Stanford has to swallow a geographical spread when it comes to recruiting, given the school's admissions requirements. But a state that has been generous to the Cardinal the last few years has been Arizona. Senior center Matt Haryasz is an All-American candidate, while freshman combo forward Lawrence Hill is ready to make his mark with his length and inside-outside abilities as well.
The Grand Canyon State is apparently big enough to hold yet another hot prospect for Trent Johnson, as we turn our attention to the 2007 class. As a sophomore this past winter, Harper Kamp outpaced Hill and other outstanding upperclassmen for the state's Big School Player of the Year award. He also led Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View High School to a 32-1 record and state championship, including a 28-games winning streak. Kamp averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists per game while hitting for 60% of his field goals from the field.
"We were just a team," he reflects upon the 2004-05 Toros. "By the end of the season, we were the best defensive team ever at Mountain View. It was mostly about communication - helping each other out. There is nothing complicated about it. Anyone who wants to play defense can play defense."
Though he credits his team's success on the defensive end of the floor, Kamp deserves kudos for remarkable leadership and offensive skill at his age, in just his first year of high school basketball. On a team led by five seniors, the sophomore forward took a vocal role and was instrumental in forging the chemistry that brought home a state title. He also was a productive, if not overpowering, force in the paint as his school's starting center. As a point of reference, the last sophomore to start at Mountain View was Dennis Latimore. Kamp is not as athletic but is more skilled, able to use either hand to score from a variety of positions around the basket - playing with a low-post savvy beyond his years.
"That's definitely one of my strong points. I focus on shot selection and get the best shot every time," he describes. "Most of the time, I have been less athletic than people I play against, so I've had to have better skills and decision making."
Those assets have paid off handsomely, with a state title and player of the year award at just 16 years old. But his physical abilities are starting to catch up to his skills, which makes him a very enticing college forward prospect.
"Since my sophomore year, I've improved my quickness and conditioning," Kamp comments. "I can handle the ball better, and my vertical is improving. It's a lot easier to jump. I'm starting to shoot the ball better facing the basket, too."
To see what kind of player Kamp can be, you had to look no further than the Main Event tournament in Las Vegas this past July. Playing with the Schneider All Stars (Kamp previously teamed with the Arizona Magic but split in the spring), the Arizona forward filled up the scoreboard with 32 points against a loaded Georgia Stars squad that included Scout.com's #5 power forward in the 2007 class, Gani Lawal. Kamp also made a name for himself with a strong showing at the adidas Superstars Camp.
After a strong July, the rising junior found himself with interest from coaches up and down the West Coast and across the nation. Though he has yet to play a game in his second season of high school basketball, Kamp already owns scholarship offers from Arizona State, Washington State, Iowa and Northwestern. Those four are just the tip of the iceberg for Kamp, with intense interest from number of other programs who will undoubtedly offer sooner or later. With his options just starting to unfold, Kamp is not yet prepared to limit himself to any handful of favorites. He plans on making his college decision at the end of next summer.
"I'm still wide open. I haven't narrowed anything down," the forward reports. "I'm interested in Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Iowa, Illinois, Florida, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, and Northwestern."
Though he has a large list, Kamp does admit to one school holding an early advantage. They have yet to extend an offer, but the in-state Wildcats look like the team to beat in this race.
"Arizona is my favorite, but at this point, I'm so wide open," the recruit begins. "I'm not sure how high I am on their list; I'm waiting to see which schools offer and what options I have."
"I've been to their camp and I've watched the program over the years," Kamp continues. "I like the program and the coaches. But I want to play. I need to see if there are guys ahead of me, and what that would mean for playing time. There are a lot of factors to take into account."
As a kid who grew up watching the Wildcats, it is particularly powerful for Kamp to be recruited by new Arizona assistant coach, Miles Simon. To counter, the Cardinal have renowned big man teacher Eric Reveno, who has spoken with the recruit on several occasions.
"I've had some really good conversations with him. I really like talking with him," Kamp comments on Reveno. "Definitely the education at Stanford is bigtime, and they also have a very good basketball program. He's pitched the education a lot. He knows that is important to me. He talks about the campus, too. We talk basketball, and he really likes the way I can face the basket and operate with my back to the basket."
You can expect Harper Kamp to be one of Stanford's top recruits in the 2007 class, regardless of position. To better understand why he is rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, as one of the top power forward out West and nationally, we turn to West Coast recruiting analyst Greg Hicks.
"Skilled low-post player with excellent hands. Very good fundamentals - solid footwork and understands how to seal defenders. Kamp is physical inside and competes very well," Hicks says. "There's a question as to how well his game translates to the next level. He's about 6'6", with a thick body, shortish arms and not much lift. At this point, he's strictly a low-post player. He'll need to develop some perimeter skills in order to play at a high level in college."
Kamp lists himself at 6'8" and 250. The issue of his being "undersized" relative to his low-post proclivity is something that has been discussed as long as the Mesa man has been on the public recruiting radar. For Stanford and most of the Pac-10, the talent and intrigue that Kamp offers appears to thus far outweigh that concern. And with two years of physical growth, athletic development and skill expansion before he plays in a college uniform, this is one recruit worth watching very closely in the 2007 class.
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