The buzz around the LeBron James Skills Academy is much different than last year as the basketball world awaits the final decision of the biggest free agent in the history of sports. As a result, there was a large media contingent at the camp that probably had more interest in what LeBron was wearing than scouting any college or high school players. That didn’t distract us from taking in the first college and high school workouts of this year’s camp.
First, here are the college attendees, including updated measurements taken at this summer’s Nike camps:
Player School Height Weight Wingspan
Talor Battle Penn St 6-0 161 6-1
William Buford Ohio St 6-5 209 6-10
Alec Burks Colorado 6-5 1/2 191 6-10 1/2
JaMychal Green Alabama 6-9 220 7-1
Scotty Hopson Tennessee 6-7 205 6-10 1/2
Curtis Kelly Kansas St 6-9 239 7-3 1/2
Shelvin Mack Butler 6-2 211 6-7
Vernon Macklin Florida 6-10 230 7-3
Demetri McCamey Illinois 6-3 203 6-41/2
Gary McGhee Pitt 6-11 238 7-1
Marcus Morris Kansas 6-9 218 6-7
Chandler Parsons Florida 6-8 217 6-9 1/2
Marshawn Powell Arkansas 6-7 225 6-10 1/2
Jacob Pullen Kansas St 6-1 194 6-5 1/2
Iman Shumpert Georgia Tech 6-5 210 6-7 1/2
Kyle Singler Duke 6-9 237 6-10
Chris Singleton Florida St 6-9 221 6-11 1/2
Nolan Smith Duke 6-3 189 6-6
Klay Thompson Washington St 6-6 190 6-8
Kemba Walker UCONN 6-1 179 6-2
Derrick Williams Arizona 6-9 231 7-0
Chris Wright-0 Dayton 6-71/2 219 6-9
Chris Wright Georgetown 6-2 204 6-3 1/2
Yi-Hsiang Chou Taiwan (1991)
*William Buford, Alec Burks, JaMychal Green, Curtis Kelly and Marcus Morris were not in attendance for Day 1.
Unlike day 1 last year, the college players broke into teams for full-court scrimmages after some light warm-ups and positional drills. Much to our surprise, LeBron and Chris Paul took part in the action as they were joined with Jawad Williams, Christian Eyenga, Damon Jones and Romeo Travis.
LBJ didn’t appear to be concerned by the fact that he’s currently not under contract, as he played full-throttle against the college players. He let us know that he was going strong after grabbing a rebound over Vernon Macklin, pushing it coast-to-coast and finishing through contact at the other end. Also, Chris Paul looked very good following an injury-plagued season. The all-star duo led their team to a 3-0 record against the collegians. They had some help from 2009 Cleveland Cavalier draft pick, Christian Eyenga. He used his athleticism to finish a few explosive dunks, including a game-winning alley-oop from Chris Paul. We had a chance to evaluate Eyenga at the 2009 LBJ Skills Academy and his progression seems to be minimal. He is still a phenomenal athlete without much polish to his game.
As for the college players, the team of the day was Chris Wright (Georgetown), Shelvin Mack, Klay Thompson, Kyle Singler and Vernon Macklin. They finished with a 2-1 record, with the lone loss at the hands of team LeBron. This group had instant chemistry and it showed at the defensive end. Macklin, Singler and Thompson cleaned up the defensive glass and quickly fed the guards for fast break opportunities. Singler and Mack were the two most impressive collegians during Day 1 as they showcased well-rounded games. In addition to grabbing several defensive boards, Singler pushed the ball on the break, creating points for himself or dishing to teammates. He also had an impressive shooting day as he hit several threes. The Duke forward struggled a bit against the pros as Jawad Williams guarded him and he attempted to guard LeBron James.
Shelvin Mack, on the other hand, had no such difficulty against the pros. After showing off his defensive skill set and ability to finish in transition against his fellow collegians, Mack displayed his scoring ability against team LBJ. He never appeared to be in awe of the NBA superstars, unlike some of his peers. While being guarded by the NBA first-team defender, LeBron James, Shelvin Mack pulled two three-pointers. The first rattled in and out, while the second was a pure swish. He then took Chris Paul off the dribble for a pull-up mid-range jumper. He couldn’t quite will his team to a win, but he was impressive nonetheless.
Vernon Macklin also had a solid day as he was active and efficient on the glass. He scored several baskets in the post as he was matched up against Gary McGhee and Romeo Travis. Both players tried to be physical against Macklin, but the Florida Senior met them with strength.
After the college scrimmages ended, the high schoolers took the court for a two-hour workout. The high school roster is a little depleted this year as top prospects Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Andre Drummond, Brad Beal and James McAdoo are participating with USA Basketball’s U-17 team in Hamburg, Germany. Additionally, Austin Rivers and LeBryan Nash are not in attendance.
Here is a list of some of the top high school prospects that are in attendance, including updated measurements:
Player Class Height Weight Wingspan
Rakeem Christmas 2011 6-9 226 7-3
Kentavious Caldwell 2011 6-6 185 6-6
Anthony Davis 2011 6-9 187 7-2
Myck Kabongo 2011 6-2 170 N/A
Wayne Blackshear 2011 6-5 215 6-10
Josiah Turner 2011 6-3 185 N/A
Jabari Brown 2011 6-3 200 N/A
DaJuan Coleman 2012 6-9 280 7-1
Brandon Ashley 2012 6-8 200 N/A
Khem Birch 2012 6-9 175 N/A
Perry Ellis 2012 6-8 212 6-10
Kyle Anderson 2012 6-8 223 7-1
The high school players scrimmaged briefly and then spent most of the session working on positional drills. One player that had scouts buzzing was Deng Leek, a 6-11 forward from High Point, NC. He has only lived in the United States for five years after moving from Sudan, but his game appeared to be more advanced than one would expect. Leek displayed good hands and footwork. He also used his body effectively on the boards and ran the floor well in transition. His offensive repertoire seems limited at this point, but his athleticism and size is impressive. Leek is currently unranked by Rivals and Scout, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on him over the next year.
We will be back with more tomorrow as there are three scheduled high school workouts and two college sessions (one is closed to the media however).