Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Phase 1 Top 40 Camp/Combine recap
By Joel Francisco
LAS VEGAS -- The inaugural top-40 camp/combine had an exceptional collection of underclassmen who will be impacting the college game in the near future.
Six-foot-5 freshman prospect Troy Brown showcased immense potential during the top-40 camp/combine in Las Vegas.
The camp had a number of intriguing storylines, including the continued improvement of ESPN 60 junior Chase Jeter (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) and the emergence of perhaps the best prospect in the camp in 6-foot-5 freshman Troy Brown (Las Vegas/Centennial).
Best Prospects Troy Brown Jr. (Las Vegas/Centennial)
2017, PG, 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
Brown is a willowy point guard prospect with extraordinary long arms. His handle is slick and tight, and he has the innate ability to find guys in the open court due to his vision and savvy. Despite his sleek frame he can mix it up inside and snag rebounds in traffic, and his jump shot (release point) has improved since July. It's obviously very early in the process, but this Penny Hardaway-like prospect has immense potential if he stays grounded.
Chase Jeter (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman)
2015, PF, 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Status: Has strong interest from Arizona, UNLV, UCLA, USC, Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Duke, Arizona State and Stanford
There might not be a more improved prospect out West than Jeter. The fundamentally-sound 4-man can step out and hit elbow jump shots, but it's his willingness to dominate the paint area that has impressed scouts the most. His footwork and skill set -- as well as his strength -- have evolved. Whether it's a dunk in traffic or a baby hook over the left shoulder, Jeter is slowly, but assuredly, climbing the national rankings.
Best scoring lead guard Marcus LoVett Jr. (San Gabriel, Calif./San Gabriel Academy)
2015, PG, 6-foot, 165 pounds
LoVett Jr. is a chiseled left-handed point guard who was virtually unstoppable at this camp. He is adept at running the high screen and roll, and his jump shot was consistent throughout. There is no question he is a talented scorer from all three levels, and he uses his broad shoulders to ward off contact while finishing. However, to take his game to another level he needs to limit his tendency to over-handle the ball as well as find ways to make his teammates better with his passing and communication.
Best pure point guard
Kendall Small (Lakewood, Calif./Mayfair)
2015, PG, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds
Status: Gonzaga, Oregon, UConn, Columbia, Oregon State, New Mexico, UTEP, Tulsa and Tulane are showing interest.
Small is a pit bull at both ends of the floor. In his matchup with LoVett Jr., Small didn't get the necessary help to stop LoVett's high screen and roll game, but offensively he was arguably the best facilitator in the camp. His vision is uncanny, and he displayed an improved jump shot. However, he does leave his feet too much while attacking the paint area, which could be problematic at the next level.
Best gene pool
Brendan Bailey (Salt Lake City/American Fort)
2016, WF, 6-foot-6, 165 pounds
Bailey, who is the son of former Utah Jazz standout Thurl Bailey, is a slender wing-type with a feathery shooting stroke. He handles the ball well in the open court, and he is wired to score. His shot selection is questionable at times and he plays too fast, but he is a talent with an impressive upside.
Embo, who is originally from Paris, has now found a new home at Findlay Prep. The wiry combo-guard is a slashing prospect who possesses superior quickness and innate ability to score in a variety of ways. In addition, he exhibited enough vision to be a lead guard at some point with development.
Derrick Bruce (Ontario, Calif./Colony)
2015, PG, 6-foot-3, 165 pounds
Status: Claims interest from USC, San Diego State, Arizona State, Cal-Berkeley, and Weber State.
Bruce is an intriguing story considering I witnessed his injury last December while playing for a different school (Corona, Calif./Centennial). He is a 2014 prospect who will reclassify and head to prep school in Florida a year from now. Nevertheless, he is a talented point guard prospect with great size, exceptional athleticism, and a budding skill set.
Charles O'Bannon Jr. (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman)
2017, SG, 6-foot-3, 170 pounds O'Bannon Jr. has much more wiggle to his game than his father (former UCLA standout), however O'Bannon Jr.'s approach to the game is far different. He can score in a variety of ways, but he'll need to learn how to play at a better pace (plays too fast) and impact the game in more ways other than scoring. Overall, though, he is a talent with a bright future.
Stephen Thompson Jr. (Torrance, Calif./Bishop Montgomery)
2015, SG, 6-foot-3, 155 pounds
Status: Has been offered by Vanderbilt, Arizona State, New Mexico.
If Chase Jeter is the most improved player in the West, Thompson Jr. is not far behind. This smooth operator has a high IQ for the game, and his shot is feathery out to 22-feet. He has a potent floater in the paint area, and his explosiveness has improved as well. Physical defenders can give him issues, but as he gains strength, that area of his game should continue to improve.
Diamonds in the rough
Nate Grimes (Las Vegas/Desert Pines)
2015, WF, 6-foot-7, 180 pounds
Status: Claims offers from UTEP, Utah State, Loyola Marymount, Fresno State, UMass, Nevada, Oregon State, San Jose State and Southern Utah
The term "diamond in the rough" is the proper description for the ever-improving Grimes. Broad shoulders, bouncy nature and an improved motor describe this young thoroughbred. His shot is unorthodox and his ball skills need polishing, especially when attacking pressure, but there is a lot to like in this young forward.
Ray Smith (Las Vegas/Las Vegas High)
2015, WF, 6-foot-7, 175 pounds
Status: Claims offers from UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, New Mexico, Northern Arizona, Oregon State, Louisville and San Diego State.
Smith has that prototypical frame with long arms, and he is explosive as well. He excels in transition attacking the rim, and he shows a decent shooting touch from the perimeter. However, for him to take the next step, he needs to play more assertive at both ends (defending/rebounding) and with more purpose in mind.