NBPA: Storylines

NBPA: Storylines

The NBPA Top 100 camp provided Scout.com with a quality look at many of the nation's top prospects ranging from the 2015 to 2017 class. At camp Derryck Thornton proved himself as one of the top point guards in the country, Ben Simmons mad a statement, Ray Smith showed improvement and a pair of underrated big men broke out.

THORNTON MAKES STATEMENT

One of the biggest takeaways from NBPA Top 100 Camp for me was the stellar play of 6-foot-2 point guard Derryck Thornton Jr..

At an event historically known for eating up non-seniors, Thornton, a standout at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, stepped up and played like a seasoned veteran and led the event in assists at six a game.

There have been events in the past, particularly camps, where Thornton has forced the issue and focused more on trying to score, that clearly wasn't the case this past week.

Thornton led camp in assists (KellyKline/UnderArmour)
In fact, Thornton ran his camp team better than any other point guard at camp. Using his quickness and crafty ball handling, Thornton consistently got by the first line of defense, got into the paint and whipped out pinpoint passes to his teammates.

Thornton is especially effective in pick and roll situation. He reads the defense, reacts and his decision-making continues to improve. He's also a threat to make pull-up jumpers or drop in floaters, as he even showed he could make off hand runners.

To go with the high assist total, Thornton, who is rated as the No. 11 player in the 2016 class, averaged 7.7 points a game.

SIMMONS DOMINATES

There were no shortages of impressive campers at NBPA Top 100 Camp this past week, but Ben Simmons, in my opinion, stood above the rest and his numbers back up that claim.

Simmons led the camp in scoring by a wide margin and no one at camp was able to slow him down, as he averaged 18.5 points through eight games. He was quite efficient, as well, shooting 64-percent from the field.

A contender for the top spot in the 2015 class, Simmons showcased his versatile scoring package. In his first game of the camp he scored off a right jump hook, a reverse off spinning off the block, put backs and an array of strong drives to the rim.

Simmons gets MVP (KellyKline/UnderArmour)
As camp wore on it was much of the same from Simmons. At 6-foot-8, pushing 6-9, Simmons is strong and physical, but he possesses tremendous touch and is a very good and crafty scorer around the basket.

For his size, Simmons is a good ball handler and loves to take bigger and majority of the time slower defenders away from the basket and attack them off the dribble. He's also tremendous in transition, as he has good body control and is a solid all around athlete.

Simmons also proved to be a factor on the glass, reeling in 5.8 rebounds a game, which was good for 9th best in camp. He was especially effective on the offensive glass. Only three players reeled in more offensive boards than Simmons. He pulled in 23 in his eight camp games.

CAMP PROVIDES SURPRISES

Luke Maye and Samir Sehic particularly come to mind as surprise performers at NBPA Top 100.

Coming to the event both were known players, but neither necessarily held a reputation that would lead you to believe that they would be among the camps top performers, but that's why you play the games.

Maye, a 6-foot-7, possibly 6-8, led the camp in rebounding at 8.4 a game. While Maye isn't the most athletic prospect, what he lacks in that category, he makes up for with his effort and energy.

Sehic breaks out (KellyKline/UnderArmour)
Maye also impressed with his offensive output, scoring 10 points a game. He can stretch the floor with his jump shot and is a good three-point shooter, but also is a capable scorer in the paint and from mid-range.

While Maye led the event in rebounding, Sehic, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound center, checked in at No. 3 on the list with at 7.4 rebounds a game and also finished No. 3 on the scoring list with 14.8 points a game.

Sehic, of Cypress (Tex.) Cypress Woods was arguably the most productive player at camp. He played physical, was aggressive in the paint and vigorously pursued rebounds in and out of his area.

Those rebounds often turned into points, as he led the camp in offensive boards with 28 through eight games. When he received post touches, he was efficient, showed very good touch and scored well through contact. He shot the ball 49-percent from the field.

SMITH GOING IN RIGHT DIRECTION

There's a lot to like about Ray Smith and the direction he's headed as a prospect and he took another step forward at NBPA Top 100 Camp.

The physical tools are evident with Smith, as he's grown to 6-foot-7 and possesses tremendous athletic ability. But now the production is picking up on both ends of the floor for the Las Vegas (Nev.) High product.

Smith skies for a dunk (KellyKline/UnderArmour)
Through eight games at camp, Smith averaged 12.3 points and the shot the ball nearly 53-percent from the field. Smith was at his best attacking the basket and proved ridiculously tough to stop in transition, as he's a great finisher at the rim and has tremendous body control.

Already a five-star prospect and ranked as the No. 3 wing in the 2015 class, it wouldn't surprise me to Smith rise further in the rankings. To go with his elite athleticism and terrific size for the position, he has the tools to be a very good wing defender.

Despite impressing in a big way at camp, Smith is far from a finished product, which is encouraging, especially considering the development he has shown in the past year. He's clearly a worker and the next step in his development is tightening up his handle and gaining consistency with his long-range shooting.

OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

  • Justin Jenifer finished second in camp in assists at 5.9 assists per game. In all, Jenifer tossed out 47 assists and turned the ball over just 15 times through eights games. It was an impressive showing for the Cincinnati commit.

  • Noah Dickerson had a strong camp. He finished with averages of 10.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in nine games. He's strong, physical and nimble for his size. He has very good scoring touch in the paint.

  • Chase Jeter only played in two games at NBPA Top 100 Camp, as he left after the first day to play for the USA U18 Men's National Team. Jeter was productive in those two games and was primed for a big camp. He averaged 13 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two games he played in.

  • Carlton Bragg quietly had an impressive camp. He had the game of the event with his 36-point, 14-rebound outburst on Friday. He's athletic, mobile and versatile. He finished with 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game, while averaging 61-percent from the field.

    Bragg went for 36 points in one game (KellyKline/UnderArmour)

  • Scorer Eric Davis had a strong camp. The 6-foot-3 guard went for 12 points a game. He's effective off the bounce and is capable of pulling up for mid-range jumpers or floaters. He made his way to the free throw line 30 times in eight games.

  • Last years camp MVP – Cheick Diallo – had another impressive showing, averaging 14 points and 7.4 rebounds in nine games. Diallo was active, aggressive, ran the floor looking to score and was an enforcer in the paint. He led the camp in blocks with 2.3 a game.

  • Antonio Blakeney, who has a reputation as one of the top scorers in the 2015 class, averaged 14.8 points a game through eight games. His long-range shot wasn't going down, so he was aggressive off the dribble. He shot the ball 48-percent from the field and also made 43 trips to the free throw line stripe.
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