I spent the tonight in the Davalos Center and The Pit watching current, future, and possibly future Lobos at the 2008 Lobo Elite Camp. This is the 3rd time I've spent at an Elite Camp and I must say I'm very impressed with the talent that is coming in and the young men that are still looking to secure a ride whether at New Mexico or another school.
I'm breaking this down into 3 segments. First is the recruiting class that has signed and have qualified or are waiting to as this is the first or second time I've seen most of them play. I'll follow that up with the players that have verballed to New Mexico in '09 and finally the players I noticed today that could be Lobos in '10.
Phillip McDonald- Wow another nice night for Phillip, I love that fade away shot he has. Phillip has exciting moves to the hoop and can pull up and drop on in at any moment.
Nate Garth- First time I've ever seen Nate play and I was not disappointed. Great court awareness, ability to find the open man, and has a nice shot. My favorite play by Nate tonight was with time winding down and his team down by a bucket Nate jumped up with a hand in his face, he pulled the ball back and on the way down just missed the trey. I'll be honest with you, I can't remember seeing a player double pump, readjust his shot from behind the arc.
AJ Hardeman- I loved AJ's game. He is very active under around the hoop both on the offensive and defensive side. He's a solid post player and works very good down low.
Isaiah Rusher- The dude is a beast! He is a tenacious, physical, hard hitting, spit in your eye sort of player. He does the dirty work, and physically and mentally wears on his opponent. He is very intimidating down low and has no problem throwing bodies around, and doing whatever it takes to dust off an opponent.
Will Brown—Okay, I realize that it is a camp. One that has players of varying ages, and that sometimes the match ups are very favorable to certain players, but in my opinion the player that stood out to me all night was Mr. Brown! Oh my Lobo brethren let me tell you this long armed, physical, young man has some serious post moves, but just when you think that is all he has, Will has range. Legitimate range and was raining down jumpers from everywhere. Will played some defense and will mix with anyone. Plus he has that special… IT about him… What is "IT" Well you'll know when you see it….
Watched Tony Danridge tonight throw them down, as it was great watching Tony D. once again playing hoops and looks like the knee is good to go as Tony did some serious sky walking tonight and threw down some patented Tony D. freaking Dunks! Tony came flying from the left side and literally flew in the air as he jammed one down, and I believe the next time down the court, he just rocked the baby to sleep before slamming it down the hoops throat. Tony D. is back brother and with a vengeance!
Jamaal Fenton- Jamaal has serious game. Last year he was impressive, this year's Elite Camp dude is flat out speed demon! He made a sweet little wrap around pass to AJ Hardeman in the paint that allowed the big man to flush it down with authority. This is after giving another teammate on the other side of the court the same wrap around for an easy lay up. You have to love Jamaal's ability to get his players the ball in easy scoring positions. Something that isn't always easy in these kind of "camp" situations.
Matt Staff- Matt didn't get to play but was still in attendance. I didn't really want to get in the way and ask what happened, but Matt was sporting a brace on his wrist so he didn't get to play. Still during timeouts you could see the big fella throwing a few down or shooting around…
Chad Adams- The Highland HS (Albuquerque) is a hustler. Chad plays at 100 MPH no matter what is going on. His hustle puts him in the right places at the right time. You have to love the fact that even in a setting like the Elite Camp when he has a scholarship Chad doesn't mail it in. He is going like a maniac trying to make plays!
NCAA rules prohibited us from talking to these young men during the Elite Camp so I'm going to try and do some follow-ups in the coming weeks. But these are the guys that impressed me tonight and with some many great players out to impress says something.
Tobi Oyedeji Bellaire (TX) Bellaire 6-8 190
WOW what a fiery player this young man from Texas is. Great post moves, very aggressive on both sides of the ball, and willing to stick his nose in where he wants. Oyedeji was paired with Isaiah Rusher down low to form a solid combination of big men, while Rusher is very physical it was Tobi on the offensive side that was super impressive. My favorite play was him faking to the left drawing the foul and still putting the ball in with his off hand with 2 opponents draped all over him. Strength, composure, excitement!
Alex Kirk- Los Alamos (NM) Los Alamos 6-10
Alex is stepping up to a whole new level of hoops as he was being knocked and battered by the likes of Isaiah Rusher, Daniel Faris, Will Brown, and the like. Still the big fella from Los Alamos displayed that he is a D-I talent and will be a player to be reckoned with. The first shot I saw Alex throw down was a hook. Anyone that knows me, knows that the hook shot is my all time favorite shot and a lost art in basketball these days. Alex also displayed excellent court awareness from the low post hitting open shooters as well as making passes within the lane. Alex can write his D-I ticket with more hard work as the ability and talent is there.
LaVonte Dority- Foreman HS Chicago Ill
The first thing I love about LaVonte is "Chicago PG" Gotta love those Chi town PG's. Dority's summer coach was in the house talking about the fact that LaVonte could have been at any Elite Camps or summer camps this weekend but he chose for the 2nd year in a row to come to New Mexico. His coach went on to say that he likes it here. Lavonte is a big time PG with offers from New Mexico, DePaul, Indiana, and now I'm hearing that Kansas has also offered Lavonte. What impressed me about Lavonte today was his ability to take the ball to the basket and get to the free throw lane. His court vision was nice, but it was his offensive ability to get to the line that really impressed me tonight.
Mardracus Wade- Mitchell Road HS Memphis TN
2nd year in a row we have had the chance to see Wade play and both year I've seen him shows to be a very talented player with quality ball handling skills and a nice shot.
Ronnie Daniels La Cueva HS Albuquerque NM
First time I've seen this '11 recruit on the court and as many of you know Ronnie is also a star football player. Ronnie has a set of wheels on him as well as awesome strength. On one play Ronnie had the rock and used his speed to get around a guard and when the next player tried to force him out of bounds, Ronnie lowered his shoulder and powered right through the defender. Not sure if Ronnie is going to play football or basketball in college but one thing is sure. He is a very strong athlete and will excel in whatever decision he makes.
Kory Alford La Cueva HS, Albuquerque NM
What a shooter. The guy has no fear and give him a second and he will drop the rock from deep. Keep an eye on La Cueva with Ronnie and Kory leading the charge. Could be some exciting years for the Bears.
Tyrone Watson- Cathedral HS Toronto Canada
Tyrone is a two star athlete that is a physical player. Tyrone played solid defense this evening and didn't make any bad shots. If they weren't there he would pass them up.
Definitely a great evening to watch some hoops and the players on all of the various teams played hard hoping to get noticed. Last year UNM really scored as far as recruiting during the Elite Camp and I know this year and the future the staff is hoping to do that again. At this point I would have to say start saving your money now because this year's men's hoops team has chemistry and camaraderie already in it, they are oozing with talent, and with a coaching staff like Coach Alford's running the show… Well let's just say the future looks…. Elite!
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