Commentary

LeBron James Academy Day 3 recap

Allerik Freeman, Alex Poythress standout on first day with college coaches in the house

Originally Published: July 8, 2011
By Reggie Rankin and Dave Telep | ESPN.com

AKRON, Ohio -- The third day of the LeBron James Skills Academy was the first day the camp was open to college coaches and the first day of two sets of games.

Standout players

Allerik Freeman (Charlotte, N.C./ Olympic)
2013, PG/SG, 6-foot-4, 197 pounds
Freeman has good size and strength and great command of the ball. He pushes the ball with great pace and has an excellent feel for what needs to be done in a given situation. He is able to create plays for himself or others and is as complete a combination guard as we have seen to date. His midrange game is great, which includes a beautiful floater that he knocks down with touch and body control. He will not hesitate to throw the advance pass or feed the post. Freeman also does a great job of using the shot fake to gain an offensive advantage. He can be a little streaky from behind the arc, but that can be fixed with better shot preparation. Defensively, he pressures the ball; helps and recovers; and closes out under control. Freeman has a long offer list but did mention Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami (FL), NC State, South Carolina, Georgetown, Tennessee, Georgia, Wake Forest, Xavier and Florida.

[+] EnlargeAlexander Poythress
Natalie BehringAlex Poythress is the No. 17 overall player in the 2012 class.

Alex Poythress (Clarksville, Tenn./ Northeast)
2012, SF, 6-8, 213 pounds
The combination forward is a monster athlete who is strong and physical. He gets to the rim from the wing and along the baseline, where he dunks in traffic; scores through contact with good touch and body control; or draws the foul. His athletic ability surpasses his skills at this stage, but if his skill level catches up, watch out! Poythress is a tip-dunk threat on the offensive glass, especially when he sprints in from the perimeter. Defensively, he blocks shots and is capable of guarding both forward positions. Poythress named Vanderbilt, Memphis, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), Florida State, Louisville and Connecticut as schools in the mix.

Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./ Archbishop Mitty)
2013, PF, 6-8, 207 pounds
Gordon continues to impress with his consistent energy and effort on both ends of the floor. He attacks the rim with quick first-step slashes; rebounds on both ends in and out of his area; and is an above-the-rim finisher with any clear path to the rim. Gordon is too big for small forwards to guard and too quick for power forwards. Plus, he's a good and willing passer. Gordon must work to extend his shooting range where it is more consistent, but all the other tools to be special are in place. He mentioned Washington, Stanford, Kansas, Arizona and New Mexico as schools in the mix.

Gary Harris (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton SE)
2012, SG, 6-4, 195 pounds
There aren't many wasted possessions with this efficient shooting guard. There's a purposeful way about his game. Known for his stroke, he played in attack mode and finished with toughness. On drives, he was strong with the ball all the way to the rim and his game translates to every major program in America; he's that talented.

Grant Jerrett (LaVerne Calif./Lutheran)
2012, PF/C, 6-8, 200 pounds
College: Arizona
Once the Arizona strength coach gets a hold of him, look out. Jerrett gets traffic rebounds and cooks outlet passes and he's one of the only guys who has a counter to the defense that doesn't involve a power move. He's All-American-caliber on the high school level, and his best days are ahead of him. Lest we forget to mention that he's the owner of a deft touch for a big man.

Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia/Friends Central)
2012, PF, 6-7, 180 pounds
It has probably been a few weeks since Jefferson attempted a jump shot, and that's because what he's doing now is working. Not the biggest and definitely not the most powerful, he's among the craftiest forwards in the class. Jefferson works the baseline, slinks his way into the lane, then by using his smarts and extra long arms, he finishes. He knows the angles, reads defenders then drops it in the net. There's nothing complicated about his approach. Basically, he defies the odds, but he has finished so many tough plays it's just in his DNA. It began at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, and his stellar play followed him to the LeBron James Skills Academy.

Dominic Artis (Richmond, Va./ Findlay Prep)
2012, PG, 6-1, 167 pounds
Artis is a true point guard who the defense better guard because he can make it pay with his ability to shoot the ball. He could be a bit more vocal when he runs the team, but he always shows up to compete. Artis is stable and dependable and plays with heart. He has speed and quickness to make plays with the clock winding down. When he is on the floor you never have to wonder where the lead guard is. Artis said his list consists of California, UCLA, Oregon and Florida State.

Charles Mitchell (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler)
2012, PF/C, 6-7, 250 pounds
He is a wide-bodied post who is tough, smart and competes on both ends. He needs to drop a few pounds, but he plays with energy and urgency. Mitchell is crafty and powerful in the post and simply grew on us throughout the day. He said Xavier, Iowa, Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Tennessee and Ohio State are in the mix

Willie Cauley (Spearville, Kan./ Olathe Northwest)
2012, C, 7-1, 210 pounds
Cauley was impressive with his great length and mobility. He runs the floor like a deer and attacks the rim from short distances. Cauley is also a top-notch passer, especially to cutters and in high-low situations. Length, skill and upside make him a potentially special player.

Notes

• The underclassmen here have been pushing the older players, instead of deferring. Emmanuel Mudiay (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep) is a sophomore in name only. He's 6-4, has a defined frame and is a big-timer. In baseball, guys such as Mudiay are referred to as five-tool players. He can score off the bounce and with his jumper. Mudiay is a big point who grabs boards, passes and plays older than his grade.

• 2014 big man Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/ Whitney Young) said Ohio State offered last week.

• 2013 swing man Jabari Parker (Chicago/ Simeon) has been a terrific all-around performer. We are tired of trying to figure out what he can't do.

• 2012 SF Danuel House (Sugar Land, Texas/ Hightower) has length, athletic ability, skill and upside. Texas, Houston, California, Colorado, Missouri, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Baylor and Arizona have taken notice.

Kenny Kaminski (Medina, Ohio/Senior) had a good first run. He mixed 3-pointers in with paint work. Once he gets more committed around the basket, he'll have the final Tom Izzo seal of approval.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis/Oak Hill) gets credit in our book. This is the second camp he's stepped out of his comfort zone and handled point guard duties. A natural scorer and power guard, he's committed to learning the position and playing through mistakes for the betterment of his game long term.

Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy) draws comparisons to Tyler Hansbrough because of his intensity. Despite Hansbrough being the all-time leading scorer at UNC, McGary has much more offense than Hansbrough did even as a collegian. Hansbrough was the better rebounder; McGary is a more skilled offensive prospect.

• You get better in these settings. Ask Kennedy Meeks (Charlotte, N.C./W.Charlotte). Rarely is he not the biggest guy on the floor, but DaJuan Coleman (Dewitt, N.Y./Jamesville-Dewitt) solved that problem. Coleman gave the young post a good lesson in seniority. Meeks will walk away with a gauge of where his game is and what it means to step up in competition. It's a summer lesson that will help him going forward.

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. Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at espndt@gmail.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.

Reggie Rankin

College Basketball Recruiting

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