CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The NBPA Top 100 Camp this week is the latest stop on the Dennis Smith Jr.…
Snow: NBPA Top 100 Day Two Recap
Class of 2015 Eric Davis, SG – There have been times this summer where Davis has tried to show some movement toward being a point guard, and that hasn't been when he has played his best. During a morning game on Thursday he was tremendous doing what he does best, and that is score the basketball. Davis isn't an elite athlete, but he has tremendous quickness with the dribble and is an excellent shooter both from deep and in the mid-range. Add in a big time confidence and Davis is someone who gets buckets at a very high level. Ray Smith, SF – The sky is simply the limit for Smith and he is seemingly getting better every single week. Again he was excellent showing off that at 6-foot-8 he is capable of doing everything and anything on the basketball court. On Thursday he mostly excelled going to the rim, but he also hit a few jumpers. If he keeps up this type of improvement there is no doubt he will be playing this game for a long, long time. Trevor Manuel, PF – Manuel has had a bit of an up and down spring, but during the morning set of games he showed that he can be a very effective player. A skilled forward, Manuel played inside and out. He scored some from the mid-range, was solid off the dribble, and defensively he rebounded and showed his ability to move his feet. Manuel has to get stronger, and definitely find more consistency, but overall he has a lot of natural ability and continues to show flashes of being a big time prospect. Jawun Evans, PG – There has been little doubt so far that Evans is one of the best point guards in attendance. Evans first and foremost is an absolute jet with the basketball and can get baseline-to-baseline as fast as any player in the camp. Add in that he is very creative in how he finishes around the rim, and he is someone who can cause major problems for defenses when he gets going downhill. Beyond that, Evans has shown tremendous decision making ability here, and in the past that has been a bit of a concern. Overall it was an outstanding day for Evans, and he definitely has cemented himself as one of the top floor generals in the class. Antonio Blakeney, SG – No one can every accuse him of being shy that is for sure. When he has the ball in his hands there is a good chance it is very soon going to be headed to the rim. Blakeney has been very shot happy, and also he has made a lot. As a volume scorer here he has put up some good numbers. While he is scoring in bunches, maybe the most impressive thing has been how hard he has played on defense as well. Blakeney has played passing lanes, made steals, and just brings a nearly unmatched energy to every game he is in. Ben Simmons, PF – Simmons is someone who is in contention for the No. 1 spot in the class of 2015, and he has been doing nothing to hurt his stock with his play. Simmons went head-to-head with Thon Maker in the morning set of games and came out on top. He has rebounded well, finished around the rim, and also been proficient in the mid-range. His athleticism is solid, and with the motor running at a good level this weekend he has made a legit claim to being the top prospect in the rankings. Daniel Giddens, C – While Giddens likely will never be a big scorer at the college level, he showed during the evening games why so many schools want him to be a part of their program. Giddens blocked a few shots, was excellent rebounding the ball, and then showed off his surprisingly impressive ability to pass out of the post. Add in that Giddens always brings major effort to the table and it is clear he will always have a defined role on a team going forward. Dwayne Bacon, SF – It has been an excellent camp so far for Bacon and Thursday night was another example of that. First he caught absolute fire with his jumper making some tough shots, and then he used his size, quickness, and athleticism to score going to the rim. Bacon is a kid who can score both in the halfcourt and in transition, and has now put himself in the discussion of being a five-star prospect. Corey Sanders, PG – Sometimes on his AAU team Sanders gets overlooked because of what Bacon brings to the table, but at this camp the natural talent he possesses has shined through. Sanders has good size, is a big time athlete, and also is a capable shooter. His decision making has been solid, not great, and overall has looked the part of a high-major player. Aaron Holiday, PG – The future UCLA Bruin didn't shoot the ball especially great in the evening set of games, but he did make a lot of things happen. Defensively he used his athleticism and strength to his advantage with a few steals, and then also he even blocked a shot or two in transition. Then Holiday added in a floater and just showed an ability to impact the game without having his shot fall, and that is always a great skill for a young prospect to have. Class of 2016 Dennis Smith, PG – The explosiveness that he has is impressive. In the morning game Smith got it done scoring as well as passing. He is so good in ball screen situations that defenses end up in a tough spot with his ability to make the right pass or simply use his speed to get right into the lane. At times during the game he has turned the motor on and off, but when he is locked in he has been nearly unstoppable with the ball. Kobi Simmons, PG – Unfortunately Smith and Simmons didn't match up against each other outside of one possession during the evening showdown. With that said, the talent Simmons has is obvious. He is definitely a score first type of point guard which is fine because he is also capable of some impressive passes, especially when in the open court. Simmons has to continue to refine his decision making skills in the halfcourt, but his size, athleticism, and scoring ability have all been on display and Simmons is proving himself to be an elite prospect in the class. Thon Maker, PF/C – Maker had one of the most ridiculous plays of the entire camp with a violent block that was vicious the ball slammed into a camera man on the baseline and it looked like that person might need some medical attention. Besides changing and blocking several shots, Maker was excellent with the mid-range and even got on the glass a little bit. He needs to continue to get stronger, and play more down low as opposed to doing his Chris Bosh imitation as a jump shooter, but all of the tools are there for him to be an excellent long term prospect. Juwan Durham, PF/C – Going up against the 7-foot-4 Tacko Fall in the evening session was a unique experience for Durham. At first he didn't seem to know what to do, but as the game went on Durham got going. He attacked off the dribble, showed his tremendous hands catching some touch passes in transition, and then he also hit from 17 feet. Once he gets in the weight room the sky is going to be the limit.
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