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June 20, 2014
NBPA Top-100 Camp: Day 2
Charlottesville, VA - The second day of NBPA Top-100 Camp featured several very strong performances on the hardwood as a few recruits left a big impression on observers. Play was less sloppy on the court for Thursday's action, and the chemistry got better. Who stood out on the campus of UVA on Thursday?
One of the better performances of the second day came from 2015 Las Vegas (NV)/Dream Vision (NV) wing Ray Smith - who bursted onto the scene this past year. Playing with Dennis Smith at camp helped his chances, according to him, as the quick pace led to easy baskets. The rising senior utilized high ball screens and was able to create off the dribble by pushing the ball in the open court. He didn't spot up as much, but forced a few turnovers and turned that into instant offense. Only ten schools remain for Smith, who will visit UConn sometime next week and take an official visit to Louisville in September. Georgetown, Arizona, Arizona State and others were mentioned but leaving the west coast is a likely possibility for him as style of play and relationships with coaching staffs go a long way.
Speaking of instant offense, 2015 Saginaw Arthur Hill (MI)/The Family (MI) point guard Eric Davis locked down defensively. He forced several turnovers and constantly put pressure on the ball handler. This lead to easy opportunities to finish at the basket. Davis did a nice job of running point and looked very natural in doing so as he got into the lane and drove to the basket - either taking a smart shot or kicking it out to a a post player or someone on the perimeter. Overall, Davis looked like one of the smarter and most well-rounded players at the camp. His recruitment took off a bit in the past few months when Florida, UCLA, Michigan, Baylor, UNLV, Auburn, Boston College and Memphis came in to offer. He still seems pretty open in his recruitment due to so many new schools hopping on board during the spring. More may do that after a strong showing here and a few other events this summer.
For any reigning MVP it is tough to live up to the expectations of having that kind of performance again. While he may not win MVP, it is clear that 2015 Our Savior New American (NY)/Team Scan (NY) power forward Cheick Diallo's game has rapidly expanded. He is more willing to pass the ball now. Diallo secured rebound after rebound and threw outlet passes - some accurate, some not - down the court to make a few quick baskets for his teammates. He continues to protect the rim by playing hard during all phases of the game. As his offense continues to improve, we are seeing more than just powerful dunks from the five-star big man, who has quietly had one of the best performances of camp. After taking visits to Iowa State and Pittsburgh during the fall, things slowed up until recently in his recruitment. Kentucky and Kansas have been pushing lately and the Wildcats recently offered. Diallo will visit Kentucky soon - possibly as soon as the end of June. Duke is close to offering, as well, which could lead to a very interesting finish in his recruitment.
If playing hard was valued as much as it should be in a camp setting, Evan Boudreaux and Luke Maye would be the talk of the event. Both realize they aren't flashy forwards, nor will they get a lot of touches, but the two have been total workhorses. Boudreaux - a 2015 forward from Lake Forest (IL)/Team NLP (IL) - has been versatile playing primarily inside, but showing he can stretch the floor, as well. As he needs to be consistent with his shooting, he did a great job of grabbing rebounds, finishing inside, drawing fouls, passing the ball and creating second opportunities for his team by simply playing hard. This has earned him offers from DePaul, Dartmouth, Princeton, Bucknell and others. Ultimately, he knows he can play at the highest level, and has the opportunity to, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will. More schools are expected to watch him in July with a list cut coming afterwards. For Maye, he has faired better on offense as he is a little bit quicker on his feet. A total workhorse, he shot the ball well, outworked his opponents on both ends and used different angles to his advantage while running the floor. A high IQ 2015 power forward from Hough (NC)/Team United (NC), it is clear why Clemson, Notre Dame, St. Joseph's, Davidson, Virginia Tech, NC State and others are pursing his services. Maye visited Virginia on Monday, and heads to North Carolina this weekend. He also hopes to visit Notre Dame and NC State this summer.
It is quite possible that the two best scorers in the camp are from the state of Florida. Dwayne Bacon has been phenomenal, but Antonio Blakeney got hot last night as he shot the ball well, and was efficient when attacking the rim. His athleticism has improved greatly over the past year. Blakeney makes scoring the ball look so effortless at times because of his newfound ability to get to the basket and make acrobatic finishes in traffic. As his game will need to continue to expand, he knows his role and does his job. Ranked No. 29 in the nation, the 2015 shooting guard from Oak Ridge (FL) still isn't to focused on his recruitment just yet. As his last major visit was to Louisville in the winter, the staff is trying to sell him and Ray Smith on the idea of playing together at the next level. Both are entertained by that. North Carolina, Kansas, Florida State, Florida are the other primarily schools involved at this point in time.
Other Top Performers
2016 center Thon Maker played extremely hard on Thursday, and that is key to his success. At times, he tends to settle on shots or may not always contest a shot. For whatever reason, Maker was playing extremely hard. He had some emphatic swats at the rim and scored the ball in a variety of ways.
2017 power forward Cody Riley continues to impress scouts by the way he plays. For his body, he moves so well and enjoys drawing contact when going to the rim. Riley rebounds at a high level, which makes him hard to stop because of his motor and ability to score in so many ways.
2015 power forward Horace Spencer continues to play with amazing energy and can stop practically anyone in the post due a college ready body and major hops. Spencer's offense is coming along pretty well as his ability to drive to the basket continues to improve.
2016 wing Braxton Blackwell showed great strides in his shot selection and efficiency as he scored the ball with a purpose. Blackwell drove to the basket and used his strong frame to pull down a few rebounds and block shots.
Full coverage will continue to come from NBPA Top-100 Camp on TheRecruitScoop.com, as well as Rivals.com.
For the latest in college basketball recruiting, head to TheRecruitScoop.com for the latest details and notes on offers, visits, commitments and more. To contact Alex Kline, you can reach him by email at MaryKlineClassic@gmail.com or on Twitter at TheRecruitScoop.