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June 21, 2006Richmond, Va.- The NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp draws players from across all shoe company lines, making for some intriguing matchups. Several such matchups took place during Wednesday morning's session, and James Anderson who is steadily stepping up his game over the summer stood out during the morning session.
Anderson, who was absent from the summer circuit last summer, has his game hitting full stride. He helped lead his Arkansas Wings squad to a runner up finish in the NIKE Memorial Day Classic and did a variety of things well in his initial game at the NBA Players Camp.
Playing with confidence, Anderson knocked down a couple three-pointers while also doing what he does best which is slashing to the basket. One move in particular stands out where Anderson spun to the middle from the left side while on the break and then came back with his left hand to finish against contact.
Always active on defense and willing to make the extra pass, Anderson is a strength conditioning program away from being an impact player in any high-major conference.
Other eye catchers
Devin Ebanks, who is set to reclassify to the 2008 class, looked awful good running the floor and defending Rico Pickett out on the perimeter. On one occasion Ebanks ripped Pickett of his dribble, and when the talented Pickett did get into the lane, he had trouble scoring over the 6-foot-7 wing. Ebanks did not put up a lot of shots, but his 15-foot bank shot off the catch in transition was impressive.
Karron Johnson, a 2009 prospect, scored both from behind the arc and in the paint. The well built combo forward was also a presence on the boards.
Al-Farouq Aminu did not have the ball in his hands a lot, but he looked good with it when he did have it. A skilled 2008 combo forward, Aminu played under control and made sound decisions. But where he really stood out was on the defensive end. While also taking care of his own man, Aminu was quick to his spots as a helpside defender. He disrupted a number of drives to the basket with his anticipation and quick feet.
Intriguing match ups
Edwin Rios vs. Jai Lucas
Lucas came out on top in this one as he out played Rios and his team won by more than 30 points. Rios did have a couple bursts to the basket with his dominant left hand where he got by Lucas, but he struggle with his shot and his passing.
Lucas got by Rios at will and hit his usual array of mid-range shots while also dumping the ball off to his teammates.
Antonio Jardine vs. Isaiah Thomas
This match up was all offense as neither player was inclined to fight through screens or make the extra effort to cut off the dribble. Both players made some nifty moves, but Thomas more consistently got into the lane and good things happened when he did. Thomas finished well and set up his big men.
Alex Legion vs. Chris Wright
Legion, with his scoring ability, got the slight edge in this match up. Legion did a nice job with the ball on the break, playing under control and making good decisions. His ability to shoot the mid-range pull up allows him to hover in the mid-range area and then knock down shots if passing lanes do not materialize instead of forcing the issue at the rim. As long as he is making jumpers, this is a blessing, but if they are not falling, settling for jumpers then becomes a curse.
Legion also shot well coming off screens, but he struggled to do anything off the dribble against the super athletic Wright in the half court offense.
Wright got his points by filling the lane on the break and also crashing the offensive boards. He did have success rebounding the ball against Legion's finesse style of play. In the half court offense, Wright still does not have the skills with the ball to make an impact.
Luke Babbitt vs. Herb Pope
This combo forward battle came out a draw as both players did a nice job of guarding each other. Neither player was able to get to the rim on the dribble. Pope had a nice move on the baseline for a pull up jumper, and Babbitt made some nice cuts into the interior to pick up points. Both players also knocked down a three-pointer.
Scott Thompson vs. Kosta Koufos
Tough to call this match up as both players have such contrasting games. Thompson consistently beat Koufos down the floor getting a several buckets in transition. Koufos, on the other hand, was way too much for Thompson to handle in the half court. Koufos scored at all three levels- in the post, mid-range and behind the arc.
Dejuan Blair vs. Clint Chapman
Neither one of these skilled big men could stop the other. Chapman beat Blair down the court for some buckets, scored on him in the post and took his game outside and hit a three-pointer.
Blair, who knows how to seal his man in the post as well as anyone on the circuit, easily scored on Chapman when he got the ball down low.
Braxton Dupree has a variety of post moves with the ability to score with either hand and to either shoulder. Struggled running the court against Nayal Koshwal.
Koshwal, with his chiseled frame, was tough on the glass on both ends. He looked very good, and will be watched closely throughout the camp.
Keaton Nankivil was not effective around the basket, so he went behind the arc and knocked down two three-pointers with a smooth looking stroke.
Patrick Patterson got positive reviews for his play at the NIKE Skills Academy, and he shot the ball well from the 17-foot range off the catch this morning.
Eshaunte Jones is a rhythm shooter who is much better off the dribble than the catch.
James Tyler dwarfed Braxton Dupree and everyone else on the court. The 7-foot-1, 360-pound center struggles mightily to get up and down the court, but when he gets position inside, he is unstoppable. He has great hands and a soft touch. If he were to get in shape, look out.
Anthony McClain continues to progress as a top center prospect. Rick Jackson never figured out how to score over him. McClain's offensive development is not too far away either.