Sam Webb: Can you for people who are not familiar with it kind of give an idea, an overview of the concept and everything that is covered over the course of the camp?
Tim McCormick: “Twenty years ago Sam I retired and started working for the NBA Player’s Association and the players sent a pretty clear mandate that they wanted to set up a camp to help develop and mold the future players of the NBA. So we started the Top 100 Camp and I have been the camp director now for 20 years and we spent a lot of time talking about respect issues with women and stress management and career development, substance abuse; all the things that maybe the players are not hearing enough of. We also emphasized the fundamentals of the game, but a couple of other things we are very proud of – we have a parent’s program where we bring in approximately 60-70 of the parents and they pay their own. We are not allowed to do that because of NCAA rules. We help them communicate with their sons better. We give them a lot of guidance on what to expect with their kids careers. The last component is that we have a coaching internship where we have between 17 and 20 current NBA players who come in and learn how to coach. Learn how to break down plays, how to analyze films, how to create a scouting report, a walkthrough before the game. So there are a lot of moving parts and then also there were also about 180 media members that came and next year we would love to have you come back.”
Sam Webb: There was a camp conflict, two camps at the same time, which is the only reason that I was not there. I will be back. One of the speakers that you had at the campwas Shelly Kovacs. We know Shelly well from her days at the University of Michigan as the director of the office of student services in the school of kinesiology. Give us an idea of what Shelly covered while she was at the camp.
Tim McCormick: “Shelly wrote a fascinating book called College Knowledge and we had her talk specifically to the parents about how to direct and connect with their kids and stress the importance of academics. Above and beyond that, she also talked a little bit about recruiting and how to protect your kids and make sure from a parents perspective…when all of a sudden you start getting letters from Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky, it is really easy to get blinded by the smooth talking recruiters and in many ways, it is not better for a player to go to the highest level school. Sometimes you may want to go somewhere where you can play immediately, somewhere that might be closer to home, somewhere where you actually like the guys the most that you are going to be playing with. Complicated would be the word that I would use to describe recruiting and a lot of people don’t do it well enough.”
Sam Webb: Like I said, it is a camp that has a holistic approach. They attack everything, academics, social aspects, the game, it is all covered at the NBA Player’s Association Top 100 Camp, a truly unique camp. Let us get to talking about the players Tim. Devin Booker is a guy of great interest to Michigan obviously and Michigan fans, a 2014 prospect, a combo guard. He has offers from all over the country, all the big timers, Michigan one of the top schools on his list. What did you see from Devin during the camp?
Tim McCormick: “Big fan, excellent deep shooter, three point range. Reminds me a little bit of Allan Houston at that age, a very confident kid. The kind of ballplayer that you are not afraid to go in Mackey Arena or Assembly Hall, a tough venue, because he just doesn’t care. He is going to go out there and feel like he is always the best player on the court. One of the good things for Michigan and we’ve had a chance to spend some time talking a little bit. He grew up in Grand Rapids. His family is Mississippi now, but he’ll be spending the rest of the summer with his family in Grand Rapids. So he does have some Michigan roots. Michigan is high on his list, but there are a lot of big timers. I don’t think he is a position where he is going to make any decisions any time soon. He is very much a high quality kid. Interesting though, he had a high ankle sprain and didn’t play in the playoffs, but was still good enough to make the All Star team.”
Sam Webb: You talk about what a great deep shooter he is, his body has changed over the last year. He has gotten a lot stronger and it really seems to have allowed him to attack the basket with more success. Did that kind of show up at the camp at all?
Tim McCormick: “I had never seen him play before so I don’t know what his body was, but I looked at him and had a little bit different approach. I think his body can get a lot better. He is still a little bit beefy for a guard, but he has added the ability to put the ball on the floor. I thought he was going to be just a deep shooter, but he can dribble a little bit. He is not super athletic but smart enough to be able to get his shot off.”
Sam Webb: You have been known over the years to really lend your tutelage or knowledge to the big guys and of particular note, as a Michigan guy, Ricky Doyle, a guy at the camp. A different experience for Ricky. He doesn’t do the AAU thing. He mostly stays with his high school team, so probably a different experience for him then it was for the rest of the guys; how was it for Ricky Doyle down there?
Tim McCormick: “I think he had a great experience. His strength is face up shooting. He is a face up scorer. He is not quite as tall as I thought he would be. He is listed at 6’9” and he didn’t look like he was 6’9”. I don’t think he is quite as advanced as Mark Donnal was last year, but I really appreciate his ability to run the court. He is pretty skilled. He has a dad that has been a pro overseas, so really understands the game from him. They obviously spent a lot of time working out together and from a character standpoint is really the kind of player you can win with. He is a cerebral kid. He is a good teammate. Everybody is going to like playing with him a lot, but I do think from an athletic standpoint, this is not a kid….like when they took Glenn Robinson, they took him thinking, wow, he has got huge upside. I don’t see Ricky Doyle having that kind of upside, but I do think he is going to be a really good college player.”
Sam Webb: A few more players from 2014, one guy Tim that you mentioned being a good teammate, unselfish, will dive on the floor, will get rebounds and also score... Kevon Looney has been that kind of guy in my observation. How was he down in Virginia?
Tim McCormick: “This is his second year at the Top 100. We have about 80% of our players are rising seniors. He was actually at the camp last year and actually led the Top 100 Camp in rebounding. He is big time and he can go anywhere he wants. Duke and North Carolina, the biggest schools really want him a lot. He is around 6’8” and the thing he does best is rebound the basketball. Some guys have to have the ball bounce their way. He just goes and gets it wherever he wants. I think that he is a really special player. The thing about Kevon is he has one and done written all over him.”
Sam Webb: He is an elite rebounder. That was exactly my observation when I saw him. He plays on an AAU team with a guard that has never seen a bad shot. For that kid to still thrive in a situation like that tells you a lot about him. A couple more, Kameron Chatman recently picked up an offer from Michigan, a long versatile kind of guy, what kind of camp did he have?
Tim McCormick: “He is very good. He is a lefty as I recall and he is as you mentioned. There is not a whole lot more that I can say other than the fact that some guys scream look at me, I’m great. That’s not Kameron Chatman. He floats around out there. He is the kind of player you would look at him as more of an investment. He does have length, he can pass the ball, face up player, not real physical, not a great rebounder but certainly the kind of developmental player that you’re looking for. Nowadays, we’re in the impressive right now type of mold. You want guys like Mitch McGary that come in and they knock down the door and say look at all the stuff I can do. When you look at Kameron Chatman and his versatility, he is a good rebounder. He needs to add a little bit of range on his shot, but he is a kid that is going to fit in and over the course of time, he’ll get better and better. I don’t think that if he comes to Michigan he wouldn’t be a huge factor right away especially because Michigan has a lot of players at his position but when you look at the possibilities who Michigan might lose to the draft next year, Kameron Chatman could become a player that steps in and becomes a key prospect.”
Sam Webb: Last player question from the camp, Trevon Bluiett, we’ve talked about guys like Devin, not necessary super athlete but very, very skilled. Always seems to be a player with great basketball IQ, so I am wondering what you saw from Bluiett down there.
Tim McCormick: “I look at him as a scoring guard. He can shoot the three as well. He is really strong. Defensively, he is tough. If I was going to pick a player that I think Michigan needs more than anybody else, I think it would be Trevon Bluiett, because he is the type of kid that makes everybody else better. Whether you need a leader…I know you’ve always been a fan of David Merritt and C.J. Lee, kids like that that may not have the ability but they are just great leaders that they have a personality that everybody likes to be around. Trevon Bluiett has that approach, but he is a big time talent. Like a Mark Aguirre, physical, big body, scorer. He really is a special player from the state of Indiana. I think he is going to get even bigger as the July recruiting period comes up. Really, really a big fan of Tre.”