Teaneck, N.J. -- There's really only one way to finish a day, and that's to save the best for last. That's exactly what happened Wednesday evening at the ABCD Camp.
Almost as clear as it is that O.J. Mayo is the best guard in the country regardless of class, it was also apparent this evening that in a couple of years, there's another name that will be in that same type of category.
Lance Stephenson -- merely an eighth grader.
That's right, the class of 2009. Stephenson is a 6-4 guard from Brooklyn, NY. that has never played a single game in high school, but as the Bulls faced Mayo's 76ers on Wednesday, Stephenson stood toe to toe with Mayo, showing absolutely no fear.
Granted, there was little left to the imagination about Mayo being the best guard on the floor, let alone the nation. However, Stephenson gave Mayo everything he could handle, scoring 16 points in the customary two quarters of play.
At the ABCD camp, teams are comprised of 10 players each, with two groups of five playing half of the game. One plays the first and third quarters, and the rest play the second and fourth quarters.
By the way, Mayo's team did win that game 85-58 with Mayo scoring 21 points in two quarters.
Here is my report on some of the top performers and performances from Day One at Reebok.
O.J. Mayo (76ers) - Dazzled the crowd with some nifty crossover dribbles, graceful three-pointers, and savvy passes. Along with Greg Oden, Mayo was (not surprisingly) the best player there. Mayo averaged 19.5 points in two games and 6.0 assists a game.
Bill Walker (76ers) - Walker was a highlight reel with a number of amazing dunks. His temper got the best of him once again in the second game of the night, however, as he received a technical foul.
Keenan Ellis (76ers) - Timid in the first game of the day, Ellis showed a few streaks of domination in the second game. He was blocking shots, dunking aggressively, and holding his own against Derrick Caracter. Ellis needs to remain consistent.
Cole Aldrich (76ers) - Most of the time, Aldrich was tough and pretty good. In the second game, Caracter did get the best of him defensively for most of the night. He was having a tough time keeping Caracter on his hip and stopping him from turning into the paint. Alrdrich did show why he's a top 2007 prospect most of the day.
Alexander Tyus (76ers) - This 6-7 forward in the class of 2007 is from Florissant, Mo. and you won't want to forget him. He was putting on quite a clinic in both games, averaging 14.0 points a game and shooting 85% from the field. He is athletic, has a nice shot, and is real strong.
Lance Stephenson (Bulls) - As mentioned above, the 2009 guard looked very promising. He even jawed with Mayo much of the time. He scored 21 points in two games.
Derrick Caracter (Bulls) - In both of the Bulls' games, Caracter looked a lot like the prospect that rated him the number-one player in his class the first couple of years in high school. He is both big and strong, and showed a great abililty of putting the ball on the floor. Although he didn't need it, he showed solid range out to 15 feet.
Earl Clark (Cavs) - This 6-8 point guard was solid, if not spectacular. He was crafty with the ball and ran the show effectively from the point. Clark is from Rahway, NJ.
Paul Harris (Celtics) - It's easy to see why this 6-5 guard from Niagara Falls, N.Y. is one of the top guards in the nation. He's physically as fit as a high school guard can be. He drives the lane under control, but he's also quick and strong. Harris scored 33 points in two games and averaged 4.5 rebounds.
Jenard Fleming (Celtics) - A relatively unknown 6-5 guard from Richmond, Va. who is going to Bonner Academy, Fleming looked like the complete package. He was not flashy, but did everything well. He has a nice shot, but really is effective penetrating the lane. Fleming averaged 11 points in two games.
Scott Reynolds (Hawks) - The 6-0 point from Herndon, Va. ran the show flawlessly as he averaged 13.5 points and 2.5 assists a game. Reynolds was quick to the hole and easily found open teammates all day.
Damion James (Hawks) - The 6-8 forward who will join Reynolds at Oklahoma, is a big time athlete from Nacogdoches, Tx. James was relentless on the boards, tough to defend in traffic, and showed a polished jumper. He scored 17 points a game and grabbed 6.5 rebounds.
Taylor King (Hawks) - King made a case for being one of the most impressive players in the camp in my mind. He scored 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in two games. He was driving the lane with confidence, shooting open jumpers, and was active and strong on the glass. He did a nice job of holding position offensively and defensively in the paint, as well.
Corey Stokes (Jazz) - Stokes is a 6-5 guard from Benedict's Prep in Bayonne, NJ. He was one of the smoothest scorers of the day, averaging 18 points a game and adding 4.5 rebounds. Stokes looked most in his comfort zone at mid-range, which is quite uncommon these days.
Alex Stepheson (Lakers) - Stepheson is a 6-9 forward from Harvard Westlake High School in Los Angeles, and held his own in an evening match up against Greg Oden. Stepheson scored 21 points and had eight rebounds in two games, including seven points going up against Oden -- a defensive stopper.
Lance Thomas (Mavs) - The Mavs fell to Oden and the Sonics 67-55, but Thomas did his part scoring 12 points. Thomas did much of his damage with great movement without the ball, and finding his way into the paint.
Kevin Love (Mavs) - Love, a 6-9 center from Lake Oswego, Ore., had waited for his turn to face Greg Oden for a long time. He got it, although with mixed results. He did show himself to be a gritty, throwback type of player Wednesday, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He even held his own against Oden. If Love improves his ball skills, and puts it on the floor more often, he will be a tremendous player. He already is, in fact.
Wayne Chism (Rockets) - He's the unheralded of a talented Memphis Pump N' Run team with Willie Kemp and Thaddeus Young. But Chism, a 6-8 forward from Bolivar (TN) Central, is a solid all-around player with a great physique. Chism currently is hearing from a moderate amount of schools, including some SEC programs. He scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds in two games.
Greg Oden (Sonics) - Once again, Oden proved himself to be as good as anyone in the country. Oden scored 14.0 points and 9.0 rebounds, while shooting 80% from the field in games against the Mavs and Lakers. Oden contained Love, Stepheson, and Durell Arthur all in one day. That's quite a track record.
Mike Conley (Sonics) - All Conley did was score 9.0 points and dish out 4.5 assists a game. He was getting to the basket with ease, and running the floor like a seasoned veteran with Oden and Daequan Cook -- his future running mates at Ohio State.
Rakim Sanders (Sonics) - Although most of the press went to Cook, most of the highlights on the wing belonged to Sanders, a 6-4 guard from Barrington (RI) St. Andrew's. Sanders is a great all-around player in the class of 2007, that showed a dangerous shot from outside, and looked polished in driving the lane.
Herb Pope (Suns) - Keep an eye on Pope, a 6-8 forward in 2007 from Aliquippa, Penn. Pope was borderline spectacular on Wednesday. He was a great rebounder as usual, but in addition to his tenacity, Pope put the ball on the deck and ran the floor. He scored 12 points and had 8.0 rebounds a game.
*Thad Matta and (Ohio State assistant coach) John Groce were on hand for most of the day. They were seen watching their prized commitments, as well as Mayo and Walker among others.
*Many other big-name coaches including (but not limited to), Bill Self, Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan, Paul Hewitt, and Scott Drew were in attendance at some point or another along with assistants from most every major program nationally.
*David Lighty got the chance to hang out and eat dinner with Conley, Cook, and Oden. He says he continues to spend time working on Dallas Lauderdale. (Note: Stay tuned for in the coming days on Lighty and his progress)
*Richard Semrau, a 6-9 forward from Rocky River Lutheran West, did not play the evening game because of a bruise on his left arm.