Although the week had to end for me personally at the Reebok ABCD Camp in Teaneck, NJ, it wasn't before I was able to take in a full day of the best basketball in the country. Many of the second day's top performers were similar to those of the first.
Here is the rundown.
O.J. Mayo (76ers) – After a first day matching Greg Oden as one of the top two players in the camp, neither he nor Oden had a letdown on the second day of competition. Mayo scored a team-high 17 points with two assists in the evening session against the Mavericks, led by Lance Thomas, Will Walker, Kevin Love, and Durrell Arthur. In the earlier day, he had a modest 11 points against the Cavs, but dished out four assists.
Alexander Tyus (76ers) – For the second consecutive day, the 6-7 junior-to-be had a big day. Tyus scored 18 and 15 points respectively in two games, leading the 76ers in scoring both times. Tyus is strong, athletic, and gets to the hoop with ease.
Derrick Caracter (Bulls) – Caracter had a good second day, scoring 13 points and blocking five shots against the Lakers, then following it up with 14 points and eight rebounds against the Knicks. The Bulls won both games.
Davon Jefferson (Celtics) – Jefferson's biggest knock might be that he is mostly a pure athlete and still has not found a consistent outside shot, but he sure is fun to watch. This athletic slasher has quite a bit of "ups" and he's tough to stop when he runs the floor. In a one-point loss to the Sonics early in the day, Jefferson scored 17 points and had four rebounds even with Daequan Cook guarding him. Later in the day, in a two-point win over the Lakers, Jefferson added nine points.
Paul Harris (Celtics) – Harris, like he did in day one, showed a lot of strength and skill as a physical guard who is tough to control. He excels with contact, and slices the lane with ease. Harris had 16 points in the first game, and followed it up with 19 in the evening session.
Dwight Lewis (Clippers) – This 6-6 guard (class of 2006) from Metairie (La.) Rummel is a solid, but not flashy performer who plays under control. He had 15 points and two rebounds along with nine points and five rebounds in the second game. Lewis needs to be consistent on his jumper, but he's a solid prospect.
Damion James (Hawks) – For the second straight day, he and his teammate (Scott Reynolds) gave Oklahoma fans plenty to be excited about. While Reynolds, the second of the two commitments for the Sooners, was running the break extremely well, dishing to open teammates, and hitting a few shots, James continued to be one of the most relentless performers on the glass in the tournament. James had 19 points and nine rebounds in the first game and is averaging 16 points and 6.3 rebounds for the tournament through four games.
James Hickson (Jazz) – Hickson is a 6-9 center in the class of 2007 from Atlanta Wheeler. He had 12 and five points respectively, with four and six rebounds. Hickson was aggressive in the paint and boxed out well. His offensive skills could stand for improvement, but he looks to be an emerging star.
Dwayne Collins (Magic) – The 6-7 Miami commitment struggled mightily in day one, but he followed it up nicely on day two. Collins had 13 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocked shots in a 74-69 win over the Rockets. Collins is strong and athletic, and when he's motivated, he is tough on the blocks. Collins' biggest weakness for now might be his range with his shot. In the evening session, although he only had three points in a 10-point loss, Collins still managed to grab seven rebounds.
Taylor King (Mavs) – King was once again one of the best all-around performers at the camp with 30 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, and a pair of blocks in two games against the Mavs and Sonics -- two of the better teams in the camp. King is a big man with a great court awareness, good vision, runs the floor well, and can shoot it well and shoot it deep. He's one of the top players in the country for 2007.
Casiem Drummond (Nets) – The 6-10 center from West Orange (NJ) Bloomfield Tech, who early in the day gave a verbal commitment to Villanova, followed it up with 22 points and 14 rebounds in two games. Drummond was strong both on the glass and on the blocks with the ball.
Nyal Koswal (Pistons) – As one of the budding power forwards in the class of 2007, this Chicago Julian product, who stands 6-9, had 25 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks in two games for the Pistons. He is a physical specimen that needs to put the ball on the floor more often. He's strong, he finishes really well, but his ball skills need work.
Greg Oden (Sonics) – Oden continued a workmanlike performance with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocked shots in two games on the day. Oden also impressed with the way he ran the floor on the fast break.
Daequan Cook (Sonics) – Although the 6-5 guard only scored five points in the first game of the day, he erased doubts about his overall performance in the camp with 19 points in the second game. Cook's only real struggles in two days were putting the basketball in the hoop.
Other Notable Players
Mike Conley (Sonics) – Once again played well. Did a great job defensively, and led the team. His ability to use the right hand on runners in the lane make him tough to defend.
Richard Semrau (Celtics) – For the second and third consecutive games, Semrau sat out because of a bruise on his forearm.
Heath White (Rockets) – White has really elevated his stock with some nice games, including a 14-point output. White only needs to hit shots with consistency, and he will be a great pick-up for a mid-major team.
Aaron Pogue (Hawks) – Pogue has had a less than stellar camp. He has been struggling to stop people defensively, and his inability to seal off people in the paint combined with a small vertical leap has given more athletic post players an advantage.
Lance Thomas (Mavs) – Once again, Thomas had a great day. His ability to move without the ball is impressive. With the ball, he's very good. He's not afraid to put it on the floor and penetrate, although his best work is down inside.
Keenen Ellis (76ers) – When Ellis wants to dominate, he can. He needs to do it more often, but he plays with a mean streak when he gets going. Ellis is slender, but very skilled.
Herb Pope (Suns) – Pope is one of the best power forwards in the camp. If his Pittsburgh commitment doesn't stand for any reason in the future, he is a guy Ohio State fans may want to keep a close eye on.
Dar Tucker (Hawks) – Tucker is still raw in some phases of the game, but his athletic ability and motor gives him tremendous potential. Tucker showed some real nice range later in the evening, hitting a couple of long three-pointers. Tucker is best in the mid-range. He runs the floor well.
Other News & Notes
*Bill Walker followed up OJ Mayo's list on Wednesday with one of his own. This one was more than adequate enough to give his thoughts on Ohio State.
When Walker was asked about his thoughts of Greg Oden complimenting Walker from their time spent playing with one another in San Diego at the USA Basketball Youth Festival, he was asked if Oden or the other Ohio State commitments had inquired about Mayo and Walker looking at Ohio State.
His response left nothing to the imagination.
"I'm not going to Ohio State," Walker said definitively. "I'm not even listing them any more. Greg Oden was a good guy to play with, but quite honestly, I would rather play against those guys than with those guys. Don't get me wrong, they have a great class and they are going to be tough to beat, but I would rather play against them than with them."
Walker had a short list.
"Florida A&M, U-Conn, Syracuse, UC (Cincinnati), and West Virginia," Walker said. "That's my list."
But no Ohio State.
"Nope, Florida A&M, U-Conn, Syracuse, UC, and West Virginia. That's who I'm looking at," he affirmed once more.
*Will Walker was an Ohio State target for a short while, but that's no longer the case. Walker spoke briefly on his recruitment.
"I'm looking at Connecticut, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Dayton, Illinois, and DePaul," Walker said.
He added that he would like to take visits at the end of July or August.
"Yeah that's the plan honestly," Walker said. "I just want to take visits and then see who is left and who has offered me and go from there."
*Ohio State assistant coach, John Groce was seen in the gymnasium for much of the day.
*It's looking like Thaddeus Young is the highest priority for Ohio State, but Vernon Macklin and Lance Thomas have both been offered. Raymar Morgan and Jamil Tucker remain other possibilities to round out the class pending offers.