Last weekend, 41 players participated in the inaugural Chris Paul Elite Backcourt Skills Clinic. The first-team All-NBA point guard was in town and present – start to finish – for his camp.
From check in to final awards ceremony, Paul’s fingerprints could be found every step of the way. The Clemmons, N.C., native wanted to create and environment for learning, teaching and development on and off the court.
Paul took time to speak with players individually, participate in drills and couldn’t have been more hands on with the campers. During a 30-minute talk Saturday afternoon, topics ranged from his work ethic to his trials and tribulations coming up the ranks in AAU and high school. Paul spoke of his encounters with the likes of Baron Davis and Allen Iverson in the pros.
Many themes were emphasized during the weekend but from a basketball standpoint, Paul did an excellent job of driving home one major aspect of his success: work hard and compete.
“I had fun and this was great,” Paul said. “I just want you to know that if you ever cross me (on the court) it’s going to be a problem.”
Aided by major college standouts such as Stephen Curry, Nick Calathes and Jack McClinton, Paul and the coaching staff put the players through a rigorous Saturday regime followed by half a day of competitive runs on Sunday.
For those who watched and worked the camp, including Paul, one backcourt camper stood out amongst the field. Abdul Gaddy, Scout.com’s No. 9 prospect in 2009, showed why he’s so highly regarded. During the fundamental stations he was impressive and his play on Sunday reinforced the notion he was the best of the best.
Sunday’s action allowed the likes of Gaddy to run up and down against Mike Dixon, another Top 100 point guard. Dixon, who was praised by the staff for his approach, found himself matched against Gaddy who seemed intent on proving his point. In the camp semifinal game, Gaddy set the tone and small forward Travis McKie sealed the win with a tough hoop and the foul.
Chenault, Kabongo, Cadougan Win 3-On-3
Waiting for Gaddy and Co. in the championship game was a tough group of guards and wings. Cary (N.C.) Middle Creek wing Earnest Ross bulled his way in the lane and knocked down enough shots to earn the right to challenge Gaddy’s crew. With help from Mfon Udofia, Marquis Rankin and DeMarcus Harrison, the hotly contested title was theirs.
Udofia, through the skill work and 3-on-3 competitions, distinguished himself as the most competitive guard in the building not named Paul.
Udofia’s loss in the 3-on-3 semis grated on him until camp was over. Canadians Myck Kabongo and Junior Cadougan teamed with Tony Chenault to capture the 3-on-3 championship.
Kabongo and Chenault together finished second in the 2-on-2 competition. Oklahoma State commitment Fred Gulley and Ross earned the title.
In terms of stock boosters from the weekend, we’ll offer a few names. Myck Kabongo (2011), a reserve at St. Benedict’s, continued to demonstrate the ability to get his own offense. Daryl Traynham (2010) isn’t big but whether it was with the campers or counselors, he managed to distinguish himself. Marquis Rankin (2011) has a versatile game that is evolving as a scorer and passer. …
Three wing players from N.C. – each with the size to play SG or SF – looked good on Sunday. Ross used force and physicality. Garrius Adams made jump shots and has a body that will allow him to improve; plus his skills continue to sharpen. Jaron Lane, a lesser-known prospect who was in the same rotations as Ross and Adams also showed improvement. …
Brian Oliver’s best efforts came against the counselors when his jumper began hitting. … Rayshon Mack, a 2009 forward, used his size to his advantage and closed camp strong. … Camp’s toughest customers: Udofia, C.J. Harris, Traynham. …
One of the neat things about a camp like this is the interaction the kids have with the pros and college guys. Watching Stephen Curry talk to 10 campers about reading screens is what events like this are about. Hearing Paul talk on how he was beaten out on his AAU team and then dedicating himself to work harder leaves an impression. … NBA players Rudy Gay and Jarrett Jack attended the camp. …
College Counselors – Jeff Allen (Virginia Tech), Nick Calathes (Florida), Brandon Costner (North Carolina State), Stephen Curry (Davidson), Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech), Devan Downey (South Carolina), Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Dorenzo Hudson (Virginia Tech), Ricky Harris (UMass), Wesley Matthews (Marquette), Jack McClinton (Miami), Tyrese Rice (Boston College), Ishmael Smith (Wake Forest), Ben Smith (Jacksonville), Jamal Turner (Fairfield), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland), L.D. Williams (Wake Forest).
2008 Chris Paul Campers
Garrius Adams, Bryon Allen, Eric Bledsoe, Lorenzo Brown, Devante Brooks, Tony Chenault, Junior Cadougan, Jacoby Davis, Michael Dixon, Abdul Gaddy, Kyle Gaillard, Mike Grace, Erik Green, Fred Gulley, Tim Hardaway, C.J. Harris, DeMarcus Harrison, Josh Hicks, DeAndre Hopkins, Cory Joseph, Myck Kabongo, Jaron Lane, Braylon Lloyd, Tashawn Mabry, Andre Marhold, Rayshon Mack, Todd Mayo, Reco McCarter, Travis McKie, Brian Oliver, Darius Perkins, Marquis Rankin, Glen Rice, Akeem Richmond, Earnest Ross, Rashad Richardson, Jareal Smith, Anthony Thomas, Daryl Traynham, Mfon Udofia, Devonta White.