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J-da-flea at Nike

Game Reports from the
Nike Women's AA Camp

Below are some of
my observations from the Nike Women's All-America Camp on Wednesday
and Thursday. In general, my aim is to simply describe the action; I
try to keep subjective judgments to a minimum. I mainly focus on the
players I think will be interesting to DBR readers.

Wednesday Afternoon

The Nike Women's
All-America Camp opened Wednesday to the media and coaches. Between
12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. players were ushered into the interview room
to talk to the media representatives. I talked with Tasha Humphrey,
Alexis Hornbuckle, and Tulyah Gaines. (The interviews are posted on
the DBR.) That afternoon, controlled scrimmages took place at the
NIFS (National Institute for Fitness and Sport) gym. The crowd was
noticeably smaller than for the men's camp. The atmosphere in the
gym was also noticeably different. The men's camp had a "locker
room" feel to it. At the women's camp, there was less
testosterone, literally and figuratively. A number of coaches were
there, including Gail Goestenkors, Pat
Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, and Kay Yow. Gino Auriemma was listed
among the coaches who had registered, but I didn't see him in the
gym.

Tasha Humphrey (6'3'', rising
senior)

Humphrey is a very physical player and
really pushes people around in the post. She started out the game
missing a ten-footer in traffic. She had one nice pass into the
post, but her teammate could not convert. She pulled down an
offensive rebound and missed the put back. Humphrey showed a good
spin move in the low post and was fouled. She was also fouled on
another shot underneath the basket. Tasha played for two six minute
rotations before hobbling off the court with an ankle injury. She
didn't play anymore on Wednesday.

Caprice Smith (6'2'', rising
senior)

Smith was willing to bang on the
inside, but had a tendency to hang out on the perimeter a lot. Even
though she tended to float around a bit, she had a knack for being in
the right place at the right time, picking up a number of rebounds,
easy put backs, and shots under the basket. On a couple of occasions
she drew fouls going to the hoop. She missed a couple of threes, but
hit several shots from mid-range, including a fade away. As an
aside, Smith did show in later games that she can sink three
pointers.

Tulyah Gaines (5'8'', rising
senior)

Gaines began the game by missing a
ten-footer and turning the ball over with a bad pass on a fast break.
Several minutes into the game, she twisted her ankle and left the
gym with the help of two players. Gaines did not return on Wednesday
and, as far as I know, did not play Thursday.

Alexis Hornbuckle (5'11'',
rising senior)

Hornbuckle started off very
aggressively and never let up throughout the game. She shot the ball
a lot and, by my count, finished 8 of 19 from the field. Hornbuckle
was shooting from all over the court. She hit four of five from
beyond the arc (including an NBA three). She missed three jump shots
from 15 to 20 feet out. Hornbuckle, however, did follow one of her
misses to get an offensive rebound under the boards for an easy put
back. She hit a baseline jump shot from eight feet and missed three
turn around jumpers from around five feet. Hornbucke also missed a
couple of shots underneath the goal. She drove to the hoop on a
number of occasions; she got to the basket three times, but was only
able to finish one time. She also drew one foul and dished to a
teammate under the basket, who did not convert. Finally, she did
finish a fast break with a lay-up. I only noticed a couple of
turnovers, one bad pass up-court and the other under the basket on
the offensive end. Hornbuckle was definitely trying to take over
this game, which she did with mixed success. She started out slowly,
hitting only one of six shots (with the one being an easy put back).
Then she went on a tear, hitting five of six including three threes,
drawing a foul at the basket, and getting an assist by passing to an
open player who hit a fifteen-footer. Hornbuckle finished by hitting
two of seven.

Sade Buley (5'11', rising
senior)

In the second set of afternoon games, I
started watching Buley and Wiley-Gatewood (see below) at around the
16 minute mark. Buley was 6 for 6 from the floor, including two NBA
threes, three fast break finishes, and a drive to the hoop for a
basket. She had a couple of nice assists and steals, and only one
turnover. Throughout the game, Buley showed a great handle.

Sade Wiley-Gatewood (5'9'',
rising senior)

Wiley-Gatewood was 1 for 6 from the
field, missing three shots from beyond the arc. On a couple of
occasions, she drove to the hoop and was fouled in the act of
shooting. She passed very well into the post and off dribble
penetration. She did get stripped one time to go along with her one
steal.

Wednesday Evening

Alexis Hornbuckle (5'11'',
rising senior)

Hornbuckle struggled to get her shot to
fall in her evening game. She was 2 for 10 from the field and 1 for
8 from beyond the arc. She had one beautiful no-look pass into the
post that was dropped because it caught her teammate by surprise.
Hornbuckle showed goods hands with a touch pass into the post,
stripping the ball from her opponent for a layout, and stripping the
ball on another occasion but not getting to the ball before her
opponent.

Thursday Afternoon

Thursday afternoon began with
interviews. I talked a little with Tasha Humphrey again, along with
Nikki Anosike and Monique Curry, who is at camp as a counselor. (I
also talked with Candace Parker later in the day.) At the gym, I
noticed that Duke assistant coach LaVonda Wagner had joined Coach G
in the stands.

The first set of
games Thursday afternoon featured a head-to-head match-up between
Alexis Hornbuckle and Sade Wiley-Gatewood. I decided to sit back and
enjoy it, so I didn't take any notes. Both players played well and
seemed to have fun going up against each other. Both players were
also draining threes fairly regularly, particularly Wiley-Gatewood.
A memorable possession had Wiley-Gatewood trying to take Hornbuckle
one-on-one, while the other players cleared out. Unable to shake
Hornbuckle, Wiley-Gatewood tried to shoot a 15 foot jumper over her.
Hornbuckle promptly sent the ball back to the other end of the court.
She couldn't help but smile after the block.

Tasha Humphrey (6'3'', rising
senior)

Humphrey played this afternoon on a
heavily taped ankle. However, she still played very aggressively and
at full speed. She ended up 7 for 18 from the field, including four
of seven from beyond the arc. At the beginning of the game, she
showed her strength under the basket, muscling the ball through the
arms of a defender for two points. She did have one poor shooting
stretch, going 1 for 8, missing several 15-18 footers, several under
the basket, and a three. She also had another stretch where she hit
3 of 4 three pointers. When Humphrey stays in the low post, she
rebounds very well. She's holds her ground, instinctively blocks out
after a shot (even at the top of the key!), and has strong hands.
After ripping down one rebound in traffic, she quickly launched a
nice half court outlet pass down court for a lay-up. Humphrey also
showed very quick hands, stripping the ball from a couple of persons
driving the lane. Offensively, she often brought the ball up court,
playing a point-forward role. She handles the ball well and likes to
use her dribble to challenge her defender. She was often able to get
to the basket driving from the perimeter. On three of those drives
she drew fouls. On another drive, she picked up her dribble and
while on the move faked a pass to the top of the key and continued
for a lay-up, which she missed (oh well, it was still a nice move!).
Defensively, she has quick feet and has no problem defending the
perimeter. Humphrey seems like the total package. She's strong and
physical underneath the basket and can post up her defender. She has
a great mid-range game, showing a nice turn around jumper. She can
hit the three and has a great looking stroke. She handles the ball
very well and can create off the dribble.

Thursday Evening

Tasha Humphrey (6'3'', rising
senior)

Because I only had a chance to see
Humphrey play once this week, I decided to check out her evening
game. In this game her shot was a little off, hitting 5 of 15 from
the floor, going 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. She pulled down 8
boards, often out-battling two or three defenders for the rebound.
Humphrey showed some nice passing skills from the perimeter, throwing
two one-armed passes off the dribble into the low post, including a
beautiful no look pass that was dropped by her startled teammate (she
also had one turnover, making a bad pass into the paint). In this
game, as with the one earlier in the day, she tended to float out to
the three point line on offense. I overheard one coach ask another
why Humphrey was staying out on the perimeter, when she "dominates"
in the low post. I suppose the answer is that she was too busy
dominating the perimeter.

Erika Arriaran (5'10'', rising
junior)

Often, when I watch a camp game, I
focus all my attention on one or two players. Occasionally, however,
another player is just impossible not to notice. Arriaran is one of
those players. She was running the point against Humphrey's team and
really took over the game as her team's playmaker. Her passing is
just outstanding; she puts a lot of pace on the ball and her passes
are usually right on the money. She had several assists on passes
into the low post from near half court. She also threw a beautiful
baseball pass three-quarters of the court to a streaking teammate
being chased down by a couple of defenders. Arriaran was also
hitting from beyond the arc and played very solid defense, stripping
her opponent on at least one occasion. She's aggressive, confident,
and still has two years of high school ball to play.

Sade Wiley-Gatewood (5'9'',
rising senior)

In the last set of games of the
evening, I decided to put down my notebook and just take in some
basketball. It happened to be one with Wiley-Gatewood playing. She
is another person that you just can't help but notice because of her
impact on the game. Wiley-Gatewood is a truly outstanding point
guard; she is quick, can dribble penetrate, and hit the three
consistently. However, the thing that most impressed me was her
passing. She is incredible off the dribble, dishing in the lane.
She sees the court extremely well and makes very accurate, no look
passes. On one possession, when her team had the game well in hand,
Wiley-Gatewood led a three-on-two break; as she dribbled into the
key, she did a double hand fake on the move before passing the ball
(it looked like something out of a Pete Maravich highlight video).
Unfortunately, she passed the ball to a defender, but who cares. It
was still fun to watch!