Tag Archives: NBAPA Top 100 Camp

NBAPA Camp Recap – The Duke perspective

Ojeleye addresses the mediaThis past weekend’s NBAPA Top 100 High School Camp in Charlottesville, VA was a different experience than in years past, and in many respects that was not a good thing.  Media access was restricted significantly, quality one-on-one interviews were very tough to come by, and the whole atmosphere was a tad flat.

Whether the reason was the coaches just failing to reach the kids, or the players themselves not bringing much energy, the result was some unusually uninspired basketball on a huge stage.  After a lackluster start to the event, the kids finally put their games into gear on the final day.  But the truth nevertheless is that more players hurt their ratings than helped themselves.

It’s no secret that Duke had only a few real targets at the event, those being Jabari Parker, Al Freeman, and Semi Ojeleye.  Here’s what I saw from those three as well as a number of others:

Jabari Parker - His skill set makes him a man among children. He can pretty much do it all on the court;  I saw no weaknesses in his game in the two games he [private] played.  When he wanted to score, he put the ball on the floor and scored, utilizing a variety of driving moves to do so.  Jabari was cordial and open with the media, but no matter what others claim, he did no one-on-one interviews, other than one national one.  Michigan State has made a move on Parker, but Duke is still right there. My pal Van Coleman, who you will hear more from this week, said he understood Duke led for his services. Maybe they do, but I am not by any means ready to call Duke the clear leader here.  A quick look at Duke’s outstanding offers and the way they’re recruiting certain positions suggests they may feel as I do.  The Blue Devils certainly are a player for Parker, but in all honesty I do not feel as good about it as I did a year ago when I felt he was Duke’s to lose. He will trim his list in July, and regardless, the Blue Devils will make that final cut.

Al Freeman - When I first heard Duke had offered Freeman, I was stunned. I had watched him play at the Carolina Challenge and frankly, could not see it. I haven’t changed my mind, or more accurately, his play hasn’t changed it. Freeman is a good defender who gets after it at that end, but he is not a point guard and certainly not a shooting guard either.  Dave Telep really overrated this kid early on, but he will drop in the rankings. Freeman is stuck in tweener land, and it hasn’t helped him that his chemistry with Cat Barber for the Boo Williams AAU squad has been average at best.  Nobody invited to an event like the NBAPA is a “bad” player of course, but in my opinion Freeman is just not a kid who can help at the level Duke plays.  Freeman had so-so numbers this weekend, and did nothing to get anyone talking about him. But I do give him high marks for talking on the court and trying to pump his teammates up. I was unable to catch Freeman for an interview, but from all accounts little has changed beyond his recent decision to transfer to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas.

Semi Ojeleye - As you already know, this kid is mature, bright and grounded.  But can he play?  Yes.  As Andrew has mentioned, Semi has that ESPN-ready game, meaning he will launch the 3 pointer and also throw down the thunderous dunk. It is a bit freaky to see a 6’6″ 220 pound player launch three point shots at this stage in his career, but Semi does it.  But he needs to tighten his handle and go to work down low more. He is usually stronger than his opponent, so get down on the blocks more, already!  Ojeleye is a good defender and had a lot of steals. His team made it to the finals, but lost to a team featuring 7’5″ Mamadou Ndiaye.  Ojeleye held his own  guarding Ndiaye.  7’5″?  That’s insane.  BTW, his first name is pronounced “Shimi,” and we had a laugh at me wrecking his name a couple of times after asking about it. Talk about tongue tied.  Ojeleye is a good team player and I would love to see him in a Duke uniform.

Anthony Barber - This kid is quick off the dribble, gets to the rack fast, and finishes well. He’s also stronger than he looks.  But he looks for his shot first and said as much to me in our interview. He will project as a PG and in time will be fine there, but right now he is a shooting guard. He lets his dribble get too far away from his body at times, causing a lack of control, but this is easily missed by many observers who are in awe of his speed. I think he should be a better defender too.  But again, he is a bit of a black hole, hunting his shot on every play, so it was not surprising that while Barber was the camp’s top scorer, his assist totals were less than impressive.  That may be the reason campers did not vote him to the All-Star game.  Regardless, in my book he was a top 10 player at this camp, and most other analysts agreed. Barber will remain at or near the top of the list when talking guards in his class. There are some kids you can tell are enjoying the game and Barber is one of them.  I like his game a whole lot, but I am not sure Duke likes it enough to offer.

Parker Cartright - So, I started to hear that Cartright grew up a Duke fan, so I made sure to ask him about that, as you will see in an interview. Most everybody at the camp liked him, but he looks like a junior high baller in that he has a slight build and may be 5’9″ on his tiptoes. The kid is unselfish and really involves his teammates in the action, and his speed can break a defense down.   He’s a pesky defender, but if a bigger player gets him on his hip, he has a hard time recovering.  He is high energy and has the drive to get better, and those are two things all coaches look for in a prospect.  Great kid to talk to and has offers from Arizona and UCLA, but he lit up when I asked him about Duke.  Problem is Duke is in with so many PG types, and many analysts feel he will be tough to get off the west coast in any event.

Cliff Alexander – I wanted to see where his head was and it is in the midwest. Duke will not waste its time unless something changes. He dominated at the camp and was clearly the best center there, keeping in mind that post play as a whole was not impressive in Charlottesville.  Alexander has a mature body for his age and has the will to battle inside.

Noah Vonleh - His game impressed me; his off-court demeanor did not. I hardly got anything out of him during a multiple site interview, meaning he plays it close to the vest and/or is not enthused. UNC is on him hard and Duke may get involved with this 2014 kid, but my impression from the interview is that it may be too late to get in deep here unless Duke increases its effort level soon.

Wayne Selden – Wayne Selden is always consistent, but he did not stand out this weekend. Duke feels he will be a long shot and will likely stay on the sidelines on this one, but I like his game and his size.

Kavon Looney - This was the first time I focused in on his game and I liked him a lot. The 2014 star can do a little bit of everything and he played well here, holding his own against older players, particularly on the boards. We tried, but never could manage to get together for a one-on-one.  He is worth keeping an eye on.

 

Others who caught my eye at the NBAPA Camp - Kuran Iverson, Andrew Harrison, Brannen Greene.  Iverson appeared to be more motivated than when many last saw him, and he seemingly impressed everyone. Harrison is a complete player and was the better of the twin brothers on this weekend.  Greene has improved leaps and bounds since the last time I saw him play.

Rodney Hood - No, he was not there.  But I got asked by everybody what I thought about his pending decision.

Small world - So one writer who worked in Indy and is now with Rivals asked me about Hood. Turns out he wrote that controversial article on Coach K that appeared in the Indy paper during the FInal Four weekend when Duke defeated Butler. It was the article in which they acted as if a child used a crayon on the front page, drawing devil horns on Krzyzewski.  It was tacky and unprofessional — a true brain poot by anyone’s standards. I then got the low-down and will only say he met with Duke officials per his paper’s request. For our SID’s privacy and others I will refrain from the details. He claimed he was awoken by a call from a friend, who asked, “What were you thinking?” He also claimed he knew nothing about it. When asked who did it, he claimed he didn’t know. Yeah, right. How does it not come out who took it upon themselves to let the paper go out as it did before being yanked off the newsstands?

Site shake ups - I saw Jerry Meyer in a 247 Camp and asked him when he went with them. As you know, 247 has courted us in a big way, but we chose to remain independent. Turns out Rivals let him and his big salary go, leaving Eric Bossi in charge along with the newly-hired Alex Kline, who uses smoke and mirror tactics better than anybody I know. Anyhow, I then learned ESPN shut down its High School division and that there was a major loss of jobs in the process.

Trouble ahead for the NBA? – A power struggle is brewing with the NBA and you could feel the tension in many cases. I had an interesting conversation with Dave Wasserman and while I cannot share what was said, let’s just say they will have a mess of legal issues once the Finals end.

The USA Basketball effect - Many were dismayed at the talent level at the NBAPA camp.  It was the worst I’ve seen to date. Some quickly pointed the finger at USA Basketball, but I found it interesting what the overall take was on the future of patriotic hoops. The consensus was that props go to Mike Krzyzewski for his role in getting the world’s best on the same page and wanting to play. But many feel that once he steps down, USA Basketball will lose a lot of its popularity, and as a result the camps will be full again. Only time will tell on this one, but the theory is plausible and if accurate, it’s a real testament to Coach K’s influence. Speaking of USA Basketball, I will head to Coach K’s press conference tomorrow, and look forward to seeing what he has to say about his upcoming adventures. [/private]

Q & A with fomer Duke star Chris Duhon

Chris Duhon barking orders while coaching at this past weekeneds NBAPA Top 100 Camp - Photo Rick Crank/Blue Devil Nation

While covering this past weekends NBAPA Top 100 Camp I had an opportunity to catch up to Slidell, Louisiana native and former Duke star Chris Duhon.  I’ve been into recruiting for over a decade now and  was all over Duke’s recruitment of Chris Duhon back in the day. 

To this day, no recruit has been shown the love Chris got as he entered Cameron Indoor Stadium where about 1600 fans cheered his every move during his official visit.  It was a bizarre scene and while a bit odd, it was quite effective in that Chris and his Mom were thrilled so many came out to see them.  As it turned out, the powers that be, felt it was too much of a circus like atmosphere and there has been nothing like it since.

I covered Chris during the Glaxo tournament as well where he won the MVP.  Since that time, recruiting has evolved to where fans hang on every word and bounce of the ball but as the years roll by the only real change are the names of the players for the events remain the same. 

I was working with Duke Basketball Report during Duhon-mania and to this day you can probably search the archives and find the articles.  Little did I know that a post on the DBR message board would have created such a stir and send fans in droves.    Talk about a testament as to the power of the internet and Duke fans wanting to support their team, right? 

Duhon was a member of the 2001 National Championship team while at Duke and a part of the fabulous comeback win at Maryland that has now become an Instant Classic on ESPN.  Duhon for his career ranks 38th on the all time scoring list, 10th in all time three point buckets and 3rd in assists.  But it is Duhons defense that will be remembered where he is the all time steals leader at Duke.

His team made the championship game at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp where we saw each other for the first time since the K Academy about four years ago.  Duhon, of course, is a free agent and it goes without saying that the Blue Devil Nation wishes him the best with concerns to his future.  I hope you enjoy the Q & A with Chris as much as I did.

You’re one of the counselors and or mentors here at the NBAPA Camp, can you speak about that?

Yeah, the NBA Players Association has opportunities for current and retired players and we have the opportunity to come here and we have class sessions on how to coach and what it is like to coach and then we can get to work with some of the top players in the country.

Let me take you back in time for a moment.  It was a Saturday on a warm summer day and you payed a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium.  There, you were greeted by a bevy of fans that came out to see you work out and play with the team on that visit.  It was quite the love fest and nothing like that has happened since in that some considered it to be a circus like atmosphere.  That was in the days when the internet was fast becoming a tool of communication for fand.  I never thought there would be that kind of turnout and it was a testament to how badly Duke fans wanted you in Durham.

Yes, it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.  I really didn’t think people followed high school basketball and recruiting like that, but they knew who I was, where I was from and they just embraced me from the beginning and that’s something I’ll never forget.  There was a lot of love in there that day and it played a role in my ultimate decision to attend Duke.

Jason Williams was at Duke at the time and I understand he played a role in recruiting you as well despite the fact that both of you were considered to be point guards.

Well, the thing with Jason is that we both didn’t really going on in that we both played the same positions.  He ws thinking he’s coming here to replace me and I was thinking do I have to play behind this guy for three years.  But Coach [Krzyzewski] made it clear that he expected both of us to be on the court at the same time and we played a pick up game together and remember that our chemistry started off right away and I knew this [Duke} was the place I was going to go.

I understand that you run your own camp in Durham, is that correct?

I do.  It's the last week of July and it's my way of giving back to the Durham community because they treated me so well for four amazing years.  If you are interested go to Chris21.com and all the information is there.  It's a good camp and one that I plan on continuing in the foreseeable future.

Talk about your days in the NBA and what you expect with concerns to your career future.

This is my second year in New York and this is my sixth year so I'm getting old.

Old?  By NBA standards?

[laughs] Yes, old by NBA standards.  But I’m a free agent this year and I want to explore my options and go to a place that fits me and where I have the opportunity to win so I can feel like the Lakers did this year.

Speaking of opportunities, have you talked to any teams?

You’re not allowed to talk to teams until July 1st.  I’ll have a better feel after that.

Do you have any team you might kike to play for?

Not really.  I just want a fast up tempo pace and I have always been a defensive guy and I want to play where my defense can help the team win.  Sometimes things aren’t in your hands in the league, so we’ll just have to see what happens. 

What do you tell the kids here about making a decision where they’ll play college basketball?

I just tell them to be patient and take their time.  Don’t rush into anything and listen to their families and mentors and make sure the school is the best place for you because you’re going to be their four years, well, most of them. [smiles]

And your best memories of Duke would be?

Aw man, there are so many.  Obviously winning the national championship in 2001 and coming back to beat Maryland up there when everyone thought we were down and out.  Being in the Final Four again with those guys, the countless battles with Maryland and Carolina.  My whole experience was great.  All of the practices and Coaches motivational speeches, team meals, I could go on forever, you might not have enough tape for me.

Speaking of Krzyzewski do you still stay in touch with him?

Oh yeah, all the time.  He and I have built a great relationship and I call in to check on him from time to time.  I know he’s a busy guy so you can’t blow his phone up all the time.  We always check in and I make it a point when in Durham to go over to the office because the program has done so much for me.

What did you think of their ride to the national championship this past season?

Man, I thought it was amazing.  I really wanted to get there but we were in L.A. at the time and the only flight that would get me there in time got cancelled, but I followed them in the tournament and it was great to see Coach and his team maximize their potential as they played their hearts out to win.

Last question.  You used to sleep with a basketball when you were at Duke.  Do you still do that? [jesting]

[Laughs and stays smiling]  The basketball has been gone.  That’s something JWill started and I did it one time because we were playing around [explaining while smiling] and he had to make it a bigger story than it really was.

Chris, it’s always a pleasure.

It’s great to see you again and thank you.

One on One with 2012 Duke prospect Kaleb Tarczewski

Kaleb Tarczewski throws down a dunk at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp. Become a trial member and read this in depth interview with a rising prospect. Photo property of Rick Crank and Blue Devil Nation

CHARLOTTESVILLE – One of the big men garnering attention in the class of 2012 is St. Marks Kaleb Tarczewski who is looking like a true post player.  By that, I mean he is penciled in by most as a center.  Tarczewski first caught my eye in Orlando during last season AAU Nationals where he scored 28 point in a game where my intent was to watch Alex Murphy for the first time.  Since that time, it was clear to me that he had a great deal of potential and one thing for certain is that you cannot teach height.  I saw Tarczewski again during the Tournament of Champions and it was clear that he has a lot of potential if he continues to work hard.  Coming from a solid AAU program and having good high school coaching will certainly aid the process and it’s no longer a secret that he is being sought after by the likes of Kansas and Duke.  Having talked with Tarczewski a couple of times prior to this past weekend, he is comfortable with me which is evident in the following in depth interview.

Kaleb, you’re of course in the class of 2012 and play with another Duke prospect in Alex Murphy in AAU ball and at St. Marks as well.  We’re here at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp and I’d like to know what it’s like to play in a structured camp like this?

I was kind of nervous on the plane ride down here and this is one of the biggest events I’ve been to and it obviously has some of the best player in the country.  Being younger than everyone is kind of nerve racking but I’ve calmed down a little bit and just want to play some good basketball.

You just had a pretty good game and went up against Isaiah Austin and Tyler Adams.  What was it like playing against them?

I’ve played against Austin before in an AAU game so I knew how he would play.  You’ve just got to go out there and work harder than your opponent and you’ll be fine.

Each time I’ve seen you progress is evident and I like that you don’t back down inside.  Is that just inherit to you or your nature so to speak?

Yeah, I mean I love fighting on the block and that’s what I do and I know that’s what I need to do to be successful and I’m willing to do that.

The last time I saw you was at the Tournament of Champions Event.  What have you been doing since that time?

I went to the [private] Kansas Elite Camp and I got to work with Danny Manning and that was really,  really good.  We went over work angles and working the post and that was a great experience and I’ve been working a lot at home with Coach Carrol as well.

Kansas is high on your list, right?

Yeah.

And they’ve been recruiting you the longest?

They kind of started this spring, so it hasn’t been too long.

Are any other schools coming in?

Yeah, tons of schools.  I’ve gotten so many calls the past few days so it’s really opening up.  I don’t really have a list yet.  It’s very early in the process.

When you do make a decision who will play a role in that?

I kind of have a lot of people.  My basketball family has gotten pretty big.  Alex’s Dad, Mr. Murphy, he’s really gotten into this so he’s going to really be effecting my decision.  Mitchell Lubick, my high school coach at St. Mark’s and my sponsor T.J. and my family too.

And you’re really tight with Alex as well, right?

Yeah.  Me and Alex have become pretty good friends,  We’ve been playing AAU ball together for two and a half years now.  Right when I started out playing, he was always there and of course, we go to school together.

Have you been hearing from any ACC schools of late?

Yeah, Duke and Virginia.  I talked to Coach K and talked to Virginia.  I will be going to Boston College’s Elite Camp.  When we were in Atlanta, Georgia Tech showed interest and I got to meet their coaches.

Do you think you’ll take all five official visits?

Yeah, most likely.  I want to see as many schools as I can and traveling with AAU helps me do that.

Now, you told me last time you’ve only been watching college basketball for one year, is that right?

Yeah, just this past year.  It’s kind of new to me so it’s hard to make a decision until I become more familiar.

So, you’ll take your time in the process?

Yeah.

Do you look at schools and how they develop kids for say they next level?

Yeah.  There are so many factors going into a decision.  One of the main factors that’s important to me … I’ll go anywhere that I can get better and puts me in the best spot.  I mean, I really don’t want to go too far from home but if I have to I will.  So, I’m looking for a place that makes me feel at home.

Is there an early leader?

No, not really.  Obviously, I go to huge school like Kansas and I’m blown away by it and obviously going to a Duke or North Carolina, it’s like wow, it would be cool if I went there but you have to still just take a step back and see.

What do you do with your down time away from AAU ball?

[laughs]  I don’t really have that much time, especially in the summer.  When I go home, I usually like to go to the beach or hang out with my girlfriend, mow the lawn. [smiling]

Yeah, it must be nice to go to the beach.  I’m out there about as much as you guys are and it’s been hard to find time for one of my favorite places.

We’re like the west part of New Hampshire, but we have a lake beside us and it’s nice, so …

Tell me something about you that nobody else knows?

Uh, I don’t really know …

Have you played sports other than basketball?

Well, I didn’t start playing basketball until the sixth grade, but I didn’t play in the seventh and my freshman year in high school, so I haven’t really experienced basketball and in New Hampshire it’s hard.  Every since I started play basketball I loved it and I stated out playing football with my stepbrother.  When I got taller, I knew basketball was something I could be good at and I really love the game.

You mentioned that you talked with Duke’s Coach K earlier.  What did have to say?

It might have been the first day phones opened up [contact period] and he said we really like you and want to get you down here for a visit.

Did that sound good to you?

Oh yeah.  Plus they’ve got the Polish Coach, so .. [smiling]

Alex is taking a good long Duke as well.  He seems to be pretty high on them, is that what you see as well?

Yeah, Alex is really high on them. They’re obviously not only a good basketball school but they are an good academic school as well.

You go to St, Mark’s which prepared you well for college.  Is education important to you as well?

Very important.  I have a 4.0 [said with pride], so it’s really important to me.  They can’t take away your brain if you get injured or hurt, so you always have your brain to fall back on.

That’s good thinking on your part.  Have you thought about what you might like to take in college?

Well, I have thought about engineering, but it’s what ever the best fit for me is.

Now, Murphy’s Dad played in the NBA.  Does he ever give you pointers and talk of what to expect?

Well, he gives me more like skills workouts and stuff like that and we try not to look too far into the future and stuff like that.  I’d never say I was going to for sure be in the NBA, so why bother with this or that.  To be honest, I have so much work to do before I get to that level I try not to think of it.

Well, you’re doing a great job.

Thank you very much. [/private]

Michael Gbinije’s shows off his improved game at the NBAPA Camp

Future Duke player Michael Gbinije was the NBAPA Camp's 6th leading scorer and he is constantly improving his skill set. Gbinije talks about Josh Hairston and Kyrie Irving and more in yet another BDN Premium interview from the NBAPA Top 100 Camp. Why not try our trial offer and then decide if full site access is for you. There is still a lot more coming your way for we have just scratched the surface with concerns to this past weekend's coverage. Photo by Rick Crank for the Blue Devil Nation is copyrighted

CHARLOTTESVILLE – One player that showed off his skills at the NBAPA Camp was future Duke player Michael Gbinije.  The first thing I noticed was how much better his on ball defense was but more importantly he didn’t have those little quiet stretches he had been previously known for.  The words “stay aggressive,” have been pounded into the rising senior by the Duke coach staff and Gbinije is adhering to their advice.  Gbinije is a silent killer, not particularly flashy but brilliantly effective while on the court.  In fact, he finished as the camps 6th leading scorer and he did that playing withing his teams system and his coached concepts.  This is the first of two chats with Gbinije that we are bringing premium members and you are sure to love his comments on Kyrie Irving, his development and his maturity due to a frenetic summer.

How has the camp gone for you thus far?

I missed yesterday due to the Team USA Trials but this morning has gone great.  There has been a lot of good drills and coaching by previous NBA players.

What did you take away from the USA tryouts?

I experienced different things like maturity.  A lot of the players were already in college, so seeing where I fit in and knowing what I need to work on as far as my individual game helps me prepare.

You looked good in transition in your first game, can you speak to that?

The half court sets are pretty much a slow and developed for the bigs but for the guards you’re supposed to run out.  That’s like the best thing we can do in getting the bigs away from the game and pretty much like put the pressure on the defense which is very important.

Can you talk a bit about the USA tryouts?

It was a three day tryout and[private] on the third day we had a practice in the morning and after that they pretty much picked the team.  It was like 21 people trying out and they kept like 14.

Were you disappointed with not making the squad?

Yeah, I was disappointed but it’s alright.

Why did you choose Duke and how do you feel like you’ll fit in there?

I think I’m a good fit because  they are perimeter oriented and they use a whole bunch of guards and versatile players where Coach K gives them a lot of freedom on the court.  Another reason is becaue of Coach K.  I just think he’s the best coach now and  he knows how to put players in a situation to win.

Have you talked to anyone from the Duke staff of late?

I talked to Coach K on the phone before going out to San Antonio.  He told me just to play hard and play my best.

What are your goals the rest of the way at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp?

Try not to lose anymore games but at the same time play aggressive and my best.

You played with future Duke players Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston.  What was that like?

Kyrie is going to be one of the best point guards and he knows how to get everybody involved and he can do it for his size to.

That was a broad smile when you spoke of Irving.

Yeah.  I can’t forget about Josh.  He knows the game and sets a lot of screens, his IQ is very good.

What do you like about Irving?

There is nothing like an unselfish point guard.  He knows where you’re going to be when he drives and can kick out to create easy buckets for people.

We will have another Q & A session coming with Gbinije. [/private]

Top prospect Amile Jefferson wants to improve his game

Amile Jefferson surveys the defense at the NBAPA Top 200 Camp In Charlottesville, Virginia - BDN Photo

CHARLOTTESVILLE - BDN continues to churn  out interviews with the nations top prospects who talk of their experiences during the NBAPA Top 100 Camp which was held in Charlottesville on the Virginia campus this past weekend.  Already posted are Q & A’s with Tyler Adams and Marshall Plumlee and there is much more to come.

What is it like to be invited to and play in the NBAPA Top 100 camp?

It’s definitely an honor to be here with all these great players and talent around.  An not only that, but the coaches around here make you want to sponge in as much as you can in the time that I’m here.

Who are the schools that have offered thus far?

Penn State, Villanova,Temple, Stanford, West Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgetown and LaSalle have been in contact a lot and the last few day I got to speak with most of them personally, talking to the coaches and hearing about their programs.

Did you have a dream school growing up or one which you would love to go to?

No, I don’t, I don’t.  I just want to be at a school where I fit in and a school that wants to win not just one year but every year so right now I’m kind of wide open.

Did any of the ACC schools contact you after the Tournament of Champions event in North Carolina?

Yes.  I believe UNC contacted my high school coach on the days that they could call.  Schools like that are prestigious you know and the top programs and to be at one of those schools like Duke or Carolina would be an honor.

What do you want to work on with concerns to your game?

Definitely ball handling and shooting.  These guys who’ve played professional ball have a few tricks up their sleeve and can get open, not only with strong moves but being quicker.  So they’re showing us not only how to move but how to swipe through with floppy cuts and just to learn those little tricks and work on them until I can do it as good as they can.

You knocked down two three point shots in the last game.  Is that something you’ve worked on.

It’s definitely a work in progress but it’s coming along and it’s getting better and that’s what I wanted to see.  I kind of want to shy away from the three point line and hit the mid range jump shot because I feel they are more effective.  And after you hit a few of those, you can get into the lane more and draw some fouls.

What do you hope to accomplish during the coming  high school season?

My goal next year is to be a leader and my coach wants me to be a captain of the team next year and that is something I take pride in.  Next year I want to be a leader and want to win.

What areas of your game need the most improvement?

Definitely dribbling and or ball handling and strength.  I’m not all that big so I wan to get stronger and get my body where it needs to be.  I plan on getting my legs stronger and everything for that matter, so that I can be even more athletic.

When did you first know that basketball was for you?

I first learned I loved the game of basketball when playing for my AAU coach Cedric Jones, a great guy.  He spends his money to get us at tournaments and for someone who spends their money just to get kids out of the city, well that means a lot.  Those guys that I started out playing with in the fifth grade are my friends to this day and I’m blessed for that.  When I first started AAU ball that when I knew it was something I loved and that basketball was something I wanted to get better at.  I know I’m not there yet, but I have a lot of work to do and I will put in the work to get there. [/private]

BDN checks in with Duke commitment Tyler Adams

Tyler Adams pushes Joseph Uchebo off the blocks during afternoon action at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville (join BDN Premium for full site access and updates) - BDN PhotoCHARLOTTESVILLE – BDN is on the scene at the NBAPA Top 100 player developmental camp in Charlottesville, Virginia and we’re hear to cover all of the true Duke prospects and commitments.  We caught up with future Blue Devil Tyler Adams who is playing for a very talented Celtics team.  After a slow start where he committed two turnovers, Adams controlled the boards and showed off a slimmed down figure.

You had a bit of a slow start before really turning it on in your first game on the Celtics team.  What is it like to play against good competition in the NBAPA type setting?

It’s good, pretty good.  You get to see how you stack up against players you’ll play against in college.  I feel pretty comfortable.

You told me one time that “I love to bang,” and that stuck with me and fans even mention that quote when talking about you.  You were getting  a little physical out there with some elbow posturing.  Do you feel like you have to establish yourself out there?

Yeah, yeah.  Especially a guy like me[private]  that doesn’t have a whole lot of athleticism.  You have to take advantage of what you have and a lot of guys don’t like to bang so I take advantage of that.

Since you’ve committed to Duke do a lot of guys come at you harder?

Yeah, yeah, yeah and it’s like a lot of people give me a hard time and wonder why I’m going to Duke because not everybody likes them.  So there are a lot of guys coming at me harder.

But you like Duke just fine?

Yeah! [smiling]  I love Duke!

Have you talked with any of the coaches of late?

Coach K called me a little over a week ago and I talked with Coach James a couple of weeks ago.  Coach K told me some things to work on and said he liked what he heard of my progress.

You’ve developed a good relationship with them ..

Yeah, yeah.  Especially Coach James.  I call him a lot on my own.

He’s a good guy.

Yeah, he is.

Have you ever called him Dogg?

[Tyler looking puzzled]

They called him Nate “Dogg,” at Duke and that’s with two g’s.  Call him that he’ll like it. [jesting and setting Tyler up]

Oh, okay. [utters]  Dogg …  [laughs], okay.

What does Coach James talk to you about.  What does he have you working on?

Well, he has me working on my offense and my face up game.   Today I took a couple of guys off the dribble and hit a little step back.  I’ve always had decent offense just not the aggressive attitude and that’s what he wants me to work on.

You’re on a pretty good team with J.P. Tokoto and Isiah Austin …

I think were a pretty decent team with Perry Ellis and those guys.  Another thing I am working on is toning up my body.  I’ve lost a bit of weight and I’m lifting weights.  I like to run a lot to work on my endurance.  Sometimes when I am sitting around home, I’ll get up and just run more than I used to.  I do some jump rope too.

What do you do when you chill in Mississippi?

I like to hang out with my friends.  Sometimes it’s at the gym but if I’m not  with them I hang out with some of my girls.

Girls as in plural huh?

[laughs] Well, well, one girl, one girl.

Are you participating in any of the skills development here?

Yeah, I am a member of the breakfast club.  During our workout, I learned how to create space to where I can get a step back.  We get up real early and workout before the sessions start.

Tyler, it was good catching up to you and we’ll talk again soon.

Alright, thanks man.  [/private]