While games aren't apart of the equation in these camps, the drills and skill work is a valuable tool for the players involved. Here are some of the players that stood out.
Rakeem Christmas, C – The athleticism that Christmas has showed through in a big way during the Amar'e session. Gliding up the floor with ease, Rakeem looked great in a full court transition drill, where on an NBA-sized floor he was able to show his speed even more. Besides the athleticism, he also showed a nice mid-range jumper at the elbow, knocking down many of them with ease in a drill that got the big men moving and taking shots off a pick and pop.
Marshall Plumlee, C – While many of the Amare Stoudemire's campers weren't bringing the energy on the third and final day, Plumlee continued to work hard and tried to get others to follow suit. He ran hard in sprints, went even harder in drills and constantly gave others in his group encouragement. Marshall is the rare breed that constantly asks questions, begs for extra reps and wants to know what he is doing wrong. He'll be a coach's dream because he wants to get better and help others get better.
Tyrone Johnson, PG – Johnson showed very well in the one-on-one drills of the Deron Williams Skills Academy, using his size and strength to get inside on smaller guards while using his handles and pull-up jumper to go at guys that were a similar size. Getting to the rim has always been his strength, but it was nice to see Johnson use some jumpers to finish off opponents as well.
Jahii Carson, PG – After a productive week at NBA Camp, Carson was back at it again, showing off his incredible vertical leap and also mixing in his jumper to go along with the point guard skills. The lift he gets allows him to shoot over bigger players and his quickness makes him deadly in the open floor. Carson also showed well in passing drills and is able to make one-handed passes off-the-dribble with either hand.
Jakarr Sampson, SF – It's been a solid couple of months for Sampson as he continues to put together an emerging skill set to go with his tremendous athleticism. The improved handle and jumper was on full display as Jakarr took on all comers in the one-on-one and two-on-two sections of the day. Sampson scored at will on anybody that got in his way and played with a tremendous amount of confidence. He can take it to the rack, knock down floaters, finish above the rim with authority or knock down a jumper. His versatility on the offensive end is a huge plus.
Victor Nickerson, SF – He's a late bloomer that exploded on the scene in Los Angeles a month ago, but Victor will be a guy to watch in July. The jumper was steady and he was knocking it down on mid-range pull-ups and a bit from deep. He also showed a sound basketball IQ and picked up things very quickly, often running drills at full speed in a moment's notice. Loved his intensity as a help defender in the two-on-two drills. While others stood and watched as their teammate got beaten, Victor did the best he could not to lose on any possession and came up with some deflections and blocks using his active hands.
Myles Davis, SG – Although the smallest player in the Paul Pierce Skills Academy, Davis didn't let that bother him one bit. In a positioning drill, Davis was able to stay low and gain leverage on every one of his opponents and receive the entry pass in spots where he wanted it. Once he received the pass, Davis knocked down contested jumpers, or used a pump fake to get to the basket. He continued to shoot the ball well throughout the day after that drill and showed he is an elite level threat from deep.
Wayne Blackshear, SG – Simply put, the Louisville commit was nearly unstoppable among Paul Pierce campers. Playing in attack mode, Wayne does a great job scoring at all three levels and getting low to the ground when he attacks the rim. One move in particular stands out in which Blackshear ducked the outstretched arm of his defender and exploded to the rim in two dribbles for an easy layup. Defensively, he is starting to understand positioning better and uses his long arms to make it difficult for a pass to come his way.
2012 big man Daniel Ochefu came off rave reviews at the Nike Hoop Jamboree and was confident in the Amar'e Academy, playing with mostly older players. He willingly fought in the post on offense and defense and showed a good feel around the basket offensively… Interesting to see Anthony Davis and Mike Shaw participate in the Kevin Durant Academy. Both of them will likely end up in the post in college because of their ability to change the game in the paint – Davis as a shot blocker and Shaw as a rebounder – but the Chicago duo also has the skill to play on the wing. They weren't as polished as some of the other wings in ball-handling drills, but the work they put in here will go a long way towards a professional future….
LaQuinton Ross was brave enough to be the first to go at Kevin Durant in the one-on-one drills. Although he was beaten by Durant each time, Ross showed a lot by coming back and scoring on his fellow campers the next three times out with relative ease. Credit also goes to Dominique Pointer, who followed Ross by playing against Durant and getting a stop on the scoring machine… Mychael Henry has put together an impressive June at some under-the-radar settings. He hasn't played the national level events like many of his fellow campers, but the Illinois commit has put in work and continued to shoot the ball at a very high level…
Rodney Hood followed up an impressive week at NBA Camp with another solid outing in the Durant Camp. He has great size at 6-8, can score at all three levels and has an improving pull-up jumper. The lefty can really fill it up when he gets going.
Jakarr Sampson says his current favorites are St. John's, Xavier, USC and Baylor while Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Dayton and Akron are also in the picture. The fast-rising wing is trying to visit USC, Baylor and Louisville in the near future.
Sam Thompson maintains a top five of Florida, Ohio State, Oregon State, Georgetown and Kansas. "Oregon State, Florida and Ohio State have been there since the very beginning and I've grown quite comfortable with their staffs and the schools. I'd say those three are a little bit ahead of Kansas and Georgetown," Thompson said. Sam is planning on going to Florida's elite camp in August and may visit Ohio State when he participates in the LeBron James Skills Academy in July. Kansas and Georgetown have not yet offered the four-star small forward.
Victor Nickerson claims offers from VCU, Richmond, Charlotte, Oklahoma State and UTEP while Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma have been tracking. Myles Davis recently received an offer from Villanova, while Pittsburgh, Georgetown, St. Joseph, George Mason and Virginia round out his top six. The New Jersey native claims offers from all except Georgetown and has taken an unofficial visit to each of his top six schools.