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Day Two in Orlando
by Matthew Kamalsky / May 29, 2008

The second day of the Pre-Draft Camp had its fair share of good performances, some expected, but others the result of a couple of unfortunate injuries. Mike Taylor showed that his time in the NBADL put him a step ahead of his collegiate counterparts, while Mark Tyndale showed up in a big way when asked to play extended minutes.

Today’s play was broken into two sessions, with players participating in both drills and a full game. Despite the unproductive atmosphere of day one, day two had a lot more rhythm to it, and the day’s games offered the camp’s first legitimate insight into many of the players in attendance.

Before the players broke into their teams for games, they first went head-to-head with their teammates in one-on-one and two-on-two drills. The separation of post and wing players gave the decision-makers in attendance the chance to observe the athleticism and skill-sets that the players bring to their positions.

Among the wings, Lester Hudson once again had an impressive outing. While he didn’t get great separation, he did a good job getting to the spots on the floor that he is used to scoring from. Malik Hairston was another standout, using the two-on-two drills to showcase his defensive tenacity and aggression offensively. Tyndale had a very good showing defensively, getting a handful of consecutive stops against his fellow guards.

Amongst the post players, David Padgett had a memorable showing on the offensive front. He uses fakes extremely well, and shows tremendous patience in waiting for the defensive to give him an opening. Though he didn’t show great quickness, like James Mays, he’s got great fundamentals. There weren’t many extremely memorable moments from the isolated settings, but it gave some of the players involved a chance to show their wares successfully.

Game One: Team Six 75 Team Five 70

The first game of the week pitted two of the camp’s best teams on paper against one another. Unlike yesterday, this game had a pretty steady tempo all the way through, with Team Six using its size to gain a sizeable rebounding advantage and the victory. Joey Dorsey (7 pts, 4 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk) only recorded four rebounds for the contest, but boxed out multiple offensive players on a couple memorable occasions, freeing up Brian Butch (10 pts, 6 reb) and Davon Jefferson (7 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast) to clean the glass. Dorsey may not be the most glamorous player offensively, but he showed some nice court vision today as a passer, and will finish with authority underneath. In contrast, Butch and Jefferson both showed their wares from the perimeter, using Dorsey’s presence and surprising awareness as a passer to get open looks from seventeen-feet. Off the bench, Shaun Pruitt (7 reb) struggled mightily, having a hard time converting chances at the rim.

In the backcourt, Sean Singletary (2 pts, 1 ast, 2 stl) played very passively after picking up an early charge, giving way to Taylor (17 pts, 2 reb, 5 to), who was happy to pick up the slack. Taylor has another gear that few guards at this camp can keep up with, and took advantage of a couple of long-range shots to set up his drives to the rim. His aggression paid off, earning him an impressive 17 points in 20 minutes of action. George Hill (14 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl) stepped up his offensive game, using his scoring ability to make an impact, but had a tough time running the point.

Team Five enjoyed some very nice individual performances, but just didn’t have the backcourt to pull out the victory. Othello Hunter (13 pts) provided one of the most impressive highlights of the day, finishing an alley-oop in transition with his back to the rim. He also showed a nice midrange jumper and a crafty post move, two things that he’s clearly worked on since leaving Ohio State. DeVon Hardin (8 pts, 4 rebs, 1 stl) was Team Five’s other standout down low, using his athleticism to get a handful of dunks on the secondary break. While he isn’t a great back to the basket player, Hardin made an impact on both ends with his rebounding and unbelievable foot speed. Defensively, his ability to hedge pick and rolls is unparalleled for a player his size.

In the backcourt, Jeremy Pargo (4 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast) and Richard Roby (14 pts, 4 reb, 2 stl) both gave inconsistent performances. Pargo set the table for his teammates early in the game with four assists, but dribbles into trouble far too often. Roby has the same problem, but made some smooth swoops to the rim for easy layups and ran the floor extremely hard in transition. Bryce Taylor (10 pts, 1 stl, 1 blk) had a solid performance, albeit a quiet one. He hit his shots and played very sound on-ball defense.

On a side note, John Reik appears to be out with a leg injury, explaining his lack of participation in drills, while Danny Green (9 pts, 4 rebs) has been slowed substantially by an ankle injury.

Game Two: Team Two 90 Team One 85

Today’s second game lacked the intrigue of the first, but a few players still stood out. Team Two got good performances all around, with Patrick Ewing Jr. (14 pts, 2 rebs, 2 stl) showing his range by knocking down a three and using his athleticism and length to be a factor in transition. His 14 points was especially impressive. Though he’s still working to become a perimeter player, his activity level gives him value in this setting.

Richard Hendrix (12 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl) and Longar Longar (10 pts, 5 reb) had nice games as well, and though neither showed great back-to-the-basket moves, Hendrix used his strength, and Longar his wingspan, to finish some nice looks at the rim. Longar definitely still needs to work on his hands, as he had five turnovers in a setting where post men don’t get many touches. Hendrix finished with 12 points, but can make a bigger impact. He was slowed a bit by a minor shoulder injury.

Deron Washington (4 pts, 3 reb) had two highlight reel dunks, including an incredible tip-back where he extended his body completely to grab the ball at its highest point before slamming it home. Amongst the wings, Drew Neitzel (9 pts, 1 reb) and Robert Vaden (13 pts, 2 reb) shot the ball relatively well, but showed a stark contrast in shot selection. Neitzel did a great job taking what the defensive gave him, while Vaden seemed more content shooting with a hand in his face after a rhythm dribble. Gary Forbes (17 pts, 3 ast) was the top scorer for Team Two, and did a good job using his athleticism to draw fouls at the rim and find open shots in transition.

Team One was at a clear disadvantage today, with their second point guard, Jamar Butler, out of action. In order to compensate, the team looked to Joe Crawford (19 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast) and Wayne Ellington (8 pts, 2 ast, 6 to). Crawford showed well, hitting a pair of threes and aggressively attacking the rim. His size didn’t limit him today as a scorer, but he didn’t get to show much at point guard. Ellington on the other hand struggled to get into rhythm, much like he did in drills on Day One. He did make some shots late, but needs to string a couple of good games together to finish the camp. The fact that he had to run the point for part of the game didn’t help his cause, as he tallied too many turnovers.

In contrast to his two counterparts at wing, Mark Tyndale (9 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast) made his contributions in a different fashion, using get defensive intensity to help keep the game close. Tyndale isn’t an amazing physical specimen, but he’ll surprise people with his leaping ability and timing. He didn’t tally any steals or blocks, but had a number of tips, and was called for a foul blocking a dunk that could have easily been a no-call. He had a strong showing offensively too, and showed good court vision and finishing ability. Ron Steele (5 pts, 6 ast) helped Tyndale’s cause, setting him up on a couple of occasions and finishing with only 1 turnover.

In the paint, Kentrell Gransberry (8 pts, 10 reb, 3 stl) had a field day, using his size to come up with quite a few rebounds, 6 on the offensive end. Though he didn’t have a good day shooting from the line, he was all over every loose ball that fell within his reach, forcing some turnovers defensively using his strength and quick hands. James Gist (16 pts, 5 reb, 2 blk) and Darnell Jackson (8 pts, 3 reb) put together a nice showing off the bench, and Gist was especially effective using his athleticism at the basket. Jackson, in contrast, showed good awareness, and scored off a couple of nice flashes and backdoor cuts.

Game Three

Much like Joe Crawford in Game Two, DeMarcus Nelson (13 pts, 2 ast, 1 blk) came into this game looking to show that his size wouldn’t hold him back, and he did just that, but couldn’t lead his team to a win. Nelson finished a handful of assertive moves to the lane with contact. James Mays (13 pts, 5 reb, 3 stl) was the teams other leading scorer, using his vertical leap and ability to run the floor to finish a few plays above the rim.

The rest of Team Three didn’t come up big, but shared solid performances. In the backcourt, Stanley Burrell (7 pts, 1 reb) had a tough time scoring at the rim, but got to the line at a high rate. He shows great toughness every time he steps on the floor. While Lester Hudson (4 pts, 3 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 5 to) did the little things today and stuffed the stat sheet, he didn’t add the offense his team desperately needed. J.R. Giddens (7 pts, 2 ast, 1 blk) fell victim to a similar drought, and didn’t have the impact he is capable of providing.

Amongst the bigmen, both Trent Plaisted (6 pts, 4 reb, 1 blk) and Maarty Leunen (6 pts, 3 reb) failed to stand out, and need to bounce back tomorrow. Juri Hubalek (9 pts, 1 reb) had a nice game shooting the ball, but had a tough time defensively.

Team Four provided the only blow out of the day with Pat Calathes (10 pts, 2 reb, 5 ast) and Ty Lawson (10 pts, 4 ast, 3 stl) coming off the bench to put Team Three away in the first half. Calathes showed some impressive awareness, and is a savvy passer for a player his size. Lawson really got going today, using his quickness to his advantage all game long. He is on another level athletically, and can improve his stock by continuing to make a point to prove it.

Brian Roberts (11 pts, 2 ast, 4 to) continued his strong play, knocking down a couple of threes, but still needs to work on staying in front of his man defensively and not reaching. Malik Hairston (8 pts, 4 reb, 1 blk) didn’t have the most impressive stat line, but he showed the leaping ability that made him a top recruit, along with some nice rhythm jumpers and dump passes off of drives. Reggie Williams (11 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl) also managed to be a factor, and proved to be smooth offensively and tough defensively.

Down low, Vladamir Golubovic (9 pts, 3 reb, 1 stl) proved that although he doesn’t have ideal athleticism, his size can make him a factor. Frank Elegar (8 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast) went the other direction, using his athleticism to make an impact. In contrast to his teammates, Sasha Kaun (4 pts, 9 reb, 2 stl, 2 blk) is a bit more average physically, but worked hard on the glass and came up in a big way down low. Charles Rhodes (11 pts, 2 reb, 2 blk) put up good numbers off the bench, and added some nice defensive stops.

With two days now in the books, it seems like there are a couple players looking to solidify their status late in the first round, namely Ty Lawson, DeVon Hardin, and Joey Dorsey. A handful of players improved their stock today (Malik Hairston, Pat Calathes, Othello Hunter, Mike Taylor, Gary Forbes), but they’ll have to sustain that production throughout the week. Hardin and Dorsey showed the momentum can help, as they have been playing well since yesterday, while Lawson seemed to wake up when it was game time.

Matthew Kamalsky is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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