For those that missed the Day 1 recap, click here.
Since Team 7's (a.k.a. The Pistons) opening contest their fortunes have taken a downward turn. Neither Jerret Smith nor Jevohn Shepherd have been able to excel on one of the more selfish and uninspired teams at the camp. Their second game against the Mavericks, led by Eric Devendorf, was an absolute rout. Devendorf had his way knifing through the porous Nugget defense on en route to a game high 18 points. It was so easy for him to get to the rack that he hardly took any jumpers. He helped push the lead to as high as 31 points before the Nuggets cut it down to twenty late in the contest. In the Nuggets next game, the match-up between Smith and Mike Conley never materialized because of the substitution pattern. The defense and rebounding were again a problem. Their lone highlight was a cross-over from Smith that put guard Devan Downey on his backside. They didn't lose as badly in their final game of the night, but it was still a double digit loss. Things didn't get any better Sunday, as the defense looked even worse. There were too many four and five on one breaks to count. Furthermore none of the players were really aggressive going to the boards. It was painful to watch.
Tim McCormick and Jerret Smith take in the game
Jerret has done a really fine job of distributing the ball in most games and is one of the few players on his team that hasn't always looked to get his own offense. That said, when he has decided to take it to the rack himself, he has done so with ease. The thing he hasn't done is convert the majority of his attempts around the basket. In speaking with him it's obvious that he feels he can penetrate at will. The key for him will be finishing plays when he gets in close. He has had no less than 5 assists in every game but has yet to score in double figures. With his team now 0-6, we'll see if he decides to become more aggressive (on both ends of the court).
Jerret with the jump pass from the 3-point line to a wide open man underneath
Another point guard that has been extremely unselfish is New Orleans Brother Martin's Darryl Augustine. The lighting quick floor leader rarely forced the action and was especially effective in transition. He can go anywhere on the court with the ball and has a beautiful stroke from the arc. His Timberwolves defeated Smith's Nuggets in their first game on Sunday. Augustine and Smith hardly played against each other (thanks to the blasted substitution pattern again), but when they did they play, they played to a stalemate. It's still very early for D.J. but he indicated that Michigan is definitely on his list. We'll have more from him later.
D.J. Augustine wraps the pass-around Artem Wallace to Anthony Sparks
Jevohn Shepherd has seen the ball come his direction a little more often as of late and has been a bit more assertive as a result. He's still looking for his comfort zone though. He played his best games of the camp Sunday with 9 points off of a three-pointer, a fade, and a few drives to the basket in the morning game ...followed by a 13 point effort (many came in transition after leaking out) in the afternoon. Still, he has yet to really flash the explosiveness that we know he possesses. He has, however, begun to knock down his jumper. We'll see if he continues to step his game up.
Jevohn shoots one over the defense
Eric Boateng has had a rough go of it offensively thus far in the camp. His initial battle with Greg Oden (which we recapped in our earlier camp report) was pretty one sided. His showdown with Ryan Wright didn't go much better. Though he matched up well with Ryan physically, Eric still wasn't able to find his mark offensively. Wright cracked double figures in points and rebounds for the game, while Boateng failed to register a basket. The difference between his offensive performance at this camp versus that which he put forth at the Charlie Weber Tournament a few months ago is night and day. He's a little more raw than we initially thought, but his footwork is still excellent and physical talent is undeniable. By the way, it should be noted that his teammates haven't made getting him the ball a huge priority. That was pretty evident in his second game. He had very few touches and made his contribution with a strong rebounding effort as a result. If he hits the boards more consistently, that may stimulate his offense. That certainly has been true for Wright. Most of his points against Boateng came from crashing the boards. Speaking of Ryan, he has a big test Monday night when he faces Greg Oden at center court. It will be interesting to see how he does.
Eric Boateng fights for position
We spent a great deal of time watching Tom Herzog battle with Ray Hall yesterday. We had heard Hall is a Michigan target, which added to our interest. Hall outweighs Herzog by about 40 pounds, but Tom did a good job of playing position defense. His length definitely bothered Hall's shots and it was impressive how well he dealt with big bruiser's banging. While Tom didn't really assert himself offensively, he forced Hall to work by running the floor so well. He, along with a few other big men (including Boateng), spent a great deal of time working with Tim McCormick on their offensive and defensive skills on the block. That type of tutelage will prove invaluable for a prospect as raw as the Flint Powers product. As has been stated before, strength continues to be the area of his game that needs the most improvement.
Ray Hall (white shirt) guards Tom Herzog
Hall is a wide-body down low and has some pretty good post moves. He utilized the drop step to get free a number of times and showed a nice touch on his short turn-around jumpers. He's very similar to Graham Brown, though Hall is about 3 inches taller. One scout mentioned that Hall is far ahead of where Brown was at the same stage of development. Like teammate Jerret Smith, he failed to finish on a number of basket attempts in close. He also had trouble receiving entry passes at times. Nonetheless, once he gets the ball in his hands, he's a load. We'll catch up with Hall today.
Ray Hall converts the half hook
Alex Stepheson is long and athletic. He was outweighed by most he went against in the post but that didn't deter his productivity. He showed a nice post game and was able to bang down low and get his shot off with a little turnaround jumper. He has very good feet and is tremendously active in the post. If there was a loose ball around him, he was the player to secure it. He also showed the ability to face and shoot the 15-footer. Despite the fact that Michigan has been mentioned in reports done on him as of late, he insisted that Michigan is still on his list.
I like Daequan Cook more and more every time I watch him play. "DC" showed us a level of explosiveness that weren't aware he possessed. He came down and posterized one of the big men on Jerret Smith's team. He later attempted a similar play on one of the big men from Stepheson's Kings squad, but clanged it off of the back of the rim after being fouled. The kid is big time!
Daequan Cook knifes between Stepheson and another Lawrence Hill for the deuce
We've heard about a few other prospects at the camp are Michigan targets. Wings Gerald Green (6-7, 185 lbs., 37 inch vertical ...Houston, TX), Harvey Hale (6-4, 195 lbs.), and big man Ben McCauley (6-9, 225lbs., Herminie PA) are all prospects will have more info on throughout the week.