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July 12, 2004

Final thoughts from the adidas superstar camp

2004 Adidas Superstar Camp, that's a wrap

The inaugural Adidas Superstar Camp in Atlanta came to a conclusion with an all-star game held for upper and lower classmen Saturday. Most of the all-star selections fall in the "usual suspects" category, but there were some surprising picks who enjoyed stellar tournament performances and deserve the accolades they will soon receive. Below are some observations after attending the camp from start to finish and the top-ranked players according to their camp play.

Double Trouble in Cali

Perhaps no prospects at the camp improved their stock as much as identical twins Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez. Brook, who earned all-tournament MVP honors for the Grey squad, sports a curly set of locks while Robin keeps it clipped tight around the ears.

While both players displayed nice athleticism that allows them to move well in the post, they also have good flexibility and are strong shot-blockers and rebounders. Robin is the stronger post player, while Brook prefers to hover around the mid-range and knock down 12- to 15-foot jump shots. Several times, the San Joaquin Memorial bigs put the ball on the floor and drove to the basket. The results weren't always pretty but the twins played themselves into several high major offers. In fact, one of the most often asked questions by college coaches was "who are those guys?"

Solid as a rock

Former Dominquez (Calif.) star and current Louisville commitment Lamar Roberson showed impressive consistency from the opening night through the all-star game. Roberson, 6-foot-8, 210-pounds, does a lot of nice things that college coaches look for but the average fan might not notice. His outside jumper is solid but he is also adept at playing with is back to the basket. Roberson runs the floor well and has nice size and strength when finishing. Rebounds, steals and assists are little things that he does in bunches, and if you are not keeping stats, his final line might catch you by surprise. Several college coaches were heard admiring his team-first attitude. Louisville has a unappreciated gem.

Never found his A-game

The news wasn't all good for Louisville fans as small forward Terrence Williams never got into a groove from a scoring standpoint and struggled with his handle and decision-making. Williams, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, is a terrific athlete who is able to get out in transition and make highlight finishes, but his basketball skills have yet to catch up with his athleticism. His jumper will need serious repetition if it is ever to be consistent.

Don't know what you heard about Li

Class of 2006 prospect Yi Li made the trip from China and proved that fundamentals are not a lost art as the 6-foot-3 point guard was one of the top assist men in the camp. The lean lefty showed a solid if unspectacular floor game that included high-percentage passes and strong possession with the ball.

In addition, Li has a nice outside shot that serves him well when he wants to pump fake and drive to the basket. His lofty jumper, which he adjusted with a defender running at him in the underclassmen all-star contest, was thing of beauty, but he struggled against his athletic American counterparts.


Started fast, finished slow

After the first two games in Atlanta, Kansas commitment Mario Chalmers looked like the hands-down top point guard in not only the tournament but the nation. However, after struggling in almost every aspect of his game the final three days, that title is still up for grabs, especially considering Greg Paulus' strong tournament run.

It isn't that Chalmers doesn't have the talent. But he displayed a going-through-the-motions attitude after getting off to a good start. Paulus, a Duke commitment, obviously had a chip on his shoulder with something to prove and simply looked better.

The gunslinger

Comparison of football players to basketballers is rare but one that is favorable for Paulus is Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre. Both have the confidence that allows them to believe that they can do anything, and often times they can. However, with that attitude and talent level there is a "high risk, high reward" scenario that has to be accepted. While it might frustrate at times, it's also the one thing you admire most about them. Also, Paulus' ability to push the floor off a basket is impressive.

There is little doubt that Paulus will have a standout career in Durham. A good guess is that Sean Dockery has one year to prove himself or Paulus will be starting his first year on campus. The clock is ticking.



Top 15 upperclassmen
1. Greg Paulus
2. Rashad Woods
3. Gary Flowers
4. Nyan Boateng
5. Vernon Goodridge
6. Lamar Roberson
7. Terry Martin
8. Gerald Inman
9. Ryan Ayers
10. James Parlow
11. Rashad Chase
12. Tyler Smith
13. Mario Chalmers
14. Arinze Onuaku
15. Kashif Watson

Top 20 underclassmen
1. Paul Harris
2. Robin Lopez
3. Nolan Smith
4. K'Len Morris
5. Wayne Ellington
6. Brook Lopez
7. Javaris Crittenton
8. D.J. Augustin
9. Michael Beasley
10. Stanley Robinson
11. Travis George
12. B.J. Mullens
13. Luis Guzman
14. Derrick Jasper
15. Jawan Carter
16. Korie Luscious
17. Brandon Dison
18. Aaron Holmes
19. David Kool
20. George Odufuwa

***2006 shooting guard Gerald Henderson played well but only attended the camp for the last two days.

Upper Classmen MVP's

Red-Greg Paulus
Grey-Tyler Smith

Under Classmen MVP's

Red-Paul Harris
Grey-Robin Lopez



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