Ryan Wright's stock is still on the rise. The Canadian forward did everything Thursday. He attacked the boards more ferociously than we've seen him previously and also witnessed particularly eye-opening facet of his offensive attack. In an afternoon contest he showed his athleticism with a few customary power slams, but when he stepped out to 18 feet and stuck the jumper, we definitely took notice. He kept our attention by coming down and nailing a three the next time down the court. He was well into double figures on the game and has been one of the hot names at the came. We saw Tommy Amaker watching him a great deal. (If you missed yesterday's long interview with Ryan, click here.)
Ryan Wright goes up for the deuce during drills
On an adjacent court, Deshawn Sims quite simply put on a show. He had his perimeter game going and knocked down a few three pointers on his way to 18 points. All day long he put the ball on the floor really well. Most other big men weren't ready for his dribble drive...and those that were got dusted off with a turn-around in the lane. During the evening session it seemed that his perimeter success earlier in the day caused him to stay outside a little too much (which is often the case with him). Despite hitting a few more 3's, he wasn't as consistent as he was earlier in the day. Still, this kid is really making a name for himself. He mentioned in an interview that he has a leader but that he didn't want to say who it was. He mentioned in the past that the Wolverines lead and we have absolutely no reason to believe that has changed.
Deshawn Sims with one of many J's on the day
Eric Boateng continued to struggle offensively yesterday. His relative rawness was again evident. He hasn't been able to duplicate the success we witnessed him have at the Charlie Weber tournament in either of the subsequent camps we've watched him in. In this case, it wasn't for lack of trying. There was a noticeable difference in his approach to the games here versus when we saw him at the NBPA camp a few weeks back. Eric feels this camp is "most definitely" going better than the one in Richmond and spoke to the reasons for why in an afternoon interview. "Along with not getting the ball, I just wasn't enjoying it," Boateng said. "I was fatigued. Mentally I just wasn't in it. I was speaking to my coach about it and I was just real low at that point. For some reason it was just tough for me during that period. But I'm back from that now. I'm enjoying playing basketball again." We'll have more from that interview later. For those that missed our interview with Eric from the NBPA camp where he discusses his recruitment, click here.
Eric Boateng takes some individual instruction
It's obvious that Jevohn Shepherd is much more comfortable at this tournament. Call it experience, but the out of sync look that was present early in the NBPA camp is nowhere to be found in Indianapolis. The fact that the games at this camp have a greater resemblance to real basketball (they actually make passes here) may have something to do with that. He has been pretty consistent thus far showing a nice touch from the perimeter, but hasn't had any wowing performances as of yet (we have his tourney high unofficially as 10 points). We hear that he is nursing a sore ankle but he seems to be dealing with it pretty well. With him finding his comfort zone early, we'll be looking to see if that translates into improved performances today.
Chris Douglas-Roberts can get to the tin when he wants, but he's been pressing a tad and has been called for a number of charges. We haven't seen him playing very much point, as he has been relegated more of the 2 and the 3.. He has had success with his pull-up jumper and we look for him to utilize that a bit more today to avoid the offensive fouls. He insists that the home schools are still in the thick of the race mainly because of proximity and how him playing in state would allow his family to watch him play. He'll narrow things down to a top five at the end of the summer. (Full interview later).
Chris Douglas-Roberts drives to the hole
We first mentioned Tywon Lawson back in April after we watched him at the Charlie Weber tournament (for those that missed, click here.) We watched him in action again yesterday and the young man just continues to impress us. In a night game versus Deshawn Sims' team we had him unofficially for 13 points (three 3's) as part of what was an excellent floor game. Everything that kid does is within the flow of the game. Nothing at all is forced. That's unique at these elite camps because kids often have to be intent on getting their own shots to have offensive success. Tywon, however, hasn't had to do that. He again showed the ability to nail the open shot but also demonstrated very good strength for his size by converting buckets despite contact. This kid is an absolute player! As was mentioned in the Day 1 recap...after saying at the Weber tourney that he was focusing mainly upon the ACC schools, he is now listing Michigan and the Big 10. Coach Amaker was on hand for much of Lawson's performance last night and we imagine that he must have been impressed. We'll catch up with Tywon again soon.
Tywon Lawson directs traffic
This was our first time seeing Isaiah Dahlman and we were pretty impressed. We knew he could shoot, but we were caught a bit off guard by his ability off of the bounce. His deft touch makes his pull-up jumper deadly. We'll watch him more intently today.
This was the third tournament in which we viewed Devin Brennan-Mcbride, and as was the case at then, he didn't really use his size to his advantage yesterday. (For our previous interview with Devin, click here.) There's no question that the Canadian big man is a good athlete. He runs the floor better than most kids his size. However, we'd like to see him use that big body to muscle guys around in the post. He has been tentative when we've seen him in action. That could be a reflection of his age. Nonetheless, he has the raw tools and Michigan State has taken notice. Devin informed us that Michigan State offered him a few weeks back. The Spartans should be considered the favorite at this point. (Full interview coming later).
Ramar Smith has been extremely aggressive, which is par for the course for him. He has been able to get into the lane in every game and has consistently drawn contact or created an easy attempt for himself inside. What he hasn't been able to do is knock down jumpers.
Brandan Wright again mentioned a top 5 of Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, and North Carolina. "I'm pretty firm on that top 5 right now, but I am still open to other some other schools). It looks like the lucky school will come from that list....that is IF he goes to college. The Tennessee native, who has been mentioned as a straight to the NBA candidate, has definitely noticed the number of high school players being taken in the draft. "It's pretty amazing how the numbers keep going up every year," Wright said referring to high school players being selected in the first round. "By 2010, the whole first round will probably be high school players (laughing). I just think the high school players are getting better and better every year, and are catching up to the college players."
In the "too bad Michigan missed on that kid" column, please insert the name Josh McRoberts. The young man was nothing short of fantastic yesterday. It's easy to forget how talented he is when watching him play with the loaded Spiece Indy Heat team (which also features Greg Oden, Daequan Cook, and Mike Conley), but yesterday the future Blue Devil showed he had all the tools. He went down low and displayed a litany of post moves, stepped out and nailed jumpers, handled the ball on the break, and threw down some big time slams ...including a highlight reel reverse dunk off of a lob. The rich just get richer in Durham.
We still have a ton of interviews from yesterday's interview session and will have updates from our scouts on the other shoe camps as well. Check GBW for more a little later.