June 30, 2006

Arizona Skill Camp: Thursday Evaluations

There are several talented recruits at the 2006 Lute Olson Advanced Skill & Development Camp and all of them got that chance to show off Thursday night in scrimmages and pickup games.

Here are some initial evaluations of the players on hand:

Nic Wise: The word we're hearing is that the Arizona coaches were thrilled out of what they saw from Nic Wise on Thursday night. The future Wildcat point guard was tremendous with the ball in the open court and consistently made the right decision passing the ball. When open, Wise hit the open three-point shot, but mostly did what he does best, which is getting his teammates involved.

Jordan Hill: There was plenty to pleased about while watching Hill play. Yes, he's still raw and has plenty of work to do before coming close to fulfilling his potential. However, he has great athleticism and went hard to the basket all evening long. When Hill is aggressive, good things happen and he was cleaning up the boards all night.

The Arizona coaches spent a lot of time working with Hill on Thursday, but if he can make progress like they think he can, there's a very good chance he plays as a freshman. A lot will be known about Hill by the end of Arizona's Canada trip, since the team gets to practice together before they leave.

Jamelle Horne: In our opinion, Horne was the best recruit in camp. He's athletic, plays hard all the time, goes at it on both sides of the court and finishes down low. He hit several three-pointers Thursday and he was all smiles going up against some of his future teammates. The way he keeps getting better, Horne looks to be well on his way to the McDonald's All-American game.

Luke Babbitt: It was a tough night for Babbitt, who struggled against some of the more athletic players in camp. In pickup games afterwards, he seemed to play much better.

Babbitt has such great fundamentals for a player his size but it got physical down low and when you add that to the fact that he was competing against some big time athletes, you can't blame him for not being his usual self. He's a terrific talent and we expect him to bounce back on Friday.

Jeremy Tyler: A 2010 power forward, Tyler is entering high school this fall. No matter, he's one of our favorite post players in the country. Tyler was dominant in May at the Arizona Cactus Classic and he proved himself as an elite player in his class on Thursday too.

The kid has such great touch down low and seems to finish everything. He plays hard, can handle being pushed around and gets the ball in the basket. He was going up against big men several years older than him on Thursday and it made no difference. Assuming he continues to improve, Tyler will be recruited by everyone. He's a huge talent.

Elston Turner: Definitely one of the most impressive players that we watched on Thursday. Turner is an athlete the plays solid, smart basketball. He seems to love to compete and the UA coaches were watching him a lot. He had to impress; he was scoring, playing defense and showed a high basketball I.Q. We understand that Turner really likes Arizona and he's one of UA's top 2008 targets.

Andy Poling: Like Babbitt, Poling struggled a little bit on Thursday. Adding weight is going to be important for him because he relies so much on fundamentals, which is great, but he often gets bumped around. Poling usually scores by being crafty around the basket but did have some strong moves down low.

Zane Johnson: It's well known by now that Johnson, a 2007 wing, is trying to impress the UA coaches enough to earn an offer. Assuming Arizona only gives two more scholarships in this class, which we expect to be the case, Johnson has his hands full. However, he did do a good job on Thursday.

Johnson always comes to play and defines the saying "solid, but not spectacular." Quite simply, he gets the job done. He makes open shots, the smart pass and stays in front of his defender. He doesn't do anything to make you drop your jaw but it's easy to appreciate his knowledge of the game and the fact that he does the little things.

Coach Jim Rosborough spent a lot of time with Johnson on Thursday, continuously teaching him throughout the camp. We think Johnson probably impressed the coaches on his first night and we'll keep watching him this weekend.

Kamyron Brown: The Mater Dei point guard went through an intense workout with Johnson and a couple others before the camp. It showed, because he looked pretty tired Thursday night. Accordingly, Brown didn't do anything overwhelming but still played solid basketball.

Alex Jacobson: The future Wildcat center did some impressive things when he played aggressive basketball. He didn't worry about his jump shot and focused on scoring in the paint instead, which is important. As obvious as it may sound, Jacobson is a much better player when he goes hard and you can be sure the UA coaches will be working with him this weekend on improving his intensity.

DeMar Derozan: We're pretty high on Derozan's game. Everyone knows he's a big time athlete, but he has a great looking shot as well. Derozan was hitting from midrange and three throughout the night. We should have a better feel for where he is on Arizona's priority list after this weekend.

Laval Lucas-Perry: Last but definitely not least. Lucas-Perry is a good athlete with great form on his jump shot. He plays hard and whether it was Iguodala or Horne, he would compete against whoever was in front of him.

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