Chris Paul Elite Guard Camp Recap
A lead guard’s paradise.
Not to be confused with the Nike Skills Academies, New Orleans Hornets star guard Chris Paul invites many of the top guards in North Carolina high school and college basketball to the Winston-Salem YMCA each year for a three-day camp in which he teaches them the nuances of playing the point guard position. A leader by example, Paul got in four workouts a day and showed that the lockout isn’t going to let him get any rust on his game. Fellow point guards Jarrett Jack and Eric Bledsoe stopped by to help out, making this a dream for any aspiring lead guard looking to make the League.
The main thing that CP3 emphasized to campers was to “always be a scoring threat.” I know, it sounds odd for a guy who is in the top-three in assists year in and year out to say that. He went on to explain that “if you’re not a threat to score, it makes you that much easier to defend.” The hands on approach that CP3 took with the guys was outstanding, letting them know when they were they were traveling upon catching the rock (though it’s never called in the League) and making sure that they came off of high ball screens at the proper angles. All in all, it was an amazing learning experience for everyone in attendance (myself included) and if the campers take CP3′s advice, they should all see some sizable improvements next season.
Here are a few of the guys who really stood out:
Harrison Barnes, 6-6, Sophomore, SG/SF, North Carolina
Though he only played in one day of camp, there wasn’t a bigger player who drew more buzz than Harrison Barnes. The man who would have surely been a top-five pick in the depleted NBA Draft that took place a few weeks ago really made an impression on NBA scouts with his coachability and ability to take in information the first time around. More often than not, you would catch Barnes sprinting to the spot during drills and coaching his fellow guards up when they didn’t quite grasp things. These little things are what makes the Iowa native such a unique superstar and why fans in Chapel Hill were partying all throughout Franklin Street when he announced that he’d be rolling back for his sophomore season.
Will Barton, 6-6, Sophomore, SG, Memphis
Expected by many to be the next one-and-done player out of Memphis, Barton didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations that many insiders had for him. The Baltimore native still averaged a respectable 12, 5 and 3 for an NCAA Tournament team that was loaded with underclassmen. At the camp there wasn’t a single player who could put the ball in the hole better than Barton, who used his slithery frame to make shots at angles that most players couldn’t imagine. He showed the size of a 2, handle and vision of a 1, and overall game that will make him one of the very best in C-USA this season.
Brandon Triche, 6-3, Junior, PG, Syracuse
The epitome of a power point guard, Triche bullied almost all of the other point guards with his 210-pound frame. He’s in a bit of a tough situation for the ‘Cuse sharing minutes at the point with Scoop Jardine, but Villanova has shown that two point guard fronts can get it done. With an improved J, lethal court vision, and sneaky athleticism, expect big things this year out of the junior playmaker.
Bradford Burgess, 6-6, Senior, SF, VCU
There wasn’t a better player on the first day than Bradford Burgess, who simply bullied smaller guards in the paint with his 230-pound frame and long arms. His physical style of play and get his shot up over the smaller guards made him a nightmare to guard at CP3 just like it did in the Colonial when he averaged 14 and 6 on nearly 50 percent shooting. With Jamie Skeen and Joey Rodriguez putting on their cap and gowns, expect Burgess to be the man this upcoming season in Richmond.
Rodney Purvis, 6-4, High School Senior, PG/SG, Upper Room (NC)
Of all of the high school players in Winston-Salem, there weren’t any with a bigger rep than Purvis and he did not disappoint. He was only able to hang out at camp for a day but showed why virtually every school in the country has thrown a scholly in his direction. The power guard was able to put his shoulder into smaller guards once he got into the three-second area and still finish with either hand. His jumper is still a work in progress, but you can’t help but see why many feel that he’s going to be the next Flash.
Tyler Lewis, 5-11, High School Senior, PG, Forsythe Country Day (NC)
One of the more exciting players in high school hoops, Lewis put on a show in the one on one portion of the camp. He’s definitely not the biggest or most athletic guy, but the NC State commit seemingly gets it done each and every time that he laces ‘em up. When I was chatting it up with CP3, he said that he was really excited to see the guy who broke his scoring record. Not a bad compliment coming from arguably the best point guard in the League, right?
Aaron Rountree, 6-7, High School Senior, SF, Wakefield School (NC)
The biggest guard in the camp was Rountree, who has handled the rock well enough to allow him to play all three perimeter positions in the past. Already committed to Wake Forest, you can’t help but be enamored with the versatility that he’s going to give ex-Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik when he hits campus in Winston-Salem so it’s not a repeat of the Nugs’ ‘02-03 campaign.