Bball Elite Camp Day 2 Recap – (Part 2)

Michigan's Elite basketball camp finished up strong with a few more players stepping their games. Big time performances turned in by D.J. Balentine, Brandan Kearney, Lee Bailey, Allen Payne, and more. Plus in our extended coverage last night… we watched the opening round of Michigan's team camp and caught a glimpse of Darius Morris, Blake McLimans, Eso Akunne, and Matt Vogrich in action.

D.J. Balentine
D.J. Balentine, Kokomo high, 6'0, 2012- Wow! Poise, Poise and more poise. D.J. is never in a rush he takes his time to see the floor. He just seems to keep the other team guessing.  He drops an assist here, launches a three over there, and then comes back with a crossover to the cup to score the next time down. He was absolutely on fire from deep in the afternoon session Friday.  It didn't matter if he was pulling up in transition, coming off a screen, or had a hand in his face; he was automatic from long range.  We told you after day one he was one of the best guards at the camp.  We'll tell you again after day two… one of the top guards at the camp easily.

Allen Payne, Winton Woods, 6'7, 2010-Payne attacks the basket every chance he gets to score at the cup. He is a very athletic wing the jumper could have been a little better but he showed his skills around the basket and has a nice handle too.  He a better athlete than Hardaway, but Hardaway is definitely the better shooter from the perimeter.

Brandon Kearney, 6'5, 2011- When you watch him for as long as I have (since he was eight years old) you know pretty much know what he brings to the table. Yesterday while spending time at the point scoring wasn't even on his mind. I am certain his teammates enjoyed the assist show that he put on. Brandon created easy scoring chances for his guys.  His size allows him to rebound with bigs, to start the break dribble like a smaller guard, and drop assist on the break for easy buckets. With his high basketball I.Q he is a joy to watch.  And for those that continue to snipe at his game… he is not overrated.  He is just getting started and it is scary to think he will get better.

Patrick Lucas-Perry, Flint Powers, 5'11, 2011-Nothing but respect for this young man's game, Patrick was once again very solid. He only played in the morning session but that was enough to see once again why he is one of the top point guards in his class. Patrick was setting up teammates for buckets, hitting the open jumper, minimal turnovers a recipe for a point guard that does it well.

Kevin Ferrell, Park Tudor School, 5'10, 2012-This cat quick guard had a very good camp.  He looked solid both days. Kevin has a strong handle, he blew past a lot of guards for buckets, and his jumper was on as well. Good decision making at the point and he plays both hard and under control.  He is not as far along as Ray Lee or D.J. Balentine, but he'll be one the watch in the coming years.  The kid can play.

Spencer Turner, Bloomington South, 6'4, 2011- The Indiana product had it going real well yesterday. He showed an improved ability to put it on the floor to score at the cup.  That's the missing link for him because we already know he can shoot.  He showed just how well he by hitting the jumper from all over… deep… mid range… he had the faucet turned on all day.

Brendan Kelly, Chaminade College Prep, 6'1, 2011-Everytime Brendan had the ball he was scoring not in a selfish way of ball hogging but20just taking advantage of his opportunities. He scored on jumpers, cuts to the basket, put backs and rebounded well.

Cole Darling, Holt, 6'7, 2010-Cole played very well crashing the boards, blocking shots, and scoring. Michigan has been showing more interest in this youngster after Coach Beilein was seen watching Holt late in the year.  Darling has a nice game out to about 10 feet and not afraid to go inside to rumble for points.

Kenny Knight, Detroit Country Day, 6'5, 2011-This is a kid I have really begun to pay more attention to since last year. I like his potential; Kenny has some clay that I believe can be worked with. He has a chance to be a long-armed lockdown defender because of his athleticism he can guard big guards or small guards. His offensive game needs improvement, but as I said, there are some nice pieces to work with. He plays hard, he can drive to the basket and score and a decent jumper. Things for him to work… he has to make his handles tighter, work on a mid range game, and start to believe that he should contribute more on his loaded AAU (Team Detroit) and high school team (Detroit Country Day).

 Dan Chilcote, Jackson Lumen Christi, 6'8, 2011-You just want to see more at his size he can play on the perimeter and hit jumpers forcing his man to step out on him. I would like to have seen more but he didn't touch the rock as often as he should have. Still I like watching him continue to develop into a versatile player.

Sultan Muhammad, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 6'2, 2010-Sultan is another guy who really had it going yesterday. Jumpers from close and deep, floaters, layups and handed it out a few dimes as well. His battle against Lee Bailey was classic as they went back and forth during the game. H e won the battle but Lee won the war on a three from deep with no time left on the clock. Sultan is a guy that could play the point but his offensive game says he is a shooting guard.

Duje Dukan, Deerfield, 6'8, 2010-Duje was a pleasure to watch for on both days.  He plays hard. Looking at him early on his jumper was the only part to his game after that he showed more. Duje has a mid range game, a nice floater, he works well around the basket and he plays within himself on the floor.

Lee Bailey
Lee Bailey, Detroit Country Day, 6'0, 2011-On day two I finally saw the Lee Bailey we witness breakout at this camp last year.  What better place for Eric Turner's nephew to rise to the fore again!  He has an ability to get in the lane, take contact, and score.  He has no problem living among the trees inside. The jumper was on as well so. He was in scoring mode more than I am accustomed to seeing.  He did manage to drop a few assists along the way.  It was good to see him step up his game you can tell the kid just loves to compete.

Trey Babers, Saginaw, 6'4, 2011- Trey was still not in all out scoring mode but he made the most of his opportunities when he had them. He is a young man that is not going to force too many shots even if he has not touched the ball in a while. He plays a team game like all coaches want, but I would love for him to be a little more selfish with the ball. He has quite a few tools in the bag that weren't shown, but I am sure he will be taking out of the bag real soon.

Darren Washington, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 6'8, 2011-Darren showed his toughness by not backing down from a much hefty Urb Bingham. He still has to establish better low post position, become stronger in the post with the ball and develop ten-footer. The potential is there for him to do some good things because he competes but hard work will have to be put in the gym developing and playing on the AAU circuit to see it come together.

Latwan Wesley, Lincoln High, and 6'3, 2010- He was in all out shooting mode for most of the camp and then at the end, he went into point guard mode. The later part served him well, as things slowed down for him and you could get a taste of his game. He has the ability to make the game easier for teammates and score off the dribble and by jumper. I enjoyed watching the point guard Latwan not the shooting guard playing point guard Latwan.  The point guard looked much better playing out on the floor and in total control of himself and his team.


Michigan's team camp started yesterday… so GoBlueWolverine decided to stick around long after all the other media left… and boy did it pay off.  There were only a few teams that played, but there were definitely a few players of interest I had a chance to see play.

Darius Morris, Eso Akunne and Blake McLimans are on the Red Oxen squad together, and they won at the buzzer against a very tough and scrappy Romulus squad. One thing is certain… Morris has a lot of toughness, grittiness to his game.

Darius Morris
Darius Morris- Playing against the high school kids, Morris made it a point to let them know that he was the man on the floor. He did not try and take it easy on them at all; he imposed his will on them by posting up smaller guards and getting into the lane whenever he wanted to. When the trap would come his way he kicked out to McLimans for open jumpers.  He has really picked up weight in the shoulder and chest area.  He looks ready and able to take on all comers. He has a never back down attitude. He has a very nice handle, a quick first step to the rack, and his confidence in himself and his team is sky high. Manny Harris and Zach Novak had smiles on their faces watching the way he competed on the floor.  We've also heard that they couldn't stop grinning after running with him in open gym earlier in the week.  The guys definitely see big things on the horizon!

Blake McLimans-Blake seems to be 6'8-6'9ish and from deep he is deadly. Darius consistently fed him the ball on the wing for jumpers. When he tried scoring inside it was tough.  You can tell his strength is not where it needs to be. He moves real well for a guy his size and looked solid yesterday.   Now it's just a matter of new strength & conditioning coach building him up physically.

Eso Akunne- The most obvious thing you see is the strength and power to his game but he is nimble enough to work in close quarters without bulling over people. His patented move is going left or right hard and coming back hard the opposite way behind his back to score at the basket. Handles much better in the open floor than expected, needs a little work on the jumper and Beilein will handle that. He is not your typical walk-on he has a lot of game that is just ready to come out.

Matt Vogrich-The jumper was going well early and then tailed off.  Boy can he shoot the rock from all over. He can handle out on the perimeter didn't see as much of him as I would have liked to but we will see more of him today.

Zach Novak- He did not play but he looks to be in terrific shape, I asked him if he lost any weight. "I lost about eight pounds… that's all," he said.  It sure looks like more than that.

Other notes… Jordan Morgan is not playing.  He was on crutches.  Will Regan, who just committed to Virginia, is on campus for the team camp with his high school team.  We'll see if anything develops.  Carlton Brundidge let us know last night that his team will be at the camp as well and that the injury that kept him out of the Elite camp will not keep him out of the team camp.

Well that is all for now. I hope that this is enough.  If not, oh well, we will have to find another way to feed your basketball appetite!

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