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J-da-flea, more from Nike!

Nike All America Camp:
Wednesday, July 9

Below are some of my observations from
the Nike All America Camp on Wednesday. In general, my main focus is
to simply describe the action; I try to keep subjective judgments to
a minimum. I primarily focus on the players I think will be
interesting to DBR readers.

Wednesday Afternoon

Greg Paulus (6'1'', 181 lbs,
rising junior)

When Paulus has the ball, he is always
looking to pass and does so very well. This afternoon he had a bunch
of assists and only one turnover. He had several nice passes into
the post from well beyond the arc. On a couple of occasions he cut
to the basket, received a pass in the paint, and immediately dished
off to a teammate. He also penetrated several times dishing off to
teammates. Paulus is a very steady player. He only made two bad
plays on the offensive end: towards the beginning of the game he lost
the ball in traffic (in three games, this was the only time I
remember him losing the ball to a defender) and he made a bad pass
off a drive. Otherwise, Paulus was in complete control. He sees the
court well and is able to deliver the ball where it needs to go.
Paulus took one shot, a pull up jumper in the paint that bounced off
the rim. He did have one assist I thought was somewhat noteworthy.
Around the free throw line, he lost his handle in traffic, lunged at
the ball and, at the same time, jabbed it with a closed fist to a
teammate on the baseline who finished the basket.

Joe Crawford (no measurements,
rising senior)

Crawford, Paulus's teammate, once again
put on a show. He has a very nice looking shot from the outside and
a good handle. He also played above the rim, driving home an
alley-opp pass. Crawford's most impressive play came towards the end
of the game, when he drove from the top of the arc through traffic
and finished with a huge dunk. The slam drew a loud response from a
number of coaches watching in bleachers (and it is extremely rare to
hear the crowd react to anything).

Derrick Caracter (6'8'', 287
lbs, rising sophomore)

Caracter is also one of Paulus's
teammates and is reported to have Duke on his list (for whatever
that's worth). He's a big guy, who seems agile, and doesn't mind
roaming out past the arc; he missed a couple of threes. Caracter has
good moves down low and showed a nice drop-step. He of course still
has a couple of years to develop.

Rudy Gay (6'7'', 204 lbs, rising

Gay was on the team playing against
Paulus. On some recruiting website, I saw that he listed FSU, MD,
UVa, and NCSU, so I made a point to pay attention when he was on the
court. IIRC, in this game, Gay was matched up against Roy Hibbert
(7'1'', 252 lbs). Gay had some trouble shooting over Hibbert (that
happens when you give up half a foot). On the defensive end, Gay
returned the favor, blocking at least two of Hibbert's shots. He did
show a good turn around jump shot. Also, Gay just missed a very high
flying dunk in Caracter's face, which produced an audible "oh"
from the bleachers.

Brian Johnson (6'8'', 238 lbs,
rising senior)

Yesterday, Johnson spent a lot of time
in the low blocks, showing off his moves and strength around the
basket. This afternoon he tended to roam around the perimeter most
of the game. Probably not a bad thing, given that he hit (at least
by my count) three mid-range jump shots from 15 to 18 feet and was
two of three from behind the arc. Johnson looked comfortable taking
those shots and has a nice stroke. Given his performance in this
game and yesterday, he seems able to play both facing the basket and
with his back to the basket.

The coaches taking in games this
afternoon included Mike Brey, Herb Sendek, Leonard Hamilton, Mike
Gottfried, Gene Keady, Bill Self, John Calipari, Mark Few, Lute
Olson, Oliver Purnell, Tubby Smith, Mike Jarvis, Kelvin Sampson, John
Pelphrey, etc., etc. K and Wojo were not in sight today (but it is a
large building and I sat at the same court all afternoon).

Wednesday Evening

Greg Paulus

More of the same from Paulus in the
evening. On his first touch, he pulled up for a wide open jumper
from the foul line, but, while in the air, passed into the low post
for an assist. Next, possession, bringing the ball up the court, he
passed into the low post from half court. A couple of possessions
later, he missed a runner in the paint and fell to the floor in pain.
He lay on the ground for several minutes, while the managers took a
look at him. Two players literally carried Paulus out of the gym. I
asked the PR director if he could get me information on the injury
and he graciously went to the training room for a report. The
trainers said it was just a very badly twisted ankle and the
situation looked a lot worse then it actually was.

Joe Crawford

Noteworthy at the end of the game was
Crawford more or less dribbling circles around his defender, while
trying to run out the clock. This guy is the total package in the

JamesOn Curry (6'2'', 171 lbs,
rising senior)

Curry had a quiet game. He spent half
the time at the 2 and the other half at the 1. This evening, while
running the point, he brought the ball up much slower, as opposed to
yesterday when he pushed the ball up court at every opportunity. He
only took a few shots. One jump-stop in the lane was rejected.
Curry had a nice interception at the top of the key for a breakaway
dunk. On another occasion, he took the ball coast to coast,
finishing in traffic. Finally, he missed a jump shot from the free
throw line. Otherwise, he had a couple of assists and only one
turnover when he threw the ball away (it looked like a matter of
miscommunication between himself and a teammate).

Some of the faces seen around the gym
this evening included Paul Hewitt, Mike Davis, and Tito Horford (the
father of camper Al Horford). I did notice a very friendly exchange
between Bill Self and Keith Langford (who is there as a camp
counselor). In case you're interested, some of the other college
players working at the camp as counselors include our own Shelden
Williams, Daniel Horton, Channing Frye, Marshall Strickland, Jarrett
Jack, Josh Childress, Arthur Johnson, Ricky Paulding, Sean May, Emeka
Okafor, and Rashad McCants.