by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
Approximately 120 of America’s top basketball players converged in Philadelphia University last week for the 2013 Reebok Classic Breakout. This event is unique from any other All-American type camp in that its participants earn their invitations in two different ways: 1. You’re a high-profile nationally ranked prospect 2. Be chosen from the eight Reebok Classic Open Runs during the spring. Allowing players to earn their way into this camp offers the rare opportunity for them to go at it against blue-chippers, and most importantly display their skills in front of D1 college coaches during the NCAA Live period. Out of the 120 players in attendance, 48 earned their way through Reebok’s try out system. Among the most notable matchups was Rashad Vaughn (the top ranked shooting guard in the nation) vs. Emmanuel Mudiay (the top ranked combo guard in the nation). Below are some of the players that stood out and how they did so.
Rashad Vaughn, 6-6, SG, Findlay Prep, 2014: He made a case for the title of best three-point shooter in the nation. Vaughn hit nine three-pointers in the all-star game, including a couple of them that were just a few feet shy off half-court. Simply put, he has a picture-perfect form, follow-through and great elevation on his shot. He and Mudiay were guarding each other for most of the first half and both seemed engaged in the head-to-head matchup. At one point in the game both traded baskets in four consecutive possessions, where Mudiay started off by hitting a 3-pointer, followed by Vaughn sinking a step-back jumper on the other end of the floor, then Mudiay threw down a dunk on his end, before Vaughn returned the favor with a deep three-pointer on his side. By the end of his shooting clinic, Vaughn took home MVP honors with 33 points. Oh, and he also showed throughout the week that he can take it to the hole with authority. Additionally, Vaughn announced at the beginning of camp that he will be transferring to national powerhouse Findlay Prep for his senior season.
Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-5, PG/SG, Prime Prep (TX), 2014 (Right): While Vaughn may have come away with the most points in the matchup, you can argue that Mudiay had the better all-around performance after finishing with 20 points and 9 assists. He’s proven to be the best combo-guard in the nation. At one point in the second half, Mudiay demonstrated his versatile prowess in four consecutive offensive possessions– driving to the lane for a reverse up-and-under lay up; followed a few seconds later by an alley-oop pass to the cutting Jalen Lindsey for a dunk; then on the next possession Mudiay once again looked to penetrate the paint and attack the rim before dishing off a bounce pass in between two defenders to Lindsey, who cut backdoor on the left side baseline for another dunk; and finally on the following possession he demonstrated his acrobatic athleticism after hammering down a 360-dunk on the break following a steal. The day before, Mudiay had dropped 27 points, including four straight three-pointers. You can catch footage of that here.
Corey Sanders, 6-0, PG, George Jenkins (FL), 2015: Standing at only 6-0, Sanders might have proven to have the quickest bounce and highest hops in the country with his leaping abilities on full display throughout the camp. For example, this self oop off the backboard after having put the ball through his legs was among the most talked out plays of the event. The scary thing is that he made it look so easy, and word is he’s had dunks like that one or even better ones in the past. In the all-star game he caught a nasty tomahawk dunk driving from the left side baseline, and just before the end of the game he converted a crowd-pleasing windmill dunk. He also made some nice dishes in the championship game with crisp passes to the open man, threading the needle on a couple of occasions.
Wesley Person Jr., 6-2, PG, Brantley (AL), 2014: Son of former NBAer Wesley Person, the Alabama native was one of the those kids that came in not having the same kind of national profile that the names above did. Yet, his Friday morning 22-point performance more than proved he belonged there. His three-point shot was falling, going 4-for-7 from behind the perimeter. He particularly appeared to love shooting the short corner three. Additionally, he converted the conventional three-point play lay ups on a couple of occasions in that same game. He arguably had the best performance of the Friday morning session.
Shaqquan Aaron, 6-8, SF, Rainer Beach (CA), 2014 (left): Long and lanky forward that proved his versatility throughout the three-day camp. Coming into the all-star game, the final game of the week, Aaron held the title for the highest scoring performance with a 29-point outing on Thursday morning. The Louisville commit can put the ball on the floor and create for himself, while also able to catch-and-shoot or create for others. In the aforementioned 29-point outing, Aaron was particularly deadly from downtown, going 5-for-11 from behind the perimeter. On Friday, he demonstrated his underrated passing abilities with some nice behind-the-back passes to teammates for quality shots and generally great timely dishes. Overall, his versatility makes him one of the top wings in the country.
Victor Law, 6-8, SF, Saint Rita (IL), 2014: He is a great pickup for the Northwestern program. Whether it was driving baseline for a reverse lay up, a fadeaway jumper from midrange, or sinking it from behind the arc, Law displayed his full repertoire throughout the camp. He scored double-digits in three of the five games he played with Team Niques.
Johnnie Vassar, 6-1, PG, JSerra Catholic (IL), 2014: One thing that stood out about Vassar was his scoring efficiency. Take his 28-point outburst on Thursday afternoon. He did so while only attempting 15 shots. While not as highly regarded as the majority of the guys listed here, he proved that he could hang with them all. Your typical small guard whose outstanding explosiveness allows him to be one step ahead of his defenders on drives to the rim, while also showing the ability to sink it from distance.
Josh Perkins, 6-3, PG, Huntington Prep (WV), 2014: Among the recruiting news that came away from this camp was the possibility of Rashad Vaughn and Perkins being a package deal in college. Both players flirted with the idea while talking to the media on the matter. On the floor, though, Perkins did what he always does. That is, control the pace of the game, change speed gears at will and find the open man at will. That goes without saying that he can create off the dribble for himself whenever he wants to as well. The Perkins vs. Vaughn matchup slated for Friday afternoon was highly anticipated but never materialized as neither played in preparation for the all-star game a couple of hours later.
(Photo credit: Reebok)