By James Blackburn
On Sunday October 9, 2011, 18 players converged at the Fleming Center on the campus of UNCG to compete on the last day of training camp for a coveted roster spot on the newly established Carolina Cheetahs of the American Basketball Association (www.carolinacheetahs.com). Players were put through a full 2 1/2 hour practice consisting of 3 on 2 drills, defensive closeout drills, and several inter squad scrimmages.
The team, which is coached by former NC State player and Winston-Salem State assistant, Tim Wells, will begin its season on November 19th against the Lynchburg Legends. The Fleming Center, which holds about 1800 spectators, will be used as the home gym for the Cheetahs. Here are some of the top performers that I noticed today.
Dupree Hall (6’6”, 190 lb, East Mississippi)
Long and lanky player. Very athletic player who plays above the rim. Shot blocker. Active on the glass, especially on the offensive end. Limited a bit offensively, but shows potential.
Terrence Jones (6’6”, 250 lb, Livingstone)
Big and strong. Does a good job of establishing inside and deep position in the post. Has a solid back to the basket game, displaying a variety of moves, including hook shots, spin moves, and reverse lay ups. Has good footwork and is surprisingly agile for his size. Shot a few questionable shots in the scrimmage at the end, but will be a load to handle inside this season. This will be Jones 4th year playing in the ABA. Previous stints have included stops with the Charlotte Crossover and Fayetteville Flight.
Damien Goodman (6’6”, 205 lb, UNCP)
Hard worker, smart, and smooth- This is what Goodman’s game is about. Good inside/outside player- would be a great pick-and-pop guy. Showed the ability to guard bigger players in the post. Smart defender and with surprisingly quick hands. Runs the floor hard and gets a lot of easy buckets. Knows his role and excels at it. Seems to always be in the right place at the right time. Good shooter with feet set. Does a good job of drawing fouls. Great attitude. Played last season in Switzerland.
Landon Quick (6’0”, 175 lb, High Point University)
Smart- high basketball IQ. Floor general- controlled the pace. Solid ball handler. Does not try to do to much. Played last 2 seasons in Iceland.
Marsharee Neely (6’3”, 198 lb, Old Dominion University)
One of the best shooters in the gym today. Great set shooter from 3 point range. Lefty. Competes in drills and games. Athletic.
Rah-Shaun Davis (6’0”, 180lb, Hillsborough CC)
Quick and shifty, with the ability to break man down off dribble and create his own shot. A player who you want with the ball in his hands with the shot clock winding down. Good 3 point shooter. Played last season in Bosnia, where his team won the championship.