No city will be better represented at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp than Baltimore.
Six players from Baltimore earned camp invites: Lake Clifton shooting guard Will Barton (Memphis), Walbrook small forward Roscoe Smith, City small forward C.J. Fair (Syracuse), former DeMatha point guard Josh Selby (Tennessee), Calvert Hall forward Jonathan Graham and City power forward Jordan Latham. The camp will be held June 17-21 in Charlottesville, Va.
Jide Sodipo of MidAtlanticHoops.com has been a scout and coach in and around Baltimore since 1997. In his 12-plus years on the job, Sodipo said he's never seen a class in the city like this."In the country right now, Baltimore is the strongest city," Sodipo said. "Scouts and coaches love Baltimore players for their toughness. When you look at [this 2010 class], there are at least six or seven top 100 players [nationally], depending on the list. I'd say you have seven guys in the top 100 in the country, and four of them with the potential to be McDonald's [All-Americans] or Jordan [Brand Classic selections]. I would say that's the toughest city in the country for 2010."
Mount St. Joseph point guard Eric Atkins (Notre Dame) is the seventh local prospect mentioned by Sodipo that's worthy of top 100 consideration. In Sodipo's top 75 class of 2010 rankings for Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, six other local players make the cut: Lake Clifton point guard Antonio Barton (Memphis), St. Frances shooting guard Dante Holmes, Calvert Hall small forward Damion Lee, St. Frances shooting guard Wayne Sparrow (Richmond), Digital Harbor shooting guard Davon Usher and Mount St. Joseph forward Ryley Beaumont.
Sodipo believes a few local players have NBA potential, starting with Selby. The five-star prospect played for John Carroll as a freshman, spent the past two years at DeMatha, and will suit up for Lake Clifton as a senior.
"I see four guys who have the potential to be NBA prospects. I don't like to use the word 'potential' because nothing in life is guaranteed, but I think Josh Selby has great upside," Sodipo said. "He's a tough kid, he rebounds, he plays the point and he can play the two. … Will Barton, he's a special kid. He can do it all. ... The third one I would say is Roscoe Smith. He has the potential to be pro one day. And the last one is C.J. Fair. C.J. Fair is a very, very interesting player. You really have to study him and understand basketball [to understand his potential]. But I believe his upside is going to happen when he gets to Syracuse."
As for the NBPA Top 100 Camp later this month, Sodipo thinks the six local players will represent the city well.
"If you can make it in Baltimore, you can make it anywhere," Sodipo said. "This is one of the toughest cities ever for basketball. The kids play with a chip on their shoulders."