|McD 2002: Wed. Practice Report|
Rashad, Sean and Raymond
NEW YORK -- IC's David Thompson reports on Wednesday's McDonald's All-American practice, with detailed notes on the three Tar Heel recruits.
* Rivalries and trash-talking were largely left at the door for the first two days, yet today's intensity was measurably above yesterday's, as game day draws closer. Even though there's great camraderie, you can feel them anticpating the coming game.
* Rashad especially seems wired for tomorrow's game. As he was returning to his practice court, instead of walking around, he lept over a row of folding chairs in order to get to the team huddle. In another telling moment, Torin Francis put a power move on Amarie Stoudamire and took it strong to the rack -- afterward thumping his chest a la WWF.
* Around 25 pro scouts/personnel were at the morning practice today. College personnel are not allowed to attend the McDonald's game although agents and NBA scouts are. What is wrong with that picture?!
* These East squad teammates seem to genuinely enjoy each other. The three Carolina recruits have been hanging out a lot together. At one point while IC was taking candid practice photos and trying not to intrude, Rashad called over Raymond and Sean to pose as a group for IC. They are proud to be together in the incoming class.
* One often gets reminded that these soon-to-be millionaires are still high schoolers. I got a reminder as the old "tap-on-the-shoulder-I-made-you-look" trick was pulled on numerous McDonald's staff, as well as this writer.
* The big news was that Raymond, Sean and Rashad were teamed together most of today and they went head-to-head against their East squad teammates. The East squad is truly beastly, with the three UNC recruits along with Travis Garrison, Elijah Ingram, Torin Francis, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamire, Eric Williams, Shavlik Randolph, J.J. Redick and Jason Fraser.
* Carolina's recruits worked well together and were effective on the floor as teammates. More than that, it was a divine foretaste of the next few years, portending great teamwork and basketball for Carolina fans.
Raymond alternated going head-to-head against Ingram and Redick today in intersquad practice. (The scrimmage between East and West was closed to the media for some unexplained reason.)
Against Ingram, Felton made a sweet fadeaway jumper after creating room for his shot. Another spin move with a fadeaway showed the difficulty in stopping Raymond.
Offensively, against Redick, Ray had no trouble whatsoever, continually moving past him with power moves to the basket or pulling up for open jumpers.
Ingram still has lots of playground ball in his game, sometimes looking out of control. At one point, Felton tied him up in midair with a block, forcing a jump ball with a super athletic move.
Rashad had a beautiful fingertip roll over Ingram in a bull move to the basket.
Guarding future UNC teammate, Sean May, McCants hit him in the jaw at one point by accident. May didn't score – didn't even complete his move to the basket – just shaking off the sting of the good defensive pressure by McCants. Practice ought to be a lot of fun over the next few years in Chapel Hill.
Rashad also had a great flat-footed dunk at one point, getting around once-again-hapless Elijah Ingram, and punctuating a fearless foray amongst the beasts of the East post players.
Sean made a sweet fadeaway move on Rashad at one point, but for most of the day was guarding and attacking Carmelo Anthony at the "3." May said that, because of the glut of 4s and 5s, the plan seems to be to play him at the 3 for tomorrow night's game.
Sean played good close defense on Anthony throughout the day. This is not a small task as Carmelo is so silky smooth and quick. May gave Anthony all he could handle and played him pretty even, considering Sean was playing out of position. The practice session highlighted, once again, the agility of Carolina's future frontcourt player.
Sean continues to get more muscular and is running the floor extremely well. You have to run well in order to keep up with Ingram, Felton, McCants and all the super-athletic frontcourt players on the East squad.
from the analysts and writers at the McDonald's game:
from the players:
during media day:
and seen at lunch on Wednesday: