Nike Camp Notes


On first glance, Rashad McCants comes off as a nice player and a solid pickup for North Carolina.

But after watching McCants play over and over, few players possess his toughness and intangibles. He's a winner, capable of making plays when his team needs them. Whiether it's hitting a three-pointer or stripping the ball from an offensive player, McCants has continued to come through all week long.

And to conclude this McCants lovefest, he's got the great ability to be a leader in a way that doesn't discourage his teammates. His bubbly personality is contagious and it's easy to see why the Tar Heels fans will appreciate him.

On to other a down year for seniors, the underclassmen are starting to take charge. Possibly the best is rising sophomore Brian Johnson of Virginia. At 6-foot-8, he's a natural small forward with long arms and the ability to get to rim at will or pull up for mid-range jumpers. No doubt, every big-time college program in the country will want him (Editor's Note: Johnson attended a game at the Dean Dome last year and visited the Chapel Hill campus earlier this summer).

Point guards J.R. Reynolds of Virginia and Jeremy Ingram of North Carolina are both excellent prospects. Reynolds is a great shooter in the Chris Duhon mold and Ingram is soooooooo explosive going to the hoop.

If there's a better player at using the dribble to get into the lane than Arizona commitment Chris Rodgers, I haven't seen him at Nike.

J.J. Redick had a nice break out game, hitting several long jumpers. And Michael Thompson has played the most inspired basketball that I've ever seen from him. The 6-10 center is punishing foes around the basket. Too bad he's in the Big Ten Conference and can't play ACC Conference centers Amare Stoudemire and Torin Francis at the Nike Camp. Big Ten players only play each other.

Florida's Rashad Anderson could possibly be the No. 1 shooting guard in the camp, ahead of well known players such as Redick, Bracey Wright, Kelanna Azubuike, etc. J.R. Morris isn't far behind on the SG/SF lists.

Cortez Davis has opened up his recruitment again, or maybe Maryland is holding off to see him more.

Alabama's Kennedy Winston continues his excellent play. He could be a future pro one day. No kidding, either.

Among the camp surprises...Canada's Tristan Martin (PG), Ohio's Logan White (SG), Eric Wilkins (PG), Delco Rowley (PF), Steve Cowherd (PG) and Steve LeVen (SG) are a good group to start with.

Players with big reps who have struggled include Jarrett Jack, Azubuike, Kevin Pittsnogle and Keith Butler.

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