The NBA Top 100 championship game sounded more like an old-time NBA championship at times, with Jordan dunking (McRae), Bird hitting threes (Russell Byrd), Michael near the top of the scoring list (Gilchrist), and Starks controlling the ball on the perimeter (Markel). It could very easily have featured some of the talent that will fill the rosters of future NBA champs as well. The roster for the two teams involved, the Rockets and Hornets, featured many players that find themselves on UK’s radar. The Rockets include Michael Gilchrist, Casey Prather, Terrence Jones and Tarik Black, while the Hornets had Joe Jackson, Madracus Wade and Mychal Parker to go along with former UK interest Russell Byrd, who is committed to Michigan State.
Michael Gilchrist came away from this tournament a total winner. His team never lost a game on their way to the championship match up and he shined the entire way, even after a minor shin bruise put a little speed bump in his path. He was also the winner of the camp’s “Most Promising Prospect” award. Gilchrist was a constant factor in the championship game, getting into to lane and scoring 14 points in total. The only thing he didn’t do great was outside shooting, but the form is there and the accuracy will come. On one particular play, with his Rockets down 32-30, Gilchrist slid into the lane and met up with Jared Sullinger. Sullinger jumped to block Gilchrist, who took the body contact and banked home the mid-range jumper, showing just how advanced his game is for his age. Gilchrist is just a complete all-around talent and anyone would have a hard time making the argument against him being the #1 player in the country right now, regardless of age.
Casey Prather was constantly scoring, but became a major factor later in the game. When Gilchrist was on the bench, it was Prather that was keeping his team in the game. He’s able to run well in transition and finish at the rim. He also showed a mid-range shot while scoring the game’s highest point total, at 19.
Terrence Jones played the role of “glue guy” for his championship Rockets team. He has the tendency to blend in when surrounded by other talent and wasn’t very much of a star during the camp. In the championship game, he had two put backs, showing his ability to battle down low and pick up the scraps. He only dropped in 6 points but found other ways to make himself useful to his talent-laden squad.
Tarik Black didn’t really do too much to stand out, which is hard for a big man in this sort of setting anyways. He is a very big human being, but still got pushed around a little bit by Jared Sullinger down low. That’s not really a knock on Black so much, but is really more of a compliment for Sullinger’s physique and physicality. Black did have a scoring flurry toward the end of regulation, including a rangy jumper, eventually finishing with 6 points.
Joe Jackson is extremely fast. If there’s an opening in the lane, he’ll find it and explode down it. Sometimes he leaves his feet in the paint and gets himself in a little bit of trouble with nowhere to go. A mid-range game, which doesn’t really have a place in this type of setting, would benefit him greatly. He fed the post well and hit a couple of open deep jumpers on his way to 13 points.
Mardracus Wade is an interesting player to me. Sometimes he looks like a pure jump shooter and other times he seems like a combo guard who can slash. He does have a good outside shot and also has the ability to make the crisp pass. There were points in the game where he shined though. I left with the impression that, with a little work, he can be a pretty good combo guard at some point down the line. He helped his Hornets compete in the championship match up by scoring 7.
Mychal Parker ended up not playing. No word yet on what the problem was, but it isn’t a serious injury or anything like that.
Russell Byrd is a pure shooter. He’s the poster child for “anywhere in the gym” range. Russell’s very smart off the ball and will find a way to get himself open for the shot. After a flurry of three pointers, he eventually cooled off a bit and finished the game with 15.
The Rockets talent level ended up being just a little too much for the Hornets. Kendall Marshall controlled the offense and, when Gilchrist wasn’t in, Casey Prather took control of the scoring. Together they lead their Rockets to a 79-74 win and an undefeated record at the camp. Any chance that the Hornets might have had was squandered when the Rockets, up 76-74 with 16.3 seconds left, got a break away finished off by Trey Zeigler. Zeigler was another star of the game, eventually pouring in 14 points.
After the championship game, the awards were given out. Here’s the list of the award winners, followed by the list of scoring averages, including the overall scoring leader and UK-related prospects:
Awards: Michael Gilchrist (Most Promising Prospect), Kendall Marshall (Most Valuable Player), Jared Sullinger (Leadership Award), Daniel Bejarano (Most Courageous), Justin Coleman (Surprise Prospect) and the “Workout Warriors were Harrison Barnes, Russell Byrd, James Johnson, Brandon Knight and Ray McCallum.
Scoring Leaders: Josh Selby (#1 overall, 16.2), Brandon Knight (15.3), Michael Gbinije (13), Harrison Barnes (12.7), Kyrie Irving (12.6), Casey Prather (12), Doron Lamb (11.7), Joe Jackson (11.4), Mike Gilchrist (11.2), Jelan Kendrick (10.2), Terrence Jones (9.1), Fab Melo (8.7), Mardracus Wade (8.6), Dominique Ferguson (7.8), Tarik Black (7.4), LaQuinton Ross (6.8), Rakeem Christmas (6.6), Justin Martin (6.5), Roscoe Smith (6.4), CJ Leslie (6), Ray McCallum (5.8), Mychal Parker (5.7), Cameron Clark (5.5), Adreian Payne (4.6) and Rod Odom (3.2).
I have to give tons of props to Dave Telep and his amazing staff, especially Penny Rogers and Will Sartin, who put on a great camp. Will and Penny did a great job getting the media access to the players who, by the end of the three days, were completely tired of talking about their recruitment and physically drained from the high competition level. The rosters were oozing with talent and provided many great match ups and opportunities to see the best against the best. I’ll be posting a few more in-depth stories from the camp throughout the week, as well as a recruiting profile or two.