Morris Almond 24 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 9-15 FG, 2-3 3P, 4-4 FT
Almond had an extremely impressive game, scoring in every way imaginable and looking very good doing so. He didnt do much other than scoring, but he still contributed a great deal to his team. His ball-handling, which was largely viewed as a weakness heading into this camp, was not a liability at all here, though he didnt do anything spectacular with it, just being proficient enough to get to where he needed to go.
Almond scored nine field goals in the game with them coming from all over the floor. He hit two spot-up three pointers, a long spot-up two pointer, hit a variety of floaters and lay-ups off the glass, and got to the free-throw line by driving to the rim, usually predicated by a shot fake to get a step on his man. On one occasion he came out of nowhere to make an extremely athletic putback lay-up. He also was in constant motion off the ball, always working to get open and doing a good job of it here.
Defensively, Almond was solid at keeping his man in front of him, though did nothing especially noteworthy on that end of the court.
Almond will be entering his senior season at Rice University in Conference USA if he chooses to go back to school. Given what hes shown here, he would probably be best served going back to college, working on his ball-handling and improving his already efficient scoring ability. He had a strong performance here, but doesnt really stand out in any way as an NBA player at this stage in his development. Another year of college basketball could go a long way for him.
Louis Amundson 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 7-10 FG, 3-8 FT
Thus far, Amundson has been one of the biggest surprises of this tournament, and has improved his stock here as much as anybody. He is a great energy player and has a terrific nose for the ball, especially on the glass. He was helping his team tremendously on both ends of the court today, breaking up passes, tracking down loose balls, attacking the glass, and scoring around the basket.
Offensively, Amundson is not a particularly skilled player, not having much outside scoring ability and only being a decent ball-handler. He has a little bit of a post-game, but gets most of his points slashing to the basket, dumping in easy shots around the rim, and getting putbacks on the offensive glass. Today he was constantly around the basket, scoring both in transition and in the halfcourt, mostly by getting open around the basket or putting back an offensive rebound. He also got to the line frequently, but wasnt able to convert many of his free throws, as his shot mechanics are poor and hes not an efficient shooter from the line. Some notable things he did around the basket today were putting down an alley-oop, hitting a hook shot posting up, scoring a reverse lay-up, and getting a couple of And-1 opportunities.
As mentioned above, Amundson has a terrific nose for the ball with rebounds, and is constantly amidst the action with players bigger and stronger than he, though he always seems to get a hand on the ball or pull down the rebound. His knack for rebounding the ball is not unlike David Lees, who is a player he compares fairly favorably to. The main thing he lacks that Lee possesses is Lees excellent passing and ball-handling abilities for a power forward. Lee also developed somewhat of a mid-range jump shot recently, which is something Amundson should invest time in developing. Amundsons only attempt at a mid-range shot today was easily blocked by the larger Justin Williams.
Defensively, Amundson was solid, breaking up passes and even getting a blocked shot early in the game on Justin Williams. Hes yet to show if he has the lateral quickness to guard most small forwards or if he has the strength to guard most power forwards, so hes a bit of a tweener in that sense. His matchup today was Steven Smith, another tweener forward, so he didnt have any especial difficulty in man-to-man defense.
James Augustine 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3-3 FG, 3-4 FT
Augustine had a very quiet game, being invisible for most of the time and not really asserting himself to make the impact he is capable of in this game. He had a spin move down low for a jam, made an open jam created for him by a teammate, and hit one long range shot. Aside from that, he didnt do much of anything, often standing around and watching while people battled for rebounds or cutters came near him on defense. This was certainly not a good showing for someone who has long been pegged as a first-round pick.
Victor Keyru 11 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4- FG, 2-2 FT, 1-1 3P
Keyru had a much better day today than yesterday, playing much more under control and showing what he is capable of doing with his skillset and physical attributes. He was still reckless at times, but for the most part, played within the flow of his teams offense.
Offensively, Keyru showed the ability to score inside and out, hitting a contested three-pointer, hitting a long contested two, and finishing some shots around the basket. One very impressive sequence featured Keyru posting his man on the baseline, faking to get his man in the air, spinning, and then fading away for a pretty jump shot. Keyru did take a lot of contested shots in the game, and over-dribbled the ball at times, but for the most part, he was efficient scoring the ball. Keyru also made some nice passes in transition during the game.
Defensively, Keyru played solid, in-your-face defense for most of the time, but had a few lapses letting his man get by or giving his man too much space without the ball, resulting in an open shot. He chased down loose balls and usually was working hard to play prevent defense, using his length to keep the ball out of his mans hands.
Keyru is a very fluid and athletic player with some nice building blocks of a skillset. His outside shot is considered his biggest weakness according to those weve spoken to that have seen him in international play, but his form looks solid here and he has had decent results with his shot in the games, scrimmages, and drills. His free-throw form is especially impressive, looking as if it came straight out of a textbook. The biggest thing he needs to work on is his game mentality, in that he needs to play more under control and not force the issue with his shot and dribble.
Gray put on an impressive display for the second day in a row. He used his athleticism to block shots throughout the game, and elevate above everybody for rebounds on both ends of the floor. On one occasion, Gray grabbed a defensive rebound he had no business getting, ran the floor to get an offensive rebound, and threw down an impressive putback dunk. On offense, he had some spectacular dunks, including one towards the end of the game where he took off from the block and threw the ball down hard while getting fouled by Justin Williams. Gray tried too hard to create his own look on offense on a few occasions, which led to some turnovers. However, it appears he has added a nice mid-range shot to his repertoire, and his footwork is improving to the point where he can create his own look off the dribble from time to time. Gray has helped his stock as much as anybody, and has the potential to be a great hustle player in the NBA.
After a very quiet first game, Anderson came to life in a big way on day two. His outside shot was deadly from the opening moments of the game, where he swished two midrange jumpers right away. He was a consistent source of offense the rest of the way, where the opposition had little chance of altering his quick release jumper. He worked well off screens, hit set shots, and connected effortlessly heading to the basket after one or two dribbles. It was interesting to see Anderson working in the 15-18 foot range, rather than try to extend his range out to the NBA 3-point line. He looked very comfortable creating his shot in the midrange, and even took the ball to the basket on one occasion. While everybody knew that Anderson was capable of a scoring outburst such as this, his crisp performance today will surely stand out in the eyes of scouts at the end of the week.
Harysaz is only worth mentioning because of how much of a disappointment hes been in this camp so far. His production has been paltry just as much as his effort has. He has not shown any discernable skill here to separate himself from any of the players here, not in his shooting, not in his post-up game, not in his rebounding, and certainly not defensively. Beyond the fact that he is not really getting many touches, he has not shown exactly how hed be able to get off the bench for an NBA team.
Shakur had himself a very nice half leading a talented team to an early lead. He did a good job mixing up his scoring with his passing, putting his excellent first step and ball-handling skills on display to get into the paint and either finish the play himself or find the open man. He pushed the tempo and injected a bit of life into what otherwise would have been a pretty boring game, over-dribbling at times, but not being selfish in the least bit. His defense has been very good and there is very little doubt that he is the most athletic point guard at this camp. The only problem is his jump-shot, which is both incredibly ugly and also very much ineffective as he showed here.
Caner-Medley came down to earth today after a scintillating 22 point performance in day one. He tried to create his own shot and failed miserably for the most part due to his extremely weak first step. He was bailed out a few times by the refs, and settled for weak fade-aways and turnarounds when the angle to the basket would get cut off. Much like his time at Maryland, his jumper is there one day, and gone the next.
Final Score: Team Five 80 Team Two 74
It was another solid performance for Brad Newley, who has impressed in unconventional ways so far this in this camp. Where most players remain overly assertive here and end up forcing things, Newley lets the game come to him. He works tirelessly off the ball, coming off of screens and making productive passes. That doesnt stop him from hustling, however. Newley always remains active, hitting the deck for loose balls, pressuring the ball in the backcourt, and always looking for ways to make a positive contribution. He had been a non-factor as a scorer thus far in the tournament, but managed to hit three nice looking midrange jumpers in this game. Newley hasnt separated himself from the pack enough yet (a chance to see what he can do off the dribble would be nice), but continues to contribute for his team doing the little things.
Washington had a pretty nondescript game offensively, being the victim of a team consisting of many players who didn't spend much time moving off the ball and also didn't have the ball-handling abilities to relieve him of the duty at times. His wings for the game were Bobby Jones and Brandon Bowman, neither of whom are proficient handling the ball and both of whom didn't do much to get open without the ball. Because of this, Washington spent a lot of time dribbling the ball on the perimeter, trying to find an opening, but rarely making a pass that led to a score. He had very few assists on the game. Washington didn't do much to help matters, though, never looking to get in the lane to create in the halfcourt, which could've helped his team get more easy shot opportunities.
Washington did have some positives in the game, as he hit two three-pointers with his feet set, one after a push-off on his defender and the other dribbling around a screen. He also had a few nice passes in transition, but his teammates finished none of them. Defensively, Washington was extremely vocal and intense in covering his assignment, doing a good job on Keydren Clark and Chris Quinn for most of the game. He was constantly calling out switches and urging his teammates to step up their intensity on the defensive end. He also helped out in the post defensively on a few occasions and dove for one loose ball that he poked away from Chris Quinn.
Jones played his great defense as usual throughout the game. He was overly aggressive for much of the game however, which led to the other team picking up a lot of fouls. On the offensive end of the floor Jones struggled in the first half, turning the ball over while trying to create, and missing an open jumper. In the second half Jones improved on this half of the floor, and was able to draw a foul in transition, as well as knocking down a 22 footer in the flow of the offense. At this point, he struggles to get away from his defender to get open, and he turns it over frequently while handling the ball in traffic. Jones is probably the best defensive player here, but he will have to put in some work to become a competent offensive player at the next level.
Final Score: Team Four 94 Team One 78
Blalock turned in the most impressive performance of the morning. He completely dominated his matchup with Daniel Horton on both ends of the floor, getting into the lane at will on the offensive end and giving Horton nothing easy defensively. Horton is known for being strong and athletic, but Blalock clearly had another gear today. Blalock impressed as a floor general today, and showed none of that tendency to overdribble that we have seen in the past. He threaded the needle on several passes into traffic, and generally did a good job of keeping the offense flowing. Despite looking to create offense with his passing at times, he managed to play relatively mistake free. The play of the game came midway through the first half when he split a double team and exploded to the basket for an emphatic dunk. He also hit a couple of contested midrange jumpers, but his outside shot remains a weakness. The last notable Blalock moment in this game was a badly airballed 3-pointer. Nonetheless, Will Blalocks excellent play set the tone for his teams easy victory, and he clearly went a long way towards proving that he can play point guard.
Paul Millsap played better than he did in his initial showing, proving his worth as a rebounder, but overall the performance must still be rated as lukewarm. He beat his man for offensive rebounds the entire game (I counted at least 6), and clearly has a very impressive nose for the ball. Despite this, Millsap isnt showing the same type of lift and explosiveness that we had expected. There were no exclamation point-style putbacks on those offensive rebounds, and he generally had to settle for initiating the body contact and heading to the line where he was terrible. There was one nice spin move and finish in the lane, but he doesnt look like a premier back to the basket option at this camp.
Renaldo Balkman - 14 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive), 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 6-12 FG, 2-3 FT
Balkman had a surprisingly effective showing, using his combination of athleticism and hard work to track down loose balls and rebounds relentlessly while also finishing a lot of shots around the basket. Balkman is about 6'6, long, athletic, and provides a constant energy on the floor. He was most impressive today attacking the glass, where he'd frequently grab rebounds away from opponents much larger and stronger than he is. In terms of the NBA, his game appears to best translate to a small forward, where he would serve a type of garbage player role, as he is not particularly skilled at any one thing. He hasn't shown much proficiency with outside shooting, though he did have quite a few nice passes today and handled the ball fairly well. He also has a good touch around the basket and finished a lot of baskets both in the halfcourt and transition today.
J.P. Batista - 16 points, 10 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 5-6 FG, 6-8 FT
Batista had a decent game, having a constant presence on the boards, but not getting much chance to show off his versatile back-to-the-basket game. Almost all of his points came on easy lay-ups near the basket created by his teammates, and when he did get his few chances to post up, he was fouled before he could get a move off. He was excellent rebounding the ball and boxing out, using his wide body and strong base to maintain position down low on both ends of the court, keeping his opponents away from the ball. Defensively, he didn't show much prowess, especially on the weakside, where his height and lack of leaping ability prevented him from contesting lay-ups by cutters. On the occasions where he attempted to block or contest a shot, he often was nowhere close to doing so.
Farmar was able to get into the lane all day, with Gerry McNamara not being able to keep up with him at all. He made a few nice shots in the lane, including a beautiful floater off the glass while he was fading away from the basket. He has a lot of the tools necessary for a point guard to score over taller players in the NBA. His floaters dropped into the hoop with ease, and he was able to keep defenders on his back while making layups. Farmar was unable to make most of his shots however, and his passing was nowhere near what we saw in college. He did find his teammates for some good looks in transition, but struggled to find guys in the half court. Part of this may be due to the fact that his teammates werent executing plays well, but he had to deal with that for much of his college career. Farmars passing in the half court might be better if he had a better feel for his teammates tendencies. His shooting was inconsistent, hitting a few long range jumpers but being well off on quite a few more. This was the first occasion when watching Farmar where his finishing in the lane has actually been better than his passing. On the defensive end, Farmar kept McNamara in check for much of the game, but still lacked focus at times. Farmar did a lot today to prove that he can score, he just needs to go out and display the court vision he was known for in college.
Taquan Dean was the best and most productive player on the floor in the first half game one, putting up plenty of points in his typical fashion. He has been playing the 2-guard position almost exclusively here, which seems to be his best position as far as the NBA is concerned. Two college 3s early on got Dean off to a good start, both coming in the flow of the offense moving off the ball crisply. Another pull-up jumper in transition followed, and a steal and lay-up in transition got him in double figures before he had played 10 minutes of basketball. Dean capped things off for the half by knocking down a 3-pointer from NBA range. In the 2nd half he came out firing and hit another 3-pointer, but slowed down considerably after that and struggled to make much of an impact in the last 15 minutes of the game. Part of this had to do with the fact that he was asked to handle the ball a bit more, showing tunnel vision and a very average first step that hampered him from making his presence felt.
After a terrific game yesterday, McNamara is showing his inconsistency today that has led him to have to play in the pre-draft camp in the first place. He split minutes with Blalock and Stinson at the point, but did a very good job running the offense when he did have the ball in his hands, making nice decisions in both the half-court and in transition and finding the open man unselfishly more than he did yesterday. The drive and dish has worked for him well on a number of occasions. Poor shot selection has plagued him today, as well as terrible work on the defensive end trying to defend Jordan Farmar, who he just could not stay in front of. In the 2nd half we saw more of the same; a very tough three moving right while falling away that rimmed out, being blown by time after time by Farmar, and finally an open 3-pointer with his feet set that fell for him.
This was a lackluster performance for Steve Novak, not seeing the ball an awful lot, being a bit too unselfish compared with how some of the others are playing here, and not knocking down a number of outside shots that he would usually knock down with his eyes closed. His passing looked crisp and excellent throughout the game, though, and his defense was quite a bit better than it was yesterday.
Horton had a terrible showing for himself in his second game of action. Will Blaylocks defensive pressure made things difficult from the start as he challenged his shot after denying dribble penetration and stripped Horton in transition when Horton took his eye off of him. After about 8 minutes, Horton really became passive and didnt show much else the rest of the game.
Miller was quietly efficient throughout the game. Miller started off by hitting three consecutive jumpers, one spot-up 3 and two catch-and-shoot 17 footers. Miller ran the court well and showed good hands on one play, where the ball was deflected right in front of him and he was able to readjust, catch, and finish. Miller showed some toughness inside as well, fighting for the ball.
Stinson started strongly with solid defensive pressure on Allen Ray. Offensively, Stinson showed some decent point guard skills, keeping his head up and finding the open man as well as splitting the double team on one occasion. Stinson didnt show much in the second half, he deferred to McNamara on a lot of possessions and mostly played off-ball where there were limited opportunities for him to do much.
Adeleke has been the best player in this camp by far. For the second consecutive day, Adeleke attacked the competition with a good-spirited intensity that got results. Adeleke is extremely vocal with his teammates on defense and plans out his attack strategy early in the possession. On one play Adeleke was defending against the much larger Frans Styn. Knowing that he couldnt challenge Styns release if he let him get on the block, Adeleke stepped away and waited for Steyn to turn into his drop step which he then attacked and forced Styn to travel by denying the dribble.
Offensively, Adeleke showed tremendous hustle and skill. His footwork is quick and decisive and he executes secondary moves so well off his pivot the refs assumed on 2 occasions that he must have traveled-not the case. Adeleke shot two beautiful left handed hooks after banging bodies with Eric Hicks, showing soft touch after impact. On another occasion, Adeleke scooped up a low bullet pass right off his shoe tops and finished in one fluid motion. His double jump and aggressive fight for every rebound was impressive. Adelekes best rebound came on a possession where the perimeter inlet man faked the pass and shot the ball, which put Adeleke behind his man and the basket. Adeleke was able to twist around his man and tip the ball to himself before going up for another easy bucket. This was the best individual performance to date.
Hicks had a strong showing going against some stiff competition. Hicks squared off against Kenny Adeleke for a number of stretches and held his own. Hicks used his anticipation as much as his explosive power to grab a number of contested rebounds, especially on the offensive end. Hicks also showed a decent touch on his jumper as he hit one baseline shot and surprised everyone with a picture-perfect 3 ball.
Defensively, Hicks was physical without fouling and used his timing to block a few shots. Although he was aggressive he was able to show patience on the block by not jumping at Adelekes myriad of fakes and footwork, which allowed him to block 2 of his attempts. Great overall showing for Hicks.
George started off slowly, forcing the action and not allowing the rhythm of the game to come to him. But, he adjusted quickly after hitting a pull-up midrange shot followed by a nice corner 3 ball. George opened up the arsenal and really showed a lot of different things. George had multiple steals throughout the game and each came after he missed a play, so it felt as if he cranked it up a notch to make up for it. George battled for a couple of key rebounds, tipping the ball away from the defense to himself. He certainly helped himself out today.
Dockery had a very solid game running his team today. Dockery started off steady and ramped up his level of play as the game went on. Dockery displayed some very crafty dribbling skills and used them to good effect as he was able to penetrate the lane and make things happen for himself and his teammates. Dockery showed a couple of nice floaters, using good body control and mid-air creativity to free himself up. The play of the game, a sick Taj Gray dunk, was set up beautifully by the attention Dockery was able to draw that helped free up Gray for the delivery and jam. Defensively, Dockery relied less on hand checking and more on footwork and quick hands to do the job which is key because he had been fouling too often before.