ABCD: Eric Wallace Spotlight

HACKENSACK, N.J. – Eric Wallace has already earned recognition as a future star. It's well known that he's "got next." However, at the very first day of the ABCD Camp Thursday, he made onlookers wonder if he's "got now" as well.

The impressive plays came quickly in the first half for the rising sophomore – a quick dribble-drive and loud dunk over a defender, hitting a pull-up jumper, a halfcourt-length bounce pass on the break, an acrobatic finish in traffic, and swishing a three-pointer.

After the final buzzer sounded, Wallace stood courtside with AAU coach Brian Clifton accepting compliments for his performance.

"People that haven't seen him yet, they just don't know," Clifton said in the background. "They don't realize how good he is …"

Those that saw him Thursday afternoon at the ABCD Camp know full well.

Wallace attended Reebok's Camp Next a couple weeks ago, which was for some of the nation's top underclassmen. Several counselors there said Wallace was the best player in attendance. But to perform at a high level at the upperclassmen camp this week would be even more noteworthy.

How does he do it?

"It's confidence," Wallace said. "Confidence and preparation. I've been working out with some top level guys and [the people around me] have been encouraging."

The preparation is apparent both physically – as he already has a college build – and in his well-rounded game.

The confidence is a part of his personality, and also comes from his outings against college and NBA players in pick-up games. Most recently, a meeting with LeBron James.

"LeBron pushed me to work and make him work for shots," Wallace said. "He pushed me to show him something. I did pretty well – I held my own."

With three years of high school remaining, he knows there is plenty of room for improvement, and the thought of him reaching his sky-high potential in the years to come would be something to behold. While so very impressive, he did play out of control at times, making some mental errors and giving reminders that he's still a work in progress. All the more reason that the early NBA buzz is quite premature.

He just says he needs to maintain a high level of play from game to game.

"Consistency," Wallace said. "Not playing like a star one game and the next as a role player. I need to learn to be a dominating player every game – every time I step on the court."

The 6-6 wing is unlikely to leave the state for college, and schools like NC State, North Carolina and Wake Forest have already made clear that they are prioritizing Wallace. He'll have his choice of schools when the time comes and he's handling the early stages of his recruitment the same way he's handling the early success on the summer circuit.

"Maintain my composure and stay humble," he said. "Stay humble – that's all I can do."

Wallace attends Kernersville (N.C.) Glenn, which is also where former Wake Forest star Josh Howard and UNC sophomore Reyshawn Terry began their high school careers, though both ended them elsewhere. Wallace said he has no plans to follow their lead and change schools.

"No, not right now," he said. "If the situation changes, I'll think about it, but I'm staying at Glenn."


Inside Carolina Top Stories