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July 11, 2006

ABCD top performers

The Reebok ABCD Camp provided the nation's top prospects with the opportunity to further establish themselves against other elite players and in some cases, show improvements in their game.

National basketball analyst Jerry Meyer breaks down the top seven players he scouted at the talent-loaded camp.

Kevin Love, C, Lake Oswego (Ore.)
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 19.1 points (1), 9.3 rebounds (1), 1.6 assists, 1.1 turnovers, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks, 63 percent shooting, 47 percent three point shooting

Supremely productive and consistent, Love played the best ball of anyone at the camp.

He scored consistently with his jump hook in the post, muscled opponents for offensive rebounding opportunities and stepped out for open looks behind the arc. Physically strong, intelligent, competitive and highly skilled, Love was on another level than all the other post players in the camp.

Love is so advanced right now, it is difficult to see how he can get much better. As players get stronger at the next two levels, it will become more difficult for Love to operate around the basket. The NBA pick and pop game, however, is custom made for him.

O.J. Mayo, PG, Cincinnati North College Hill
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 13.3 points (4), 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 1.6 steals (6), 0.1 blocks, 52 percent shooting, 44 percent three point shooting

Similar to Love, Mayo dominates games primarily with his physical strength and the intelligence, competitiveness and high skill level to go along with his superb strength.

His most impressive stats are his 4.4 rebounds per game from the point guard position and his 44 percent three point shooting because nearly all his threes are difficult shots off the dribble, often fading away.

Perhaps pressing, Mayo turned the ball over than normal and forced some shots. Physical as a defender and a penetrator, he did not appear to have the elevation he needed to finish some shots and also contest some shots like he has done in the past.

Bill Walker, SF, Cincinnati North College Hill
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 12.9 points (5), 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 0.4 steals, 0.0 blocks, 69 percent shooting, 17 percent three point shooting

At times Walker was a dominant force both with the ball in his hands and while guarding the ball.

Walker handled the ball well and successfully completed some quite difficult passes. He also shot the ball well from the 15-foot to 18-foot range, especially off the dribble going to his left. His right to left crossover is becoming his "go-to" move. Defensively, he shut down every player he was matched against with his quickness and strength.

Besides his lack of three-point range at this point in his career, the main weakness of Walker's game is that he does not impact the game away from the ball. He should both grind out more rebounds in traffic and be more of a presence as a help defender.

DeAndre Jordan, PF, Houston Episcopal
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 10.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.4 turnovers, 0.1 steals, 1.4 blocks (6), 62 percent shooting

At the NBA Players Camp, Jordan took a baby step forward with his game. At the ABCD Camp, Jordan took a giant leap forward.

The 7-footer is no longer taking plays off to whine or show his frustration. Instead, he is playing through mistakes and keeping up with or staying ahead of the ball instead of trailing plays. As a very athletic and increasingly more skilled 7-footer, only good things are going to happen if he is involved in the action. Most notably from the camp was his 18 point performance against Kevin Love.

With as much upside as any player at the camp, Jordan does need to improve as a defensive rebounder and cut down on his turnovers. Continuing to gain strength will do a lot to help him in these areas.

Jordan was so good at the camp, you had to wonder if he would be the post player from the camp that a NBA general manager would covet the most.

Alex Tyus, PF, Cincinnati Harmony Community School
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 12.3 points (10), 4.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 turnovers, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, 53 percent shooting

Tyus has been a good prospect all along and during the spring, but he took his game to another level at the ABCD Camp.

Running the court like a gazelle, Tyus added a consistent mid-range scoring game to his arsenal. Tyus hit shoots off the pass, and he even created off the dribble some and made shots. His turnaround jumper in the mid-post was also effective. Not a playmaker as a handler or passer, Tyus did not turn the ball over, either.

As athletic and long as Tyus is, he should have been more productive in the rebounding, steals and blocks categories. More strength will help his rebounding, and a better feel for the game will help him get more steals and blocks.

Johnny Flynn, PG, Niagara Falls (N.Y.)
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 9.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 turnovers, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, 49 percent shooting, 25 percent three point shooting

Outplaying everyone he went against at the point guard position, Flynn's play seemed more dominant than his stats indicate.

His strength with the ball and his ability to finish tough plays with his athleticism set him apart against his opponents. Although he looked to score too much and more than normal due to the individual nature of the ABCD Camp, Flynn averaged less than one turnover per game with the ball constantly in his hands.

A strong one-on-one defender, Flynn has the tools to be a more disruptive defender away from the ball. One of the better shooters at the point on the circuit, Flynn shot a poor percentage from three because he took too many questionable shots. In all, Flynn has to make sure he doesn't get caught up in individual battles, over dribbling and forcing shots, and instead remembers that great point guards are focused solely on winning.

Taylor King, SF, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
ABCD Stats (camp rank): 12.4 points (8), 6.7 rebounds (3), 1.3 assists, 1.6 turnovers, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, 42 percent shooting, 29 percent three point shooting

Not always consistent with his shooting, King was consistent with his effort and rebounding.

King is a legitimate double threat with his deep scoring range and ability to grind out rebounds. With a true scorer's mentality, he hunts for his points on the glass when he is not getting touches or is missing his shots.

Limited defensively and in his ability to create off the dribble, King only hurts himself when he tries to do too much with the ball. If he plays within himself, the turnovers go down and the three point percentage goes up. But you have to love the way he forgets about prior misses and steps up to knock down big shots.

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