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June 17, 2012
NBPA Camp: Clark leads Thunder to title
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Saturday was championship day at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. The Thunder - who entered the camp tournament as the eighth seed - knocked off the Mavs to secure the camp championship behind the efforts of the title game MOP Stevie Clark and a hard working team.
The Thunder got off to a slow start at the NBPA Camp, and because of that, they entered Saturday's playoffs as the eighth seeded team. However, the seeding didn't matter as they came together on Saturday and played great team basketball to win the camp title.
Oklahoma City's Stevie Clark had been more of a playmaker for others all weekend. On Saturday, the 5-foot-10 point guard showed everybody some of the explosive scoring with which he's built his reputation. He's not the biggest or strongest kid, but he is a winner and was an outstanding leader all camp long.
While Clark bombed away from deep, he got plenty of help on the wings from Sindarius Thornwell, Malcolm Hill and Daniel Hamilton. All four-star prospects, they did different things. Thornwell is more of a driver who even shared in some PG duties while Hill was draining jumpers and finishing on the break. Headed to Illinois, Hill was much more aggressive on Saturday than he had been the first two days of camp. A class of 2014 prospect from California, Hamilton was looking to make plays off the dribble and crashing the glass.
Also having his best day of camp was Texas point guard Kendal Harris -- whose older brother Terrel actually plays for the Miami Heat. The big and strong point guard really came alive on Saturday and was outstanding in getting to the rim and trusting his mid range game. He gave a very long list that included in the neighborhood of 20 high major programs.
On the interior, 7-foot-5 center Mamadou Ndiaye finished a good camp effort with a strong day on the glass and defensively. Playing off of him were two energizers in Chris McCullough and Jordan Bell. Both extreme athletes, the five-star McCullough picked up where he left off on Friday, slashing to the hoop and getting on the glass while Bell played with intensity and grit. Slightly undersized at the four, Bell plays as hard as anybody in the country and is an outstanding shot-blocker, defender and rebounder for a guy who stands at 6-foot-7.
Final quick hitters from camp
Coming off of a big showing at the Pangos All-American camp, it was another big camp outing for Chicago's Cliff Alexander. The bruising, long armed, 6-foot-8 big man was a monster all weekend long and put in work around the rim and on the glass. Michigan State is the early favorite for the five-star post player. While the Spartans lead, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Connecticut are part of a big group trying to make up some ground.
Suitland (Md.) High star Roddy Peters did nothing but help himself all weekend long. A crafty point guard with 6-foot-3 size, Peters is very skilled with the ball. When he gets into the lane, Peters is a clever passer and his size and strength allow him to take bumps and finish off and-one opportunities. He had been on mid-major radars, but Peters has emerged as somebody that should be targeted a bit more heavily by programs that play at a high level.
For the second day in a row, Kuran Iverson was one of the biggest stories in camp. What a wild ride it has to have been for the 6-foot-8 small forward from Connecticut. He broke onto the scene as a potentially elite prospect between his freshman and sophomore years. Then, last summer, he struggled a bit and looked out of sorts. Now, he's back to playing at a high level and is in great shape. He overdid things at times, but Iverson was a solid for the most part, serving as a point forward while getting shots for himself and others. Among the schools he mentioned were Villanova, Florida, Connecticut, Oklahoma State and Seton Hall.
While Iverson was busy making plays off the dribble, teammates Kyle Washington and Semi Ojeleye were very solid for the Mavs. A 6-foot-9 power forward from Minnesota, Washington had a very good camp. He defended the post, rebounded in and out of his area and made the most of his scoring opportunities. He's added strength and looks to be a legitimate post option somewhere on the high major level. For the most part, Ojeleye finished camp the same way he started, steady. The powerfully built 6-foot-6 four-star wing knocked down some shots, rebounded and played defense on the wing and in the paint when needed.
It wasn't until Saturday that Texas gunslinger Keith Frazier started to look like himself. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard had his confidence, was taking and making deep jumpers and even making some plays off the dribble. Frazier definitely needs to get stronger, but most importantly, the five-star shooting guard needs to incorporate more dribble driving into his game. Not only is he good off the dribble, but this will open up space for Frazier to shoot from deep.
He sat out the first two days of camp with a right wrist injury, but Jermaine Lawrence couldn't take it any longer. The 6-foot-8 combo forward from New York just had to get out there and play. He did just that, and at a very high level, using his elite speed and quickness to make plays all over the floor and in transition. Looking ahead, Lawrence is being recruited as a three (where he should end up long term) but has the ability and size to play a bit at the four and will likely do so a lot in college.
Just like he started it, Anthony Barber finished camp as the best point guard in attendance. The 6-foot-2 jitterbug from Hampton (Va.) has solidified himself as the No.3-ranked point guard in the class of 2013 behind Andrew Harrison and Kasey Hill. Barber will next take an unofficial visit to Alabama.
One of the camp's most competitive players was Huntington (W.V.) Prep big man Moses Kingsley. His game isn't exactly pretty, but if you want a hard nosed, physical, defensive minded interior player who will run the floor and give everything he has, then Kingsley is your guy.
Finally, Parker Jackson-Cartwright might stand at 5-foot-8 and weigh 140 pounds soaking wet, but he doesn't let his small size stop him from competing. The class of 2014 point guard is pound for pound as tough as any player in the country. He knows how to run a team, taking on the role of a vocal leader who commands respect from teammates because they know he's all about winning.