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J-da-flea from Nike!

J-da-flea has agreed to write his observations on the Nike camp for us. Many thanks!

Nike All America Camp:
Tuesday, July 8

Below are some of my observations from
the Nike All America Camp on Tuesday. In general, my main focus was
to simply describe the action; I tried to keep subjective judgments
to a minimum. I focused on only the players I thought would be
interesting to DBR readers. As far as I can tell, Greg Paulus is the
only major Duke target at the camp (the other targets/recruits are at
the adidas ABCD camp). If someone knows of any other Nike campers
that Duke is interested in, please let me know. I also watched a
couple of players connected with the University of North Carolina,
JamesOn Curry (who has given a verbal commitment) and Brian Johnson
(a major UNC-CH target). In addition, I provided a little celebrity
sighting info just for fun. Enjoy! And remember, take my
observations for what they're worth. You get what you pay for!

Tuesday Afternoon

I walked into the gym towards the end
of the first set of games. I was able to watch Greg Paulus
(6'1''/181 lbs) play for about five minutes. He had four or five
assists, each time putting the ball in a great position for his
teammates to score near the goal. Paulus seems to see the floor well
and is able to deliver the ball to the right spot. On the perimeter,
he had a couple of nice bounce passes off the dribble to teammates
cutting through the lane. He also threw a nice pass three-quarters
of the length of the court, which sailed just a little high. I
didn't see him take any shots; he seemed content running the team.
As a side note, a reporter from a recruiting service volunteered that
Paulus's passing has been notable throughout the camp.

A number of coaches were watching the
game, including K and Wojo. When I walked up, Wojo was in a
conversation with Lute Olson, while K chatted with Mike Jarvis. Also
looking on were Tubby Smith, Gene Keady, and Oliver Purnell. Other
coaches I noticed at the afternoon session included Gary Williams,
Rick Pitino, and Bobby Huggins.

In the third set of games, I caught
JamesOn Curry (6'2''/171 lbs). I watched him play a little Monday
evening. In that game he made a couple of threes, had some nice
assists, and was able to get to the basket. Other than bouncing the
ball off the back of the rim on a break away dunk attempt, he played
well. This afternoon, he really seemed to struggle. In about twenty
or so minutes of play, Curry had something like eight or nine
turnovers, including several wild passes. He also had trouble
handling pressure and was stripped cleanly on one occasion and lost
his handle a couple of other times. He missed all his shots from the
floor (including several threes) and managed to hit a couple of free
throws only at the end of the game. It was interesting watching him.
He definitely had a point guard mentally. Curry likes running the
ball up court, looking to distribute the ball. However, I can't
recall him having even one assist in the game. Watching Curry, you
can see the talent and potential; he just had a bad game. We'll see
what happens tonight.

Also playing in the same game against
Curry was Brian Johnson (6'8''/238 lb), a Carolina target. He showed
some nice moves to and around the basket, including a good drop step.
Johnson played strong near the hoop and seems to be pretty

Tuesday Evening

Tuesday evening I went to check out
Paulus who was playing in the first set of games. K and Wojo sat
towards the center of the bleachers on the front row. Jeff Capel (or
at least someone who looked like him) was also in the area. For
whatever reason, Paulus sat out a couple of his rotations. When he
was in, he played a solid game, with few mistakes, but also few
highlights. He did have a couple of nice steals, including one where
he basically wrenched the ball out cleanly of his opponent's hand.
Also, while attempting to save the ball from going out of bounds, he
literally did a flip into some spectators and chairs (ala Wojo). He
was able to penetrate to the basket three times, but kicked the ball
out to the perimeter twice and threw up a really wild shot that
missed everything by a couple feet. That was the only shot I saw him
take all day. On the court, Paulus seems to have some good
leadership qualities. He was vocal and often pointed people into

In addition, I have to mention Paulus
teammate, Joe Crawford (who also ran the point in the other
rotation). This guy was impossible not to notice. He was doing it
all. Crawford showed a nice three point shot, he elevated for a dunk
on the inside (catching everyone by surprise), and he had a beautiful
assist to a cutter that drew a very rare reaction from the crowd.
(Interestingly, the crowd almost never makes noise in response to the
action on the court.)

The "highlight" of the first
set of games was the tornado warning that interrupted play for about
twenty minutes. They tried to evacuate the gym by getting everyone
to move into the hallways and stairwells. These areas quickly filled
up and, for better or worse, a number of us were stuck in the gym,
which was presumably not a good place to be. Other potential tornado
victims stuck in the gym included Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith, who
were carrying on a friendly conversation. They were soon joined by
Kelvin Sampson. Other potential statistics included Mike Brey and
Jim O'Brien. No one seemed concerned about the warning. Suffice to
say, if a tornado had hit the gym, there would have been a number of
coaching jobs opening up at some big time college programs.

On the recommendation of the DBR, I
checked Al Horford, the son of former NBA player Tito Horford. Even
though Horford (6'8''/211) looked a little thin, he was extremely
aggressive and strong near the basket. In his evening game (and also
in his game earlier in the afternoon), he worked hard down low,
grabbing rebounds, sticking back shots in traffic, and taking the
ball strong to the hoop. He even finished the first half with a
monster slam that drew eews and ahs from the crowd (how do you spell
eews?!?). Horford's mid-range game looked like it needed a little
work, but, otherwise, he was very impressive.

Finally, in the nightcap, I decided to
check out Curry one more time. He played better in this game,
although the results were a little mixed. In the first half, he lost
the ball in traffic a couple of times and threw a really poor pass
that was intercepted at the top of the key for a break away dunk. He
did make a nice pull-up jumper in the paint. In the first part of
the second half, Curry played the off guard position and became much
more aggressive going to the hoop with the ball. He was fouled twice
trying to finish and a third time he dished to a teammate in the

Wish I had more information that
directly concerns Duke. Oh well?.