Adidas Superstar Camp Recap
SUWANEE, Ga. – Injuries plagued the inaugural adidas Superstar Camp last week, as two blue-chip recruits from the Class of 2005 missed significant chunks of the five-day event with bum legs.
Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) power forward Brandon Costner hyperextend his right knee in the second half of Saturday's morning session and sat out an entire game and part of another with ice on his knee. And on Friday, Roosevelt High (Wash.) shooting guard Marcus Williams pulled a hamstring, forcing him to sit out the rest of his team's games.
Both Costner and Williams attempted to play in the senior all-star game on Saturday, but with varying degrees of success. Costner, a dangerous 6-foot-9 scorer, was in obvious pain but managed to score 10 points on a variety of post-up moves, mid-range jumpers and fierce dunks. The 6-foot-7 Williams, on the other hand, struggled in limited action and failed to score.
"It's disappointing," Costner said of his injury. "But it's not that big of a deal. There's always other opportunities."
Costner's output was good for second best on the Red team, behind Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) point guard Greg Paulus, who rounded out a solid adidas performance by earning co-MVP honors of the senior all-star game by recording 12 points, five assists and four steals. The 6-foot-2 Duke recruit is a heady floor general who always looks to pass first but can hit from the outside when open.
Giles County High (Tenn.) senior Tyler Smith was also named co-MVP after dropping 16 points and grabbing three rebounds in the all-star game. Smith, a 6-foot-7 small forward who is considering Tennessee, Kansas, North Carolina and Florida, pulled off many highlight-reel dunks and also hit a handful of outside shots to prove his versatility. He had a strong camp overall and was one of the most explosive players in attendance.
"I've been working on my shot a lot because that's where I need improvement," he said. "Still, I'm more of a slasher. I like finishing at the basket."
In the underclass all-star game, Niagara Falls High (N.Y.) junior shooting guard Paul Harris and San Joaquin High (Calif.) junior power forward Robin Lopez earned co-MVP honors after scoring 13 and seven points, respectively.
But two lesser-known point guards were the stories of the underclass game.
Paramus Catholic High (N.J.) junior point guard Luis Guzman emphatically arrived on the national scene after a stellar camp, during which he scored 11 points and dished out two assists on alley-oops in the all-star game alone. Throughout the camp, Guzman showed a penchant to pass first and shoot second. When he shot, he rarely missed and showed tremendous range.
"The camp was an amazing part of my success," said Guzman, who is looking at Wake Forest, Florida, Florida State, Virginia, Seton Hall and Rutgers. "I didn't get a chance to play in front of everybody until now."
Rufus King High (Wis.) incoming freshman Korie Lucious concluded his coming-out party with an exclamation mark in the all-star game. The 5-foot-10 point guard threw down a one-handed, put-back dunk late in the first half of the all-star game to elicit the loudest crowd reaction of the entire camp.
"I didn't even know I could get up that high," said Lucious, who hasn't even thought about what college he wants to attend.
The dunk wasn't the only highlight from Lucious during the camp. The heady point guard, who hasn't played a minute of varsity basketball yet, was so dazzling with his ball-handling skills and deadly with his jumper that he often overshadowed teammate Mario Chalmers, a senior point guard out of Bartlett High (Alaska).
Not that Chalmers had a poor camp. The 6-foot-2 Kansas recruit showed why he's considered one of the best point guards in the Class of 2005. Chalmers didn't score much but effectively ran his team, setting up teammates for easy shots and playing tough defense on opposing guards. Coming into the camp, the only knock on Chalmers was that he shoots too much, but during the camp he quieted critics by taking few shots and looking to pass first.
Other adidas Superstar Camp standouts:
Yi Li (Class of 2005): You won't be seeing Li play college ball anytime soon, but not for a lack of talent. Li, who was one of six players chosen to attend last week's camp from May's adidas Superstar Camp Asia, was one of the top swingmen but more than likely will be prohibited by the Chinese government to play college basketball in the U.S. The versatile 6-foot-7 forward, who was one of the camp's leading scorers, is extremely athletic and has a high basketball IQ. He has good range on his jumper and is tough near the hoop. Expect to see him play for the Chinese national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Zhi Luo (Class of 2006): Luo, who was named MVP of the Asian camp, wasn't quite as impressive as Li but held his own despite injuring his left hand early on in the camp. Luo is an extremely quick 6-foot-3 shooting guard who has the handles of a point guard and can penetrate to the inside or kill opponents from the outside with his deadly shot. At the Asian camp, he beat Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas to 11 in a game of 1-on-1. Luo also looks to play for China in the 2008 Olympics.
Rashad Woods (Class of 2005): Woods, a physical 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Heritage Christian Academy (Texas), is a cross between Michael Redd and Ron Artest. Woods has a deadly shot but keeps defenders honest with his quick first step and ability to finish. Defensively, he uses his NBA-ready body to pound smaller guards and keep them away from the basket. He led the camp in scoring but admits he needs to work on offensive consistency.
Gary Flowers (Class of 2005): The 6-foot-8 Lincoln High (Texas) forward was impressive on both ends of the floor all camp long. On offense, he mostly played close to the hoop, scoring on put-backs and dunks. He also showed his range by dropping several 3-pointers and hitting mid-range jumpers. On defense, his long arms made it hard for anybody to score on him. He was one of the camp's top rebounders.
Mike Beasley (Class of 2008): Beasley, a 6-foot-9 power forward, made the case that he's the top recruit in his class. Several NBA scouts attended the camp to get a glimpse of the IMG Academy (Fla.) talent, whose offensive game is extremely fluid. Beasley is equally effective at posting up smaller players as he is at hitting from the outside. He can score in bunches, but at times looks timid against older players. In time he could develop into a legitimate preps-to-pros talent.
Nyan Boateng (Class of 2005): Overshadowed by Sebastian Telfair for the duration of his high school career thus far, Boateng proved that Lincoln High (N.Y.) wasn't a one-man show last year. The 6-foot-3 combo guard, who is also one of the nation's top wide receivers, was the most explosive player in the entire camp. He spent most of the camp above the rim, dunking over anyone who got in his way. He also has tremendous range on his jumper and was able to hit from the outside once teams starting blocking the lane. He was among the camp's leading scorers.