Beisner’s favorite ESPN blogger Eamonn Brennan spent some time at last weekend’s Nike Skills Camps in Chicago. And, guess what? There were some future Cats there. And guess what else? They played pretty well. Here are Brennan’s notes on Marquis Teague and Anthony Davis (says shut up):
Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague has been hailed as the latest in Kentucky coach John Calipari’s long list of successful freshman point guards, a legacy that includes Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and, most recently, Brandon Knight. There’s no reason to think Teague can’t live up to that billing. During Saturday’s full court five-on-five session — in which guards from the Deron Williams Skills Academy played with forwards from the Amar’e Stoudamire camp — Teague sliced and diced opposing defenders, found his way into the lane with relative ease, and showcased an intuitive understanding of the various ways to attack off a ball screen. One play in particular stood out: About 30 feet from the hoop in the corner of the court — picture where Duke ran its spread high-screen sets for Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith this season — Teague got a screen from fellow Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. The guard split the two defenders, took off toward the rim, saw help arrive and dished a nifty little bounce pass to Davis, who crashed toward the basket and finished with a ferocious dunk. The play was as impression a piece of team basketball as I saw all weekend, and Teague deserved the credit for its creation.
Speaking of Davis, well, it’s not hard to see why college recruiting services (including our own) have named him the best prospect in the class. Nor is it difficult to see why pro scouts are already drooling. To use a once-banished draft term, Davis is incredibly long. He’s also very athletic. That combination allows him to rise above other tall and athletic defenders to snatch rebounds, challenge shots and finish at the rim. But there’s also a reason Davis didn’t become a highly touted prospect until this year: He’s still pretty soft. That’s not really a knock — we’re talking about a 6-foot-10 college freshman with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, after all — but it is something that could hamper Davis’ production in his first full season as a college hoopster. Davis has the height to play center at the college level — with Terrence Jones back in the fold, it seems likely that’s where Kentucky will opt to play him — but can he stand toe-to-toe with big, physical upperclassmen? Won’t Festus Ezeli, to name one example, be able to impose his will on this kid through strength and positioning? For that reason, it’s easy to see a few growing pains for Davis, who might draw a lot of comparisons to Baylor’s Perry Jones: Both are insanely talented, versatile, athletic stretch forwards who don’t quite have the frame to bang in the low block. Jones struggled somewhat during his first season in Waco and decided to return for a second. Could Davis do the same?
Well, that’s a lovely thought.