UCLA Advanced Skills Camp: Part 2

In Part Two, we look at the youngsters who participated in UCLA's Advanced Skills Camp, kids who are among the best prospects in California for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 classes, headed by Xavier Johnson...

In part two of our report on the UCLA Advanced Skills Camp, we take a look at some of the top 2011, 2012 and 2013 prospects in attendance this past Sunday and Monday at UCLA.

2011

Norvel Pelle, 6-8 JR PF Compton (Calif.) Dominguez. While there were a number of very talented juniors in attendance at the camp, I'll go with Pelle as the best long-term prospect. He has a unique combination of size, quickness, agility and skill level. Pelle showed flashes during the camp of his tremendous upside. In one sequence he defended elite 2012 prospect Xavier Johnson on the perimeter and did a great job of getting in a stance, sliding his feet and locking Johnson up. You just don't find many 6-8 kids that can do that while also being able to help off the weak side and get a block with their off hand. Pelle has a nice touch facing the basket and he can finish around the basket with either hand. As he matures physically (only 188 pounds as of today), his game will go to a whole different level. Pelle is from the Virgin Islands and he's still learning about the level of intensity and focus needed to play at a high level in college. But he's a great kid, with a desire to get better, and I'm betting he ends up one of the elite players in the class of 2011.

Gelaun Wheelwright, 6-0 JR PG/SG Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Wheelwright is just starting to make the transition to being a point guard and it will no doubt take him some time before he's comfortable at that position. While he's only 6-0, he has a 6-8 wingspan. Wheelwright is a terrific shooter, with very good athleticism and body control. He's a good passer, but he's much more comfortable dishing the ball in transition than he is in a half-court set. He needs to work on his handle and that will no doubt improve in the next two years. But the main thing he needs is experience playing the one and that will only come with time. I expect he'll have some struggles in the next year or so as he makes the adjustment to playing the one. But he has the tools to play at that spot and I think it's just a matter of time before he becomes one of the top point guards in the class.

Angelo Chol, 6-7 JR PF/C San Diego (Calif.) Hoover. Chol has made steady progress in the last couple years, looking a little better each time I see him play. He's now able to score with either hand around the basket and his left-hand jump hook is a real weapon. Chol has a terrific basketball body, with a frame that will easily add more weight. He has very good feet and hands, with good quickness and leaping ability. You can tell he's received good coaching as he makes good decisions and shows a solid feel for the game. He plays bigger than 6-7 and he's a good defender/rebounder. He's one of the top post prospects in the 2011 class.

\ Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-2 JR PG Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Dinwiddie is a prospect that is just coming into his own. He only weighs 155 pounds and his body has just started to mature. He's got the long and slender frame we look for in a prospect – lot of upside to that body. He's a true point, with an excellent feel for the game and terrific passing ability. He's an accurate shooter to the stripe, but his release is a bit low at this time. That will change as he gains strength. And, really, that's the biggest issue with Dinwiddie – strength. Most of the problems he has on the court have to do with strength and weight. When he matures physically, he has a chance to be one of the elite point guards in 2011.

Kevin Bailey, 6-4 JR SF Clovis (Calif.) Clovis East. Bailey has the prototype wing body, with length, good muscle tone and a solid frame. He's an explosive athlete and very effective when slashing to the rim. His outside shot is a bit funky, but he makes enough of them that you can see him becoming an adequate shooter. And he has a chance to be a big-time defender. He needs experience, and some coaching, but Bailey has a high upside.

Byron Wesley, 6-4 JR SF San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon. Wesley doesn't have the prototype wing body, but he has a high skill level, a strong body and the ability to score from multiple spots on the court. Wesley is very effective when he gets inside of 15 feet and can use his strength and nice mid-range touch. He can shoot it fairly well to the three-point line and should ultimately be a good shooter from that distance. He does have the kind of body where he'll need to be conscious of his weight and maintain his ability to defend quicker players on the perimeter. But he has a very good feel and a multi-dimensional game.

2012

Xavier Johnson, 6-5 SO SF Temecula Valley (Calif.) Chaparral. One of the top sophomore prospects I've seen in the last ten years, Johnson has the whole package as a prospect. Great basketball body, length, quickness, body control, leaping ability, skill level (on the perimeter and in the paint), feel for the game, competitiveness, unselfishness (great passer)…he is the real deal. He projects as a three right now, but it's possible he'll grow a bit more and turn into a four. Whatever position he plays, though, Johnson projects as an elite player. He and Shabazz Muhammad, 6-4 SO SG Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman (who was at the UCLA camp, but didn't participate), are the two best prospects in the west regardless of class.

Robert Upshaw, 6-10 SO C Fresno (Calif.) Edison. A big young post, Upshaw has huge feet and the kind of body that suggests he may get bigger still. He's still growing into that body, and therefore a bit awkward at times, but he's going to be terrific down the line. More skilled than you might think, with a nice feel for the game, and a huge upside. With continued development, one of the top center prospects in the country for 2012.

Sam Beeler, 6-9 SO C San Diego (Calif.) Poway. Beeler turned some heads at camp with his skill level. He's a bit narrow through the shoulders, but otherwise has a solid body and he's a decent athlete. But his skill level and feel for the game are advanced for a young post. He's another high level 2012 post prospect.

Grant Jerret, 6-7 SO PF/C La Verne (Calif.) La Verne Lutheran. Another very promising young post, Jerret has terrific feet and surprising quickness for a kid still growing into his body. Frame is fine and he should fill out nicely in the coming years. One of the top posts in the west for 2012.

2013

Eric Cooper, JR FR PG La Verne (Calif.) La Verne Lutheran. One of the best incoming 9th grade prospects I've seen in the last ten years, Cooper has a chance to be special. Great basketball body, long and slender, with very good body control. He has an advanced feel and skill level for such a young kid. The early leader for top 2013 prospect in the west.

Chance Murray, 6-0 FR PG Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. Another young one who looks like he could be very good someday. Terrific stroke for such a young kid, with a body that projects well down the line.


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