Tag Archives: Beejay Anya

The Last Honest Man In The Gym: Tom Konchalski

Tom Konchalski of the HSBI Report, Photo by Kevin Armstrong

Tom Konchalski has been evaluating high school basketball players for nearly forty years. In a business filled with fly-by-night operations, charlatans, non-athletes, and simpletons, he’s the exception. Mr. Konchalski is a disciplined, compassionate, learned man of faith who keeps his eyes open and his ears to the ground.

In an age of social media, where a seventeen year-old with a Twitter account can call himself a recruiting analyst, the 6’5″ Queens native still utilizes a typewriter for his HSBI Report and sends it via mail to more than two hundred college programs. Author John Feinstein ’78 once wrote of the veteran scout that he was the “only honest man in the gym.”  Unfortunately, it’s a fairly apt description of the AAU circuit on many summer nights.

Recently, I spoke with my mentor, consigliere, and friend about twelve players who have, at least, received interest from Duke  in the classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014. Never prone to hyperbole, the McDonald’s All-American voter graciously gave his candid assessments.

 

 

 

6'4" Rasheed Sulaimon, Photo by Andrew Slater

Rasheed Sulaimon: “He’s a very good player. He’s athletic and has good size. He has skill. He plays a team game and lets the game normally come to him. He’s a guy who I think is going to be a good team player at Duke.[private] I think he’ll be a good system player at Duke and Duke’s system fits him quite well. He should become a very good player for them and I don’t think he’s going to be a player who will be a one or a two years and done for them. He’s going to be around for three or four years. You need those kind of players because those are the types of players that Duke has had most success with. Defensively, he has the body, the strength, and the quickness to be a very good defensive player.”

 

 

 

6'8" Amile Jefferson, Photo by Andrew Slater

Amile Jefferson: “He’s a young colt who’s waiting for his body to blossom, but he has a really good feel for the game. Right now, he’s probably more of a 4/3 and, obviously, he’s going to have get stronger, but, in the ACC, it’s not as if he’s going to the Big Ten or the Big East, which is even more of a physical conference. In terms of style of play, if he were to go to Duke, that would be a good pick, but he’s still got to get stronger in order to be able to play both sides of the court. He’s a guy who has some perimeter skills..not an explosive athlete, but, when he starts to working to improve himself physically, his legs will get stronger. He will get quicker and he’ll get more lift off the ground. He’s a guy who has a good feel for the lane and the baseline. He’s almost like an old-time player around the lane. He knows how to finish without going above the rim or jumping over people. He knows how to use his body to get between the defender and the ball. He knows how to shield the ball and reverse it. He has a really good feel for the game and he’s a really good kid. He’s also a good student.”

 

6'6" Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by Andrew Slater

Shabazz Muhammad: “Shabazz Muhammad is a guy who may be the best senior in the country right now. I don’t think he has the potential to be a superstar. I think there are other people who may have a  higher ceiling, such as guys like Jabari Parker, Nerlens Noel, and Julius Randle. Right now, he just plays so hard. He’s high energy, but he has some holes in his game. For example, he never beats you going right. When Mater Dei, for example, beat them in the fifth place game at the City of Palms, Stanley Johnson did a really good job of defending him because he overplayed him to his left. He ended up with thirty anyhow, but most of those came in the second half after they were already down twenty. He’s an extraterrestrial athlete and he has great work habits on the floor. He gives you great second effort. He’s left-handed, which is an advantage. He can hit some threes off of the catch. He’s got to work at getting the ball on the floor and being able to change direction. He’s got to build up his right hand, but he’s a terrific athlete. He’s a guy that when he goes to college, I don’t know if he’s going to be ready to go to the NBA after one year because he does have these areas of his game that he needs to develop. He’s a guy that you’d love to coach. He’s a classic coaches’ player because he plays so hard, especially for a guy like Coach Krzyzewski that sees in him the kind of effort that he was used to as a player and a coach for Army and in his earlier, lesser talented teams at Duke, where they just showed so much toughness and great effort. I think that was the attraction there.”

 

6'8" Tony Parker, Photo by Andrew Slater

Tony Parker: “Tony Parker is a good player. He’s a really good kid. He has good hands. He has good skills. The key thing for him is conditioning. He’s lost some weight and he’s got to lose some more weight. He’s actually in better shape now than he was over the summer, but he’s got to lose even more weight and improve his conditioning. I don’t think he’ll ever be a star, but I think he’ll be a very good, solid player and kid who’s a good student and I think he probably sees himself as staying around a while and not leaving. He’s a four or a five, depending on where he ends up. He can step out and hit a mid-range shot, but he’s never going to be a perimeter scorer. God didn’t give him that body to shoot jump-shots and play on the perimeter. That body has got to be used inside. What he’s got to do is sculpt that body, change his body somewhat, and ultimately use it as a weapon.”

 

6'8" Jabari Parker, Photo by Andrew Slater

Jabari Parker: “Now, he’s a guy, who, since the end of his sophomore season, really did change his body type. He shed a lot of that baby fat. He’s gotten quicker. He got a lot more lift off of the ground and he’s also improved his perimeter skills. He’s become a pretty good three-point shooter. The one thing that I haven’t seen with him… and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him this summer.. is that I’m not sure if he has the disposition to dominate a game, although, maybe… when he was younger, he was looking to simply defer to his upperclassmen. He’s got to become a little bit more assertive. In big games, he’s got to learn to take over games, which I think is a learning process for him. That said, if you want to talk about guy that has athleticism, a good feel for the game, plays the game the right way, and has a really good skill set for his size, he certainly is one of the best players in the country, regardless of class. When I saw him at the Peach Jam, for example, he showed certain things, but I think a lot of it has to do with his personality. He wants to defer to the older players somewhat. He doesn’t want to try to take over completely. He hasn’t become a prolific scorer in the Chicago Public League just yet, but there are a lot of weapons on his Simeon team so I don’t think you’re going to see him average twenty-five or thirty points. He does, however, need to come up big for them in their biggest games. With his size, athleticism, and skill set, he’s got to be even more of a factor for them. Right now, I don’t know that he quite realizes how good he is and can be. Everybody says that he’s a very humble, grounded kid, but he may not realize just how good he is.”

 

6'9" Julius Randle, Photo by Andrew Slater

Julius Randle: “I’ll tell you what… he was spectacular down at the City of Palms. Against Riverside (Riverside Academy of Louisiana), I thought he was bothered by the size and I thought he tried to initiate too much of his offense, after he was bothered by the size of Riverside in the first half. In the second half, I think he played too much on the perimeter to try to counter them. Now, here is a guy that has a Wayman Tisdale body, he’s left-handed, and he can shoot the ball. He’s actually strong with his dribble. He can take the dribble through traffic. He has a tremendously high ceiling. He could be a great, great player. I really like him.”

 

 

 

 

6'8" BeeJay Anya, Photo by Andrew Slater

BeeJay Anya: “BeeJay Anya, as Coach Jones mentioned, is in so much better shape. He said that when he got cut from the USA basketball team that it really was a wakeup call to him. He took it to heart and became dedicated to improving himself physically. He trimmed down, lost weight, improved his conditioning, and just got in better overall shape. Right now, he’s so much more active. He runs the floor more consistently. He can stay in the game for longer stretches. He has more range rebounding-wise. Before, his rebounding range was his arm length, which is considerable  (astonishing 7’9″ wingspan), but now he can really go out of his area and grab some rebounds for his team. His offense has gotten better too, but I think he’s just so strong. As you know, he’s retained his strength and he knows how to use his body and you saw the difference. He’s a man-child. He improves and he keeps on working. The thing that you notice about the DeMatha kids, you know, Morgan Wooten isn’t the coach there, but one of his disciples is and they’ve retained the same work ethic. Also, it’s the same character that you’re finding with their kids. They have good kids. They have talented players, but, if they’re not good kids, they’re going to get them out of there.

 

6'5" Theo Pinson, Photo by Andrew Slater

Theo Pinson: “Long, 6’5″ to 6’6,” he played with CP3. He’s very thin, but a skilled player. He’s a young guy, who was 6’5″ to 6’6,” who can handle the ball and shoot the ball with range. He looks like a fine prospect, but I want to see more of him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6'11" Jahlil Okafor, Photo by Andrew Slater

Jahlil Okafor: “He’s a big, strong post player inside. Because Thomas Hamilton tore his meniscus, there was more responsibility put on him. He’s a terrific kid, very friendly, very smart. That’s a good school. That’s probably the best public high school in the Chicago system academically. He’s a big, strong kid inside who doesn’t try to be something he’s not. He doesn’t try to be a perimeter wannabe. He recognizes and utilizes his strengths. That’s a valuable thing. He’s not a 6’10” kid who wants to go outside, loft up threes, and show that he can dribble the ball or change direction with the ball. He knows what he is. He’s a power player inside. Ben Franklin said that there are three things hard in life: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self. I guess he’s read Ben Franklin.”

 

6'5" Wayne Selden, Photo by Andrew Slater

Wayne Selden: “First of all, when you look at him, he has a man’s body. He’s a sophomore, but he should be a junior. So, he’s a reclassified kid. When he goes to college, there’s not going to be any physical adjustment that he’s going to have to make when he gets there, which is an advantage. Even when you look at the guys who go from college basketball to the pros, the guys who give you the most instant impact are those that have already prepared their bodies for the next level. The two kids who went straight from high school to the pros who had the most instant impact and who wound up earning Rookie of the Year in their respective years, 2003 and 2004, were Stoudamire and LeBron James. They entered the league with NBA bodies. Well, he’s got a college body, right now. He’s a strong, tough physical kid, who’s also very nice kid. His skill level has really improved. When I first saw him, which was the summer before his freshman year, he was more like a 6’4″ power forward, but he has been able to develop his game and learned how to handle the ball, while keeping that physical mentality. They let him bring the ball up the court and sometimes play a little point guard, but he doesn’t see the court like a point guard and he’s certainly not a point guard. He can, however, handle the ball, get to the basket, and shoot threes. In terms of his shot selection, he can sometimes put up poor shots, but, overall, that’s improved as well. He’s a guy who has great physical ability and he’s a guy who has elevated his skill level. The next thing is for him to further understand the game, but he’ll probably end up as a big two guard or a big combination guard. Once again, he’s a very nice kid. He’s also a terrific prospect.”

 

6'6" Stanley Johnson, Photo by Andrew Slater

Stanley Johnson: ” He’s a good basketball player, but a terrific teammate. He plays in a program where there’s a lot of players and there’s a system. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a star, but he knows how to play the game and he plays both ends of the floor. He’s their designated defender and he can defend multiple positions. He’s the guy who defend Shabazz Muhammad very well in the City of Palms and he defended Isaiah Austin, I believe, for several stretches in their prior game against Grace Prep. He’s a strong, physical kid, who’s about 6’6,” who’s not a great athlete, but he knows how to use his strength and his shot discipline is very impressive. He takes shots that he knows he can hit. He’ll take an occasional three. He’s not going to create off of the dribble or anything like that, but he’s also not going to try to. He generally lets the game come to him. He’s a very good team player and system player. They play a lot of people. They’re like the Noah’s Ark of basketball programs. They’ve got two of everything, (laughs) but he stays on the floor most of the time because he offers them a lot on both ends. He can handle the ball, defend the opposition’s best player, and just really seems like a good teammate and a terrific kid.”

 

6'8" Noah Vonleh, Photo by Andrew Slater

Noah Vonleh: “He’s a big, 6’8″ kid with good skill. He can guard pretty well and he’s also a versatile defender. He gets down in his stance pretty well. I think he wants to be a perimeter player. I think he needs to use his strength and size a little more than he tens to do right now. He seems very coachable. He’s very athletic and has a good body. He has good skill for his size. Right now, he’s not a small forward and I think he’s got to realize that. His game has probably got to start a little more inside. He’s got to get a little more developed. He’s a guy that eventually with his size and, if he can develop his skill set, might become a three, but he’s got to develop his game. He’s another kid who should be a junior, but he’d, at least, be a young junior. He’ll graduate at eighteen, whereas, before he would’ve graduated at seventeen. He’s certainly one of the best players in that class.”

 

Overall thoughts on the 2013 class: “Well, before, there were those three big three and there were the Harrison twins who are very close behind. Those twins will be very good. You like Andrew (Harrison) more, which is appropriate and fits in with today’s Gospel (laughs). I think those three have more upside than anyone that was in this class. The seniors in this class…I’m just, well, I think that Shabazz and Kyle Anderson were probably the two best seniors in this class. They’re very good players. Kyle, from the neck on up, is the best high school player in his class, but, from the neck on down, he just is not. Those three, however, can be really stars at the college level and they can be stars at the pro level. They have so much physical ability and they have skill.”

 

On whether Jabari Parker and Julius Randle could play together: “Jabari can play with him. Randle is a four/five, with, for example, more perimeter skill than Nerlens. They could be interchangeable. The thing that I don’t know is that, with the transcendent talents that they are, I don’t know if any of them would want to share the spotlight, with the way kids think right now. That said, if two of them went to the same college and stayed for more than one year, that’s a national championship team. If they stay together for one year, that still may be a national championship caliber team. Who knows?”

 

Best long-term potential of Parker, Randle, and Noel: “I couldn’t say. I’ve seen Julius and Nerlens play four times this high school season and I just haven’t seen Jabari play as often, but let’s just say that they all have Brobdingnagian potential. The sky is the limit for each of them. They can be as good as they want to be. They can each be truly impact players not only at the next level, but on the level beyond that.”[/private]

Duke Showing Interest in 2013 Prospect Beejay Anya

Beejay Anya opens up to BDN's Andrew Slater - Photo, Mark Watson of BDN

Hailing from DeMatha, the highly successful Hyattsville, MD school which has produced Duke All-American Danny Ferry and freshman Quinn Cook, 6’7″ 275 lb. Beejay Anya is able to create large shadows of his own. Five years after picking up a basketball, the slimmed down sophomore was arguably the best big man in Washington’s competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference this year and earned a place on the WCAC’s First-team All-Conference.

The gregarious big man, nicknamed “Big Baby,” became a full-time starter this year for the Stags and immediately delivered, averaging more than a double-double with just over six blocks per game. The team, which got got off to a 10-0 start, including winning the Les Schwab Tournament in Oregon over Shabazz Muhammad’s Bishop Gorman team 58-52, went through some rough patches, notably a loss to fifty point loss to St. Anthony’s at the HoopHall Classic. Ultimately, however, Coach Mike Jones, who recently helped coach the USA U-16 team to a Gold Medal in Mexico at the FIBA Americas, was able to refocus his troops and the suburban D.C. Catholic school went on to defeat Gonzaga, which included Duke recruit Nate Britt, 51-48 for the program’s third consecutive WCAC Title. The Stags followed that up by defeating Roosevelt 52-50 for their third consecutive D.C. City Title. In their biggest game, Anya rose to the occasion, scoring fourteen points, swatting six of the team’s nine blocks, and grabbing another six rebounds.

This spring, playing up an age level, Anya has been the center for the Team Takeover 17s, Mike Gbinije’s former AAU program. Immediately, the wide-body made his presence felt by nearly taking down the basket on a missed “tip dunk” at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest. He helped lead the Nike-affiliated team to the Pitt Jam Fest Championship and earned an All-Tournament selection. The rising junior has continued to be solid throughout providing interior toughness and rebounding for Team Takeover, which is the only program to have an unblemished record throughout Nike’s EYBL season (15-0).

In early June, Beejay, born Chukwunonso Beejay Nduka-Anya and the son of a Nigerian immigrant, was among the twenty-seven young men helping the 2011-12 USA Developmental National Team prepare in Colorado for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Afterwards, he was invited to compete at the NBA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA.

While there, BeeJay spoke most recently with Blue Devil Nation.

Who’s recruiting you at this point?

UCLA, Pitt, St. John’s, Rutgers, West Virginia, Virginia, Seton Hall, Florida, Florida State, UConn, Maryland, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Texas, and Duke called me. [private]

Now, which of these schools has offered you?

All of them have offered. Yes, sir.

There’s quite a bit of diversity there. Will distance be a factor for you at all?

No, not really. I just want to go to a school that will fit my personnel…a school that I’ll be at home at and a school that’ll show me some love and things.

In terms of position, are they mostly recruiting you as a four?

Yeah, mostly as a four, but a four or five doesn’t matter to me. I just think I’m a Jared Sullinger or DeJuan Blair kind of player. I’m not as tall as most big men in the NBA or something like that…so I just want to be like them.

What’s your current size?

I’m about 6’8″ and 275 pounds.

How much taller does your doctor project you to grow?

I don’t know. I didn’t even ask him.

Do you have a timeframe in mind for when you’d like to decide by?

Oh, no, I’m totally open right now. I have nothing in mind and just keeping it open.

Did you have a “dream school” when you were growing up or a favorite team?

Nah, but, when I was younger, I used to like to watch Syracuse and Texas I think because of how they used to use their big men, but now I like a lot of schools. Right now, I see a lot schools coming on TV and then they’re showing me a lot of love..so I like that.

Do you watch both college and the NBA?

Oh, yeah, I watch all of them.

Who do you try to model your game after?

Right now, since I’m not as tall, Jared Sullinger…most  definitely. I think he’s one of the most dominant players in college basketball Next year, with him staying, they’re going to be unbelievable .

I saw you play with DeMatha up at the HoopHall Classic against St. Anthony’s (75-25 St. Anthony’s), which had to be the low point for the year, but then you guys rebounded and won the City title for D.C.  How would you asses your season?

Oh, yeah, well, it was an up and down season, but, you know, we came out well and won the championship and everything. I feel like it left things off on a good note, you know. We’ve won a lot of championships over the past few years.

Who are some coaches that have stood out to you so far? Any names stand out?

Oh, man, I can’t remember all of the coaches names right now. There’s been a lot that came out to DeMatha and watched us workout. You know how it is.

And do you have any visits planned?

Oh, no, I don’t have anything set up right now.

Have you seen any schools?

Oh, yeah, me and my coach and James Robinson went up to VCU during Boo Williams to check them out. I saw the coaches and they seemed like really good guys.

You’re close to Georgetown and Maryland too.

Oh, yeah, I mean I’ve visited Maryland, but it was nothing serious.

Are you a good student or a solid student?

Oh, yeah, I’m a very solid student. I take my schoolwork seriously.

That’s good to hear. By the way, did you ever play football? I know DeMatha’s turned out some good players and you look like a great D-line candidate.

Oh, no, I haven’t, but they call me every day to ask me if I want to change my mind. (laughs) They’re always wanting me to play on the line for them.
Just out of curiosity, what was your reaction when Duke called and what do you know about the program?

I didn’t take the call. My mother and my father did. My mom sent me a text saying that Duke had called. I like Duke. Duke is a storied program and I feel that it is one of those schools which has a great tradition and hopefully they’ll recruit me more. If they recruit me a little bit harder, that are definitely one of the schools that will be in the running next year, my senior year.

Do you know Quinn at all? I know he was at your last game.

Oh, yeah, I know Quinn definitely. He’s a good guy and he’s gonna do big things.

What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?

Oh, I’m a fun guy. I like to have fun away the court too. They call me “Big Baby” because they think I’m like him. [/private]

Duke Prospects Recap from NBA Top 100 Camp

You can sit in the middle of a bunch of well seasoned analyst and hear several different takes on prospects at major events.  Or, you can sit alone and form your opinion.  I do a lot of both and in the process I see prospects play in upwards of 20 times in a single AAU season.  One thing to keep in mind is that one tournament or camp does not make or break  a player.  Sometimes kids are sick or maybe a family member is having health issues.  Some fly in the same day of the event after attending another one and pick up play right away.  We try and find out the details and that allows a fair take on prospects.  I personally, like to see a kid play five times or more before offering an opinion on his overall game.  In short, talent evaluation is an inexact science and what I see and what Coach K or the staff might see can differ greatly.  I like to see how a kid plays when he is tired.  I like to see how they play from ahead and behind in a game.  I like to see how they step up when the game is on the line and how they face adversity.  I even like to watch their body language and especially what they do off ball.  That said, here is my take on ten prospects and one Duke verbal from this weekends NBAPA Top 100 Camp.

Nerlens Noel (2013) – This kid is a defensive stalwart in the post.  He has good footwork and an impressive and quick leaping ability.  When open he can rattle the rim with the dunk, but he needs polish on his offensive moves and he doesn’t seem to have that go to move in his repertoire as of yet.  With a year of maturity, he may well push for the top rated player in his class and that says a lot when you know Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are his comp.  Clearly the third best player in 2013 in my eyes.  He dominated Tony Parker for the second and third time on the defensive end this past weekend, although Parker did adjust some in his third meeting.

Tony Parker (2012) -Tony is adjusting to the expectations bestowed upon him analyst.  That makes players come hard at him trying to make a name for themselves.  When he has you on his hip or gets an angle, he is effective on the offensive end and or around the block. I thought he went to the well far to often with his fade-away jump shot.  While it worked early, his overuse of it allowed opponents to adjust.  When he reaches for the ball on the defensive end, he usually is not in position to recover if the opponent gets the ball first.  Strong rebounder and space eater, plays position defense and is not a big time shot blocker or leaper.  He ism however, steady and he can be coached to better offensive moves.  Tony was one of the top three bigs in camp and there are times when he is dominant.  Now he needs to work on consistency and taking good shots.  He tried to stretch the floor with his perimeter jumper, a couple from the three point stripe, but he had little success in pulling his man out in that most of the shots didn’t drop.  This also meant that he was not in position to board.  He can be a 16-8 guy in college and there were times when he was dominant this past weekend, but not as consistent as I’d like to see in that I hold him to a higher standard. He mentioned Ohio State as the leader but the question was a hypothetical one and I think he knew it got back to people he wished it hadn’t.  Duke is in good shape with Tony, no matter his comment, but they will let the net stretch a bit wider with concerns to post guys.

Mitch McGary (2012)- He is a typical blue collar Inna grown boy who has a toughness to his game.  He displayed a surprisingly good handle and he was almost always in the middle of the play when in the game.  I liked his hustle and he seemed to be in good shape, never dragging while in the game.  He picks up a lot of garbage, plays decent position defense and blocks the occasional shot.  He is a good teammate, cheering for his team when on the bench, showing a lot of emotion which helps pump his team up.  Earned the “Psycho T,” nickname from his teammates.  He is a beast.  He does not back down and has an edge which could be thought of as a bit of an attitude.  Started talking to refs late which I didn’t like.  Needs a better outside game on the offensive end, but he sets a lot of picks is active and calls for the ball with a wide bodied stance to protect his turf.  He also runs the floor very well.  I liked him a lot but some think he is raw in certain areas.  He is to a point but everything I saw is correctable.  One worthy note is that his team won a single game.  Part of that was guard play for it was weak overall in the camp. He is wide open in his recruitment and has no idea where he wants to go.  The media attention is something new and eye opening for both his whole family.  He said Maryland was over the top aggressive in some many words and Texas is a team he like when he was young.  A long list getting longer.  UNC and Duke are both showing interest now.

Nate Britt (2013) -He was much better than when I last saw him two years ago, especially his stroke which was always near the target hit or miss.  He weaves in and out of traffic well and is quicker than I remember.  In short, he is starting to mature.  He went off in a couple of games on offense and his 30 point effort was a game high.  He teamed with Rodney Purvis who arrived a day late.  He also played with NCSU bound Tyler Lewis, who was sick and played but a single game.  The reason I mentioned the aforementioned two is that Britt adjusted to playing with each one.  Duke has good ins with him.  He is close to Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving.  One guru ranked him as the eighth best PG in the camp.  He needs to be fired.  He was in the top three.  The question posed most often in reference to whether he is a point or two guard.  I think he is a PG that can shoot and or a shooting PG.  His size just isn’t there as a 2G but some disagree with me.  I like his game, think he is smooth and worthy of Duke keeping close tabs on.  Paul Biancardi questioned me as to if I though Quinn Cook was the answer at Duke.  He didn’t think so.  Oddly, they remind me of one another in some ways going into their junior season.  If Cook were to stumble, an offer will surely come Britt’s way providing another kid doesn’t sprout up in the 2014 class.

Amile Jefferson (2012) -He was the camps leading scorer and he earned high marks from everybody involved.  His point production is especially impressive when you looked at the guards on his team.  But to be fair, he got a lot of points on the break so his numbers are a bit inflated.  He can get through the smallest of creases in the defense and spots a mismatch in a heartbeat, taking immediate advantage of the situation.  My concern is his defense, which is quite average.  He doesn’t always mix it up in the paint and he floats outside more than he should at times.  He’d be rated much higher if  it were not for the aforementioned.  Still, I like his game a lot … a whole lot and I would personally like to see Duke open talks with him again or take another look in July.  His consistent offensive effort was most impressive in Charlottesville, but his team?  They played in the toilet bowl and were winless going in.

Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke verbal) -He blew up early and almost evey guru had him the tip shooting guard but he played at a lower level on day three.  For one thing, he was feeling under the weather in that bugs were going around in the camp.  His handle is stronger than ever as is his confidence.  He wants the ball.  He nailed a three (video coming) to lead a 20 point comeback and helped his team go to overtime.  In the overtime he handled the ball for just under a minute but his coach suddenly called timeout.  Thing is, there are no timeouts and the other team got the ball and won by a deuce.  Sulaimon looked puzzled which you will see via BDN Video as well.  Nice stroke and super on ball defense is what Rasheed Sulaimon was about.  BTW, Sulaimon will be sending his first diary entry in soon and he will update us throughout the high school season.

Alex Poythress (2012)- Two things … firstly, he was not getting the ball from his teammates.  Secondly, he should have been more aggressive when he did.  He had a so-so camp, scoring 16 in one outing but less than 4 in the rest of his contests.  He still was in good position most of the time but he was lost with the talent level and or ball hogs.  Don’t make too much out of that for Kyrie Irving didn’t play that well last year always and there is a history of such cases.  Still, many will drop him in the rankings.  Poythress is a victim of soaring in the rankings, 15th in Prep Stars when he is a 20ish plus player IMO.  He is versatile and he is having a great season for the Georgia Stars, so keep an open mind before judging his play in the camp.

Robert Carter (2012) - Confident, active and aggressive fits the bill here.  I am not going into his game too much for I have seen him play in 1.5 games total.  However, as members, you will hear from the post player from Georgia sometime this week.  HE said his phone was ringing off the hook when the coaches could call.  He is listed at 6-9 but looked closer to 6-8 to me.  Once I see him again, I will form a better take on his game.  FWIW, I have a five game rule before I will go into a kids game.  He showed a sweet jump hook at the camp and his stock is taking off as offers roll in every few hours.

Devonta Pollard (2012) -From what I saw of him, I liked him but like Carter, I simply need more views.  So we’ll revisit this one day in the future should he remain on the Duke radar.  The coaches have made contact with him as they have Carter.  Some say he got a Duke offer but that is not true.  He may well have misunderstood, so we’ll give him a pass, especially since is very talented.  He helped himself in the camp and his ranking will likely rise from his play.  He has been through a lot of adversity of late, starting with the tornado in Alabama.  Earlier, his Father passed away from cancer.

Rodney Purvis (2012) – Dude can shoot and he likes to shoot, anytime, anywhere.  The problem is that he is streaky.  What I didn’t like about Purvis was the fact he seem bugged out to sit on the bench and he rarely gave up the ball when it was in his hands.  In short, he didn’t seem to cheer his teammates on.  IMO, he is a two guard in that he does not look to distribute, but he feels he is a PG.  When he is on, his team wins, when his shot is off they lose.  The kid can play but he is not on the level of a Kyrie Irving or Austin Rivers.  I feel he is a NCSU lean but those close to Rodney tell me that he finds negatives in all the teams.  I just think he wants to play right away and I know Coach K can only tell him you can compete and the best will play.  Nice handle but not great, very good at taking his man off the dribble if he gets a step and has the ability to stop on a dime and drop a step back shot.

Beejay Anya (2013)  – Holy Big Load, Batman!  He is a beast of a kid but he has a lot of baby fat.  Kareem Abdul Jabbar spoke of the benefits of staying in shape in the camp, saying it is a must to make it and remain in the league.  Let’s hope he was listening.  At first I thought the drills took a toll on his legs but I later found out that he just flew into the camp after playing in another.  That said, I will reserve judgement.  He in no way plays above or even near the rim, but you can see the possible up side and that is why he is worth keeping an eye on.  We have an interview with him as well and he is a good kid.  Didn’t like his hands from what I saw nor that he struggled getting up and down at times.  A space eater for sure who showed me little offense, but of course, he might have touched the ball three time  a game via the pass.  Britt hit him once where he had the man on his hip but he muffed the pass and never saw another one.  However, when he had the advantage he showed he could finish.  He has no outside game on offense.

Note to members – I touched base with all of the above prospects and interviews both print and video are on the way.  We will also have another guest analyst give their take on Duke prospects.  If you are a member and do not have access to the BDN Message Board, you need to sign up for it is included with your subscription but requires a separate sign up and approval than the main site itself.  Just contact me under the FAQ section on the front page of the site if you have any questions.  Many of you are not signed up for the message board and a lot of information you awaits you there that is not seen on the site.  Feel free to drop me a PM message if you have any comments, complaints and the sort.