Nike Camp Notebook: Day 1
Total 2005 Summer Hoop Camp coverage
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Looking down the roster at the Nike All-America camp, one number jumps out: 2009. As in the year Putnam City's Xavier Henry will graduate from high school.
In a camp filled with star seniors, juniors and sophomores, Henry stands alone as the only incoming freshman at the camp. Henry, who just turned 14 in March, doesn't look like a normal ninth-grader. He already stands 6-6 and has the body to bang with almost any elite high school player.
But just by watching Henry on the court, there's no way you'd know he was only 14. He scored inside and out, hitting jumpers and putbacks. He even led a fast break and set up an easy layup attempt with a perfect no-look bounce pass. In total, it was a game a lot of seniors would have liked to have.
None of this surprises Henry, who knew he could compete with the top high school players in the country, regardless of his age.
"I'm not intimidated at all," Henry said before stepping on the court for the first time on Wednesday. "As soon as I got here, I knew I'd be fine with these guys."
Henry certainly has the bloodlines to succeed. His father, Carl Henry was a standout baller at Kansas and spent a short time with the Sacramento Kings. His older brother, C.J., was a basketball and baseball star at Putnam City and was a first-round pick of the New York Yankees.
So when Xavier got their approval to show his stuff at the Nike camp, he knew he was ready. And his performance on the first day proves that.
Henry laughed when asked if he was tired of killing eighth-graders, but said, "there's always room for some competition."
And that's something he's sure to get this week.
Spencer Hawes, a 6-11, 215 pound star senior from Seattle Prep, had an impressive first day at camp.
While All-Star games are often guard-oriented and don't favor traditional, back-to-the-basket centers, Hawes showed a variety of impressive low post moves and some versatility on the perimeter.
He scored on drop steps and up-and-unders, showing a refined interior game not often seen in players his age. Hawes, who is the nephew of former NBA player Steve Hawes, also contributed heavily on the defensive end. He blocked several shots that resulted in easy layups for his teammates.
Perhaps his most impressive play, however, came on the perimeter. On defense, Hawes stole the ball from Rice star Curtis Kelly, then used a crossover around midcourt to shake a defender and draw a foul on a layup.
While Hawes was controlling things inside the paint, McDonough senior DaJuan Summers was dominating outside.
The Georgetown-bound Summers hit four 3-pointers in a losing cause, showcasing the versatile game that should have Hoyas' fans excited.
The most impressive part of Summers' performance? He's a 6-7, 239-pound power forward, who looks like he should be bruising bodies down low. And while Summers wasn't shying away from contact, what sets him apart is his sweet shooting stroke.
Patrick Christopher, a senior shooting guard from Mayfair High had an electrifying debut.
The 6-4, 192 pounder hit three 3-pointers and scored on several putbacks, including a thunderous dunk. While his offensive game deserves plenty of attention, it was Christopher's intensity on the offensive glass that truly stood out.
He routinely went into the paint against taller and heavier opponents and came out with the ball, and usually, the bucket.
Christopher's performance helped his team earn a 91-75 win.