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Shoe Camps: Final Day Recap

<p><b>James Dews</b> and <b>Kevin Durant</b> shine again, more on one of the surprises (<b>K'len Morris</b>) from Friday's recap, <b>Daequan Cook</b> does his thing, <b>Derrick Caracter</b> talks Michigan, and more!</p> <p>For links to previous stories on these players from the shoe camp's, as well as other hoop events we've covered, check out the <a href="http://content.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=162&p=3&blipid=11757">2004 Summer Event Coverage</a> link on the left NAV bar. </p>

James Dews, who was discussed in our last update (Nike Camp Day 3 Recap) finished the camp in Indy in very impressive fashion. In one of Saturday’s afternoon games the sweet shooting guard had about 15 points, which came on three 3’s and a few runners in the lane. It was the most aggressive we’d seen him offensively, and yet,… we still thought he ran a very disciplined floor game. Did we mention before that the Class of 2006 in Ohio is LOADED!

Kevin Durant, whom is another player mentioned in our previous report, also continued with his strong play when his squad took on Ryan Wright’s MSU team. He went down low and tried to utilize his developing back to the basket game, but he still saw most of his success come facing the basket. Plus, he was again very successful on the boards. On the other side of the court, Ryan once more showed that he is a better shooter than we’ve given him credit for in the past by knocking down a few jumpers including a 3-pointer.

Jevohn Shpeherd sat out the last day after playing through a painful ankle injury early in the camp.

Moving down to Georgia for the Adidas Superstar camp, there were three players we focused on in our Friday Recap. The first name we mentioned, Kendric Price, started out on the first day very well, but tapered off the rest of the way. On the other hand, the second name, Brandon Costner, continued his strong play throughout. That we made mention of those two players probably didn’t come as a surprise for most, but the last name we mentioned probably caught a few off guard. K’len Morris’ play in the Peach State was eye-opening. There was definitely a buzz in the air and our GBW scout in attendance said that he noticed Michigan assistant coach Charles Ramsey watching the Grand Blanc star a great deal. After the athletic wing’s performance at the camp our scout came away saying that Morris was without question a high major player.

“I can’t say enough about K’len Morris’ performance,” he said. “The kid measured in at 6-4.5 and he’s really athletic. He did everything. He can shoot, pass, defend, and rebound. Not a lot of people know this, but he hurt his shoulder pretty badly Friday morning (some say he separated it). The funny thing is, you wouldn’t have known it because the kid came back out in the evening game and hit FIVE three’s! This kid is vastly underrated.”

Based in part on his Adidas showing, we are hearing that Morris has shot way up Michigan’s 06 target list. GBW will continue to follow him throughout the summer.

Heading back up to New Jersey and the Reebok ABCD camp, Daequan Cook was an overpowering presence the first day of competition. Subsequently, however, he played a more reserved role. He informed us that that was by design so he could allow his teammates to "get their shine on too." We’ll have more on that in an interview with Daequan later. (He also discusses his Michigan visit).

Despite playing the background a bit over the last few days of the camp, Cook’s performance was still notable enough for him to make the underclassmen all-star team. He wasn’t the only Michigan target to have made it though. Others named to the game were David Lighty, Scott Reynolds, Marques Johnson, and Derrick Caracter. But it was Cook that stepped up to the table, as he seemingly always does, to lead his team to victory and earn East MVP honors. TheInsidersHoops.com’s Dave Telep has more on the last day at ABCD, including a recap of both All-Star games, here.

Derick Caracter has been mentioning an interest in Michigan over the past few months and we spoke to the elite post prospect about how the Wolverines came to be a player in his recruitment. “A good friend of mine told me to take a look at Michigan,” Caracter said. “He’s cool with Coach Amaker and told me that he was a good guy and that I should consider them.” In attempt to gauge Michigan’s standing, we asked Derrick to rate his interest in the Maize and Blue on a scale of 1-10 and he gave it “ 6 or 7.” The whole conversation was rather subdued until the topic of discussion switched to his NBA prospects as they relate to those of Greg Oden. Oden has long been considered a sure lottery pick if he chooses to opt for the draft in a few years. There was similar buzz about Caracter early on, but that has died down in the last year or. That hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Class of 2006 big man. “I think I gotta be there too,” Caracter said referring to Oden being considered a NBA caliber talent right out of high school. “If he’s there, then I gotta be there too. I’m going to show that I belong right there with him when we play.” Caracter did just that in the much anticipated rematch. According to Dave Telep, the battle was much more eventful than their lackluster clash at the Kingwood Classic a few months back.

“Score one for Derrick Caracter,” Telep wrote after the match up between Caracter and Oden Saturday. “Up against the nation’s top prospect in Greg Oden, Caracter brought his special game and then even raised his level of play another notch to score 17 points to Oden’s 6 in a camp classic.”

“When it was over, a big time baseline spinner, a succession of 3’s and the backing down of Oden in the post was enough to give the local boy the victory in this matchup. Now, that’s not to say Oden didn’t have his moments, but Caracter was the aggressor and clearly the victor. Oden’s strength is defense and he took a pair of charges against Caracter. We’ve said it before and it proved true tonight: Oden is a go-to move away from dominance but in this one offense won out and it was Caracter who, like a well-managed portfolio, was diversified. “

To view Dave’s full Saturday report, click here.

One glaring omission from the underclassmen All-Star team in the opinion of our scout was Tory Jackson. The Saginaw native was impressive in all facets of his game. Before it’s all said and done, the young man will get his due. We’ll have more from Tory later.

Finally, we finish up our camp review with a look back at Jerret Smith’s play. The future Michigan point guard had a better showing at ABCD than he did at the NBPA camp a few weeks ago. That statement may contradict the opinions of others that viewed him in both settings. That’s because he scored more at the camp in Richmond. However, what he brought to the table as a passer was much more valuable during his time in Jersey. Flanked on his team by O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker, and Andre Blatche (all three of whom made all-star teams), Jerret had a wealth of offensive talent to get the ball to. There has been some dispute regarding the accuracy of the stat keeping in the assist category, but from our observations and those of a number of coaches attendance (according to their comments in the stands), Smith was one of the best pure passers there. He didn’t force anything and let the game come to him. The only time he scored in double figures on the weekend occurred when the opposing team overplayed his three all-star teammates. That caused him to adjust and look for his own offense going to the basket. It’s clear to us from watching him a great deal since the end of his high school season that he has grown as a player. He still has a ways to go though. His must continue to work on his jumper, he must finish plays at a better clip, and he has to increase intensity on defense.

Despite rankings and questions about him as a prospect, we still feel that he’s a good player with GREAT passing ability that fits in well with Michigan’s program (as has been evident when he plays with them at open gyms). Stay tuned for more from Jerret, as well as a number of other interviews from our time at the shoe camps.


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