2012 LeBron James Skills Academy: Top College Prospects
Here is a look at the 24 college "counselors" that competed between July 6-8 at the LeBron James Skills Academy. The college prospects went through stations and played in scrimmages that were on courts adjacent to one another so it was difficult to see everyone at all times, but here are some notes and impressions from the event after watching and speaking with NBA scouts during and after the event. Check back for our high school recap.
Top 5 Prospects
1. Tony Mitchell 6’8.5/236 7’3 (Dallas, TX) North Texas -- Mitchell was easily the top prospect in the event. He's an absolute beast and he took his aggression out on the rim on multiple occasions. He also had some jaw dropping rebounds in which he went way above the rim to bring the ball down. He's similar to Thomas Robinson (almost identical measurements) in that he has a chiseled physique and loves to play physical in the paint. He's also got excellent versatility with the ability to knock down mid range shots and also pass the ball. One scout told me he had Mitchell top 15 had he entered the 2012 draft. He could duplicate T-Rob with a monster sophomore season (he redshirted as a FR) and be taken as high as 5th overall.
2. Otto Porter 6’8/200 7’1 (Morley, MO) Georgetown So. -- Outside of Mitchell, Porter was the most impressive college prospect. He's got a tireless motor, a tremendous basketball frame with great speed in the open floor and a huge 7'1 wingspan. And he also shows a fluid release on his jumpshot. Porter has come a long way since his senior year when he was one of the lesser known players as a defensive specialist at the Jordan Classic.
3. CJ McCollum 6’3/192 6’6 (Canton, OH) Lehigh Sr. -- According to contacts who were in Chicago for the Skills Academies, McCollum stood out with his intelligence and all around game. In Vegas he was solid, but didn't really stand out. He has a great feel for the game and has a great ability to create shots off the dribble with hesitation moves, a deadly crossover and a quick release on his shot. He's not a natural PG, but similar to Steph Curry has a high basketball IQ and could transition to the PG position due to his tremendous decision making.
4. Isaiah Canaan 6’1/199 6’4 (Biloxi, MS) Murray State -- Canaan is a tank. He has good size, athleticism and tremendous strength. Opponents seem to bounce off him and go reeling. He was a big reason that the Racers went undefeated for much of the 2011-12 season and lost just one game all year. The big question surrounding Canaan is his vision and ability to play the point guard position. At one point during drills he missed Burke on a backdoor cut showing a lack of vision. He's got a good chance of being a first round pick, but will need to display the ability to run the PG position.
5. Trey Burke 6’0/185 6’5 (Columbus, OH) Michigan -- Stood out on the first two days with his all around hustle and play. May have been the top overall PG prospect in camp. Though undersized, his 6'5 wingspan and athleticism allows him to overcome his size deficiency. Burke plays with a lot of intensity and heart. He displayed a solid jumpshot with good range. He's put on some weight and appears primed for a big sophomore season. Appears equally comfortable in the half court as in transition. Burke was close to keeping his name in the NBA draft and there was some thought that he could actually sneak into the late first round. He will have a good shot of doing that by building on a sensational freshman season.
Kevin Dillard 6’0/179 6’5.5 (Pasadena, TX) Dayton -- Dillard was a pleasant surprise to scouts. He's a solid shooter and plays hard. His size is a major detriment, however his quickness and length (6'5 wingspan) does help him. Word is he impressed in Chicago at the Chris Paul Skills Academy as well.
Tim Frazier 6’.05/168 6’2.5 (Houston, TX) Penn State -- Frazier didn't receive great reviews from scouts after the event. Playing against an average group of PGs, Frazier seemed outclassed. He's solid in all areas but doesn't really do anything well enough to stand out. He is a decent athlete and scores well at Penn State but lacks great size and PG abilities.
Mark Lyons 6’1.5/186 6’4.5 (Schenectady, NY) Arizona -- Lyons has good size and strength and is an intense competitor with toughness. But his PG decision making is below average. He's got a pretty good shooting form and shows the ability to create shots for himself, but is far too small to be a 2-guard. Lyons will be immediately eligible for a team in need of an experienced lead guard at Arizona.
Phil Pressey 6’/178 6’3 (Dallas, TX) Missouri -- The consensus among scouts was that Pressey was the top PG in camp. He may not be the top PG prospect but he's the best PG right now. He's such a natural at running the show at the PG position with tremendous leadership abilities. But his major hurdle is his size. He was listed at 6' foot, which might be generous, and with his low shoulders he has a very small standing reach. Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas have shown that diminutive PGs can make solid contributions, and neither of them have the natural playmaking ability for others that Pressey possesses. But Pressey lacks the scoring and athletic gifts of those two. He'll have a chance to make it in the league, but his size limits his upside considerably.
Ed Daniel 6’6.5/227 7’0 (Birmingham, AL) Murray State -- Daniel is a player to keep on the radar. While he's more of a 4 and severely undersized, his long arms and explosive leaping ability make him an intriguing prospect. He was one of the lesser known prospects coming into the event and made a solid impression with his ferocious attacks on the rim.
CJ Fair 6’7.5/216 6’9 (Baltimore, MD) Syracuse -- Fair was a player that really helped his stock during the LeBron Camp. He showed the ability to knock down mid-range shots and his run/jump athleticism in the open floor is elite. He's a tweener, lacking great perimeter skills but with good strength he could be a good tweener. He may be able to play both forward positions, despite the fact that he's under 6'8. His body strength and leaping ability combined with his intensity make him a beast around the basket.
Eric Ferguson 6’8/204 7’ (Statesbrook, GA) Georgia Southern -- Ferguson is a top shelf athlete with great length. A combo forward, Ferguson knocked down a bunch of shots in the morning drills and gets out and runs the break well. He can really rise over the rim but still has some work to do in the weight room and on his post skills and ability to create shots. Has the special type of athleticism to make a team as a project despite unpolished skills.
Tim Hardaway Jr 6’6/193 6’7 (Miami, FL) Michigan -- Hardaway didn't shoot the ball particularly well but shows a professional approach and solid athleticism. His outside shot shows good lift and excellent form. Hardaway's biggest Achilles is plain to see as he really struggles to get by defenders off the dribble as he's severely lacking an explosive first step. He'll need to continue honing his outside shot to make it as a dead eye spot up shooter.
Elias Harris 6’8/247 6’9 (Speyer, Germany) Gonzaga -- Harris is a tweener, whose best shot at being a first rounder was likely after his freshman season when he was receiving a lot of first round hype. His shot has certainly improved in his time in college and he's a hard worker with a positive attitude and motor. His main problem is that he lacks a great deal of upside due to his age, plus he's a tweener lacking great perimeter skills and the size to be a full time post player. He's a bouncy athlete and has developed a solid mid-range shot and stands a shot to be a second rounder and stick with a team in 2013. If not, he's got a solid career in Europe awaiting him.
Solomon Hill 6’6.5/229 6’9.5 Los Angeles, CA Arizona -- Hill made a solid impression although didn't stand out a great deal in the scrimmages. He had one memorable move in which he took a defender off the dribble showing a quick first step and a nice crossover to get to the rim and finish with a lay in. His foot speed appeared better than he has been able to show at Arizona and he could be a player to watch as a break out senior. Detractors still point to the fact that he has a suspect jumper and is a bit of a 3/4 tweener.
Rodney Hood 6’8.5/201 6’8 (Meridian, MS) Duke -- There's good and bad news for Duke fans. The bad news is Hood may not be the lottery level talent that they are expecting to boost their team after his redshirt season. The good news is that he may actually be around for a while. Hood had a sub-par showing for someone that some feel has lottery potential in the future. He shoots the ball especially well and has prototypical size and athleticism for the SF position. He didn't show much in the way of assertiveness and creating shots for himself and was pretty quiet in the scrimmages.
Doug McDermott 6’8/223 6’8.5 Ames, IA Creighton -- McDermott -- Scouts are split on McDermott as some feel his lack of athleticism will prevent him from being a real factor at the next level. The other faction of scouts see a Kyle Korver clone with a special ability to shoot the ball. One scout told me he thinks McDermott shoots it even better than Korver but has a sower release. Harrison Barnes former high school teammate was easily the top shooter at the event and if he's left open, the ball is going in. He's going to be one of the nation's leading scorers and should get first round looks. McDermott isn't just a one dimensional player, however. He has good post skills and also plays with a high basketball IQ. How much of a defensive liability he'll be and how much he can overcome his lack of athleticism will be keys to how high he can be drafted.
Mike Moser 6’7/206 6’10.5 (Portland, OR) UNLV -- Moser actually had a very solid week. He got out on the break and finished plays. He displayed a consistent outside shooting stroke and competed. But Moser has a big dilemma fitting an NBA position. He's far too weak physically to play the 4 and lacks quickness to play on the perimeter. His first step is brutally slow and he lacks great lateral speed defensively. Moser has two more seasons to work on his body and game, but scouts didn't show a great deal of intrigue about him. Interesting, he actually appears at least an inch taller than McDermott in person.
LaQuinton Ross 6’7/228 7’.05 (Jackson, MS) Ohio State -- Stood out in the practice games with his effortless shooting stroke. Ross has put on a lot of weight and appears to be primed for a big season. He is a standout athlete with tremendous length and fluidity. His shooting ability and frame reminds of Robert Horry. Despite the physical gifts and great scoring ability, Ross still must overcome a tendency to loaf and play lazy. He doesn't show much defensive intensity and his (dragging) legs reveal his unwillingness to give full effort.
Michael Snaer 6’5/201 6’7 (Mareno Valley, CA) Florida State -- Snaer failed to stand out among the guard prospects. He's a good athlete but appeared content to just blend in and never made any plays that stood out. He was a highly rated recruit coming out of high school but thus far has struggled to live up to the expectations. Will need to step it up in his senior season.
BJ Young 6’3/176 6’7.5 (Fayetteville, AK) Arkansas -- Rising sophomore came into camp with lottery hype and left with many scouts questioning if he's even be a first rounder. He's a borderline freak athlete but his decision making and maturity have come under question. He's not a PG and may not even be a combo guard. He shows great quickness and is a dynamic athlete but expectations should be tempered as he's still got a ways to go maturity and skill wise.
Jackie Carmichael 6’8.5/241 7’ (Manhattan, KS) Illinois State -- Carmichael was one of the lesser known players coming in but showed that he belonged and has an excellent chance to get drafted. Made one play in which he corralled a pass from Burke that appeared out of range into an ally oop tip in. Has deceptive athleticism and the toughness and attitude to bang inside.
Ryan Kelly 6’11/232 6’11 (Raleigh, NC) Duke -- Kelly has a sweet stroke for a 6'11 forward. He is severely lacking in foot speed and athleticism but had a solid showing at LeBron. He is most effective drifting away from the basket, forcing his opponent to come out t guard him and pump faking and knocking down 12-18 foot jumpers. His agility and speed are major hurdles, so he'll need a big season to get drafted.
Mason Plumlee 6’11.5/240 6’10 (Arden, NC) Duke -- Plumlee still looks a little unrefined in the post. But his size combined with his athleticism makes him an intriguing prospect. If his brother Miles can go 26th in 2012, there's no reason that the more offensively talented and equally athletic Mason can't be a first rounder as well.
Jeff Withey 6’11.5/229 7’1.5 (San Diego, CA) Kansas -- Withey has the makings of a long time NBA back up center. He matched up with Plumlee and used his imposing length and shot blocking ability to make life miserable for Mason. Withey had a good showing, knocking down shots and using his size to intimidate. His mobility seems limited by gimpy legs, but he's got good quickness getting off the floor for blocks. A productive senior season should make him a strong candidate for a first round pick.
# First Name/ Last Name / HT/WT* / Wingspan / City, State / College
1 Trey Burke 6’0/185 6’5 (Columbus, OH) Michigan
2 Isaiah Canaan 6’1/199 6’4 (Biloxi, MS) Murray State
3 Kevin Dillard 6’0/179 6’5.5 (Pasadena, TX) Dayton
4 Tim Frazier 6’.05/168 6’2.5 (Houston, TX) Penn State
5 Mark Lyons 6’1.5/186 6’4.5 (Schenectady, NY) Arizona
14 Eric Ferguson 6’8/204 7’ (Statesbrook, GA) Georgia Southern
10 Phil Pressey 6’/178 6’3 (Dallas, TX) Missouri
12 Ed Daniel 6’6.5/227 7’0 (Birmingham, AL) Murray State
13 CJ Fair 6’7.5/216 6’9 (Baltimore, MD) Syracuse
15 Tim Hardaway Jr 6’6/193 6’7 (Miami, FL) Michigan
20 Elias Harris 6’8/247 6’9 Speyer, Germany Gonzaga
21 Solomon Hill 6’6.5/229 6’9.5 Los Angeles, CA Arizona
22 Rodney Hood 6’8.5/201 6’8 (Meridian, MS) Duke
23 CJ McCollum 6’3/192 6’6 (Canton, OH) Lehigh
24 Doug McDermott 6’8/223 6’8.5 Ames, IA Creighton
25 Mike Moser 6’7/206 6’10.5 (Portland, OR) UNLV
30 Otto Porter 6’8/200 7’1 (Morley, MO) Georgetown
31 LaQuinton Ross 6’7/228 7’.05 (Jackson, MS) Ohio State
32 Michael Snaer 6’5/201 6’7 (Mareno Valley, CA) Florida State
34 BJ Young 6’3/176 6’7.5 (Fayetteville, AK) Arkansas
40 Jackie Carmichael 6’8.5/241 7’ (Manhattan, KS) Illinois State
41 Ryan Kelly 6’11/232 6’11 (Raleigh, NC) Duke
43 Tony Mitchell 6’8.5/236 7’3 (Dallas, TX) North Texas
44 Mason Plumlee 6’11.5/240 6’10 (Arden, NC) Duke
45 Jeff Withey 6’11.5/229 7’1.5 (San Diego, CA) Kansas
Nice write up! Kind of disappointed in Michael Snaer. He really has a lot of things going for him. Good size, good athleticism, but I question his mental make-up a bit. He could be really good next year, if he puts everything together.
Good to see that Otto Porter gets his respect, one of my favourite college players. He can do a little bit of everything and is very cerebral in his approach. I would be very gratefull if he somehow ends up on the 2013 - 2014 roster of the SA Spurs.
Snaer hit two buzzer beaters last year and was ACC tourny MVP as he led the Noles to their first ACC title. He will be a beast this year.
yeah this camp tells virtually nothing about a player.
I see Solomon Hill has moved from 43 on the mock to 35 but yet Cj Wilcox and Adonis Thomas who is 6'6 and 240 lbs is ahead of Hill. Wilcox or Adonis didnt get invites to the Lebron Camp and both where with Hill at the KD Camp. Hill is consider a 3/4 at 6'6 5 and Adonis a small forward at 6'6 240 wow! Hill should be consider a 2/3 if anything. He guarded multi position at the camp. Hill should be in the first round period!
how is phil pressey not athletic.boy got hops and speed.
Explain Withey's "gimpy" legs. You're talking about the guy that just set the all-time NCAA tourney record for most blocks in the tourney. ALL_TIME!
Gimpy was probably a poor choice of words. His legs appear to lack flexibility; stiff. He does block shots! And he played very well vs Plumlee.
There are so many problems we have in our colleges. I am not talking about any specific country at all. At each and every place in our world the education system is flawed. This amazing system forces so many parents to go into debt just for the sake of getting their son/daughter a simple degree which earns nothing for me other than a stupid unproductive job.