he will really need to develop some offensive skills and become more of a force on the boards.
Quentin Chaney (Athletes First)
An extremely athletic wing player, probably 6'5". He is just a rising junior, and it was rumored that KU is keeping its eye on him. He had several dazzling drives today. I didn't notice if he had a perimeter game.
Athletes First also had a 6'9" player who was skinny, but a good shooter. His name escapes me, but I was told he has already verballed to Tulsa.
Spencer Laurie 6' PG (Springfield Heat)
I was extremely impressed with this kid. He is a little wiry. But he has an incredible offensive game. He is an amazing ball-handler, passer, and was the best shooter in the gym. His stroke from beyond the arc is textbook. I heard that WSU covets him, but that he is also getting serious interest from Mizzou and a couple ACC schools.
Devin Mitchell 6'4 WG/WF (Springfield Heat)
Maybe the most athletic player I saw all day. A real high flyer. It looked like Turgeon was giving him the "Stare".
Tolliver (Springfield Heat)
He is a 6'8" forward with good athleticism, but his bread & butter was his perimeter shooting.
Tyler ChaneyThe Heat, he is a 6'4" guard with decent athleticism and nice skills. This kid was a good all-around player, and just found ways to score. You gotta love that attribute.