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June 23, 2007

NBPA camp comes to a close

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The theme of the NBA camp this year was big men. On the last day of action, the camp's top post players showed up and brought their power game with them.

Big boys continue domination

Samardo Samuels and B.J. Mullens, the top two rated post players paired up with each other and the game was a great preview of good things to come from both guys.

Samuels was absolutely dominating down low against Mullens and just powered his way to the rim with nimble feet and brute strength. The future Louisville post player did whatever he wanted to do against a much bigger and longer Mullens and a quicker more agile Chris Singleton. It was Samuels best game since the opening day of work. He closed out with a bang on Saturday.

Mullens had his moments, scoring with both hands five to 10 feet away from the basket.

The camp put a microscope on the players here because of the sheer number of games and the easiness to watch all of the action at once. Two things were uncovered about Tyler Zeller's game this week while he was here. One, he has tremendous hands. Two, Zeller absolutely flies up the floor on both ends. Paired against an under-matched Xavier Gibson, Zeller scored 18 points like it was nothing.

Miles Plumlee saved his best for last. The Stanford commitment showed off the full package of skills. In fact, it was the best game that we've seen of him this year. The skilled big man hit three three-pointers, crashed the boards (particularly on the offensive end of the floor) and scored with both hands en route to 19 good-looking points.

Kenny Kadji continued to gain confidence with his every move. The IMG (Fla.) big man showed some great bounce off of a pretty pivot move to the basket. He didn't shy away from scoring on his man and did so with authority on a couple of plays. Kadji took a little while to get rolling but by the time camp ended, he cemented himself as one of the top big guys in the building.

Ralph Sampson, III had a rough time trying to contain Chicago center Michael Dunigan. Dunigan was just too strong, too fast and too long to contend with around the basket. The four-star center might of surprised himself with his bounce off the floor. There were a couple of plays were the big fella just exploded off the hardwood in an instant.

Two of the camp's top grinders Jamychal Green and Luke Babbitt had a chance to get to know each other a little better. The pair went back and forth in the game. Green did what he does best and scored with put back dunks and offense generated on high-energy. He did show a couple of post moves inside the paint. Babbitt, who had a good week overall, seemed to enjoy the physical play.

You have to love Derrick Favors attitude throughout the camp. He and Olu Ashaolu were playing hard against each. One play, Favors had a hard foul where he was sandwiched between big bodies and the play was certainly meant to send a message. Favors picked himself off of the floor, dusted himself off and went to the foul line and converted the freebie. Favors ended his week the same way he started it, with poise and production.

Odds & Ends

Louisiana forward Terrence Henry looked a lot like a power forward in Charlottesville than he did a wing. The skinny 6-foot-8 post runs the floor like a guard but did his best work with his back to the basket. Henry showed off a couple of good-looking post moves for buckets.

After sitting out a year with a blood clot in his leg L.A. Pomlee is looking more like the guy he was before the health complication. The 6-foot-7 forward didn't wow anyone with his play and he certainly had his struggles but the spring is becoming a little tighter in his legs and he's playing more above the rim than he was in the spring.

You could make a case for Kemba Walker as the top point guard in the camp. The recent UConn commit was steady in leading his team to close wins and hitting important shots in clutch situations. The New York native looked great away from the comfortable surroundings of his Gauchos AAU club. Walker was great with the ball, great on defense, great with spreading the love and great off the court with the rest of his teammates. Talk about a productive spring and summer.

Larry Drew and Anthony Crater, two of the biggest disappointments this spring at the point guard position, played against each other in the playoff rounds and the match-up was rather average. Drew knocked down a pair of three-pointers and took care of Samardo Samuels down low. Crater went scoreless in the game.

Marquette bound Nick Williams didn't have any trouble getting by Dashan Harris. Williams, a sturdy shooting guard, played well at the point position and got into the lane any time he wanted to. Williams and AAU teammate Andrew Steele both played hard and seemed to compete a little harder than the opposition.


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