INDIANAPOLIS - Basically in the evening, the teams at Nike laced them up and started scrimmaging. Here are our first thoughts on some players from the camp.
Rudy Gay, SF: The impression he made this evening was a lasting one. Gay seemingly gets bigger each time out. He grabbed traffic rebounds, used his long arms and body to his advantage and was overall very impressive. We've got him in the Top 25 but he-s going likely be a kid who rises even higher after the summer. He runs, jumps, shoots mid-range Js and looks the part.
Al Horford, PF: Coming into the camp everyone knew he could rebound and generally gets after it pretty good. Today, he sought out his offense and really was able to accomplish some things on the offensive end. He was consistently getting into his post moves - the hook shot looked good - and he just looked like he wanted it. Nice opening effort.
D.J. White vs. Brian Johnson: Nice little opening battle in a major camp. Let's not kid ourselves here; both of these guys are pretty darn good. On this day, White's athleticism was able to create some issues for Johnson. DJ is coming off a great week at USA Camp and he's so bouncy that he-s going to get a lot of favorable matchups at both ends. Plus, his face-up jumper is very reliable.
Amir Johnson, C-PF: Supposedly he wasn-t playing his best ball coming into the camp. Well, he looked pretty good tonight. From his fine passing skills in the low and high post to his range - he hit a 3 - it was a nice opening effort.
Martell Webster, SF-SG: It's been a while since we-ve seen him but he-s still a man and he-s gotten bigger. This guy has a bright future and his body is strong and athletic.
Derrick Caracter, PF: I'll try and paint a picture of him for those who haven't seen him. First of all, he's 6-9 and 287 pounds. Now, this cat is really nimble, not a good leaper, but nimble. He's comfortable handling it some and is simply the best passing big man I've seen at that age. Can't wait for the matchup with Greg Oden should it ever materialize.
Robert Rothbart is seriously over 7-0 tall and that's a good thing. However, right now he has issues with contact and that's a bad thing. He's got tools, but his body needs strength and weight. Darris Nichols, a West Virginia commitment, really shot it well from deep and mid-range in the game we watched. -
Marquise Gray, in many ways, is a clone of Donnell Harvey. He's ultra-athletic and one of the best rebounders in his class. He gets boards he's got no business getting. One area of improvement will have to come in post defense where his athleticism helps less if kids can catch it on the block against him. Paul Delaney of Georgia is a super athlete.
Gerry Corcoran is one of our favorite shooters. However, he can get himself into trouble when he tries to create. He-s best when he sitting back busting zones. A.J. Price really wants to be a point guard in the worst way and he just might pull it off. He's a superior passer in transition where he-s very comfortable. Tonight, he did some nice working creating for others off the drive. -
Injury Report: Lamarcus Aldridge is here but he was last seen on crutches this evening. Apparently he injured his foot in Texas and will have x-rays taken on Monday. Jamelle Cornley has a few broken bones in his left hand. We knew he was a warrior before the injury so we weren-t surprised to learn he-s going to gut it out and play.
South Carolina had a chance to hire Zam Frederick's father, a former Gamecock and current high school coach. He was not hired by USC and now the guard is favoring Kentucky and Georgia Tech over Connecticut, Stanford, Georgia and South Carolina. Zam says that he's got offers from each school and wants to commit in early August. -
Here's one for you: A.J. Ratliff, an uncommitted guard and one of the top players in Indiana, wanted to be a Hoosier but that was before James Hardy and Robert Vaden pledged their allegiances. - Who's in great position with Isaiah Swann? Try Cincinnati, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida State and Arizona. Darnell Jackson has liked Oklahoma since he was a little kid. -
Arizona missed on Marvin Williams so sources tell us Mohamed Tangara, Malik Hairston, Shaun Livingston and Jeremis Smith have risen up the hit list. Livingston heads such list. Point guard Trent Meacham is playing for a scholarship this week. He's got interest from tons of schools but this week is where colleges finally get to put a face to the guy they send letters to.
Ratliff is seriously considering Marquette, Kansas, Iowa, Purdue, Xavier and North Carolina State. His goal is to leave Nike Camp as the No. 1 target of each of those schools. Guard Matthew Barrow likes Connecticut, Oklahoma, Tulane, Florida, DePaul, LSU and Western Kentucky though he's not sure who has offered.
North Carolina guard Chris Gaynor has offers from Radford, Elon and Robert Morris. Lehigh, UNC-Wilmington and UT-Chattanooga are still evaluating him and Georgia recently called on him. Gaynor is a member of the Kappa Magic AAU team. Georgia Stars senior guard Ryan Lamb lists Marshall, Siena, Clemson, Tulsa, Nebraska and Furman as some programs he's interested in. Gary Patterson of Bishop Knoll High lists Butler, Western Michigan, Western Kentucky, Xavier, UIC, Evansville, Central Michigan, San Francisco and Indiana State.
Trent Meacham's list includes Purdue, Marquette, Kansas State, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Dayton, Butler, Northern Illinois. - High up on Alex Gordon's list are Vanderbilt, Ohio State, SMU and Minnesota. Also in the mix are Alabama (even after the commitments), Arkansas and Florida State.
Dominic James, a junior from Indiana, lists Indiana, Xavier and the entire Big Ten. Rico Tucker who is originally from Ohio, likes Missouri, Real games don't start until the 8th.
Louis Williams really has trimmed his school list to three: Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. What's important - Location and comfort. He says no one is pressuring him for a commitment. Jason Rich's list remains at seven: Florida, UConn, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Southern Cal and Georgia Tech.
Darnell Jackson is listing Arizona, Kansas, Purdue, Illinois, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Akida McClain, a forward from Pittsburgh, is listing Duquesne, Loyola, College of Charleston, Robert Morris, Penn State and Akron.
-I'm the best shooting guard in the nation. I'm confident because I-ve been working.- - A.J. Ratliff
Strong words like that must be backed up. We'll let you know how he does.