First Night at Nike

From a UCLA perspective there were many bodies to watch at the Nike All-American Camp in its first night in Indianapolis Wednesday, including senior post players <b>Jon Brockman</b> and <b>Ryan Wright</b> and sophomore guard <b>Jerryd Bayless</b>...

It was only one round of games Wednesday night, and just practice games at that. We didn't get to see all of the 23 west coast kids but among those we did see here were a handful that stood out.

Micah Downs, 6-7 SR SF, Bothell (Wash.) High, looked like the best all-around player in his game, doing it all -- rebounding, passing and scoring.

Jon Brockman, 6-7 SR PF, Snohomish (Wash.) High, always tends to stand out since he plays so hard and so physical. He did his usually banging down low, but made some nice passes and hit a 15-foot jumper.

Chris Oakes, 6-8 SR PF/C, Oakland (Calif.) Castlemont, weighed in at a wispy 177 pounds, but he looked very active and quick around the basket, particularly on his second jump and put backs.

Martell Webster, 6-6 SR SF, Seattle (Wash.) Prep, still looks like he's shaking off the rust from being off for so long due to injury. He weighed 236, which looks generally like good weight.

Two young posts who looked active and effective were Spencer Hawes, 6-9 JR C, Seattle (Wash.) Prep, and James Keefe, 6-8 JR PF, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. Hawes has a great-looking body, with a wide frame, and very good feet and hands. He weighed 213, which is good as a rising junior, easily able to gain 25 pounds of muscle on that frame. Keefe measured at 6-9, but we'll stick with his height of 6-8, and weighed 204, while actually passing and setting screens in his game, which is unusual for shoe camps.

Even with Kevin Love, the 6-8 C from Lake Oswego (Ore.) High here and looking solid in his first outing, the rising sophomore from the west coast who showed the best Wednesday nigh was Jerryd Bayless, 6-0 PG/SG, Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. Many times younger guards will come to the Nike Camp and play a bit intimidated initially, but Bayless took it right to his opponents, particularly being able to break down defenders and take it athletically to the basket.

Two non-west coast UCLA targets who participated in UCLA's camp last week also showed well Wednesday. Ryan Wright, 6-8 SR C, Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) Loyola Catholic, weighed 233, which he holds very well. Even among all of these young high schoolers, he still looks young and baby-faced. Still raw, he did show his athleticism in moves around the basket. Wright is on Brockman's team for the week. Rising junior wing Alex Tyus, 6-6, Florissant (Missouri), was dominating, not only athletically playing above the rim, but putting the ball on the floor effectively and burying a deep three.

College coaches will be allowed into the camp Thursday, including UCLA head coach Ben Howland.


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