After a relatively exciting opening day of the 2010 LeBron James Skills Academy, day 2 was a dud through the morning and afternoon sessions. The college counselors did not scrimmage in their lone afternoon session and unfortunately, their evening session was closed to the media. The most interesting aspect of the morning and afternoon sessions was watching the mass media stakeout of LeBron. Everybody except TMZ was here. Thankfully, LBJ decided to go off script in the evening as he brought Damon Jones and Cavalier teammates Jawad Williams, Daniel Gibson, Jamario Moon and Christian Eyenga to scrimmage against the high school campers. Overall, the on-court action has been somewhat sub par and the opportunity to truly evaluate the players has been limited. That being said, here are the highlights from Day 2:
* First, several college players that were missing from Day 1 were in attendance today. Alec Burks, Jacob Pullen, Curtis Kelly and Marcus Morris found their way to Akron, while William Buford and JaMychal Green were no-shows. We haven’t heard why Buford and Green are not in attendance.
* Chandler Parsons abused Scotty Hopson on several possessions. He took Hopson off the dribble to the left and faked a pass to the corner, forcing the helpside defender to bite, and finally converted with his left hand. The very next possession, Parsons drained a three over Hopson’s outstretched hand. The Florida Senior showed off a nice shooting touch and the ability to put the ball on the floor. He’s not as consistent as a Kyle Singler, but he is slightly more athletic and finishes better at the rim. Parsons also displayed excellent quickness and defensive ability in one-on-one drills against Marshawn Powell.
* Nolan Smith ran the point extremely efficiently in the half-court drills. He has a high basketball IQ, displaying it by making the proper reads and passes consistently. He fed Vernon Macklin off of pick and rolls for several powerful finishes. Smith is also an excellent defender, but he needs to put on some muscle. Stronger NBA guards will go right through him.
* Shelvin Mack followed his strong Day 1 performance with another solid workout. After working off the ball in 3-on-3 drills, he moved to the point for 4-on-4. Scouts question whether he’s a PG or an undersized SG, but he showed a good command and feel for the PG position in morning workouts. Much like Smith, Mack ran the pick and roll to perfection. This often led to easy dunks by Macklin. I had a chance to speak with Mack following the workout and he said he envisions himself as a PG at the next level.
* The highlight of the high school afternoon session was watching DaJuan Coleman battle Deng Leek and Branden Ashley. Leek again showed that he can do some work in the post by sealing off Coleman, turning over his right shoulder and finishing with his left hand. Overall, Leek was quiet on offense as his teammates didn’t pass the ball very often. The 6-11 Center uses his height and length well on defense as he blocked and disrupted several shots, including two from Coleman. However, Leek is not very active on the glass for someone with his size
* DaJuan Coleman had trouble at times with the length of Leek, but he wouldn’t be deterred. After having a layup blocked by Leek, Coleman went to work from 17-feet. He faced Leek up, took one dribble left and hit a 15-foot jumper. The next possession he hit another 15-footer off of a catch-and-shoot. Similar to Jared Sullinger, Coleman uses his wide body to create position on the block and to gather rebounds. Coleman is also skilled as he can knock down mid-range jumpers and he even pushed the ball coast-to-coast off of a rebound. Coleman has good size, but he needs to trim down as his 280 lb frame looks a bit heavy.
* The evening high school session proved to be more beneficial from an evaluation standpoint. Players were broken into teams for full-court 5-on-5 scrimmaging with referees. Standout players in the evening session included Jabari Brown, Ricardo Ledo, Rakeem Christmas, Wayne Blackshear and Dominique Pointer.
* In the first game of the evening the high school team led by Jabari Brown, Ricardo Ledo and Khem Birch, knocked off team LeBron. Brown took full advantage of the opportunity to play against the pros. He knocked down two threes, one over Jamario Moon and one over LeBron. Ricardo Ledo was also very aggressive going right at LBJ on offense. He even blew past LBJ for a nice dunk. Granted, LeBron was playing defense at quarter speed, but give Ledo credit. Ledo also showed off his passing ability by dropping a dime to a cutting Birch.
* Rakeem Christmas was impressive in the evening session as he showed improvement since I last saw him in Akron one year ago. His physical attributes have not changed since the camp last year as he still measures in at 6-9 with a 7-3 wingspan and weighs roughly the same at 226 lbs. His skill set was very limited last year and he was dominated by the older players. This year, he displayed a decent touch from 15-feet and the ability to work from the post. He hit a nice turnaround jumper from 8-feet over Jawad Williams and he also knocked down an open 17-footer. Christmas is a good defender, but he had the unfortunate assignment of guarding LeBron tonight.
Overall, the camp had a much different feel than last year. Partially due to a weaker talent pool and partially due to the spectacle of this summer’s NBA free agency. A few high schoolers had the opportunity to open some eyes, but the college players were done a disservice as their full-court sessions were closed to the media. Some have speculated it’s more fallout from LeBron getting dunked on by Jordan Crawford last year. Who knows.