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.