Archive for the ‘ basketball news ’ Category

Southeastern Challenge 2014

By James Blackburn

I had the opportunity to scout the SAG Sports Southeastern Challenge in Greensboro, NC over the weekend. The event was held at the Greensboro Sportsplex and attracted some of the top Prep Schools and Junior Colleges in the southeast. Multiple college coaches from D1, D2, and NAIA programs were there to scout the talent on hand. With over 30 teams in attendance and with 8 courts running at a time it was nearly impossible to see every team and player play. Here are some of the top players and prospects I had a chance to scout yesterday.

Brunswick Community College

Najee Pritchett (F, 6’3″, SO)
Strong and athletic player who plays with a high motor. Is a tremendous rebounder who throws on target outlet passes.

Eric Crawford (PG, 5’9″, FR)
Excellent ball handler who played the back up PG role for team. One of the quickest players baseline to baseline at the event. Solid playmaker who can score at the rim.

Kevin Rowell (F/C, 6’8″, SO)
A top 3 player in attendance in my opinion. Kid is MM+ with his combination of size, strength, and agility. Runs the floor very well and plays with a ton of energy. Brings in on both ends and defends inside and on the perimeter. Excellent back to the basket game with solid footwork. Utilizes the up and under move and pump fake well. Has a good feel for the game and is an underrated passer.

Cortel Busby (PG, 6’2″, SO)
Aggressive and strong guard who ran the team- tough. Can finish through contact. Solid help defender as well.

Taylor Buffkin (G, 6’2″, SO)
Athletic guard who is a good passer. Aggressive slasher.

Combine Academy

Jure Span (PG, 6’4″)
One of my favorite players I saw on the day and a top 5 player over all. Span who is from Slovenia, is as crafty as they come. Makes great decisions out of the P/R and was able to use solid change of pace dribbling to get to the basket. Lefty who can knock down the open perimeter jumper as well. Ball pressure doesn’t phase him and he always has his eyes up seeing the floor. Smooth PG who was the best passer at the event. Holds a couple of LM majors, but is a LM+/MM- player.

Jan Novak (G, 6’4″)
Jan, who also is from Slovenia, played solid all day. Does the little things that help the team win. Is athletic and guards people. Attacks the rim and plays hard. Would be a solid D2 player.

Billy Biyombo (F, 6’4″)
The younger brother of Charlotte Hornets forward Bismack Biyombo, Billy was all over the boards today. Plays with good energy and is a solid athlete.

Davidson County CC

Oshon West (G/F, 6’4″, SO)

Is a junkyard dog in the paint. Very strong player who doesnt really have a natural position but is a versatile player who plays bigger than he is. Rebounds the ball and is a solid inside/outside threat. Can hit the 3 when open, but needs to improve consistency. D2 and LM players should track him this season.

Faith Assembly Christian Academy

Jordan Riley (F, 6’7″, FR)

Big bodied forward who knows how to battle inside. Good rebounder who has potential.

Louisburg College

Raekwon Harney (PG, 5’11”, SO)

The D1 transfer did a great job of running the team and getting teammates involved. Tremendous ball handler and on-ball defender.

Keyshaun Williams (F, 6’7″, FR)

Williams is long and athletic and runs the floor well. Needs to get stronger with the ball but has good upside.

Jamarcus Hairston (F, 6’7″, FR)

Is a strong 4 man who is solid 12′ and in. Good rebounder who would be a good fit at some D2 programs.

Moravian Prep

Ricky Council II (G, 6’4″)

Arguably the most talented player in the gym, Council did it all today. He was on fire from beyond the arc and showcased deep range. Rebounded the ball and showed he was unselfish getting his teammates involved. Tremendous athlete who can finish above the rim with ease. HM player.

Isaac Thomas (F, 6’7″)

Mobile and fundamental big man who rebounds the ball on both ends and plays with 100% effort. Keeps the ball high after rebounds and showcased a nice hook shot. D2 should be all over him.

Pa Pa Ndiaye (C, 7’0″)

Long and mobile big man who is still raw but has potential. Had a big finish above the rim at the end of one game and showed glimpses of what he can become with some work.

Spartanburg Methodist College

Nate Motley (PG, 6’0″, SO)

Motely game stood out even amongst a loaded roster. He is super fast with the ball in his hands and can get to the rim at well. Has a tendency to get out of control at times. Competes and plays with a high motor. Has deep range on his shot and can score in bunches.

Jeremy Summers (F, 6’4″, SO)

Plays much bigger than 6’4″. Is long, scrappy, and athletic. Has a high motor and rebounds the ball with the best of them.

Warren Vinson (PG, 5’11”, FR)

Poised PG who can score with contact. Good shooter from 3. Showcased some nifty footwork on the break.

New Hope Christian Academy

Benjamin Pittman (PG, 5’11”, JR)

Pittman showcased his unbelievable speed and was at his best in transition. Super quick crossover dribble move. Really competes on the court.

Shooting 4 Greatness Academy

Chan William-Bey (G, 6’6″)

The super athletic wing from Hartford, CT was one of my favorite players to watch in the tournament. He is a solid defender who uses his wingspan to get deflections. Can handle the ball well and attacks the rim. Has good grades and schools at NAIA, D2, and D1 schools should monitor.

Thomasville Prep

Lukas Ganas (PG, 6’1″)

Absolutely loved his will to win and his competitiveness. Was the most vocal player in the gym today and was a leader on the floor. Floor general who is tough and looks to get others involved. Attacks the rim and defends the ball as good as anyone. Depending on what year he is in school, I would label him as a LM target.

Fayetteville Flight

The Fayetteville Flight of the ABA have announced their 2014-15 roster. This year the Flight will be playing in the larger Crown Arena in Fayetteville, NC.

“We are so excited about the players we have signed to our team,” said Mike Dixon, Flight’s CEO. “I believe we have the makings of a championship squad. Coach Alonzo Lunsford has assembled an incredible group of young men who will impress fans on and off the court.”

The roster includes:
1. Bruce Brown – Hampton University
2. Billy McDade – Methodist University
3. Jeff Early – Southern Illinois State
4. McKinley Bethea – SW Oklahoma State
5. Frank Young – Elizabeth City State
6. Vincent Parnell – Marlboro High School/FIBA
7. Cornell Holmes – Brunswick Community College
8. Vincent Jones Jr. – South Robeson High
9. Jesse Mitchell – Fort Bragg
10. Will Mcrae – St. Pauls High School
11. David Early – Rockbridge County
12. Jason Norman – Bluefield State
13. Jade Belt – Frostburg College
14. Dane Williams – Trinity
15. Pat Lewis – Cape Fear CC
16. Brandon Andrews – Elizabeth City
17. Keith Isbell – Lakeview High School
18. Tremaine Roberts – Elizabeth City

For more information, visit www.fayettevilleflight.org.

Anta Basketball Shoes NBA Partnership

Chinese sportswear company Anta has reached an agreement with the NBA to become an official marketing and merchandising partner of its NBA China division.

Under the wide-ranging deal, Anta will launch a line of co-branded NBA league and team footwear and accessories across its network of more than 2,000 Chinese stores and online retailers Tmall and JingDong.

Additionally, Anta will collaborate with NBA China at a number of official events designed to boost the profile of basketball in the country including NBA Nation, NBA All-Star Balloting, and the title-sponsored Anta Power Is Priceless Intramural League.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: “The NBA and Anta share a common goal to grow the game of basketball and inspire a healthy, active lifestyle. This partnership will provide our fans in China with NBA branded footwear and accessories and more ways to connect with their favourite teams.”

More than 300 million people are said to play basketball in China, making it the most popular team sport in the country.

Anta Sports chairman and chief executive Ding Shizhong added: “This partnership will give us a chance to elevate our brand awareness and increase consumer confidence in the competitive athletic footwear market. We will also be able to fully utilise our extensive experience to accelerate the growth of basketball throughout China.”

Terms of the deal between Anta and the NBA were not disclosed.

ESPNU College Basketball Coverage

Five Specials; Live from American, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC Media Days; Three-Hour ACC and American Program

ESPNU will cover six college basketball conferences’ media days, over the course of two weeks and five specials, in advance of the upcoming 2014-15 season. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special programs will begin with four one-hour episodes (3 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET) around the Big 12 (October 15), Big Ten (October 16), SEC (October 22) and Pac-12 (October 23).  ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special will expand to three hours (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.) when it hosts the ACC coaches and players at the ESPNU studios in Charlotte, N.C. and covers the American media day (October 29).

ESPN college basketball analysts will be on-location as the conferences hold their annual tip-off events, providing interviews and insight for each ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special.  Fran Fraschilla and Miles Simon will travel to Kansas City (Big 12), Seth Greenberg and Jeff Goodman will be in Chicago (Big Ten), Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams will report from San Francisco (Pac-12), and Tim Welsh will head to New York City (American).  Coverage from Charlotte (SEC) will include hosting men’s coaches and student-athletes from all 14 schools in-studio, with select content during ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special and more expansive programming on SEC Network.

Andy Katz (Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12) and Brendan Fitzgerald (Big 12) will anchor the studio coverage.

The three-hour ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special will include analysts Shane Battier, Jay Bilas, Greenberg and Jay Williams in-studio with Welsh reporting from the American media day.  Matt Schick, Cory Alexander and Dino Gaudio will also be in-studio.  Highlights include:

  • Deep Discussion: Bilas will hold a roundtable with ACC head coaches
  • Insight: Interviews with various head coaches
  • On the Court:  ACC student-athletes will join former players turned ESPN analysts Battier and Williams on the court
  • Coaches Clicker: ACC head coaches will watch and break down game film with Greenberg and Gaudio providing an insight into the X’s and O’s of the game
  • Live from New York City: Welsh provides reports and interviews from the American Conference media day

 

ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special Plans:

Date Time (ET) Conference Special Conference and Commentators
Wed, Oct 15 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (Big 12)  Studio: Brendan Fitzgerald & Dino Gaudio
From Kansas City:
 Fran Fraschilla & Miles Simon
Thu, Oct 16 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (Big Ten)  Studio: Andy Katz & Dino Gaudio
From Chicago: Seth Greenberg & Jeff Goodman
Wed, Oct 22 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (SEC)  Studio: Andy Katz & Dino Gaudio
From Charlotte: Jay Bilas, Sean Farnham, Darrin Horn & Kara Lawson
Thu, Oct 23 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (Pac-12)  Studio: Andy Katz & Dino Gaudio
From San Francisco: Roxy Bernstein & Corey Williams
Wed, Oct 29 1 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (ACC & American)  Studio:  Matt Schick, Dino Gaudio & Cory Alexander, along with Jay Bilas, Shane Battier, Seth Greenberg & Jay Williams
From New York City: Tim Welsh

 

John Calipari Press Conference

SEC Network, the 24/7 network devoted to the Southeastern Conference and operated by ESPN, will tipoff the men’s and women’s basketball season with coaches and players live from the network’s studios in Charlotte, N.C. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, and Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The network’s previews begin with every women’s head basketball coach and select student-athletes from all 14 SEC teams appearing in-studio on October 21 and coverage airing during SEC Now, 7-9 p.m. ET. The following day, every men’s head basketball coach and select student-athletes from each team will visit the studios. Coverage of the men’s visit will air on October 22 during SEC Now, 9-11 p.m. ESPNU will also cover the men’s coaches visit to the Charlotte studios during their ESPNU Media Days Special from 3-4 p.m.

This will mark the first time SEC basketball coaches have visited the SEC Network studios. Footage and interviews from two days will be used throughout the basketball season in addition to the previews and interviews airing in SEC Now. Highlights include:

· Coaches Roundtable: SEC coaches discuss the state of college basketball and the season ahead with analyst Jay Bilas (men’s roundtable) and Maria Taylor (women’s roundtable)
· Previews: coaches and select-student athletes sit down to discuss their upcoming season
· On the Court: SEC student-athletes join ESPN and SEC Network analysts on the basketball court to demonstrate technique
· Coaches Clicker: SEC head coaches break down game film, providing insight into the X’s and O’s of the game.

SEC Network will carry more than 70 women’s basketball games and 118 men’s games this season. The network will also nationally televise the First Rounds, Second Rounds and Quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch August 14, 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will carry SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include in-depth commentary and analysis in studio shows, daily news and information, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, and more. AT&T U-verse® TV, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, DISH, Google Fiber, LUS Fiber, Mediacom, PTC Communications, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, Wilkes Telephone, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC and will carry the television network nationwide at launch. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively as SEC Network+ events on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com through authenticated access from AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Suddenlink, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC.

By James Blackburn

Basketball Elite was able get out to the Phenom Hoops event in Greensboro to scout the Phenom 150 Showcase. Rick Lewis and Jamie Shaw did a great job once again of bringing in some of the areas top talent to play in front of scouts and numerous college coaches. Here are the players who stood out to me divided up by class.

2015

John Brewer (Caldwell Academy, 6’4″, SF/PF)

John seems to improve every time I have seen him. Normally plays the undersized PF role but today played on the perimeter a decent bit and showcase the ability to put the ball on the floor and a nice euro step in transition. Draws contact at a high rate and is a good rebounder. Has a go-to spin turn around jumper move in the post. Solid inside/outside threat who D3 colleges should be on heavily.

Ben Ferguson (Southwest Guilford, 6’5″, SG/SF)

Ben was one of the few players today that I saw and heard communicating on the floor. Lights out 3 point shooter who has a low release but deep range. Crashed the offensive boards and has good size for his position. Needs to improve his lateral quickness but is a player who can play at the next level.

Jordan Harris (Caldwell Academy, 6’0″, G)

Jordan does a lot of the little things during the game that often go un-noticed. Strong slasher.

Ben Ferguson (Southwest Guilford, 6’5″, SG/SF)

Ben really played well today at the event and was one of the few players that I saw and heard communicating on the floor. Lights out 3 point shooter who has a low release but deep range. Crashes the offensive boards. Needs to improve his lateral quickness but is a player that will play at the next level.

Drew Cone (East Forsyth, 5’7″, PG)

Drew didn’t try to do too much today and was solid throughout the day. Was a floor general on the court and knocked down numerous 3 pointers. Drew has been receiving interest from multiple D3 and D2 schools as of late.

Samuel Arnold (Home School, 6’7″, F)

Sam did some good things today in the limited time I saw him play. He has good length and can shoot the ball well from deep.

Brenton Davis (Victory Christian, 6’3″, PG)

Brenton was unstoppable today in the game I saw. He plays with great poise and pace. Solid change of speed guard who can get to the paint at will and finish with contact. Excellent ball handler and on-ball defender. Goes off of 2 feet when he attacks the rim and has a crafty spin move. Tough guard who D2 schools should be all over.

2016

Riley Jones (Lake Norman, 6’10”, C)

Riley showed the ability to get solid post position and good patience once he received the ball. Strong bodied player who has some good footwork not usually seen from a player his age. Needs to improve quickness and ability to create space with his moves.

Omar Petty (Kings Mountain, 6’4″, F)

Strong and decent athlete who is willing to play in the post. Rebounds the ball with 2 hands. Has potential.

Jalen Johnson (Wesleyan, 6’5″, SF)

Arguably the best athlete I saw today, Johnson had numerous above the rim finishes. His game is not limited to his athleticism however as he is a knockdown shooter from deep. The lefty plays both ends of the floor and showcased terrific timing to block shot after shot. Has good length and can handle the ball pretty well. Both mid major and a few high majors should be tracking.

Greyson Kelly (North Raleigh Christian, 6’2″, G)

Greyson plays the game as hard as anyone. He is consistent from both the 3 point line and from mid-range and attacks the rim hard. Aggressive and strong, Kelly is a player who should see some D2 interest come his way if he hasn’t already.

Ebuka Izunda (Victory Christian, 6’10”, C)

Izunda rebounded the ball well and had several terrific outlet passes. Looked solid around the basket keeping the ball high and and finishing with 2 hands. Better defensive player at this stage than on offense. Still needs to work on his hands and a go-to move but is projecting to be a MM+ player at this point.

Osinachi Smart (New Garden Friends, 6’8″, C)

Terrific rebounder who plays with a high motor and really hustles on both ends. A little raw offensively but can and will improve here. Works hard to post up and also sets ball screens. Has a team first attitude despite the fact he didn’t get the ball at lot. Had several big time 2 hand finishes above the rim and I thought he was one of the best bigs in attendance today.

2017

Brendan Newton (Faith Christian School, 7’2″, C)

Standing 7′ plus Newton was the tallest player in attendance. He is long and lanky but has big upside. He keeps the ball high and runs the floor well. He did a good job of blocking or contesting a number of shots, but can’t disappear from the game. He will need to add strength and a go-to post move but is projecting as at least a MM player.

Douglas Elks (Ravenscroft, 6’3″, G)

Elks had a great showing today at camp. Has a good looking jump shot and showed he could play both on and off the ball. Unselfish passer and play-maker. Crashed the boards. Good basketball IQ.

Jordan Perkins (Greensboro Day, 5’11”, PG)

Tremendous ball handler who has the ball on a string. Over-dribbles at times but has a solid pull up game.

JP Moorman (Greensboro Day, 6’6″, G/F)

JP was one of the most versatile players I saw on the day and his play really impressed me. He did it all for his team and ran PG for most of the time on the floor. Solid court vision and is unselfish. Strong player who can finish inside. Defended and showed he could knock down open shots. Made some good reads and handled the ball well. One of the top five players I saw today and is going to have multiple college choices when its all said and done.

Blake Harris (Carlisle School, 6’3″, PG)

Plays at a great pace. Solid lead guard who made great reads and has good floor vision. One of if not the best PG I saw on the day. Solid rebounder who has good size and length for position. Stayed in front of the ball and hit some open shots. Made a few passes tough by trying to make the highlight but is a D1 guard.

2018

Tripp Greene (Forsyth Country Day, 6’0″, G)

Tripp played well in the opening game today I saw. He is always solid and is unselfish on the floor. Lights out set shooter from deep. Can play either guard position.

Nick Brown (Caldwell Academy, 5’10”, PG)

Nick played very well in game 1 at the camp and hit numerous 3’s. High IQ player who will continue to improve as he gets stronger.

KJ Henry (Forsyth Country Day, 6’5″, F)

Versatile and athletic forward who can put the ball on the floor and face the basket. Multi-sport athlete who looked a little out of rhythm today, partly because he has been playing football heavily this season. Tough player who will has potential.

John Newman III (Greensboro Day, 6’4″, F)

Confident player who really gets after it. Solid shot blocker. Unselfish player who doesn’t play outside his limitations. Understands the game on both ends and can handle the ball. I liked his on-court attitude as well.

Blan Hodges (Alexander Central, 5’11”, G)

Blan knocked down set 3 after set 3 today and showed he was not afraid to mix it up with players who were older and bigger. Plays with good confidence.

Triad Blue Chip Fall League

By James Blackburn

I was able to attend the Triad Blue Chip Basketball Fall League on Saturday, played at Summit School in Winston-Salem. Here are some of the top performers I saw in each game of the HS division.

Game 1

R.J. Reynolds HS defeats East Forsyth HS

Reynolds HS

Akia Pruitt,2016, F
I really like Akia game. He is active and long and is the best shot blocker in the league. He is athletic and has a quick 2nd jump. A terrific rebounder on both ends, Pruitt may lead the league in tip-ins. Runs the floor well. Pruitt needs to continue to add strength and work on his shooting. D2/LM schools should check him out this season.

Mike Hinton, 2015, F
Mike had a game high 20 points and was dominating all game inside the paint. Communicates on the floor and is not afraid to demand the ball in the post. A Tight end and Defensive end on the football team as well, Hinton is one of the strongest players in the league. Draws contact at a high rate but needs to improve finishing ability. I like his footwork and intangibles. D3 schools should show interest.

Samuel Bryant , 2015, C
Excellent basketball IQ and was not afraid to go to the middle of the floor against the zone where he excells as a high/low passer.Has good length. Needs to continue to develop a go-to move.

East Forsyth

Kaavione Gaskin, 2015, G
Athletic and aggressive lefty who is crafty as well. I was really impressed with his play making ability today too.

Drew Cone, 2015, PG
Drew Cone was the best player on the floor today. He had a team-high 19 points and kept his team in it. You cant leave him open for any 3’s as he is a knock down shooter both with feet set and off the dribble. He is smart and doesnt use pick up his dribble until he has something.

Calvary Baptist beats Caldwell Academy (OT)

Caldwell Academy

John Brewer,2015, F

Brewer is a terrific rebounder who has the ability to push the ball up the court in transition after rebounding the ball. Has a solid drop step and is able to score with contact. Gets to the FT line at a high rate. Strong and tough. Is a leader on the floor and communicates. Is a player who can play at the next level.

Nic Brown, 2018, G
Quick guard who can get to paint. Solid on-ball defender. Has a solid runner in the paint.

Jordan Harris,2015, G
Strong slasher who can beat his man one on one. Defends and plays the passing lanes. Can score in transition and can play either guard position.

Calvary Baptist

Christian Adams, G, 2015
Athletic slasher who can finish with contact in the paint. Terrific on-ball defender.

Cecil Moore, G, 2015
Cecil has really developed his 3 pt shooting and you cant leave him open anymore. Has an excellent double-crossover move.

Reagan defeated West Forsyth but I was only able to see the last few minutes of the game.

Triad Blue Chip Fall League

By Marcus Shockley

This season’s Triad Blue Chip Fall League is in it’s third year and is a great way for varsity and JV high school players to get some early season court time, and playing against solid competition. Here are my notes from the second week of action.

Peter Parkitny (PF, 6’10”, 2015) Calvary Baptist (NC) Parkitny recently arrived in the U.S. and shows a lot of promise playing as a stretch 4. He has a fluid attack and good timing off of the bounce; excellent court awareness and runs the floor at all times. Still adapting to the U.S. post game and will continue to improve as he adds strength and works on his overall post footwork. However, his game being more of a SF/PF now shows he has a lot of agility and potential. I expect colleges to get involved quickly with this new prospect.

Cecil Moore (PG, 5’10”, 2015) Calvary Baptist (NC) Moore continues to show excellent quickness on both ends of the floor, has added strength and has an excellent handle. Looking more for his shot now and has a good release on the perimeter.

Christian Adams (CG, 6’4″, 2015) Calvary Baptist (NC) Adams has great size for the guard spot and should be considered a versatile wing player; he can effectively run the offense and works hard defensively. Plays through contact and has a high motor.

Justin McCluney (CG, 5’10”, 2017) Ronald Reagan HS (NC) Quick first step and a high octane player with the ball in his hands. Puts a lot of pressure on the defense, showing craftiness with his ability to beat his defender off of the dribble and uses an array of moves to finish under the basket. Quick enough to defend top guards and will continue to improve with experience.

Cooper Larue (SG, 6’3″, 2017) Ronald Reagan HS (NC) Fluid wing with an explosive ability to get into the paint and a nice looking deep shot. Definitely has a step on most defenders.

John Kerr (C, 6’9″, 2017) East Forsyth HS (NC) Good footwork and hands from a pure post player. Already has good understanding of how to play the post and has some strength; he should become a force in the paint as he continues to add muscle. Likes to post up and play back to the basket. Hard worker.

Akai Pruitt (SF, 6’6″, 2016) RJ Reynolds HS (NC) Excellent length and size; definitely a wing player who has good poise in transition. Excellent timing, got several blocks and makes an impact on both ends.

Austin Rose (SG, 6’3″, 2015) West Forsyth HS (NC) Rose has an elite deep shot and is one of the purest shooters in the Southeast. His deep shot is textbook, square up and quick release. He showed athleticism on the break with a two handed dunk in transition.

John Brewer (PF, 6’4″, 2015) Caldwell Academy (NC) Brewer runs the floor hard and understands the game; he has good footwork and moves without the ball; Good hands and has an ability to get off shots, even against taller defenders.

CP3 Elite Guard Camp 2014

CP3 camps

By James Blackburn

I was fortunate to be able to scout the annual Chris Paul Elite Camp for the 5th straight year this year. Living in Winston-Salem, NC has its advantages, one of which is not having to travel far to catch the event, put on by Chris Paul and company. Some of the top high school and collegiate guards from around the country are invited to come in and compete against each other and also against Chris Paul himself. This year Chris brought in fellow pros Isaiah Thomas (Suns) and recently drafted Elfrid Payton (Magic). The coaching and the drills are top notch and are new to many of the players involved, especially those still in high school. I dedicated the majority of my time this year watching the college players (The HS and college players are divided up onto different courts). Below you will find my thoughts on some of the top performers and my ranking of the top 5.

Top 5
1. Nigel Williams- Goss (6’3”, 190 lbs, Sophomore, Washington)
2. Dez Wells (6’5”, 220 lbs, Senior, Maryland)
3. Keifer Sykes (6’0”, 170 lbs, Senior, Wis.- Greenbay)
4. Treveon Graham (6’5”, 215 lbs, Senior, VCU)
5. Marcus Paige (6’1”, 170 lbs, Junior, UNC)

Pierria Henry (6’2″, 195 lbs, Senior, UNC-Charlotte)
Looked smooth and confident throughout camp. Has one of the smoothest euro-steps in camp. Has a nice high release, but shot needs to get more consistent. Showed good energy in day 2. Terrific size for the PG position. Is never hurried or bothered by pressure defense.

Dez Wells (6’5″, 220 lbs, Senior, Maryland)
Has one of the best bodies/frames here. Handles the ball very well- dribbles the ball quickly and hard. Has a high and effortless stroke. Is not a great shooter (needs more consistency) but is one of the better shooters at this event. I dont see him having any trouble adjusting to the NBA 3 pt line. Used ball screens very well- liked his pace. Was probably the best player overall in day 2. Doing a great job guarding the ball- using strength/size. His team won the 4 on 4 full court drill 3 times in a row. Is a big time athlete who should have a big year this year in the ACC.

Will Cummings (6’2″, 185 lbs, Senior, Temple)
Really liked what I saw from Cummings all camp. Solid lead guard who handles the ball well. Blended in to a degree in day 1 but knows how to play. Did a nice job of going downhill and attacking basket. His team won 5 on 5 more than anyone. Knows how to win and compete. Scoring the ball well today in the games at the rim.

Traevon Jackson (6’2″, 208 lbs, Senior, Wisconsin)
Solid shooting lefty performed well in both drills and the games. Has a pro ready body. Has a little bit of a tendency to drop dribble the ball but can really score.

Marcus Paige (6’1″, 170 lbs, Junior, UNC)
It was really tough to spot any major weaknesses these past 2 days in Paige. Looking really smooth in 1 on 1 drills on both sides of the ball. Solid ball handler with either hand. Deceptively quick. Really utilizes footwork to get space. One of the better shooters here.

Ron Baker (6’4″, 215 lbs, Senior, Wichita State)
Good size for position- above average physically then most others in camp. Looked solid in ball handling drills. Needs to improve quickness but can score with contact.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (6’3″, 218 lbs, Junior, Georgetown)
Liked his approach to the game. Is a leader, has a great frame for position, and is tough. Team won share of 5 on 5.

Codi Miller-McIntyre (6’2″, 200 lbs, Junior, Wake Forest)
Tremendous build- going through ball handling drills quickly and with good accuracy. Dribbling the ball hard. Tough to guard in 1 on 1 drills- very explosive. Liked his competitive spirit. Solid defensively. Quick 1st step. Codi was very close to making my top 5 list- should be the man this year for Wake Forest.

Kevin Pangos (6’1″, 185 lbs, Junior, Gonzaga)
Bounced back after a disappointing day 1. Had a renewed confidence in day 2 where he scored the ball and was able to win his share of games. One of the best 3 pt shooters here- quick release. Lacks some of the physicals needed at the next level, but has underrated quickness and was able to score today in some unusual ways/moves.

Rod Hall (6’1″, 205 lbs, Senior, Clemson)
Very strong build- could easily be a running back. Trying to go right through people here at camp and many times was successful. One of the better slashers here, but needs to improve his shooting.

Kasey Hill (6’1″, 177 lbs, Sophomore, Florida)
Athleticism is effortless. Quick first step. His shooting stroke is simple and doesn’t require much effort or energy. Can get to the painted area with the best of them.

Keifer Sykes (6’0″, 170 lbs, Senior, Wis.- Greenbay)
One of the quickest and most athletic guards here. Big time scorer who scored over 20 ppg a game last season. Loved his professionalism and the way he carried himself. Euro- Step looks solid. Solid pull-up game. Plays with eyes up. Best defender in camp in my mind- holds his ground, moves his feet, and fought over ball screens. Solid ball handler w/ either hand.

Fred VanVleet (6’0″, 190 lbs, Junior, Wichita State)
Had a solid showing both days. Scored at will in 1 on 1 drills in day 1. Impressed me on the defensive end too- active hands. Really competed no matter who he matched up against.

Nigel Williams-Gross (6’3″, 190 lbs, Sophomore, Washington)
From the start of camp till the last drill I saw him compete in, Nigel was my favorite player in camp. Liked his communication and the way he competed through the drills- went through everything like he had something to prove- looked really good. Was only player communicating through the drills. Looked great in partner passing drills. Was a leader in drills even though he is one of the younger players here. Has an excellent floater where he showed touch around the basket. Coachable and consistent player. Is shifty and has excellent size for being a true PG. Defended the ball well. Needs to improve 3 pt shot, but has a solid midrange.

Treveon Graham (6’5″, 215 lbs, Senior, VCU)
Biggest guard at camp. Asked the coaches questions which I liked. Has a slow release but was the best shooter in day 2 after struggling day 1. Is not a PG, but could be a solid 2 at the next level. Played well in live games, competitions, etc- used his size/strength to score and was knocking down open shots.

Triad Pro Am Playoff Roundup

Triad Pro Am 2014
By James Blackburn

After being out of town for most of July, I was able to return to Winston in time to catch the last few nights of the Triad Pro Am league, held this year at the Gateway YWCA. The league features local college players and players from Wake Forest, Winston-Salem State, and Guilford College, as well as pros from the area. The notes below are some reports from the standouts during the playoffs.

Andre Washington (Wake Forest, 7’0″, C, JR)
Andre played as good as I have ever seen him play in any setting. Was matched up against pro player, Justin Manns and was able to more than hold his own. Looks better- new and improved- more confident- dunking hard and with authority. Playing w/ good energy. Protecting the rim and was getting solid post position. Washington was simply a beast in the paint all night. Needs to continue to improve balance but will have an impact this season at Wake playing like he did this week.

Lepreece Lynch (Lees-McRae, 6’4″, G, SO)
One of the better all around pure scores I saw. Not lacking any confidence when it comes to putting up shots. Rebounding well on both ends and follows his shot. Was able to get to middle of floor and making good kick outs to teammates.Takes some bad shots- but is always a threat to score.

Craig Hinton (VMI, 6’6″, F, SO)
Is stronger and playing with good energy on both ends. Very impressed with his improvement on the defensive end. Showed he could protect the paint and move his feet on the perimeter while staying in low defensive stance. Providing the highlights that he always does with his out of this world athleticism. Shot looked a bit flat early on- but hit a few outside jumpers and threes as well.

Justin Manns (Lebanon, 6’11”, C)
Upper body looks stronger then last year and is playing tough inside the paint. Showing some solid footwork and patience in the post. Had numerous blocks tonight from the weak side.

Codi Miller-McIntyre (Wake Forest, 6’3″, PG, JR)
Looked solid all night. Running the show- had numerous assists- sharing the ball and being unselfish. Was hitting his pull-up. Changing speeds better in the open floor. Just looked like he could do whatever he wanted on the floor at any point.

Robert Holcomb-Faye (Holland, 6’1″, PG)
Terrific lead guard. Plays the game as a pro should- is patient, takes care of the ball, and has terrific court vision. Is in good shape and can score when needed.

Trever Hyatt (Guilford, 6’3″, G, SO)
Possibly the best shooter in the league. Saw him back to back nights and was impressed both times. Great body language and doesn’t get rattled. Showed the ability to get to the rim and score as well over taller shot blockers.

WyKevin Bazemore (Winston-Salem State, 6’4″, G, SR)
One of the top 3 overall scores I saw. Terrific one on one player who can score from the perimeter and at the rim. Does a good job of drawing contact and getting to the line. Should have a huge season at Winston-Salem State this year.

Aaron Rountree III (Wake Forest, 6’8″, F, JR)
Love his motor and energy. Excellent in transition. Capable of leading the break. Has a quick 2nd jump which combined with his timing and athleticism, makes him one of the best shot blockers in the league. Needs to continue to improve ability to hit open shots. His team won the championship for the 2nd year in a row.

You can watch replays of the 2014 Triad Pro Am games here.