While the two other concurrent shoe camps put on by Reebok and Adidas have about 180 players total , Nike decided to cut down its list of participants to about 120.
The games have been reduced to just two courts, which makes it cozy.
But for a west coast recruiting analyst, it's just not the same. A Nike Camp usually had about 30-40 west coast kids.
This year's camp has only eight west coast players. Reebok has about 25 and the Adidas Camp in Georgia approximately 50 to 60.
And one of those eight players – and probably the best prospect, junior forward Kyle Singler – is out with a possible torn meniscus in his knee.
Jamie Vanderbeken, the 6-10 senior center from Belleville (Ont., Canada) Quinte School, is probably the second-most talented center prospect UCLA is currently looking at in the 2006 class, behind Hawes. He measured at 6-10 and weighed 233, and easily looks like he could put on 20+ pounds of muscle. He's very skilled for a big man, able to shoot threes and take players off the dribble. Here at Nike, he's not touching the ball much, and is floating outside a bit, instead of posting up. When he has touched it, he's passed it very well, at least. Hopefully he'll get beyond the probable discouragement of watching guards jack the ball quickly in this camp environment and start being more aggressive. If Vanderbeken goes by his previous plan, he'll skip most of the summer until the Main Event in Las Vegas in the third week in July.
Spencer Hawes, 6-11 senior center, Seattle (Wash.) Prep. He's not touching the ball much either, and he's trying to be aggressive and play hard while running around and setting screens. UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland attended both of Hawes' games Thursday.
Chace Stanback, 6-5 junior shooting guard, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Another player who's trying to pass the ball here, finding cutters and feeding the post. He's one of the few players I noticed in the first day that took only good shots. And he's crashing the boards for rebounds. He's skinny, as we know, but his great natural feel for the game really stands out here, if you know what you're looking for. Howland watched Stanback's evening game.
Jerryd Bayless, 6-2 senior combo guard, Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. Bayless, this spring, was showing signs of selfishness, which was tragic for someone so talented. On Thursday here, in an extreme selfish environment, he did take a few shots, but he also did give up the ball, passing it well, and wowing the crowd with his athleticism. You can probably expect Bayless to see the likes of Duke, North Carolina and every heavy hitter in the country on him after this.
Jerren Shipp, 6-3 senior shooting guard, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Josh's little brother is playing well. He's always been a good shooter, but as his body has improved and trimmed down, he's doing more. Here he's taking the ball to the basket aggressively – and successfully. UCLA won't recruit him, since Jerren is probably a mid-major guard.
Expect to hear that UCLA has been inquiring into various senior centers around the country -- anyone really who can at least rebound and defend. One candidate might be the huge, 7-2 Jason Bennett from Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day.
Other west coasters:
Patrick Christopher, 6-4 SR SG, Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair. The Cal can shoot, and he's shooting the ball practically every time he touches it here.
Kevin Coble, 6-8 senior PF, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Scottsdale Christian
Jaydee Luster, 5-8 JR PG, San Diego (Calif.) Hoover
Since there was so much more to write about at Adidas, in terms of UCLA recruiting, here's a rundown on UCLA's potential prospects that were in Suwanee, Georgia.
UCLA 2006 prospects at Adidas:
James Keefe, UCLA's committed, 6-8 senior power forward, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. Had another good day on Thursday, and is cementing himself as a top 50 national player. His shot is on and off, but when it's on, he tends to do everything well.
Daniel Deane, 6-8 senior power forward, Salt Lake City (Utah) Judge Memorial. The impression is that UCLA isn't looking at him seriously anymore.
Derrick Jasper, 6-4 combo guard, Paso Robles (Calif.) High. He was impressive in Suwanee, and if he had a better SAT score you could probably bet UCLA would be looking into him.
Blake Wallace, 6-6 small forward, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. If he had really lit it up at Adidas, UCLA might have picked up their recruitment of him. There's still a chance, if he really turns it on in July, but it's unlikely.
UCLA 2007 prospects at Adidas:
Robert Sacre, 6-10 center, Vancouver (Canada), Handsworth School. Playing solidly, showing flashes, and with that huge body, he's someone UCLA will stay involved with seriously.
Alex Jacobson, 6-11 center, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Hasn't looked great at Adidas, but was sick. He's still one of top three or so centers in west and a potentially elite prospect.
Jamelle Horne, 6-6 small forward, San Diego (Calif.) Hoover. UCLA will try to get involved with one of the best in the class of 2007 in the west, while right now he says North Carolina and Georgia Tech are his favorites. Was injured at Adidas.
Drew Viney, 6-5 shooting guard, Villa Park (Calif.) High. Showed his skills at Adidas once he got acclimated. UCLA will be among his favorites.
Kenton Walker, 6-7 power forward, San Diego (Calif.) Scripps Ranch. Came to UCLA's camp; has good skills, but needs to play tougher and more aggressive. Will remain on to-watch list.
Harper Kamp, 6-6 power forward, Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View. Holding out hope that he grows at least another inch in the next year. If so, he's a high major.
Kamyron Brown, 6-1 point guard, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Played out of control at times, he hasn't settled into being a true point guard yet. But big and talented. UCLA will keep a watch on him.
Dane Suttle, 6-3 shooting guard, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Not at UCLA's level, but has the potential, with a young, skinny body that limits him physically, but good skills.
UCLA 2008 prospects at Adidas:
Luke Babbitt, 6-6 power forward, Reno (Nev.) Galena. One of the best, natural low-post scorers in the west, regardless of class. He's undersized, so you have to hold out hope he grows. But even so, he could still get recruited at high major level.
Larry Drew, 5-11 point guard, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Made a name for himself at Adidas as one of the best point guards in the west, and will be listed now among best in the country for 2008. UCLA is all over him – well, as much as they can legally with a sophomore-to-be. Howland watched every one of his games at Adidas.
Aaron Moore, 6-5 small forward, Fontana (Calif.) High. Has a striking resemblance to a young Dijon Thomson, just not physically, but in style of play, but quicker. He'll be among best in 2008 class.
Jeff Withey, 6-9 center, San Diego (Calif.) Horizon. Was a bit over-matched against older, stronger competition, but he has skills and will get stronger. He and Andy Poling from Oregon will be the top centers in the west for 2008.