Lebron James Skills Academy: Where Posterizing happens.
Love him or hate him, Lebron James attaches his name to one of the best showcases of high school basketball talent all year. Dozens of players descended upon Las Vegas to showcase their talent in front of plenty of scouts and mixtape creators. For all of the Lebron haters, the Skills Academy was where Lebron got dunked on by Xavier’s Jordan Crawford. The Academy is full of talent from the 2014, 2015, 2016 recruiting classes this year with a few notable exceptions. Emmanuel Mudiay, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, and Karl Towns are not in attendance this week. Still, there are several UK targets making impressions this week. Here’s a few observations from around the web.
– ESPN recruiting guru Paul Biancardi listed his top players of Day 1 (premium article). UK targets Stanley Johnson and Rashad Vaughn impressed Biancardi more than anyone. Johnson, the 2014 small forward, was praised by Biancardi for taking full advantage of the Day 1 setting where many players struggle without always being the center of the offense. “When he doesn’t touch the ball on offense, he attacks the glass for put-backs. Most players stop moving and trying when they don’t get the ball, but in an environment where everyone is extremely talented, Johnson is smart enough to find ways to score,” Biancardi noted. He also called Rashad Vaughn, “one of the best bucket getters at the camp.”
– Goodluck Okonoboh, good friend of Nerlens Noel and owner of a historically awesome name, performed especially well in the Big Man drills on Day 1 per Eric Bossi of the Recruit Scoop. Okonoboh has a knack for swatting shots like his buddy Nerlens and displayed his defensive skills in the drills. The 6’10” center prospect is only 213 pounds, but plays with more strength than expected from his light frame. Okonoboh visited Kentucky last season during the win over Florida.
–Cliff Alexander and Myles Turner went head to head with each other in a scrimmage last night and both looked excellent in a very even matchup. In related news, Alexander said he will visit UofL in the future along with Memphis, Kansas, and Arizona. He has already visited UK for Big Blue Madness last year.
– Although he is a more unknown recruit on the UK watch list, Abdul Malik Abu was very impressive in Day 1. The 6’9″ foward has made a name for himself by playing with an extremely high energy level. He scraps for all the loose balls in AAU games and continued this trend at the Skills Academy. Malik Abu is an unreal athlete.
Stay tuned for more updates on UK’s targets as the game sessions of the Skills Academy begin today.