Herb Pope - Probably the best player on the court during
his first session game; pretty impressive considering that he was sharing that
court with 2006's #9 player, Paul Harris. Pope is an athletic and quick forward
who did most of his scoring around the rim on put backs and the like. He did
have a couple of decent post moves that led to scores and he was an active
defender blocking shots and stealing the basketball. He's a top 15 prospect in
the class of 2007 and he has offered an early commitment to
Paul Harris - Harris got off to a slow start and was outplayed by Pope in his first session game. In the evening game, Harris was matched up against 6'5", 190 pound Devan Bawinkel – I would be surprised if Bawinkel didn't have nightmares about Harris. Harris went over, around and through Bawinkel at every opportunity. Harris is a monster of a guard – he's 6'4" and looks to be about 230 pounds of muscle. Though not a burner, he has an excellent first step and is a terrific ball-handler – his strength makes him a pure mismatch for most guards assigned to check him and his first step is likely more than most forwards will be able to defend.
Corey Stokes - Stokes had a very nice first day of camp.
In his early game, he scored 23 points on 9-15 shooting with several long
threes. In the evening, he handily outplayed top 20 Earl Clark.
OJ Mayo - Mayo gave a list of schools after the early
session – both UConn and
In the evening session, he was matched up against Lance Stephenson, a
rising freshman phenom from
Bill Walker- Walker is Mayo's high school running mate and they're teamed up here as well. Basically, this camp looks designed to get Mayo's team into a final game against Greg Oden. Both teams are simply loaded.
Alex Stepheson - Stephenson is listing UConn as one of his possible destinations. Stepheson is a good looking forward prospect. He was almost killed by Greg Oden when Oden dunked a ball that caromed off of his head after going through the rim – Stepheson came right back at Oden on the next trip and drew a foul when he returned the favor and tried to dunk on Oden. He's competitive and he did a sound job of defending Oden on several occasions.
Greg Oden - Is he the number one player in the class of
2006? Maybe, but he definitely has a few flaws. There is no questioning his
ability on defense – he is a superior defensive player and he has the ability to
erase drives to the basket with Okafor-like ease.
Where he's lacking is on offense. He's not comfortable receiving the ball without a clear path to the basket. His post moves are raw and he seems reluctant to use them – if he receives the ball a couple of feet outside his comfort zone or if he senses that the defender has good position, he'll likely opt to pass the ball back out. He has time, but it's clearly an area where he has to become more comfortable with his ability.
Brandon Jennings -
Odds and ends
Coaches in attendance – Bill Self, Louis Orr, Rick
Chasing Sonny - For some reason, Reebok opted to put the media check in station outside. Whoever manned the station decided that sitting outside in a monsoon was not in her job description so she left. I went inside to ask where I could check in and was told by two cheerful women that I could check in upstairs. There was no one upstairs so, frustrated, I went in search of anyone bearing a Reebok shirt to help.
The first guy I found was Sonny Vaccaro. He interrupted an interview he was doing and took off like a bat out of hell looking for my credential.
I had the experience of trying to keep up with Vaccaro as he zipped
It's gotta be the shoes.