Players go through feeling-out process at LeBron James event
After spending the first day of the 2008 LeBron James Skills Academy working on skill development through stations, the evening session of the second day of the camp gave the participants the chance to compete against each other in last-second situations and then the games got underway. The players went through the "feeling-out" process through the drill work and the intensity increases exponentially during the last-second scoring practice session. The spirited play continued throughout the games in the evening with a number of close contests.
John Henson, 6-9 PF
Henson played with great energy on both ends of the court. He use his leaping ability, length, patience, and timing to block a number of DaShonte Riley's shot attempts during their match-up against each other. Henson used discipline while blocking shots, instead of swatting the ball out of bounds, he opted to tip shots and start fast breaks for his team. Henson often led the break, using his decent ball-handling skills to drive to the rim for dunks and lay-ins. Henson finished well around basket and even displayed a nice lefty jump-hook in paint. In addition to adding strength and muscle to his frame, Henson will have to improve his free-throw shooting (he draws fouls on the opposition due to his aggressive nature on offense) and jump-shot for the next level if he continues to spend time away from hoop.
Harrison Barnes, 6-7, SF
Barnes exhibited his versatile offensive tools throughout the games. He has the ability to knock down the one-two dribble mid-range pull-up jumper as well as connect on jump shots from 3-point range if the defense sags off of him. Barnes also can penetrate to the basket using his good first-step and leaping ability to finish at the rim. Though he has the ability to score almost at will Barnes does a good job of staying within himself and showing patience on offense.
DaShonte Riley, 6-11, C
Riley responded to Henson's aggressively play with some impressive play of his own in their one-on-one match-up. He used his quick leaping ability to aggressively rise up for dunks when he received the ball around the basket. He also connected on a couple of jump shots, showing his ability to step away from the basket. Riley also contested shots very effectively during stretches, but he could increase his defensive intensity and hit the boards with more vigor on both ends.
John Wall, 6-3, PG
Wall has great size for the point guard spot, but he also has the great quickness typically associated smaller point guards. This combination of size and quickness makes him nearly unstoppable off the dribble and he gets to the rim with ease. Once in the paint, Wall looks to finish mostly, but he has the ability to find open teammates with the draw and dish. At this point, he prefers to get into the open court and penetrate to the rim as he needs to improve his jump shot. Wall also needs to use his length and lateral quickness to become a better defender.
Taylor uses his quick leaping ability and athleticism to make plays around the basket. He hits the board, especially on the offensive end with a great amount of effort. Taylor also runs the court very well and typically finishes off breaks above the rim.
Andrew Fitzgerald, 6-7, PF
Though not a gifted athlete, Fitzgerald gets the most out of his ability. He relies more on position for rebounds as opposed to out-jumping opponents. Once around the rim, he effectively uses his body to draw contact and negate the opponent's quickness advantage. Fitzgerald needs to polish his post moves, but he places pressure on opponents due to his intense effort.
DeMarcus Cousins, 6-9, PF
Cousins affected the game on both ends, using his size and shot-blocking ability to shut down the lane on defense, while he hit the boards for rebounds on the offensive end. Cousins has the ability to collect a defensive rebound and start the fast break with a dribble, though he should not do this as much. He also has good passing ability for a big guy and can step away from the paint for jumpers.
Lamont Jones, 6-0, PG
Before he injured his ankle, Jones did a great job of using his quickness and ball-handling skills to get to the rim for lay-ins. He has decent vision and passing skills, but he opted to get to the rim for his own offense and could have involved his teammates a little more. Jones has to cut down on his tendency to over-penetrate in addition to alleviating his tendency to launch ill-advised 3s when the defense negates his penetration.
Royce White, 6-7, SF
White has a very diverse offensive game with the ability to hurt opposing defenses with his midrange, pull-up jumper or using his good quickness and improved ballhandling to get to the rim for layups. Once in the paint, White also willingly passed the ball to open guys for layups. White did a good job of moving his feet on the defensive end.
Carl "Tay" Jones, 5-11, PG
Jones has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He can connect with relative ease from beyond 3-point land, but he also has the quickness to penetrate to the basket. Though small, he uses an assortment of floaters and angles to get his shots off in the paint amongst the trees.
DeShaun Thomas, 6-7, Combo Forward
Thomas has great length and athleticism and uses these tools to make plays throughout games. He has the quick, high vertical leap which allows him to finish in the paint in traffic and score as well off the offensive glass. He also willing passes the ball to open teammates. Thomas needs to improve his shot selection and jumper, but he competes with a great deal of energy.
Marcus Jordan, 6-3, Combo Guard
Jordan uses his strength, quickness, and athleticism to impact the game on both ends of the court. On offense, he gets to the rim easily and finishes around the basket with both hands, which complements his ability to adjust in the air after taking contact in the paint. This lefty just needs to continue to improve his jump shot. On defense, he moves his feet well and impedes opposing guards from penetrating. Jordan also gets his hands in on a ton of loose balls and strips opponents constantly.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.
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