INDIANAPOLIS – Assuming you are a
basketball follower of more than just the casual variety, Friday afternoon and
evening visits to the National Institute of Fitness and Sports would have been
fruitful for a multitude of reasons:
*You would have had an up-close
peek at 30 of the better college players in the country next season, serving as
counselors at the Nike All-America Camp, as they drilled and scrimmaged in
lunch- and dinner-time sessions in front of representatives of at least a dozen
*You might have had sensory
overload while being exposed to the talents of two high school seniors-to-be
that go by the same name – Chris Wright – but impressed the several
hundred college coaches in attendance for very different reasons.
*You might have watched as two
players – Robbie Hummel (Valparaiso) and E’Twaun Moore (East
Chicago Central) – demonstrated why Eric Gordon of Indianapolis North
Central, who is toying with opponents at the adidas Superstar Camp in Suwanee,
Ga., is going to have considerable competition for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball
honors next spring.
*You could have checked out
scorer-extraordinaire Austin Freeman, the next “great” player out of one
of the most accomplished high school programs in the country, DeMatha in
*And you might have noticed the
“real” Michael Jordan, in an era that seems to offer a “next” Michael
Jordan every five minutes or so, as the now-president of the Charlotte Bobcats
checked out his son showing off his point guard skills.
Many veterans of the All-America
Camp were serving as counselors and their twice-daily workouts at the camp were
the reason so many NBA employees were courtside spectators in the NIFS Friday
afternoon and early evening.
Corey Brewer, Taurean Green
and Al Horford, starters on the Florida squad that won the national
championship three months ago barely a half-mile east of here in the RCA Dome,
were among the 30 counselors that were building their NBA resumes
The guy who is most likely to be
found on the majority of preseason first-team All-America teams at point guard,
Ronald Steele, was joined as camp counselors by two Alabama teammates,
post players Jermareo Davidson and Richard Hendrix, who will help
make Mark Gottfried’s squad a consensus preseason Top 10 selection next
But the player who attracted as
much “buzz” as any from the NBA types on hand was Florida State forward Al Thornton, who should be one of the more explosive scorers in the Atlantic
Coast Conference and beyond next season.
The only mild bummer about watching
the counselors in action was in seeing one of the most talented of them on the
disable list. Watching from the bleachers, 6-10 sophomore Josh McRoberts,
apparently sidelined because of ankle sprain suffered during a camp at
The “two Chris Wrights” are
separated by about five or six inches in size but there isn’t much, if any,
talent gap between the seniors-to-be at Madison High in Trotwood, Ohio, and St.
John’s High in Washington, D.C.
The 6-6 Ohio-version of Chris
Wright, who committed to Dayton in November, occupied his time by dunking
anything that wasn’t nailed or latched to a floor Friday.
This is just a hunch but there
could have been one or two – or a couple of hundred – coaches watching that
might have a scholarship waiting for Ohio’s Wright if his allegiance to Dayton
waivers. If it doesn’t, I’ve got a favorite for the 2008 Atlantic 10 Freshman of
the Year right now.
I didn’t see a more athletically
explosive high school player in the camp Friday, or during 1½ days of viewing in
Suwanee, for that matter.
The 6-1 D.C.-version of Wright, who
“de-committed” from North Carolina State after Herb Sendek headed
to Arizona State in the spring, was as cool-headed a guard as was on display
Friday and seemed to drop in 3-pointers, contested or otherwise, with
New Indiana University Coach
Kelvin Sampson is anchored to Bloomington because of NCAA sanctions that
followed him from his previous gig at the University of Oklahoma.
My hunch is that Sampson didn’t
need to watch Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore a couple dozen times this month to
“evaluate” their skills and offer them scholarships. He may have had that one
pegged before he agreed to move from Norman.
There might not be a more versatile
“wing” in the country that the 6-7 Hummel, who was the first player mentioned by
several coaches I talked to who watched the Nike action Thursday (while I was
still at the adidas camp).
Deep jumpers . . . a flawless
mid-range game . . . either-hand drives to the rim . . . the ability to deliver
on-the-money passes . . . Hummel is about as complete as you’re going to see, at
least offensively, on the high school level.
And the 6-3 Moore seemed to be
scoring every bit as easily as was Freeman, who is committed to Georgetown. It’s
difficult to imagine many more than a half-dozen or so other two guards in the
Class of 2007 with their scoring skills.
*And how would you have liked to
try to focus on “just playing your game” when your dad, the most dominant player
in the past two decades, is sitting courtside?
But Jeffrey Jordan was more than up
to the task Friday night.
The left-handed point guard from
Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., was slick, poised and effective while getting
the ball to teammates at optimum moments or penetrating and scoring.
It will be interesting to see who
offers him scholarships (and how about the home visits: “Well, Mr. Jordan – we
think your son can really help us”) between now and the November signing