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2012 LEBRON JAMES SKILLS ACADEMY RECAP – MONDAY
A glimpse at the future stars
by Raphielle Johnson
The final day of the LeBron James Skills Academy provided the first match-up of two of the best players in high school basketball in Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins. While one also has to account for the likes of Jabari Parker and Andrew Harrison when discussing the top player regardless of class, Monday’s battle gave those in attendance the fodder needed to debate such an issue.
In a game that Wiggins’ Duke squad won by double digits it looked as if he had the edge in this particular debate. The thing for Wiggins is that the things he does on the floor come across as being effortless, and while he had moments this weekend when he wasn’t at his best there looks to be clear separation between he and the other elite players.
Randle had his moments as well and he’s able to play on the perimeter in addition to flourishing in the paint. But he can spend too much time on the perimeter, which takes away from his effectiveness. Those two stood out on paper, but a match-up of 2015 big men took center stage in the second half.
Ivan Raab and Diamond Stone were able to go at each other with more regularity in the second half, and while Raab got the better of the battle Stone was able to get some things done as well. Offensively Raab displayed an impressive skill set, as he was able to face up and knock down mid-range jumpers or beat Stone off the dribble.
But Stone would have to be considered the stronger of the two from a physical standpoint, as he was able to score around the basket on Raab. Raab received more opportunities with the Oakland Soldiers during the spring thanks in large part to Aaron Gordon’s broken foot, and it looks as if those extra minutes have paid off.
D’Angelo Russell update
Monday also provided a chance to catch up with 2013 guard D’Angelo Russell and find out his thoughts on his recent unofficial visits to Kentucky and Louisville.
“U of L was nice. It’s right around the corner,” said Russell. “I went in there with a couple other people and just listened to what they had to offer, and they offered me a scholarship.
“Kentucky was nice also, and coach Kenny Payne really caught my eye. Not sure if he was trying to sell me, but what he was saying really caught my attention.”
Ohio State, Missouri, NC State, Indiana, Louisville and Kentucky have shown the most interest in Russell, with all having offered with the exception of UK.
Russell got off to a slow start of sorts in game action, but as the weekend wore on he looked more comfortable and assertive on the floor. He’s a gifted player who will be an asset wherever he eventually lands.
Isaac Hamilton goes off…on multiple occasions
Isaac Hamilton put forth some impressive offensive outings throughout the course of the weekend, which included a couple halves of 20-plus points. There’s talk that he eventually wants to play the point but at this point in time he’s better suited for the two.
“Just let the game come to you, not trying to force anything,” said Hamilton when asked about the key to his scoring ability.
He did have a few quiet halves, but in a camp setting like this part of the reason for that could be others looking to get their points as well.
Connecticut, Florida, Memphis, Baylor, USC, UCLA, Washington, California, San Diego State and UNLV are the schools that Hamilton mentioned as being the most active in his recruitment.
The days of Wes Clark being underrated should be over
NBE had the chance to speak with Wes Clark about his recruitment earlier in the weekend (Sunday’s Recap), and nothing changed in the way he played either. Jet-quick with the basketball and a sound decision-maker, it’s difficult to peg a point guard who had a better weekend than the Romulus, Michigan product.
Reggie Cameron performs well in afternoon action
The trmendous perimeter shooting of Reggie Cameron is far from a secret at this point and the New Jersey product was able to display his proficiency in Monday’s action. He was on the team that also featured Raab and Wiggins, and Cameron took full advantage of the open opportunities within the offense.
Part of that was his own doing, as Cameron did display the ability to knock down buckets off the dribble. Florida, Villanova, UConn, NC State, Miami, North Carolina, USC, Michigan, Seton Hall, Rutgers and DePaul are the schools most active in his recruitment.
All of those are offers with the exception of North Carolina.
The other reason for Cameron (and Duke’s) offensive work
That would be 2014 point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. He’s listed as 5-9.5 per Nike’s measurements, and while he may be a tad shorter than that projection there’s no disputing his ability to run a team.
Jackson-Cartwright made smart decisions with the basketball throughout the weekend, deftly avoiding situations in which he could land himself in trouble by over-penetrating. He’s the epitome of a pass-first point guard.
Didn’t get a chance to speak with Jackson-Cartwright but two schools that tend to come up quite often in reports are Arizona and UCLA. His older brother Miles is a guard at Pennsylvania.
Other Monday notes
- Team Takeover guard Josh Hart played well on Monday, showing a more assertive nature on the offensive end of the floor. Cincinnati, Kansas State, NC State, Penn State, Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette and Memphis are the schools that have been the most active in Hart’s recruitment.
- Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, NC State, Florida and Duke were the schools mentioned by Julius Randle as being most active in his recruitment.
- Washington commit Nigel Williams-Goss may not wow those who search for the dazzling highlights but the young man is a winner. Williams-Goss made sound decisions with and without the basketball all weekend, and defensively he’s one of the best guards in his class. Lorenzo Romar and his staff scored a player who can be major part of the foundation of the program.
- Had another chance to speak with 2013 forward Kenton Facey, who continued to improve throughout the weekend. Turns out that he left out Saint Joseph’s in our prior conversation; the Hawks are definitely in the mix for his services.
- Cincinnati, Ohio native Devin Williams provided the highlight of the weekend, shattering the backboard on a blocked dunk attempt. Overall Williams was highly active on both ends of the floor and ran well from end line to end line.
- 2013 guard Sindarius Thornwell played well in both games on Monday (NBE wasn’t in attendance for the final round of games), including a very good second half in a win over UConn in the afternoon session. Going back and forth with Troy Williams seemed to light a fire under him, and the end result was a comeback victory for Michigan State.
- While 2013 big man Kennedy Meeks put on an impressive display from the perimeter in both of his early games on Monday, his bread will continue to be buttered in the post. But by Monday if fatigue was a reason why so many bigs were hanging out on the perimeter it’s difficult to fault them too much in that regard.
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