LeBron James Skills Academy Day Three

LeBron James Skills Academy Day Three
Jul 10, 2007, 11:53 pm
High School Prospects of Interest

Tyreke Evans, 6’5, 205 lbs., PG/SG, 2008

Evans was able to do whatever he wanted on the offensive end of the court, getting to the rim at ease and shooting the lights out of the ball. He did a very good job finding the open man when he had the ball in his hands, as he was able to see over the smaller point guards that the opposing team had to offer. The Philly guard’s handle was extremely tight and he was able to get by any opposing guard thrown at him with his devastating inside out dribble and crossover. He truly showed why he is going to put up big numbers as a freshman in college Sunday in Akron.


On the down side, Evans is one of the more ball dominant guards that there are on the high school level. His style of play is eerily reminiscent of Allen Iverson’s when Iverson is at the point, as Tyreke holds the ball in his hands for a considerable amount of time, drives to the basket, and then passes only if he is unable to score for himself. He has not exhibited the ability to run a team at either the high school or AAU level thus far in his career, something he must improve upon if he hopes to reach his maximum potential at the collegiate level.

Sylven Landesberg, 6’5, 194 lbs., PG/SG, 2008

After a shaky Saturday session, Landesberg came out Sunday much more aggressive and the results were much more positive. He used his cerebral style of play to get everyone around him involved, while also scoring every time the opportunity presented itself. The New York guard’s ability to get around defenders and finish at the rim consistently despite his relatively average athleticism is a testament to the high basketball IQ that the rising senior possesses. He hit a couple of three pointers on the day (although his shooting mechanics could use some refinement) and exhibited the ability to score in bunches when need be. Landesberg’s size, playmaking ability, and scoring knack will surely allow him to play both guard positions by the time it is all said and done at whichever school he decides upon (considering Texas, St. John’s, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky).

Samardo Samuels, 6’9, 270 lbs., PF, 2008, Committed to Louisville

For the second day in a row, Samuels was simply a man amongst boys. He has the body of Al Horford with the game of Elton Brand, minus the face up jumpshot. The Jamaican big man scored via a series of drop steps, offensive rebounds, and running hook shots, which were freakishly similar to the one that the aforementioned L.A. Clippers All-Star goes to on a regular basis. Samardo still didn’t give us a whole lot to work with in terms of shooting range, but he surely has time for to hone his face up game over the next year in high school and his freshman season at Louisville. Consistency has been an issue in the past with Samuels, but not here at the LeBron camp, as he’s displayed a great motor and has been the most consistent player that the camp has had to offer thus far.

John Riek, 7’2, 222 lbs., C, 2009

As each day goes on, everyone in attendance becomes more and more intrigued by the young Sudanese big man, only listed as a high school junior. He continues to not only play better as each game goes on, but also gains more and more confidence in himself. While Riek is not a fluid player by any stretch of the imagination offensively, he is surprisingly productive. Anything that he receives within five feet of the basket, he finishes with a dunk if possible. The monstrous, soft hands that he owns allow him to tip-in plenty of balls around the rim with near perfect accuracy. The post moves still aren’t there yet, but John’s good hands and soft touch allowed him to score around 15 points per game on the day.

Now that we have gotten his improved offensive performance out of the day, it is time to break down how much Riek was able to change the game on the defensive end. His length and timing have given him the ability to completely change the game on this end of the court. Riek had at least 5 blocks and 10 rebounds in each of the games that we observed him today, while altering plenty of other shots as well. He truly is a special defensive player already, and if he is able to improve offensively, even at an average rate, he will give Renardo Sidney a run for his money for the top player in the class of 2009 by the time it is all said and done.

Greg Monroe, 6’10, 233 lbs., PF, 2008

Monroe is an amazing talent, but has been unable to utilize his skills to their maximum potential throughout the first three days of camp. He showed dazzling footwork on the low blocks, finishing with both his right and left hands equally well. Monroe was money from 18 feet and in, and converted everything in transition. Still with all of these skills, he failed to take over the game we watched and was extremely passive. Greg is unselfish to a fault and while he is surely is the most talented player here at camp, by no means has he been the most dominant.

Demar DeRozan, 6’6, 207 lbs., SG, 2008, Committed to USC

DeRozan continued to show everyone in attendance why he is the top shooting guard in the nation, as he honestly looked like an NBA wing out there with high school kids on Sunday. As far as scoring is concerned, there isn’t much that he didn’t show out there. The USC recruit shot the ball from three-point range (both off of the dribble and from a standstill), got to the rim at will, and was downright money from midrange. Demar still doesn’t do a ton on the defensive end, but once he hit’s the collegiate level, the USC coaching staff will definitely help him with any of his problems on that end of the floor.

Henry Sims, 6’10, 218 lbs., PF/C, 2008, Committed to Georgetown

Sims was surprisingly productive throughout the first two days of camp, finishes everything inside and making his presence felt on both ends of the floor. The long, athletic big man really did some damage on the offensive glass, exhibited great hands, and seemed to be a guards dream with his ability to convert their drop-off passes inside for assists. Henry has a motor that does not stop running at all, and with continued development on the low blocks should be able to receive a considerable amount of playing time as a freshman for the Hoys.

College Camper Open Gym

The collegiate prospects in Akron took part in an open gym type setting, with games being played up to 7 points as two point field goals were worth 1 point, and three point shots being worth 2 points. LeBron James took part in all of the action with the group, although he was a bit passive and seemed more concerned with getting everyone involved than putting on a dominant performance in front of the 30 or so obrservers who stayed in the arena to take in the action. Arguably the top camper of the group, Tywon Lawson, sat out the games on Sunday evening with some unnamed injury. Below are the top performers from the collegiate camper scrimmages:

Jeff Adrien, 6’6, 230 lbs., Junior, PF, UCONN

Adrien was far and away the most dominant player of any of the collegians, showing that he could score against taller and more athletic defenders such as the Lopez twins and his Connecticut teammate Hasheem Thabeet. He was just so much more powerful and explosive then any other player on the floor that it was almost unjust to watch what he was doing to his foes. The junior forward established whatever position he wanted on the low blocks, finished around the rim, and was a terror on the offensive glass. Most impressive however was his improved range on his jumper, now being a threat from 17 feet and in consistently.

While Jeff does not have ideal size for a power forward at only 6’6, he is able to compensate for that with a wingspan exceeding 7’0 and exceptional athleticism. He is an extremely productive player with a motor that never stops, making him a coach’s dream for a role player off of the bench. As long as Adrien is able to continue his productivity, there is no reason that he should not find himself on a roster at the conclusion of his tenure as a player at Connecticut.

Brook Lopez, 7’0, 240 lbs., Sophomore, PF/C, Stanford

Brook was downright breathtaking with his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, knocking down numerous three point shots from beyond the NBA three-point arc. He and LeBron James ran the pick and pop to perfection, with Brook being the recipient of many of LeBron’s assists throughout the scrimmages. He wasn’t the strongest on the defensive end against bullish forwards such as Adrien and Rhode Island forward Will Harris, but he did block his fair share of shots on the day. If Lopez is able to play his sophomore year at Stanford the way he played in this open gym, there is no reason why he should not be a lottery candidate by the time the year is over.

Robin Lopez, 7’0, 240 lbs., Sophomore, C, Stanford

Brook’s brother Robin showed much more toughness in the open gym, but was far less refined on the offensive end. Robin was extremely mechanical on the offensive end, almost to the point that he looked uncomfortable when he touched the ball on the low blocks. He did show off a little right-handed jump hook, but very little else when he received the ball in the post. Lopez impressed us with his toughness and willingness to battle against Jeff Adrien, a player far superior to him in terms of strength. The Stanford center attempted multiple jumpshots from the 15-foot range, but with little success. Either way, while Brook may get to the NBA sooner then his brother, Robin will surely see himself as a first round pick by the time his tenure as a Cardinal, barring some sort of catastrophe.

Hasheem Thabeet, 7’3, 265 lbs., Sophomore, C, UCONN

The Tanzanian big man looked just as raw in Akron as he did throughout his freshman season at UCONN on the offensive end, looking puzzled as to what to do the ball each and every time he touched it. Surprisingly, his hands were noticeably worse then they were at UCONN, with Thabeet bobbling just about every single pass he received. It should be noted that his left hand was heavily taped earlier in the day, suggesting some sort of possible injury. Either way, it was clear that Hasheem was quite a ways behind both of the Lopez twins in terms of productivity on both ends of the floor, and has a lot of work to do before he should consider entering the NBA Draft.

Jeremy Pargo, 6’2, 219 lbs., Junior, PG, Gonzaga

The Gonzaga point man was easily the most impressive of the guard prospects participating, able to score at virtually any point he chose to. He really improved the consistency and range of his shot, exhibiting the ability to hit three pointers out to the NBA arc. The explosiveness that Pargo showed off was unparalleled, as his ability to change speeds and explosive first step were too much to handle. He was also seen throwing down between the legs dunks after the scrimmage session was over, pretty unheard of for a 6’2 point guard.


Jeremy will have the opportunity to play much more point guard this season for the Zags with Derrick Raivio’s departure, although emerging sophomore Matt Bouldin could snag some of his minutes. Regardless, we expect a big season from Pargo in 07-08, given the improvement that he showed off in Akron from last season.

Courtney Lee, 6’5, 215 lbs., Senior, SG, Western Kentucky

Sun Belt star Courtney Lee did not face the fiercest of competition this past season at Western Kentucky, but don’t tell him that. He was absolutely fearless going up against LeBron James, attacking the Cavaliers guard at every available opportunity. Those in attendance could not stop gawking about the confidence that this small school guard had going up against arguably the best player the NBA has to offer. Lee shot the ball with consistency from beyond the three-point arc, displayed a nice pull-up jumper, and got to the rim via his explosive first step. He did not seem to be playing the strongest defense here, but his offensive prowess more than made up for that.

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