USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It took about five minutes in the gym to realize that this might be the finest collection of players ever to participate at the USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival.

Thursday at the USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival was a day to get to know everybody. One of the unique things about this camp is that kids from both sides of the shoe wars get to mix, mingle and play with and against each other.

The first day of the camp included a three hour practice session that for the most part was uneventful. However, that changes tomorrow when 44 of the finest players in the country lace them up with their respective teams with an eye on Sunday's Gold Medal game.

The talent level here in Colorado Springs is big time. A quick tour around the gym revealed that the North, South, East and – yes, even the – West teams are loaded. Traditionally, the West has struggled out here but this year's squad is loaded. From Arron Afflalo to Dorell Wright, the roster is dotted with stars; as is each of the four teams.

Here's some quick thoughts from the practice session:

A few weeks ago, Arron Afflalo didn't appear to have much fun at the Pangos Camp. He wasn't himself because he wasn't relaxed. Today, he had it going. The charismatic UCLA-bound guard was loose, smiling and in turn had it rolling from downtown. Look for him to have a big week.

Kalen Grimes was energetic in his team's practice session. Grimes tops out at 6-8, but he was throwing down dunks with regularity during the session.

Like Afflalo, Isaiah Swann had it going from deep. The lefty's stroke is looking good already and Jason Rich of the South said that he was totally impressed by Swann's work ethic early in the camp.

With Marvin Williams and Robert Swift headlining the frontcourt of the West, a guy like Robert Rothbart might find himself free to shoot some shots from the perimeter. We haven't seen Rothbart in a year but he's grown and he's got a nice touch from the outside.


Imagine what the South roster would have looked like if Dwight Howard, Ra'Sean Dickey, Al Jefferson and Lamarcus Aldridge would have shown up? … Look for Jason Rich to cut his list down to 7 schools on Monday. … There's going to be a helluva point guard battle here. In attendance is Jordan Farmar, Sebastian Telfair, Shaun Livingston, Drew Neitzel, Jason Horton, Marquie Cooke and Tiki Mayben here. We list Darius Washington – whom some consider a PG – as more of a shooting guard but toss his name in the mix as well. … Ohio forward Josh Duncan doesn't get out to many events but he's here this week. Duncan, who has not taken any official visits, declined to share the list of schools he's looking at, preferring to keep his list to himself.

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