Nike: Monday Report

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a mixed bag Monday for several of the younger University of North Carolina recruiting prospects at the Nike All-American Camp.

For young up-and-coming players such as Brian Johnson, Daniel Gibson, Ra'Sean Dickey, Jason Horton and JamesOn Curry (the sole UNC commitment of the bunch), it was a day of learning mixed in with a few flashes of why they are so highly ranked.

Of the "Fab Five," Gibson, Horton and Curry played well, while Johnson and Dickey struggled.

In Dickey's case, he rarely touched the ball on offense, and Johnson never got into the rhythm of the game, evidenced by a 2-point, 2-rebound performance in 10-plus minutes of action in the night-time scrimmage.

Curry showed off his beautiful stroke and creativity in getting his shot off. One day, if he ever wants to play in the NBA, he'll probably have to be a point guard. However, at 6-foot-2 and 154 pounds, he can get away with being a shooting guard easily -- he's that skilled.

Horton only scored four points in the nightcap session, but still dominated the action with his pure point guard skills. He's polished in running the show and should only get better in the next two years.

Gibson is going against his normal AAU team persona. Instead of showing off his killer one-on-one moves, he's playing team-orientated, almost point-guard like basketball.

Gibson was also invited to the media room for interviews, and naturally was swarmed by the media, especially the University of Kentucky contingent.

Gibson said his top four is North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas, with no particular order to it.

"I love Kentucky," Gibson said. "I'm looking for style of play and what kind of immediate impact I can make. Distance is not a big issue."

Texas might be stronger than most believe, as T.J. Ford is a big role model. Plus, they will really need his offense when the time comes. He also expects to commit sometime after his junior year.

LeBron sighting: Akron, Ohio's LeBron James made an appearance at the Nike Camp. No he didn't play, but he along with friends, shot around after the night session was over. Naturally, several media members watched every movement and even with a big cast on his left arm, he made several 25-feet-plus 3-pointers while fooling around. Even with a cast, he's the camp's best prospect.

And of course, he was styling in some brand new, all-white Nike sneakers, which is a very good bet he'll be wearing permanently come next April.

News & Notes:

* Mississippi big man Al Jefferson is among those who skipped camp. He's home resting up for the Nike Peach Jam. Others MIA includes Lodrick Stewart (inj.), Brandon Cotton (inj.), Brian Randle (inj.), Kalen Grimes (inj.) and Ronnie Brewer (did not attend).

* The Ndudi Ebi vs. Luol Deng battle appears to be going right down to the wire this week as neither has emerged with a clear-cut lead. Ebi has the large upside while Deng has the motor that won't quit and strong moves to the basket.

* Sights around the camp: Patrick Ewing Sr. was in attendance to watch Patrick Ewing Jr., who is still raw on offense but displays a lot of potential.

* Seven-foot-seven Manute Bol also was in attendance and gave some words of encouragement to Deng.

* Last year, Memphis John Calipari and Louisville Rick Pitino were possibly the only two coaches who didn't wear a shirt blazoned with their school on it. This year, add Maryland's Gary Williams to the club.

* Camp counselors (aka, players who get to work out in front of NBA scouts): Brian Cook (Illinois), Marcus Hatten (St. John's), Oregon's Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson, Notre Dame's Chris Thomas, Arizona's Jason Gardner and Channing Frye, Colorado's David Harrison, Missouri's Arthur Johnson and Rickey Paulding, Georgia's Jarvis Hayes, Oklahoma's Ebi Ere, Kent State's Antonio Gates, Connecticut's Emeka Okafor, Pennsylvania's Ugonna Onyekwe, Cincinnati's Jason Maxiell, Creighton's Kyle Korver, Kansas' Aaron Miles, Wayne Simien, Keith Langford and Nick Collison.

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