I wasn't able to make it down to Charlottesville this weekend for the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp, but the PR folks at the event were kind enough to orchestrate some phone time with a few participants of interest.
Camp director Tim McCormick, who started the NBPA Top 100 camp 17 years ago after the conclusion of his eight-year NBA career, has seen a few notable Baltimore players come through the camp during his tenure. But this year, with seven Baltimore natives in attendance, was unlike any other.
“It varies from year to year,” McCormick said. “Obviously the Baltimore area is loaded with great talent this year. And it does vary from year to year, because we are targeting only the best 100 players in the entire nation. We don’t do any favors. For instance, to get the No. 1 player in the country, we’re not going to take the point guard on his AAU team [just to have a chance to land him]. If one player can’t come, we’re going to the next player on the list. [But] Baltimore is really a hotbed of high school basketball. It always has been. It’s one of the best years we’ve seen.”• Richmond, Va., small forward and Maryland target Justin Coleman went from a little-known prospect to one of the hottest players in the country after scoring 23 in his first game of the camp. He also ended on a high note with a 22-point outburst in his team’s final game. McCormick said Coleman, who averaged 10 points per game, came into the camp looking to prove himself.
“Well in many ways, to be a top 10, top 15 player in high school basketball is a disadvantage for a lot of kids because they think they’ve made it,” McCormick said. “They expect superstardom to eventually happen. But for a kid like Coleman, he’s a guy that you watch because he comes into the camp with a chip on his shoulder. [He thinks] ‘I know how good I am. I’m going to show everybody else.’ He can’t wait to play against the highest rated players, because he feels like he’s better. So this has been a really good opportunity to showcase his skills. And I think everyone now knows about his ability.”
Coleman won the dunk contest and was named the camp’s surprise prospect.
• Former Walbrook small forward Roscoe Smith made some waves this weekend when he announced his intention to transfer to Oak Hill Academy in Mount of Wilson, Va., for his senior year.
“Me and my parents, we sat down and discussed it,” Smith said. “It was a long thing, but at the end of the day, we made the decision to go to Oak Hill.”
Smith averaged 6.4 points in five games this weekend. The five-star prospect isn’t ready to reveal which programs comprise his list of top schools, but playing with the top 100 players in the country helped him focus his criteria.
“I had Lenzelle Smith, [who’s] going to Ohio State [on my team],” Smith said. “I liked his game because he’s a point guard that can penetrate and distribute. So, OK, I like that. I could see myself playing [with a point guard like him]. But ... if you’re a wing forward, why would you want to go somewhere with a point guard that’s shoot first, not pass first? But it’s all about having fun here. You’ve just got to really get on your toes, because they’re going to test you. They’re going to push up on you. You just gotta step up and man up.”
• Calvert Hall forward Jonathan Graham saved his best for last, scoring 10 in his final game to finish with a 4.2 points per game average. Graham said he’s been limited by his knees -- the 6-foot-9, 218-pounder is laboring through growing pains at the moment. Still, Graham said the camp was very beneficial for his development.
“It’s been a great experience, just playing with the best high school players in the country right now in my class,” Graham said. “I feel honored to have been invited here, to be honest.”
Graham said the camp directors gave him tips for working on his strength and quickness. As far as his recruitment is concerned, Providence has offered a scholarship while many other high-major schools are monitoring his progress this summer.
• Former DeMatha and soon-to-be Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby (Tennessee) led the camp in scoring at 16.2 points per game. Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer wrote on Saturday that “no one has been better than Josh Selby.”
Selby has gotten into the lane with more regularity than any other guard in camp. His speed, power, skill level and competitive drive make him a terror to defend. And he is not just scoring. His passing and gamesmanship have been equally impressive.
• Mount St. Joseph point guard Eric Atkins wasn’t on the initial list of invitees, but the Notre Dame commitment ended up in Charlottesville after others backed out. The three-star prospect averaged 3.8 points per game, scored 10 in his last game and acquitted himself well early according to Jerry Meyer.
Atkins isn't going to beat anyone with athleticism, but he has passed the ball at a high level during the first two sessions and has knocked down three-pointers off the catch when open.
• Former Lake Clifton shooting guard Will Barton continued his strong summer play at the Top 100 camp. The Memphis commitment finished 19th in scoring at 11 points per game. Barton scored a game-high 22 in his second game.
Stats: Maryland targets
Tobias Harris, Glen Head, N.Y., power forward: 13.3 points per game
Michael Gbinije, Christchurch, Va., shooting guard (2011): 13 points per game
Terrence Jones, Portland, Ore., power forward: 9.1 points per game
Will Regan, Buffalo, N.Y., power forward: 6.7 points per game
C.J. Leslie, Holly Springs, N.C., power forward: 6.0 points per game
Mychal Parker, Washington, N.C., small forward: 5.7 points per game
Stats: Baltimore players
C.J. Fair (Syracuse), City small forward: 5.4 points per game
Jordan Latham (Xavier), City center: 4.4 points per game