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June 23, 2005

Thursday night at the NBA Players Camp

Although Kevin Durant could not get his shot to fall as usual, he was able to get a good shot whenever he wanted. Durant shot the long ball as well as pulling up for midrange shots and posting up. To go along with his scoring abilities, he also handled the ball well and sought out the open man.

Durant is certainly on his way to being a prodigious scoring forward in the NBA, but he will not do any scoring after this event until he is playing for Montrose Christian.

"Kevin enjoyed his time at Oak Hill, and Coach [Steve] Smith was great," said Durant's father Wayne Pratt. "This will just get Kevin closer to home and give him a chance to concentrate on school and relax now that he has made his decision. He will go to summer school after this.

"Montrose have a great system, and [Assistant] Coach [David] Adkins is a very good position coach."

More news and notes

Derrick Rose had to return home from the camp due to a family emergency.

Chase Budinger broke his wrist in warm ups before the Wednesday night games.

Players spotted competing: Cole Aldrich, Daniel Deane, JeJuan Brown, Duke Crews, Doug Wiggins and Kevin Love.

News outside the gym

In news unrelated to the NBA Players Camp, Mt. Zion Academy head coach Antonio Fozard shed a little light on Brandon Rush's future now that he has withdrawn from the NBA draft.

"I just talked to Brandon today, and he said that Oklahoma, Illinois, Georgetown, UNLV, Missouri and Oklahoma State are recruiting him," said Fozard. "A lot of schools dropped off when he entered the draft.

"He is just looking for a perfect situation where he can put up numbers. He is also looking at junior colleges, also. He only wants to do this for one year."

School lists

Curtis Kelly listed Syracuse (offer), Georgia Tech (offer), Texas (offer), North Carolina, Connecticut (offer), Pittsburgh (offer), Florida (offer), St. John's (offer), Illinois, Villanova (offer) and Louisville.

"I'd like to have it down to five schools by the end of the summer," said Kelly. "The leader right now would be Connecticut. They are probably recruiting me the hardest, and I really like Coach Calhoun a lot. We talk a lot as a Coach to a player."

Also with a very long list, Lance Thomas named Arizona, Duke, Villanova, Connecticut, Florida, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Rutgers. Thomas noted that he would like to have his list down to three schools by the end of the summer and that he really enjoyed his recent unofficial visit to Rutgers.

Corey Stokes listed Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Connecticut (offer), Villanova and Rutgers (offer).

"Right now Connecticut is my leader," said Stokes. "I really like the coaches. I also like North Carolina a lot, but I haven't met the coaches yet."

Alex Stepheson would like to have his list down to five by the end of the summer for his fall visits, but right now he as six schools on his list, including Connecticut, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Washington and UCLA. All but North Carolina have offered.

Willie Kemp's list includes Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis and Illinois.

"All of them have offered me except for Kentucky," said Kemp. "They said they want me, but they haven't made an official offer."

Scouting observations

K'len Morris- Long, athletic and active, Morris scored in a number of ways on threes, floaters, pull up jumpers and finishes at the basket.

JeJuan Brown- A bouncy athlete, Brown competed defensively and was confident with the ball. Might just project as a small forward.

Michael Beasley- Although he is not an explosive athlete with a lot of lift, Beasley is a very smooth athlete with exceptional body control and a very high skill level as a combo forward. He uses both hands very well and has an instinct for creating space. The lengthy Kraidon Woods blocked his shot on a couple occasions, but more times than not, Beasley got into his body and was able to bounce off with an open look.

Eric Hayes- By no means a dominant player right now, Hayes has tremendous upside as a lead guard. He has length and broad shoulders that can put on some much needed weight. He has a great feel for the game and is very comfortable with the ball. He also showed promise as a defender.

Tyreke Evans- With an exceptional build for a young point guard, Evans is extremely adept at beating his man to the left or right. Always composed with the ball, he is always scanning the floor for the open man. Shot the ball adequately from the outside tonight, but he does have a lot of backward lean on his jumper. You would not teach a player to shoot in that manner, but it does help him gain separation from his defender.

Eric Gordon- Missed most of his three-point attempts, but Gordon, who is one of the best in the 2007 class, did score off several very impressive moves off the dribble in the midrange, including a play where he hesitated to slow down the defender on his hip and then separated quickly to sink a floater.

Darrell Arthur- He played hard in the first half and looked very good. In the second half it was difficult to find him on the court. Possessing a very good touch, Arthur tends to fade away from the basket on all his scoring moves. He would be well served to compliment his finesse game with attacking the basket as well.

Keith Clark- Clark still must overcome his habit of watching the action from the three-point line. However, when he does throw himself into the action, he is very good. He is able to finish with either hand, and he had some very nice drives where he dumped off assist passes.

Obi Muonelo- Exceptionally built Muonelo, a combo guard, spent his time tonight at the small forward spot matched up on Lance Thomas. Muonelo gobbled up a number of offensive rebounds and used a stutter step crossover move to breakdown more than one defender in the open court on his way to the basket. He also shot the ball well from the three-point line.

Lance Thomas- Capable of exploding to the basket with a quick first step going right, Thomas is also adept at cutting down the lane and finishing tough moving bank shots with his left hand.

Lawrence Westbrook- Against Taishi Ito, Westbrook broke into his usual high scoring form, both getting to the basket for finishes and hitting midrange floaters. Westbrook specializes in the hesitation crossover and the fake spin dribble. He also made some nice post feeds. For all the positive plays he makes, Westbrook still needs to cut down on the forced shots and passes.

An'Juan Wilderness- He makes a living out running his man and getting lay-ups in transition.

Donald Sloan- A well built combo guard, Sloan had numerous assist passes off his penetration.

Tom Herzog- A true barefoot 7-footer, Herzog continues to improve. He had several impressive put backs and blocked a number of shots, including a multi-block possession to end the third quarter. Offensively, he must get significantly quicker with his dribble post moves. Way to often, he is stripped by the cover down as he slowly brings the ball up away from his body after his power dribble.

Marques Johnson- Playing a near flawless game, Johnson knocked down multiple threes and continually found the open man in transition.

Kevin Love- Playing after just having flown into Richmond, Va., Love threw three picture perfect outlet passes three quarters of the court which resulted in assists. No one on the circuit or playing on television executes the over head pass or the chest pass like Love does. Love also threw in a left hand hook shot from 7-feet off a spin move, a left hand drive along the baseline for a reverse lay-up and a three-point shot. None of these plays were a surprise, but the three dribble bust out on a defensive rebound into a one handed diagonal bounce pass for a dunk was an added element to Love's old school but advanced game.


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