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Watzone's Pickup Report!

Jay (Jason) Williams made a triumphant return to Cameron Indoor Stadium tonight, wowing the Duke Basketball campers with a great performance in pickup games, leading his team to five straight victories.

JWill started the games with a three point bomb, only to be quickly matched by rising Soph JJ Redicks three on the other end, but it wasn't over. Williams quickly returned to the other end to launch yet another three and his team coasted to the first of five wins.

Williams was joined by Daniel Ewing, Shelden Williams, DeMarcus Nelson and Andy Borman on a team that showed good chemistry for such an
impromptu event. The other team in game one, was led by Redick, Michael Thompson, Lee Melchionni, Sean Dockery and Marcus Ginyard, a 6-4 1/2 inch prospect attending the camp from Arlington, Virginia.

Former ACC POY Chris Carawell came into the next game, along with another recruiting target -- add a Duke walk- on and this was the line up for the night. Chris Duhon sported a CIA T-Shirt and sat out tonight, as did Shavlik Randolph, who is recovering from surgery.

Shavlik has put on a few pounds, and his arms are more pumped from lifting, and of course the recent use of crutches. The "I want to be a fly on the wall" scene of the night was Shavlik breaking into a rap for his pals. He could be seen head pumping, hand jiving, as a friend played bobbing head in the background. Okay, more basketball ...

The play of the night might have been a JWill to Shelden pass on the break, where Williams threw the ball
behind him to DeMarcus Nelson for a powerful dunk. A close second would be a one handed power slam follow up by Michael Thompson.

The following is my take on the players-

Michael Thompson- He has put on a little bit more size. He guarded Shelden all night long, and played him fairly well. He finished shots strong and showed a good touch from the baseline. He had a nice little one handed shot going down low. His only weakness was some occasional footwork problems.

JJ Redick- He busted threes all night long ... so what is new? Not much, but that is good in this case with the Roanoke product. He sat out a couple of games.

Shelden Williams- He was the most improved Blue Devil in my eyes. He has developed a great ten foot touch from the basket, had some turnarounds and played with confidence down low. I was encouraged by Devil brotherhood, seeing JWill talking and pum,ping him between games.

Daniel Ewing- Daniel was quiet at first, but played for a talented team. He has the best midrange shot on the team, and that is a throwback to early years. He hit threes and shot a few in close off the glass.

Sean Dockery- He was quiet offensively, but handled the ball well and played a smarter floor game than the last time I saw him during the season. He did not force the issue.

Lee Melchionni- Mr. Hustle threw up several left handed jumpers that were all net, and played hard all night. This is a hard nosed kid you want on the team.

Duke target Marcus Ginyard- He is very athletic and has some nice runners on offense. His defense is really nice for a kid his age, and his size is something we don't currently have - IOW, he can be a stopper. My first and only view of this kid was tonight, and I like his potential.

Duke commit DeMarcus Nelson- Let's see, he is still a bit hobbled by a nagging injury, but managed to wow the crowd with dunks, tomahawk and all! He has great range and is a scorer. His handle was good and he gets up the court well and battles hard down low for his height. Let me reflect on recent rumors -- an Assistant Coach of his AAU team asked me at the TOC if Duke was recruiting over Nelson. My answer was "no, Duke recruits players"
There seemed to be concern over the interest in Livingston, but I think that is water under the bridge now. To my knowledge, Duke love DeMarcus and he was all smiles tonight in Cameron and looked right at home. These two can play together, and are very different type of players that will both wear a pro uniform one day IMO. Nelsons' strength is, well, his strength, and few players have that at his level.

Jason Williams- Their is a reason his jersey hangs in the rafters above Cameron, and his game was sweet tonight. One thing is certain, and that is this young man love Duke University. JWill did it all, played the passing lanes for steals, launched numerous threes and has a reverse dunk or two. He joked with his buddy CDoo and really communicated with the young players, often showing them where to go on offense.

He knocked down a slam to win game two, after putting on a three point clinic in game one, he fed Ewing to make quick work of the opposition in game three, yada ...

One of the night great scenes were the campers swarming Jason for autographs. After signing many, he was escorted to the entrance to the lockers where a throng of waving arms looked like the Beatles had just hit the States again. The next thing I know, a shoe flies and a joyous kid proudly prances around Cameron showing off his game worn shoe from the former Duke All American. Former Duke player, Greg Newton blocked as the Campers were called off, but not before they were entertained by the congenial Williams.

Chris Carrawell- Chris is back in school and he did a little teaching of his own. In fact, it was CC that hit the game winning shot in game six to unseat the JWill led guys. He showed his usual game, and has changed very little. It is good to see him hitting summer school.
For anyone who thinks the guys don't want to win - think again. After JWill's team won five games, the calls got tight. Now for those who don't know, the offensive players call the fouls in pickups and they are to be respected, but a grimmace or two is natural in the heat of battle. MT got very upset at a JWill call, and JWill later
slammed the ball at e Melchionni call. As the EA Sports slogan goes- "It's all in the game."

Some other scenes were Duhon, Carrawell and Nelson all talking on the sidelines and sharing a laugh or two. The Duke staff runs a good clinic where parents and their kids alike have a good time. All the Duke Assistants were present, and the Camp is now ran by Mike Schrage who is in charge of basketball operations. The Camp now lasts three weeks, and anyone interested in attending next year should contact Duke, as the spots fill quickly.
It was a good evening and I am glad I caught some of the players that are sure to make us Blue Devil fans happy for a good while.