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LeBron James Skills Academy: Day Three Morning Session

Just got finished watching the morning session here in Akron. The players were involved in some 5-on-5 drills after their group work and that provided an opportunity to see some “game-like” action. Below you’ll find an update from that action, as well as some talks with some of the kids that I was able to sit down with afterwards. Enjoy:

Michael Gilchrist played some phenomenal defense when he hit the floor. He blocked a number of shots,  and I am told, unfortunately I was looking down at my notes (very frustrating), that he met a Will Barton two handed dunk attempt and used one strong arm to deny the future Memphis Tiger. I was on the other end of the gym but I’m pretty sure I heard him yell “Go Cats” afterwards (Kidding, don’t wanna start a new slew of Gilchrist to UK rumors). 2012’s Justin Anderson (pictured above) has had a very impressive camp. He had a number of hard putback dunks yesterday and blended right in with the upperclassmen at camp. He’s going to be a star for sure. I’ll give you a little more about his recruitment below. CJ Leslie played really hard this morning and was his usual vocal self. He has all the tools to be successful, he just needs to work on making his game more well-rounded, something he even understands. When I asked him about what his plans were for developing his game this year, he said “I plan on working on everything. Everything. I just want to get better.” Have I mentioned to you guys that Michael Gilchrist is good. If not, he is…really really good.

CJ Leslie– Leslie is top target for the Cats and many other top schools. He gave me a list of UConn, UNC, Florida, Wake Forest, Maryland and Oregon, among many others involved in with him. John Wall is still working as a top recruiter for the UK. Leslie said he spoke to him yesterday and said of the conversation, “He just basically says, you know, come down and visit. We’re very close friends off the court. I wanna go to a lot of their games this year and just show them some support.” One particular matchup that he is looking forward to seeing is UK and Connecticut in Madison Square Garden. Leslie still doesn’t have a firm date for his visit to UK this summer but he promised that one is coming. Much like other top AAU participants, finding the time in their busy schedule is always an issue. On whether or not UK would make the final list of 5 schools getting official visits from Leslie, he said “They will be in my top schools, I can tell you that. Top 3 for sure.” Right now he isn’t positive who else would round out that top 3, so it has to be great news for Kentucky’s staff that have already made an early reservation at that very exclusive table.

Justin Anderson– Justin is a 6-5 wing that finds himself in many top 5 lists for the class of 2012. Texas, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and Virginia Tech are getting involved early with Justin, with Texas and North Carolina currently topping his list. He is still very young and considers himself “still a baby”, something that he noted might be causing some coaches to not get too involved just yet. “You never know what can happen. An injury can happen or whatever. I just want to focus right now on today and not look to tomorrow. I’ll wait and look at that more my junior and senior seasons,” he explained. Right now, Justin is just excited about getting the opportunity to showcase his skills against some of the best kids in the nation, saying “Its a real good opportunity. There’s not a lot of kids my age that can make it to a skills academy like this and still feel like they fit in. I’m blessed with it and I never take it for granted. I’ve still got to work hard.” Coach Antigua was in contact with Justin while the coach was still an assistant at Memphis but Justin hasn’t heard anything since the switch. Justin is hoping that will change and UK will come calling, saying “Hopefully, they’ll still recruit me because that’s a major school. They’re gonna be pretty good.”

Kyrie Irving– Not much has changed in the recruitment of Kyrie Irving. He still hasn’t narrowed down his list to the final schools, something he plans on doing after all the AAU games. He spoke to me a little about the possibility of Michael Gilchrist, his high school teammate, and himself playing at the next level together. Right now the coaches aren’t really trying to recruit them as a package deal but it remains a possibility. The big news is that he said he might be tweeting out his future commitment. I won’t link his twitter here, it should be easy to find for you recruiting nuts, but I do want to welcome Mr. Irving to the land of 200,000 followers. He should be passing Coach Cal shortly.

That’s all for now. Later in the week I hope to I’ll have a story on the interesting recruitment of Mike Shaw and Wayne Blackshear. We’ll look at Justin Anderson a little closer and also talk about Doron Lamb’s future. I’m traveling to the Adidas It Takes 5ive tonight and then Eddie Ford’s Kentucky Hoopfest after that. As always, make sure you’re following all the tweets for the latest news.

Article written by Dustin Rumbaugh

I enjoy basketball, Kentucky sports and extremely short walks on the beach, followed by a nap. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.