The day started for the campers early Thursday morning with sessions of fundamental drills, a leadership seminar and 3-on-3 games. In the afternoon, the camp games got underway.
A throng of big name college coaches, including Villanova's Jay Wright, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Kansas State's Bob Huggins, Kansas' Bill Self and UCLA's Ben Howland, were in attendance at the IUPUI NIFS center.
Decked out in a Louisville adidas t-shirt and shoes, Cardinal assistant Marvin Menzies was in the stands evaluating the talent at Nike's top summer stop. With limited scholarships available for the Class of 2007, Louisville's focus at Nike appears to be on the Class of 2008. Menzies tracked 2008 prospects for the most part, including Louisville commit Martez Walker.
Menzies also watched intently when 2008 prospects Tyreke Evans, a 6'5 guard from Pennsylvania, Delvon Roe, a 6'7 forward from Ohio, Xavier Gibson, a 6'10 forward from Alabama and Willie Warren, a 6'3 guard from Texas, took the court.
Walker, who is playing on a loaded Michigan State team with former Louisville recruit Kosta Koufos, Evans, 6'10 Keenan Ellis, 6'6 Clarence Trent and 6'6 Chris Wright, played a nice floor game in his teams afternoon game and scored 8 points, grabbed a handful of boards and locked up 6'7 Robbie Hummel on defense. Wright, who slammed home a monster alley-oop on the fast break during a first round win over Purdue, has verbally committed to Dayton.
Walker scored six points, to go along with four rebounds and three assists in a two-point loss to Iowa Thursday night. Walker had a highlight reel dunk over the out-stretched arms of two defenders on the break during the contest. Iowa was led by 6'8 Patrick Patterson and 7'1 Solomon Alabi.
Menzies spent the morning at the IUPUI gym watching the 3-on-3 action.
"I have a pretty good idea where I want to go," Roe said. "Those (five) are my main leaders right now, but I've got to keep my options open."
Solomon Alabi, an impressive 7'0 rising senior center, was an imposing force on defense during the first day of action. In the night game, Alabi blocked shots and controlled the paint against Walker's team and flashed some offensive skills in the the paint. Alabi, who is coming off an impressive outing at the NBA Camp in Richmond two weeks ago, will team with Martez Walker next fall for coach Kevin Sutton at Montverde (Fl.) Academy.
6'8 forward Herb Pope, one of Louisville's top 2007 recruiting targets, was scheduled to attend Nike. The word is that Pope slightly injured his back while playing recently. Keenan Ellis is off to a good start at the Nike Camp. The 6'10 forward scored 16 points in the days first game and handed out a few assists. Sources close to Ellis told InsideTheVille.com that UAB is currently in the driver's seat for his services.
Menzies tracked a few highly-rated 2008 prospects during the night session, including the athletic Gibson and Warren.
Gibson said he's looking for a school close to his Dothan, Alabama home and a program that will allow him to showcase his perimeter skills. "I'm trying to stay close to home where I'll have the support of my family," Gibson said. "I'm looking for a team that will let me step out and shoot the ball and play both the 3 and 4." Gibson said Georgia Tech is recruiting him the hardest at this point.
Louisville also the made the lists of two other highly regarded 2008 prospects – 6'8 center Semardo Samuels and 6'5 Tyreke Evans. Evans listed Villanova, North Carolina, Texas, Miami, Louisville, Virginia, Memphis, Illinois and Kentucky. Samuels listed a host of Big East and ACC programs.
It doesn't appear that Louisville will play New Mexico State during the 2006-07 season. Louisville coach Rick Pitino had talked about a possible match up against former assistant Reggie Theus in Freedom Hall this December. However, it appears the Aggies will play Arizona out west instead.
Stay tuned to InsideTheVille.com throughout the week for more updates, including prospect interviews and favorites lists from the Nike All-America Camp.