The Nike Basketball Academy provided a glimpse at some of the best high school talent in the nation. A number of top players sat the majority of the camp but there was still had a nice collection of talent. Here are the standouts that performed and caught our eye.
Wendell Carter 6’9.5, 248, 7’3 wingspan, PF/C – 2017
Carter made the biggest impression on scouts due to his determination and work ethic. Of the elite level guys participating, he was the one that stood out, showing the willingness to play and participate all day, every day. It’s late in the summer and some of the kids are tired, there seemed to be a lethargic attitude surrounding the camp, with many going through the motions, but Carter clearly didn’t seem affected by this. He was the most impressive big man in the drills, soaking in information while working with Rasheed Wallace and Jahlil Okafor. His jump shooting wasn’t connecting as well as other times I’ve seen him but it didn’t affect his game much. While not the fastest player in the open floor, his size, strength, and vertical explosiveness makes him extremely tough for other players to match up with. Carter figures to be a mid lottery pick whenever he declares to the draft.
Hamidou Diallo 6’5, 210 lbs, 6’10 wingspan, PF/C – 2017
Diallo Is one of the absolute freak level athletes on the high school level. He’s extremely strong and athletic and is fearless attacking the basket. Some have compared him to a smaller Wiggins due to his athleticism. He had a one on one match up with Devin Booker and hopefully will be able to learn from the battle as Booker was able to use his far superior skill level to overcome Diallo’s athletic superiority. Diallo was just coming back from Chile and played solid the final two days.
Mitchell Robinson 7’0, 222 lbs, 7’3.5 wingspan, C – 2017
Reminiscent of John "Spider" Salley, for those old enough to remember the former Piston’s game. Robinson participated in drills but wasn’t a part of the scrimmages until the final day. He matched up with Nicolas Richards and was able to get the upper hand as he smothered him using his great speed and length as a rim protector. Robinson has a "gangly" body at this point but with wide shoulders, appears to have room to put on considerable weight. He now has a great deal of hype around him, but he’s far from a finished product and will need a lot of time to reach his potential. His ability to move his feet and block shots is elite, and he also shows very good speed and fluidity in the open floor. He still lacks polish in the post, so if he’s not finding a clear path to the basket for a dunk, he settles for a lot of contested and ineffective shots, so he’s still got a long ways to go offensively. It will be interesting to see how he develops at Western Kentucky.
Gary Trent Jr. 6’6, 201, 6’8 wingspan, SG – 2017
Trent doesn’t have a lot of shift or flash to his game but is a very smart player. His shot selection and ability to shoot from midrange is among the best. He doesn’t over dribble and has a simple but effective game. He plays well off the ball and never tries to do too much. He utilized his pull up jumper in games and performed well in the shooting drills.
Rayshaun Hammonds 6’9, 218 lbs, 6’11 wingspan PF – 2017
Hammonds was one of the real bright spots of the camp. While he isn’t a prominent name on recruiting lists, ranking in the 60s on some lists, this is a kid with a lot of long term potential. Reminsicent of former long and athletic Trailblazers forward Cliff Robinson, Hammonds plays with a lot of energy and a chip on his shoulder. He likes to face the basket and take bigger players off the dribble, but also has the toughness to battle around the basket. Though not the most explosive player, he’s a solid athlete who runs the floor well and has solid size. Hammonds shows a lot of personality and was our "diamond in the rough" of the high school group.
Matt Coleman 6’2, 180, 6’4 wingspan, PG – 2017
Coleman played well at the Academy. He was more under control than times I had seen him in the past and is becoming more effective in a half court. He impressed with some of his lead passes, finding bigs open and putting them in positions to score even when they didn’t realize it. He shot well but still has room for improvement.
Trevon Duval 6’2, 188, 6’8 wingspan, PG – 2017
When watching all the guards doing drills together, it’s quickly evident that Duval is the most explosive guard of the bunch by a wide margin. When others would finish with a layup, Duval would do so a slam while spinning the opposite direction. He displayed his athleticism and body control in the scrimmages as well. He is still working through decision making and has a tendency to dribble into traffic as well as forcing difficult and contested shots. His jump shot remains his biggest weakness, as he doesn’t always get good rotation on it, but can get where he wants with his speed and ball handling.
Collin Sexton 6’1, 173, 6’5.5 wingspan, PG – 2017
Similar to how he played throughout the EYBL, Sexton scored in bunches and got to the rim. He’s quick but often plays at one speed and is a one man fast break, even when playing in the half court. He’s a streaky shooter but not knock down yet. He did a good job of finding open teammates in transition but is primarily a scorer and will need to continue developing as a point guard.
Troy Brown 6’6.5, 206, 6’9.5 wingspan, SG/PG – 2017
Brown played very well, recognizing mismatches and shooting well in drills. He facilitates well and creates well off the dribble. A highly unselfish guard with a high IQ. He uses his size against smaller guards but loses the ball when playing through contact at times. The last day of camp, he played with Gary Trent and they took advantage of any weak link in the defense. Some seem to have jumped off of the Troy Brown wagon but that appears to be a mistake. He’s a vbery competitive and athletic kid with great size and combo skills. If he can become better off the ball, his lead guard skills will be an valued dimension.
Billy Preston 6’9.5, 229, 7’0.5 wingspan, SF/PF – 2017
Preston had a solid camp, showing variety to his scoring and connecting on his outside shooting. He does lack a feel for the game but his tools and talent are there. He scored in both face up and post up situations while taking advantage of his above average athleticism when attacking. Overall, he was active on the boards as well, and finished with a nice flurry on the final day. Scouts still have reservations about his focus and energy level as he seems to run hot and cold frequently.
Kevin Knox 6’9, 204, 6’11 wingspan, SF – 2017
Knox didn’t participate in the final day of camp but impressed when he was on the floor. He played well in transition, finishing off multiple plays and exploding above the rim. He was very good in the half-court, creating off the dribble combined with his activity. He’s young for his grade and appears to have some growing left to do. This is a kid that could easily top out as a 6-10 to 6-11 power forward by the time he’s a senior.
Charles O'Bannon Jr. 6’5.5, 196, 6’11 wingspan, SG/SF – 2017
O’Bannon impressed some scouts with his length and athleticism. He settles too often for contested shots and is quick with the trigger, he has the ability to hit difficult shots but doesn’t pick his spots or have any consciousness of bad shot selection. However, he is talented, providing instant offense and can score when plays aren’t made for him. Unfortunately he wasn’t always wasn’t focused in drills and still seems a bit immature.
Mohamed Bamba 7’0.5, 211, 7’9.5 wingspan, PF – 2017
Bamba was very limited in game action, only participating in one day of scrimmages. He has a ways to go offensively, he did however step out and make a three and shows a solid foundation for developing shooting ability. He’s a very good rebounder and shot blocker with his length but needs to add weight and continue to develop his feel. He isn’t very involved with the offense the majority of the time he’s on the court but he’s always accounted for by the defense.
Alex O'Connell 6’4.5, 161, 6’3.5 wingspan, 2017
O’Connell plays with a lot of confidence and pizazz. He shoots with a quick release and scores well. He’s a good athlete but he measured with only a 6’3.5 wingspan. After a strong EYBL season, O’Connell has shown he’s a legitmate player who can score against the nation’s best and has brought the intensity every time he’s stepped onto the floor. He can be a little too aggressive shooting at times, but shows some interesting skills.
Nick Richards 6’11, 231, 7’3 wingspan, C – 2017
Richards had his ups and downs. With good athleticism and tools to work with he shows great potential but lacks awareness at this stage. Defensively, he got beat in one on one situations and gets out of position somewhat regularly. He showed a fade away and scoring in the low post. He seems to second guess himself at times and was defended well by Mitchell Robinson, failing to match his intensity.
Tremont Waters 5’11, 166, 6’1.5 wingspan, PG – 2017
Waters shot and handled well, showing range and ability to create. He played really well with Mohamed Bamba and Nick Richards, setting them up for easy baskets multiple times. He runs the pick and roll very effectively as well as rejecting them. Defensively, he’s a very good on ball defender, he harassed and ripped Quade Green a few times in their matchup. Waters is very locked in when he plays, of course his size hinders him as a prospect but he makes a big impact when he’s on the court.