2012 NBPA Top 100 Camp Recap
Kuran Iverson, AI’s younger cousin, was among the top performers last weekend.
by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
A little over 100 of America’s top rising seniors and juniors gathered at the John Paul Jones Arena on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA to partake in the 19th annual NBPA Top 100 Camp this past weekend. Our man Aggrey Sam use to always say that it was his favorite event to attend in the high school basketball circuit and I could see why now. It’s very well ran and the NBPA does a great job in keeping it organized despite the heavy amount of student-athletes they’re hosting simultaneously. One of main characteristics that separates this camp from the others is that it’s not open to the general public or to college coaches. I think this allows the players to focus better and play with a higher level of intensity and not have worry about having to show off in front of fans or college coaches.
The top player in the nation, Jabari Parker, was only on hand for the first day of games since he had to fly out the next morning to the USA Basketball training facility in Colorado Springs, CO to join the U17 Men’s National Team training camp–as they prep for the 2012 U17 World Championships. In addition, Julius Randle (at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil) and Andrew Wiggins (also in Brazil but repping Canada) were not on hand at the camp. Although it would have been nice to see them go head-to-head with the rest of the highly touted prospects, the absence of the top three players in the nation gave opportunity for other talented blue-chippers to showcase their skills and separate themselves from the pack.
There were many players that made a statement in this camp while others reminded us why they are as highly regarded as they are. Below are 15 of the players that stood out to me the most–in no particular order.
Kuran Iverson (right), 6-9, Power Forward, Class of 2013, Northwest Catholic (CT): I’m going to go right ahead and say that, personally, he was my favorite player to watch in the camp. Because of the last name, and familiarity (he’s Allen Iverson’s first cousin) the attention and comparisons will always be there. But last weekend he had that killer-instinct that AI always played with. Kuran was in attack mode on just about every possession he had the ball. In the Friday night game he hit five three-pointers and throughout the camp he showed just how deadly his perimeter game is. At 6-9, Iverson was bringing the ball up the court on numerous occasions and playing point guard for his team–I noticed that he loved to handle the ball at the top of the key in particular and start the offense from there–which led to some impressive passes and just overall demonstrated the great court vision in his repertoire. He was threading-the-needle on a couple of his passes inside the paint but they were right on the money. In Saturday’s playoff games, we saw him make a couple of outlet passes that led to easy lay ups in transition. Aside from showcasing his deadly three-pointer and point guard skills, he also showed his ability to get to the basket and create offense on his own. In the championship game, Iverson showed a couple of very quick spin moves on his way to the hole. That fact that at his size he can play that many positions and has such a versatile game makes him one of the most talented prospects in the senior class. He’s currently ranked anywhere from the late 40s to the early 80s according to various scouting services but if this past weekend was any indication, get ready to see Iverson in the top 25 next season. Iverson accumulated 81 points in seven total games, giving him about 12 per outing.
Aquille Carr, 5-7, Point Guard, Class of 2013, Patterson (MD): Camps like these could make or break prospects. If you perform poorly, then they will say that its a sign that your name doesn’t belong with the cream of the crop. And if you do well then there isn’t much they can say. Carr, at 5-7, has always been difficult to rank because although he puts up such great stats (averaged about 32 points per game as a sophomore and this past season close to 25 per outing) and is the most exciting player to watch in high school ball, his height apparently has led to being ranked lower than he deserves on rankings. What else could explain why someone who averaged over 30 points per game is ranked anywhere from the 40s to the 70s? If he was 6-4 with the type of stats he has, I’m sure everybody would have him as a top 15 player. I guess many people aren’t so sure if he can keep this up at the next level. But this past weekend in Charlottesville, Carr demonstrated why he is so highly touted. Despite being the shortest guy in the camp, he was the leading scorer with about 16 ppg as we entered the final day of competition. He just continuously showed his knack for getting to the rim and scoring over three guys. He can slash and break down all type of defenses. And when he wasn’t making the big men look bad, Carr was sinking it from behind the arc. On a bunch of occasions, he demonstrated that he can play some intense defense as well. Overall, this camp reminded us all why you should believe the hype.
Billy Garrett, 6-4, Point Guard, Class of 2013, Morgan Park (IL): On the two early playoffs games on Saturday, the DePaul-commit showed a little bit of everything. In the morning game, Garrett continuously got his defenders off the ground with his pump fakes. He would most importantly keep his dribble and freeze defenders, and therefore able to create space and open looks. He used a stutter-step along with the pump fakes to get defenders off him on various occasions. The stop and go dribble along with the good feel the game he possesses made him one of the most fun guards to watch at the camp. He also showed a knack for hitting timely shots including a three-pointer in the semis to tie the game although his 76ers team would eventually still fall to the Mavericks.
Leron Black, 6-8 Power Forward, Class of 2014, White Station (TN): He started to remind me of LeBryan Nash a bit that more I saw of him. His talent is unmeasurably high. He has an impressive skill set and enough versatility to play either forward position. He hit shots from behind the perimeter, mid-range, even a spin-move that led to a dunk and some strong drives to the rim. Black just finished his sophomore year and still has a couple of years to sharpen up what already is a very nice group of skills set.
Stevie Clark, 5-11, Point Guard, Class of 2013, Douglas (OK): He was named the MVP of the camp but that’s mainly because his Thunder team won the championship. Not saying that he didn’t play well but it should be noted that only a player from the team that wins the championship can be named MVP. Clark was actually very impressive and was going to be mentioned in this piece regardless of who would have won the chip and named MVP. Standing just a few more inches taller than Carr (listed at 5-11) Clark demonstrated that he can be effective in a variety of ways. While in the early playoff games he showcased his quickness and ability to get coast to coast lay-ups in transition as well as drain shots from behind the arc, in the championship game Clark demonstrated his full repertoire. The Oklahoma City native did a great job in going fearless to the rim and protecting the ball as he drove in. He also had some impressive dishes and would usually drive in to the paint before a short pass down low for a lay up. Overall, he took what the defense gave him– if enough space then he would shoot it from distance or if they were playing up close then he would take it all the way in for either a lay-up or kick it back out to one of his teammates for an open shot.
Andrew Harrison, 6-5, Point Guard, Class of 2013, Travis (TX): This past weekend served as a reminder as to why he is regarded as the top point guard in the class of 2013. Harrison is just one tough point guard to stop when he’s driving to the rim. He does a great job in staying in balance while in the air and absorbing contact or drawing fouls. On various occasions, Harrison finished baskets that would usually not be easy to complete. He does a good job using his body and strength power when attacking the basket. And when he’s not driving in, he has little trouble knocking down shots from distance. But when he’s not scoring, he’s displaying his PG skills, making the right plays and passes at the right time. He does a great job orchestrating the offense as a floor general and finished as the camp’s leader in assists with 4.5 per game, which may not seem like a lot but it’s note worthy considering this was an elite invitational camp.
Mamadou Ndiaye, 7-5, Center, Class of 2013, Brethern Christian (CA): All you need to know is that this kid is 7-5 tall! That should give you an idea of the kind of presence he has in the paint. He had a block party throughout the weekend. I mean he was just blocking everything going up in front of him. It got to the point that opponents became jump shooting teams after realizing that there wasn’t much space to get around him and get their shots off. Although his offense is still a bit rough when in the post, his size along is just enough to allow him to get shots off in the paint. The camp didn’t keep official stats for blocks but I counted seven in the championship. The Senegalese native also seemed to have a very good attitude and approach to the game. It’s scary to think what he might be like in a couple of years as he continues to work on his post moves.
Cliff Alexander, 6-9, Center, Class of 2014, Curie (IL): If he catches the ball under the basket then you can bet money that he’s caching a dunk. That’s all we saw at the camp. His strength, power and size allows him to create some type of space that’s enough for him to jump and dunk it. With also two years left in high school, he’s on the road to become one of the toughest post players in high school ball.
Jordan Bell, 6-8, Power Forward, Class of 2013, Poly (CA): The Long Beach native was one of those guys that the more minutes you saw of him the more you began to like him. He’s definitely under the radar right now and hasn’t really received as much national attention as he should. Bell gets off the floor in a hurry and was impressive in showcasing his shot-blocking abilities and making his opponents work for open shots. Since there wasn’t an official count for blocks I’m not sure how many he really did reject but I would say I counted at least a couple in every game I saw him play. In addition, he showed the ability of finishing at the rim with a couple of nice reverse lay ups. He also demonstrated his noteworthy court vision with a couple of crisp passes to cutters.
Keith Frazier, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Class of 2013, Irving (TX): He stood out as one of the best pure shooters in the camp. Hit drained three-pointers in every single game I saw him play (about four or five). Frazier also was impressive in moving without the ball and cutting back-door to get himself open.
Anton Gill, 6-3, Shooting Guard, Class of 2013, Ravenscroft (NC): The Louisville-commit is another shooting guard that impressed. According to the camp’s stats, he averaged over 11 points per game. He sunk a handful of three-pointers in the couple of games that I saw him. He also caught a couple of one-handed tomahawk dunks in traffic. In addition, he showcased his mid-range hitting a couple of jumpers around the free-throw line. As he drove to the basket, Gill demonstrated that he was aware of his teammates’ positioning as he kicked it out for open shots.
Anthony Barber, 6-1, Point Guard, Class of 2013, Hampton (VA): According to the camp’s stats, the Hampton, VA native was the leading scorer with over 14 points per game. He proved to have a knack for scoring, with some eye-catching up-and-under moves as well as some three-pointers. He did a nice job positioning himself in transition.
Roddy Peters, 6-4, Point Guard, Class of 2013, District Heights (MD): The Maryland native was another player looking to prove his prowess among the best in the nation. He may not be as highly ranked as most of his competition was but he played like he wanted to change that. Peters was in attack-mode and looking to break down the defense. He finished a nice lay up where he switched hands at the last minute as a defender closed in on him. There was a few tough lay-ups that he put together with an array of moves to the hole. He seemed to dribble a few times until there was enough room for him to elevate for jumpers. He was sinking them anywhere from mid-range to behind the arc.
Brennan Greene, 6-7, Small Forward, Class of 2013, Mary Person (GA): Averaging over 11.5 points during the camp, Greene displayed a nice overall game. He showed the range in his jumper but also demonstrated how his strength and slashing abilities could help him get to the rim and finish through contact and traffic. The Kansas-commit will be loved by all Jayhawk fans.
Photo Credit: Davide DePas