Lebron Skills Academy: Day 2 Blog

Day two at the LeBron James Skills was a single session first thing in the morning. It was all drills and no scrimmages, but still a great opportunity to observe the Michigan targets working on the technical aspects of the game as they prepared for the real hardwood competition in the King City Classic (which directly follows the LeBron Skills Academy).

(Akron, OH) - Gary Harris worked almost exclusively with the 3s and Coach Jay Bilas Wednesday.  This group included Jakarr Sampson among others.  They focused on attacking the basket and the shooting built off of that attack.  At the end of the workout Bilas put together a mini contest where he split the group in half and made a contest out of a dribble/jump shot drill.  One pair at a time they competed until a score was reached.  The first team to hit ten made baskets won.  The losing team was forced to run lines.  Once this contest was on, Harris' shot was true and he helped lead his side to victory.  With time remaining, the losing side wanted a rematch.  Bilas was more than willing to oblige since he initiated the contest to bring some focus and spirit into the play. When the dust settled on the second match-up the result was the same.  Harris' shot was again on, and his side came out on top.  From a coaching standpoint, Bilas communicated with Harris as much as anyone in the group and seemingly always in a positive manner… never for a need for improvement.

Amir Williams and Trey McDonald obviously worked with the bigs.  Wednesday was all about movement: offensive rebounding, screening, screen-and-pop, rotation and shooting from beyond the foul line. 

For the second day in a row, McDonald moved really well. If he improves first step quickness a bit, he'll be tougher for many rival post players to handle.  His effort and his ability to absorb what coaches throw at him continued to stand out.  The coaches were constantly changing and throwing either/or situations at all the bigs - some got crossed up repeatedly or lost concentration on the ball or positioning.  Never the case with McDonald.  When the emphasis turned to perimeter shooting, he showed nice form on his jumper but was a bit streaky when it came to knocking them down. 

Williams looks like he has no problem taking the soft little jumper - but he missed a lot of them.  He moved in for a number of lay-ups or tap-ins, but just didn't put them down.  Coaches twice barked at him to finish it better.  On a more positive note, he moved around noticeably better, today, making me believe that he really was fatigued and/or fighting some lower right leg trouble Tuesday.  He also seemed more alert and into the drills.

Summing up the day, Harris showed flashes of being the top talent that everyone believes he is.  He played fairly well overall.  McDonald was one the hardest workers and the camp and he moves and passes surprisingly well.  His shot looks solid, but comes and goes.  He needs to get quicker, but it's easy to see why Michigan is keeping a close eye on him.  Williams had an average camp. His performance should improve considerably once the actual games begin Thursday at the King City Classic in Cleveland.  Stay tuned for recaps of the action and interviews from that event in the coming days.

Blog by Ben Krasner

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