First of all, I just wanted to say Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers out there, especially my own. My father came from the south end of Dixie Highway in Valley Village, Kentucky. For those that don’t know, this was, and still in some ways is, a very poor area of Louisville. Anyways, my father fought and worked his way to get my family where we are now, allowing his children to chase their dreams. So I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to my father and let him know how much I appreciate what he does. We should show some appreciation to all the other fathers out there as well. Fathers are sometimes lost in the mix, with the affectionate mothers getting all the love from the sons, but we do recognize all the hard work you guys do.
Now that the gushy stuff is out of the way, here’s just a few final thoughts of mine from the camp:
– Joe Jackson really showed that he could play with the big boys. What he lacks in size and height, he more than makes up for with quickness. On almost any trip down the floor, Jackson just outran the rest of the players to finish at the rim. When the defense was allowed to get set, he simply waited for a split second opportunity and exploded down the lane to the rim. He may get pushed around a little bit against bigger guards, but its hard to argue against him being a top point guard with the offensive skills and pesky defense he brings to the court.
– The big men really didn’t get the chance to shine. This setting provides very selfish play, understandable so, as most of the kids want to show their skills and not just blend in. Big men rarely get a low post pass, usually having to score on put backs or perimeter plays. Adreian Payne showed some flashes of his potential. He has a versatile game that could be well utilized in an up and down offense. Jared Sullinger is a big man with back to basket skills and a very strong lower body. He can push around smaller centers in the post but also has the face up skills to keep him from being too one dimensional. Tarik Black is a Memphis boy with a big body and pretty versatile game. I was really surprised to see him knock down a couple rangy jumpers during the camp. Fab Melo has raw skills and could develop into something really special. He is projected to be 7’1″ and has a massive frame. Fab has been working on his face up skills and that showed. Melo knocked down a few nice looking jumpers.
– Casey Prather was really begging the scouts to raise his stock a little more. He scored 19 points in the championship game in a multitude of ways. He’s a slasher, a jump shooter, a good passer and quick in transition. I’m very interested in watching his continued progression through the rest of the summer and into his senior season.
– Justin Coleman and Stacey Poole were the talk of the camp. Coleman is really starting to blow up and most were saying that its very deserved. I talked to a friend that has known about Coleman for some time and he said that he’s getting the attention now that he should and will continue his trend of good performances. Stacey Poole was scoring tons of points at the camp and had a lot of people talking. Expect his stock to rise the next time the kids are reassessed. His father played for the Florida Gators, so Poole has the pedigree to succeed. He also added that his father’s history wouldn’t have an effect on his ultimate decision because they both agree it is about making the best choice for the younger Poole.
– It was great to see Kyrie Irving wake up and start to pour in the points like we know he can. When he is playing at his best, he’s got such a complete game. He’s the floor general dishing out the passes and the scoring guard racking up the points, all rolled into a good-sized point guard with handles. I’ll have a lengthier story on this great kid, both on and off the court, later in the week.
– Don’t forget about Mychal Parker visiting UK later this week. We’ll keep you up to speed on whether or not the coaches give him the scholarship offer that he is hoping they will.
– Lastly, Michael Gilchrist and Brandon Knight lived up to their hype. Michael has been talked about quite a bit and, if not for his youth, I really think he would have won the MVP. Settling for the “Most Promising Prospect” is by no means a bad thing. He’s got all the tools to be something very very special down the line. Brandon Knight has the body, speed, and jumpshot to be a force at the next level. When you give him space, he’ll knock down the jumper. Guard him close and he’ll blow by you or use his thick body to create space for an accurate midrange shot. Any school that lands him should count themselves lucky.
I’ll be on vacation all through the week, as if the NBA camp wasn’t fun enough. I’m still going to post a couple more pieces on Mychal Parker, Kyrie Irving and also one tying up the loose ends of some of the recruitments that were lost in the mix during the coaching changes. Hope you guys all have a great Father’s Day!