The word around the gym today was that Josh Smith ended his recruitment and committed to the Hoosiers. Hello, Mike Davis. Just to recap that's D.J. White, Smith, Robert Vaden and James Hardy? What's next, a 2005 stud?
Lately there's been some talk about Brian Johnson and North Carolina. How serious are the Tar Heels? There's no doubt in our mind that Johnson is the top target and the focus of their big man efforts right now. . Word on the streets is that if Syracuse really wants Dayshaun Wright then the Orangemen are going to be tough to beat. That's what the competitors think. . The stakes are getting turned up in the Charles Thomas war. The head coaches are coming out for all his games and that's Rod Barnes, Leonard Hamilton and Kelvin Sampson. .
Faces In The Crowd
Illinois has most of its staff on Shaun Livingston watch in Jersey. However, assistant Chris Lowery was doing the Kalen Grimes thing a good portion of the day. . Stanford's Mike Montgomery was on Davis Nwankwo patrol. . Jeff Meyer and Todd Lickliter were at it again, hounding guard Gary Patterson. Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn joined that party today too. .
Mike Krzyzewski had a busy morning occupying himself with Josh McRoberts, Tyler Hansbrough and Eric Boateng. By the afternoon session, the Devils had the entire staff on junior patrol in Indy. . Lute Olson was front and center for Mohamed Tangara and Martell Webster in the 3-on-3 session. . UNC's Joe Holladay was wearing Brian Johnson out. .
Jim O'Brien, Bill Self, Tom Izzo and Ben Howland were on the Malik Hairston trail today. . Herb Sendek was one of many in the gym glaring at Luke Zeller. . We can only imagine that Louie Orr was front and center for one Dayshaun Wright. . Mark Few put in some Maarty Leunen time with Ben Braun today. .
Kalen Grimes' strength made his a terrific 3-on-3 guy. . A.J. Abrams, a junior from Austin, can flat out stroke the rock. . Connor Atchley was caught banging jumpers again. This kid is something and he's just scratching the surface. At the T.O.C. in May he was a deer in headlights. Here he's just been terrific. . Eric Boateng's defensive work on Al Jefferson can't go unnoticed. The English prospect just wouldn't give up his ground. Now, he did a nice job but "Big Al" will eventually take what he feels is his. . Jefferson simply uses his body and an economical dribble to create just enough space to wreak havoc on the rim. If he gets separation it's a dunk. . Martell Webster's strength and overall perimeter game are ridiculous. .
Akida McClain attends the same high North Carolina State head coach Herb Sendek did. . Marc Egerson attends the same high school yours truly once struggled at. . D.J. White has a fractured thumb and will miss 2-3 weeks. . Arizona assistant Josh Pastner loves his t-shirts. Pastner has a summer system. He's got three colors and rotates the Arizona t-shirts in a blue, red and white order. ...
"He's really good. He's got a lot to learn. He's better than some people my age." -- Al Jefferson on Greg Oden
INDIANAPOLIS - Our work here in Indy is done. The following is our final player recap from the 2003 Nike All-American Camp.
Charles Thomas, PF: What a week! This guy has done work here in Indy. He's playing like he's possessed. The dribble drive spin and explosion dunk did it for us. Our pre-summer Top 50 is missing a guy but not for long.
Al Jefferson, PF: He punched the clock again today and went to work. His power game is too much for this camp to handle at this point. While everyone is getting worn down, Jefferson - who missed the first two days - couldn't be fresher. Man among boys right now.
Joe Crawford, SG: Some said he was responsible for the performance of the camp today. Apparently he and Daniel Gibson got into it and a few dunks later, Crawford was the buzz of the day in the early session.
Brian Johnson, PF: Here's a guy who has really strung together a nice camp. Today he was seen being active, making jumpers, running the floor and getting work done. After a sluggish spring, the spring is back in his step and he's hitting his stride at the right time.
James Hardy, SG: He's been quietly stringing together some nice efforts. We caught his act today and he was good from deep and mid-range.
Akida McClain, SF-PF: The Pittsburgh resident has done some nice things here and his recruitment is sure to accelerate. The lefty can play combo forward, has some range and touch and is an above average athlete. The mid majors might have to play some high-major defense to keep him within their ranks.
Charles Rhodes, PF: After yesterday's mauling at the hands of Al Jefferson, Rhodes really reached back and responded with a vengeance today. No one - and we mean no one - had more jams than he did today. Superior effort from a guy who had something to prove and he gets credit for rising to the occasion.
Ra'Sean Dickey, PF: The big man played with some intensity today and had some aggression in his game. The punch dunk in traffic was a big hit with the coaches.
Shaun Pruitt vs. Al Horford: A lot of schools are recruiting both of these and it's a tough call. Both have played extremely well all week long and each is slightly different. Horford is so long and really gets work done inside. Pruitt has a nice body, is a lefty and is the better perimeter shooter. They played head up tonight and we still aren't sure but we know both are Top 100 guys.
Louis Williams, SG-PG: I thought he was having just a good week prior to this afternoon. He's been playing so much with the 16-year-olds that there has to be some camp level adjustment. Today we saw it. It seemed like every time we caught his act he was doing something well offensively.
Vernon Macklin, PF: There's no denying the talent. Macklin is a terrific athlete and though we caution the frequency at which he puts up 3s, there's no denying the fact that they were going down today.
Brandon Myers made a bevy of 3's today. . Credit to Andre Allen for adding some needed pace to his game and running the point better this week. He did a nice job of changing the pace and really made some strides as a point guard. .
Earlier in the week we wrote about Jordan Farmar and how it takes him a while to adjust to his players in a camp setting. Well, he's adjusted and is doing the same things now at the end of this week that he was at the end of USA Basketball. .
Jason Thompson impressed everyone today. Normally just known for athleticism, the mid-range jumper off the pull-up was going down and they were looking pretty. He's heating up his recruitment with that jumpshot. . Charles Rhodes is a legit weapon. When he gets loose in the paint he's thinking dunk all the way and he's got the explosion to back it up. .
Some of our West Coast friends have wondered about Josh Shipp's athleticism. Well, wonder no more because the big time jam he threw down on Vernon Macklin went a long way toward answering those questions. . Once again Robert Rothbart had a nice day. He's really picking up the pace and you couldn't help but be impressed with the drop step and finish in the paint. .
Jason Rich got himself going some today by getting to the rim. We love his mid-range game and overall poise. . Russell Robinson deserves praise not just for his offense but his work on the other end. The guys a little better than we thought when it comes to guarding his man. .