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2012 LEBRON JAMES SKILLS ACADEMY RECAP – SUNDAY
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Game play begins at camp
by Raphielle Johnson
The afternoon session of the LeBron James Skills Academy on Sunday brought about the beginning of game play at the event, with the campers splitting up into eight teams of approximately ten players each.
There were some injuries to account for, most notably 2013 forward Jermaine Lawrence spraining his ankle early in the camp and 2013 prospects Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jarell Martin both having to deal with ankle injuries at some point in the day.
But despite those injuries there were some standouts on Sunday, with many looking better in game action than they did during the drills portion of the camp. One player who made an impact on Sunday was guard Shelton Mitchell, whose dunk over Kuran Iverson may be the play of the camp to this point.
Mitchell is quick off the dribble, displaying good handle while making solid decisions with regards to finding teammates and shot selection. Another guard who stood out was 2013 point guard Wes Clark, who may be the fastest point guard here with the ball in his hands.
Clark was a handful in the night session, as he was able to get to the basket to make plays either for himself or his teammates consistently. Having seen him with The Family during EYBL play in Oakland, the improvement is noticeable.
With regards to the big men, Marcus Lee was one guy who made a positive impression on Sunday. Lee does need to bulk up but his work defensively and as a passer and finisher on the offensive end was a key factor in Syracuse’s two victories.
“I just want to be a sponge,” said Lee when asked what he wanted to take out of the weekend. “I may not know everything as a big man, so I just want to be a sponge and learn as much as possible.”
Two of the most sought-after big men in the class were also on display in Julius Randle and Chris Walker. Randle didn’t have the best of outings but his overall skill set makes him one of the top (if not the top) players in his class.
Walker is right there with Aaron Gordon when it comes to the question of who the most athletic big man is, but truth be told his skill set (his jumper right now is a set shot) needs refinement. The upside in that regard may be what has so many high on Walker, and hopefully that potential is realized in the future.
College player notes:
- Two injuries in camp over the weekend, with Murray State’s Ed Daniel (ankle) and Duke’s Mason Plumlee (finger) having to sit out the final workouts for college players.
- Speaking of Murray State, point guard Isaiah Canaan was the best floor general in the camp. Meanwhile, Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum has some strides to make in the point guard department when looking at the NBA level, but he’s definitely got the skill and work ethic to do so.
- Kansas big man Jeff Withey is still working towards getting stronger in the post, and if that comes along he very well could make a jump similar to what Thomas Robinson was able to do from his sophomore to junior season.
- Looking forward to another good season from Dayton’s Kevin Dillard as well. Hasn’t been a great deal of chatter about him this weekend, but he’s a skilled guard who played very well in Archie Miller’s system last year and should only get better.
- If UNLV’s Mike Moser were to be an All-American next season it should come as a surprise to no one. He played well in the camp, showing off his range out to the three-point line while also being physical enough to hold his own inside when needed.
High school notes and recruiting updates:
- If there were an all-communication team at the camp Karviar Shepherd would be the captain. The active 6-foot-10 forward is constantly communicating with teammates on both ends of the floor, and defensively he’s done well in camp.
- 2013 wing James Young mentioned the following schools as the ones most interested in his services: Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Ohio State and Michigan State (all offers). He and his mother celebrated the Kentucky offer by going out to dinner that night.
- 2013 big man Austin Nichols mentioned Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Memphis, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas as schools he currently holds offers. Style of play (fast-paced) and the school’s depth chart will be the determining factors in his decision.
- Chris Walker is looking to improve his face-up game this summer, and the schools most active in his recruitment have been Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Baylor (all offers).
- 2013 guard Kameron Williams played well on Sunday, and the schools most active in his recruitment have been Xavier, Miami, Marquette, USC, Florida State, Boston College and Tennessee (all offers).
- Kennedy Meeks mentioned Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisville, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and much of the ACC as schools who have been most active in the pursuit of his services.
- 2013 wing Kuran Iverson has been most actively pursued by Florida, who recently offered him. Head coach Billy Donovan was also an early morning caller with the June 15th contact rules changes. Connecitcut has been there for quite some time, and Iverson also mentioned Memphis as a school that had recently come in contact with him.
- 2013 forward Kyle Washington played well on Sunday, especially at the defensive end of the floor. He’d be right there with Karviar Shepherd from an on-court communication standpoint as well. In regards to his recruitment Washington mentioned that he would like to take unofficials to Louisville, Baylor and possibly Florida in the near future. He’ll likely make a list towards the end of the summer.
- Memphis, TN wing Nick King mentioned Memphis, Tennessee, Providence, Georgetown, LSU, Texas, Florida and Vanderbilt as schools who have been most active in his recruitment. All have offered as well.
- 2013 guard Wes Clark has been most actively pursued by Xavier, Dayton, Creighton, Iowa, Iowa State, UMass, Indiana and Nebraska with all having offered him. The most important thing for Clark is landing at a place where he can win.
- Xavier Rathan-Mayes was held out of the night session due to his ankle injury but should be fine. From a recruiting standpoint he mentioned Kansas, UConn, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Baylor, NC State with there being others he couldn’t recall at the time. Those are all offers as well.
- The responses from players with regards to the June 15th contact rules changes were similar in that none could recall a school getting out of hand with the number of phone calls or text messages. Many mentioned that they were grateful for the amount of interest being shown, as not every player is as fortunate.