Commentary

LeBron James Academy Day 2 recap

Shaquille Johnson's athleticism and Sam Cassell Jr.'s scoring stand out on Day 2

Originally Published: July 7, 2011
By Reggie Rankin | ESPN.com

AKRON, Ohio -- Day 2 of the LeBron James Skills Academy had more controlled scrimmages in addition to individual skill development drills in the areas of shooting and passing on the move. The coaches did a great job emphasizing foot work, passing and catching at high speeds. The afternoon workout stressed more defensive principles like closeouts, slides and defending one-on-one. The offense worked on utilizing the "V" and "L" cut in order to get open on the wing. The evening workout was a series of short scrimmages, and we were really impressed by the high level of play by a number of prospects.

Standout players

Shaquille Johnson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton)
2012, SF, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds
College: Auburn
Johnson is as athletic as they come. He plays above the rim on all clear paths and he better be kept off the offensive glass because he can provide a momentum-swinging tip dunk from almost any angle. He runs the floor at high speeds and slashes from the wing, where he finishes over, around or through defenders. He is a decent open midrange shooter who must work to extend his range and hone his ballhandling skills to take his game to the next level. Johnson crashes the glass on both ends and is also a very capable multiple-position defender. Expect Auburn coach Tony Barbee to add a few more lob plays when Johnson arrives on campus.

Kendrick Nunn (Chicago/Simeon)
2013, PG/SG, 6-3, 171 pounds
Nunn is playing with great confidence and was on the gold-medal-winning USA U16 team this summer. He is a true shooting guard who has 3-point range and the lefty can spot up on the break, come off screens and space to the open area on the side of dribble penetration. He is explosive enough to finish above the rim on the break or he can straight-line drive and get to the rim. Nunn competes on both ends and is capable of defending both guard positions because he is a good athlete who applies ball pressure. Nunn seems to be better each time we see him. Missouri, Texas A&M, Memphis, Ohio, Florida State, Arizona and Providence have all put an offer on the table for Nunn.

Grant Jerrett (La Verne, Calif./La Verne Lutheran)
2012, C, 6-10, 220 pounds
College: Arizona
Jerrett showed a variety of post moves and face-up scoring ability. He has excellent footwork and runs the floor well and consistently. He finishes drop-off passes above the rim and also displayed nice body control around the basket, where he finished with either hand. Jerrett is long and active but must work to add strength and tighten up his ballhandling. Wildcats coach Sean Miller is going to have fun moving Jerrett around in the Arizona offense because he is definitely a big man's biggest nightmare -- skilled inside and out.

Justin Jackson (Houston/HCYA)
2014, SG/SF, 6-7, 168 pounds
Jackson draws comparisons to a young Reggie Miller, in appearance and style of play. The long, 6-7 shooter has deep range and is a good enough ball handler to get to his sweet spot on the floor for his midrange pull-up jumper, which he can shoot over smaller defenders. He comes off screens and spaces to the open area, ready to pull the trigger. Jackson also competes hard, but strength is a factor. He won a gold medal this summer with the USA U16 team and is loaded with potential. Jackson has offers from Ohio State, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

Sam Cassell Jr. (Baltimore/Notre Dame Prep)
2012, SG/PG, 6-4, 175 pounds
The son of former NBA player Sam Cassell can score the ball. He is long, wiry and always on the attack. He scores on the break and in the half-court set with a variety of shots with range to the arc. He is in training to help at the point, but must work at getting others involved. However, he is capable of getting the job done because he competes. He will need to continue to work on improving his speed and quickness, but Cassell can make things happen on the offensive end of the floor. He has offers from Arkansas, Florida State, Missouri, Morgan State, South Florida and Clemson, among others.

Notes

• Duke commit Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston/Strake Jesuit) had the jumper going down in the night session. He ran the floor and hit a flurry of rhythm 3s, while also finishing above the rim when he was ahead of the pack. Sulaimon has a great motor and is an attention-getter.

• 2014 big man Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) was impressive with his power moves through contact. He also gave us a spin move and finish that started about 15 feet away from the rim. Not bad for 6-10 and 272 pounds.

• Thursday is the first day Nike will allow college coaches in the LeBron James Skills Academy, and with the number of high-major targets here, expect a large numbers of head coaches to be in the house for the 9 a.m. ET high school workout, with games to follow in the afternoon and evening.

Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was a first-team All-MAC selection his senior season. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.

Reggie Rankin

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