The 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy tipped off on Friday evening, with a brief skills training session for the 80 high school players and 20 collegians in attendance. The first full day of action was Saturday, which included two workouts for both the high school and college participants in the camp in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following more skill work on Sunday morning, the high school camp participants will break into teams for camp games, which start on Sunday evening.
While the camp’s high school roster mostly focused on skill work, the college players were given more latitude and more five on five action. It’s a good, but not great, selection of college players, but several players in attendance certainly stood out on Saturday in front of the sizable contingent of NBA scouts on hand.
Trey Burke (Michigan Wolverines) was arguably the top lead guard in attendance. He showed efficient shot-making, distributed the basketball and had an all-around game. He should be one of the elite point guards in college basketball next season as he continues to progress and impress with his skill level.
Two forwards, Otto Porter (Georgetown Hoyas) and Tony Mitchell (North Texas) were solid and consistent. Porter looks to have significantly improved his shot, and looked comfortable from the mid-range to the perimeter. He also rebounded his position. Meanwhile, Mitchell has the most well-developed frame of the attendees and has the body to step into the NBA now. Mitchell can make an outstanding play, and was extremely active near the hoop.
Center Jeff Withey (Kansas Jayhawks) impressed with his skill level, and “thinking man’s” interior game. Also, UNLV’s Mike Moser showed impressive range on his jump shot in both sessions of the camp.
Quick high school notes
It’s not particularly easy or meaningful to catch pieces of 80 players participating in drills over the course of four hours. Still, some observations can be made, particularly as touted players went head-to-head in certain match-ups. Due to the format, Hoopniks.com focused on point guards and centers.
Players that have been written about extensively in the past, like Julius Randle, Anthony Barber, Chris Walker, Kasey Hill (Florida Gators commit) and Bobby Portis (Arkansas Razorbacks commit) all played well but will be written about more extensively later in the camp. Also, wings will be observed more in-depth on Sunday and beyond. Some under-the-radar players worth mentioning include:
- Kenton Facey, 6′-8″, 185, PF, 2013, Long Island Lutheran (NY): An active and mobile face up big man, Facey can defend and accrued a few blocked shots in head to head action. As one of the players with the least advanced billing in the event, he was solid against several touted bigs. The native of Jamaica noted that he is considering scholarship offers from the Florida Gators, Connecticut Huskies, St. John’s Red Storm, Providence Friars, as well as others that include Rhode Island and Drexel. Facey said that this event is the most competitive and talented he has attended, and said he was working to improve against the other strong post players.
- Kyle Washington, 6′-8″, 211, C, 2013, Hotchkiss School (CT): He’s tantalizingly close to putting it all together and becoming a complete inside player. Washington has lapses at times, but at other times combines shooting from the perimeter, interior post moves, and a burst near the hoop to be an effective offensive player.
- Thomas Hamilton, 6′-10″, 280, C, 2013, Whitney Young (IL): Somewhat maligned throughout the spring, Hamilton was originally thought to be an elite big man in the class, but has been downgraded by some over the years. He came to play for the most part on Sunday, and looked better than he has against significant competition in quite some time. While Saturday is only one day, if Hamilton can re-emerge among his classmates as a top big man it will be a nice story.
- Ivan Raab, 6′-9″, 193, C, 2015, Bishop O’Dowd (CA): As one of three 2015 prospects in the camp, along with fellow center Diamond Stone and point guard Isaiah Briscoe, Raab has some moments where he looked to be among the top prospects nationally in his class. Raab is far from a finished package, but he posses athleticism and is mobile and active around the rim. He did not look out of place in the least and most certainly has to be among the elite incoming sophomore center prospects nationally.
- Davon Reed, 6′-5″, 196, SF, 2013, Princeton Day (NJ): In four-on-four action, Reed showed a complete offensive game, scoring and shooting the ball well. High-majors in the northeast needing a “3″ will have to strongly consider following Reed in July.
- Xavier Rathan-Mayes, 6′-3″, 202, SG, 2013, Huntington Prep (WV): Like Reed, Rathan-Mayes had a smooth offensive game that was effective in the four-on-four scrimmages. He has a strong frame, and is skilled.
- Nigel Williams-Goss, 6′-3″, 182, PG, 2013, Findlay Prep (NV): A recent commitment to the Washington Huskies, Williams-Goss is a highly skilled and savvy point guard. A terrific passer with an “old man’s” offensive game that includes floaters and strong distribution to his teammates, Williams-Goss does not turn heads athletically but can play among stars. In terms of pure point guards, Williams-Goss has few peers.
- Jarell Martin, 6′-9″, 224, SF, 2013, Madison Prep (LA): One of the spring’s highest risers, Martin mentioned he is still considering ten colleges. He wants to play wing forward in college, and take the ball to the basket on the offensive end. He stated that he is considering the Louisiana State Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Kansas Jayhawks, Texas A&M Aggies, St. John’s Red Storm, Baylor Bears,UCLA Bruins, Louisville Cardinals and Tulane. Martin would be a huge score for LSU in the rebuilding of their program under new coach Johnny Jones.
- Moses Kingsley, 6′-9″, 211, PF, 2013, Huntington Prep (WV): The native of Nigeria and formerly New Albany (MS) has joined many other high-major talents and transferred to Huntington Prep (WV) recently, as Tennessee Volunteers pledge Travon Landry and elite center Dominic Woodson were also announced as joining the roster on Saturday. Kingsley named the Louisville Cardinals, Florida Gators, Arkansas Razorbacks and NC State Wolfpack as schools he is most interested, and also listed offers from the Tennessee Volunteers, Memphis Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide.
- Isaiah Briscoe, 6′-2″, 210, PG, 2015, St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ): After being selected to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy following a strong performance at the Nike Elite 100 underclassmen camp, Briscoe is also holding his own in Las Vegas. While he said he isn’t thinking too much about he college, he currently holds scholarship offers from the Florida Gators, Connecticut Huskies, Syracuse Orange, Seton Hall Pirates, Baylor Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Pittsburgh Panthers, DePaul Blue Demons, Cincinnati Bearcats, Miami Hurricanes and Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Briscoe said he is working on shoring up his defensive game, and mentioned that he is learning from the college players in attendance at camp.