Nike Camp Evaluations

With the completion of the shoe camps, the first leg of the grueling July hoops circuit has come to a close. As players move on to the second leg consisting of major national tournaments and regional camps, we take one final look at Nike Camp by evaluating the overall performance of some potential North Carolina hoops targets.

Delvon Roe - The 6-7 (in his bare feet) southpaw from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward was easily one of the most impressive players in camp. Actually, the rising junior played so well that he is going to push for the national top 10 in the class of 2008. Relatively slender, but with good strength, Roe has the type of body that allows him to play both inside -- where he's at his best at this point -- and outside -- where he'll spend more time as he gets older -- with relative ease. Because of his complete game it's easy to see why pretty much every big time program in the country, including UNC, is starting to prioritize him.

A good rebounder, springy enough athlete and hard worker, Roe prefers to start off by getting a few back to the basket hoops off the left block. From there he'll move to the other side and surprises with his ability to score turning to either shoulder. What makes him so dangerous is how quickly he can score and the certainty with which he makes his decisions. As soon as he has it rolling he'll test the perimeter waters by hoisting a few mid range Js to see if they are dropping. When they are going in, he'll step it out further and become a threat from three point land. If they don't drop, he'll look to drive by slower big men -- he especially likes to shot fake and take two hard dribbles right or left to pull-up for elbow jumpers -- but he currently lacks the handles to consistently beat other three men. He's obviously been coached very well and just needs to continue to improve.

Samardo Samuels - To his credit, Samuels has been very active on the club circuit playing in seemingly every event he could. Perhaps, though, all of the play has taken a toll on the rugged 6-8 insider. At Nike, Samuels looked a bit more sluggish than he has at recent events and he had his fair share of struggles and often looked quite frustrated.

A true power player who sets up camp within six feet of the hoop, he attacks almost exclusively to his left shoulder – mostly because it's a very effective tool to lead with –and defenders have started to figure it out. He also tried a few ill-advised jumpers from 15 feet and just didn't seem like himself. However, he did turn things up during the last day and battled his way into the underclassmen All-Star game where he had more of the typical bruising, glass cleaning and powerful type performance that is expected from the highly regarded prospect.

Greg Monroe - This time last year, Rob Tillman who coaches Monroe in the summer on the New Orleans Panthers was adamant that it was the 6-10 Monroe -- and not Tyreke Evans -- who should be considered the top prospect in the class of 2008. Fact of the matter was, in 2005 the broad shouldered lefty hadn't yet done enough to have a real claim to the top spot. Fast forward to the 2006 Nike camp where Monroe did everything you could want and more and now it's becoming nearly impossible to deny that he could be the new top dawg.

A smooth athlete who runs up and down the floor like a much smaller player, Monroe is comfortable handling the ball anywhere on the court, passes, scores with either hand off the glass and he's not a bad jump shooter either. On top of that he's an excellent rebounder with sure hands, but it's on the defensive end where his astonishing ability to block shots sets him apart. It isn't even how many he blocks (and he certainly blocks a ton) but how he's able to quickly gather his feet and block jumpers, drives and shots where he seems to be way out of position and off balance. The sky is the limit with this guy and if the rest of his body fills to match his shoulders then we could be looking at a lefty version of Dwight Howard.

David and Travis Wear - There is no way to know for sure that the So-Cal bred twins from the class of 2009 will be on the UNC radar, but it's a pretty safe bet that they'll draw a long look – and they already are both listing the Tar Heels are on their early school list. They both stand in the neighborhood of 6-9, have long and slender frames, run well on their toes and they are skilled. David is still a bit more comfortable around the hoop while Travis has some WF in his game and is already very comfortable putting the ball on the floor and pulling up for sweet, swishing jumpers from between 12 and 17 feet. It's a good idea to keep track of how these guys progress.

Julian Vaughn - Make no mistake about it, Vaughn had heard the whispers about his game. To some he's too soft or not athletic enough but neither of those critiques looked to be valid in Indy. Actually, about the only disappointing thing about his camp was that he measured in at only 6-8 after being listed as tall as 6-10 or 6-11 in the past.

The couple inch difference doesn't matter really because he's plenty big to play the four in college and he has a lot to offer. Nobody has ever doubted that he can shoot the ball and it wasn't a surprise to see him stroking home confident shots from out to 17 feet. He's got a nice high release point, a quick trigger, good follow through and lots of arch and rotation. What he did at Nike that really elevated his stock -- or at the very least quieted the naysayers for now -- was get inside and fight and rebound. He went after offensive rebounds, got up in traffic dunks and didn't mind trading some elbows. At 230 pounds he's got the size to bang around as long as he keeps doing that and taking smart shots he'll be fine. He could still improve his overall athleticism, but his skill level helps make up for anything he may lack in that area.

Al-Farouq Aminu - Here's a new name. Word around camp was that UNC may be taking a look and it's not tough to see why they, or any other program, would want to be involved with Aminu. The long armed 6-7 – maybe 6-8 – face-up four man is another who is quickly rising up the charts in 2008 because of his inside-outside ability.

He runs the floor well, handles the ball more than well enough to cause problems for defenders and he's starting to knock in jumpers. Even though he's on the skinny side, he has little fear banging around in the paint and he's got a real knack for picking up offensive rebounds and sticking them back in. Because of his youth, quickness and overall arsenal he can be a bit wild at times but each time out he's a little more complete. It's going to be quite interesting to see how willing Aminu will be to give ACC squads other than Georgia Tech -- where his older brother plays hoops -- a good look.

Tyreke Evans - It's hard to comprehend that somebody who hasn't even started his junior season of high school could be considered a veteran of the circuit, but that's exactly what this Philly area talent is. After bursting onto the scene during his freshman year of high school, Evans has played in just about every event and he's done it playing up against mostly older players. Along the way he's become workmanlike and efficient and that's probably the best way to describe his Nike outing.

Slowed some by a bum wheel, Evans settled for some jumpers in situations where he'd normally get to the rim and he wasn't quite as active on the glass as usual. He handles the ball well, but it's still up for debate whether he's going to be a wing or a point (most likely a wing). Because of his 6-4 size, he sees over defenses and can also do some damage in the post. He's got exceptional body control but isn't a jaw dropping athlete. One tendency in his game is to over-penetrate a bit on dribble drives where he keeps his head down. It means that he ends up barreling into some defenders or jumping to make passes and those types of things lead to unnecessary turnovers. Remember, he's at minimum a top three talent in his class right now – with the previously mentioned Monroe and So-Cal bred PG Brandon Jennings each making their case – so any critiques are just notes on areas he could stand to improve. Overall, he's a pretty solid guard who handles his business and backs up his reputation each time out.

Xavier Henry - He's mentioning he Heels for now so we might as well go ahead and take a brief look at the talented 6-5 shooting guard's game. Playing in his second All-American camp, the sharp shooting southpaw is coming off a freshman season where he helped lead his high school team (Oklahoma freshman-to-be Keith Clark certainly helped along the way) win a state championship. In fact, Henry earned MVP honors at the state tournament and has spent the spring cementing his rep as one of the top 10, maybe even top five, prospects in the class of 2009 to this point.

While he had his moments at camp, Henry looked to be troubled by a bum wheel and he settled for a lot of threes. Never a bad thing when you can shoot it like Henry is capable of, but he was pulling the string a little hard at times and seemed to be short on his jumpers. The 15 year old has an ideal wing frame, above average athleticism and is now starting to put the ball on the floor and attack off the dribble which will only make him more dangerous. Maybe his best quality is an absolute confidence in what he's capable of doing. It's worth mentioning that both his father and mother hooped at Kansas during their college years and that before signing a huge first round signing bonus and deciding to play baseball for the Yankees, Henry's older brother C.J. also committed to play hoops for the Jayhawks.

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