Day 1 of the USA Men’s Developmental Camp is in the books. After a light morning session, the action quickly intensified on Saturday night. Taking out the players that did not show up in addition to the players that were injured and there were approximately 50 players spread out over the sophomore (2018), junior (2017), and senior (2016) classes.
The night session consisted of dribbling and passing drills to start, which De’Aron Fox excelled at followed by full-court lay-ups to full-court pull-up jump shots. The players were then split into two groups and went through numerous 4-on-4 full-court sets with different teammates.
Over the past two years, it has been extremely obvious who the players in the senior class are given their strength and size. The difference was not as notable this year, although one of the seniors that did stand out was USA veteran Jayson Tatum. Looking extremely smooth and skilled, Tatum was aggressive during all of the scrimmage sessions and was finishing aggressively at the rim while also showcasing his polished mid-range game. A large majority of his shots come in the 12-17 foot area in addition to MJ / Kobe-esque fade-aways from just outside the paint. While he hit these shots at a good clip today, it will be interesting to see how his game is dissected once he gets to the college level. Tatum’s game is all about the mid-range and right now the NBA is all about the three’s and shots around the rim.
Players That Made An Impression:
Josh Langford, SG / SF, Madison Academy (AL), Michigan State, 2016
If Langford was excited about the Miles Bridges commitment he sure showed it on the court. While not as highly regarded as some of the other 2016 players, Langford certainly proved that he belonged. Starting with the 4 on 4 drills, Langford was finishing at the rim time and time again. While ferociously attacking the basket, Langford also stepped outside the arc and looked comfortable knocking down 3’s from the top of the key and the wing.
Josh Jackson, SF, Prolific Prep (CA), 2016
Jackson is a three-time gold medalist for USA and he certainly played like a veteran on Day 1 of the developmental camp. His high flying exploits were on display, but it also looked like he had taken the time to work on his weakness. Outside shooting. Jackson hit several mid-range jump shots and fade-aways with a majority hitting nothing but net. He also added a three and backed up his ranking as a top three player in his class.
Trevon Duval, PG, Advanced Prep International (TX), 2017
|photo by USA Basketball|
There wasn’t a more aggressive player on Day 1 than Trevon Duval. He has garnered Derrick Rose comparisons, and while he might not be on the same level athletically as a younger Rose, his style of play is very similar. With an extremely hard crossover dribble, Duval doesn’t have a problem getting by his defender on the perimeter. Once he’s at the next level, Duval takes the ball strong to the basket and can finish at the rim against taller defenders or contorts his body in the air to finish and / or draw the foul.
De’Aron Fox, PG, Cypress Lake (TX), 2016
Fox played the part of the smooth and confident playmaker on Saturday. With excellent ball-skills, Fox controlled the tempo and the half-court offense like a conductor. His lefty jump shot was on target and he got into the middle of the paint time and time again where he was able to finish with a floater or nifty pass to an open teammate.
Markelle Fultz, G, DeMatha (MD), 2016
This time last year, Fultz was getting ready for his first season on varsity. Now, he’s a top 10 player in the country. Fultz uses his long arms and lower body flexibility to slash to the basket and finish creatively around the basket. He has the euro-step down and after taking two long strides can finish on either side of the rim. His outside jump shot needs some work in order to improve its consistency, but Fultz’s short jump shots were finding the bottom of the net with regularity.
-Jarrett Allen put together a productive and efficient low post performance in the night session.
-Tyus Battle missed a lot of time with an injury, but he is the best defensive wing in camp. The future Syracuse small-forward used his strength to bother both Tatum and Jackson.
-Junior Kaleb Wesson stands 6’9” and 260, but the big boy is soft on his feet and was hitting 15-17 foot jump shots with ease. Going forward, Wesson could make a living off the pick and roll.
-6’5” Nojel Eastern is almost back from a gruesome foot injury suffered in April. The Evanston (IL) product participated in drills and is itching to show his versatile game.
-Junior guard Daejon Davis was cut from the U16 team last year, but played more aggressively and with a purpose on Saturday. The athletic guard loves to attack the basket.
-Mohamed Bomba was blocking shots and finishing with authority at the rim. He needs to shore up his shot form, but the 7’1” center has loads of potential.
-This is the third time Markus Howard has been in Colorado Springs and he definitely looked comfortable in the camp. One of the top shooters in the country, Howard was hitting three’s at good clip in both sessions. He also used a quick first step to penetrate before finishing with soft floaters.
-Wendell Carter Jr.’s low-post footwork is extremely advanced and his outside shot looks good.
-Two relatively unknown players coming in were 6’6” junior wing D’Shawn Schwartz and 6’8” forward Justyn Hamilton. Schwartz displayed a nice lefty jumper and decent athleticism at the wing. Hamilton is long and lanky and while he struggled in the night session he showed some promise early on. Schwartz is a local guy from Colorado Springs while Hamilton is from Charlotte (NC).
-Sophomore Robert Woodard played on the U16 team last year and he showed why he made the final cuts today. While being one of the strongest wings in his class, Woodard also had his three point shot going as he was raining three’s in the scrimmages from all parts of the floor.