LBJ Skills Academy Wednesday Update
Player standouts, News and Notes from LBJ Skills Academy
Wednesday's Standouts at the LeBron James Skills Academy
Julius Randle, 2013, Texas Titans, UConn – With his performance against LeBron in the opening scrimmage, there's no doubt that he makes the list, as nobody could handle his mix of size and pure basketball ability. Randle scored every possession he had the ball, and when LeBron switched to guard him on defense, his mentality stayed the same, hitting a few midrange jumpers over the Miami Heat star, and getting a nice dunk in transition. The lefty wing has been working out with Brian Abadie, a well known performance coach in Dallas, who trains many pro football and basketball players, and it seems to be paying off in a big way.
Jabari Parker, 2013, Mac Irvin Fire, Butler – Parker is coming off of a very impressive MVP showing with Team USA at the U19 FIBA Americas Championships, and he has continued that benchmark in Akron. It's been said many times before, but it demands restating: you can always count on Jabari Parker to give you a complete game on offense and defense, and when you combine that workman's mentality with his elite skill set, you find yourself watching 9 players on the floor play one game, and Parker playing a different one entirely.
Jahlil Okafor, 2014, Mac Irvin Fire, Butler – Another Chicago and Mac Irvin product makes our list, as Okafor really impressed against the older big men at the camp. When his team scrimmaged with Mitch McGary's in the evening, Okafor held his own, showing a nice mix of post moves and finishing with his great touch around the rim.
Kenny Kaminski, 2012, All Ohio Red, VCU – Kaminski is a 6-8 forward with incredible range on his jumper and no fear on defense. He's is a player that some of the other campers seemed to sleep on, because they left him open at the start of the scrimmages, and the Michigan State-commit made them pay, reminding many why Tom Izzo is so high on his future Spartan forward.
Wayne Selden, 2014, BABC, VCU – The Boston bully SG made an immediate impact, impressing his coaches with his 100% focus on getting the drills right, and impressing his peers by going at any and every defender in his way. Already known for his mid-range scoring ability, Selden focused on attacking the rim and drawing fouls when it came to the scrimmage portion of the workout. It's not just that he knew how to create contact when driving that was impressive, but his ability to finish after the contact with ease that was.
News and Notes:
- 2012 Duke-commit Rasheed Sulaimon on fellow Five-Star rated player Julius Randle: “He's a monster, man, with physical strength, there's few that compare with him. He's a freak athlete, he can score from the outside, on the inside.”
- After the players were checked in and got stretched and warmed up on Tuesday by DeMatha Catholic HS (D.C.) strength coach Alan Stein, the real action began on Wednesday, as the campers were run through drills by the likes of LBJ Academy staff instructors Jay Bilas, Gannon Baker, and Fran Fraschilla. Most drills focused on strengthening the off-hand skill.
- There are 10 players from the state of Texas at camp this year. According to ESPN's Reggie Rankin, “It may be the deepest from top to bottom that it's ever been.”
- Sulaimon, who happens to be one of the Texas boys, is still pulling to get his good friend Rodney Purvis to join him at Duke. The Louisville-de-commit currently has Duke in his final three, and it should be interesting to see where he ends up.
- Tony Parker looks like he's gotten in better shape recently, which will definitely improve his ability to dominate the paint.
- On the college player side of camp, Ohio State big Jared Sullinger looks like a brand new man, as he has clearly lost at least 20 pounds since the end of his freshman season in Columbus.