To recap my visit to the October 2019 USA Basketball Junior National Team Mini-Camp in Colorado Springs. With the camp scheduled to start Friday the 11th, I decided I would fly into Denver day early and do a little sightseeing before I made the to Colorado Spring. Who knew Mother-Nature had other plans upon my arrival? I boarded my 6 am flight departing Atlanta which departed without issue when we landed the pilot came over the intercom and said: "Welcome to Denver, the current temperature is a Brisk 21 degrees with heavy snow flurries." I knew it would be cold, I even pack a light bomber jacket but I did expect snow. So my day of sightseeing quickly turned into a trip to Macy's to purchase winter boots, where I unsuccessful and a slow terrifying drive to my hotel.
Not that I have gotten that out of the way here are a few players that stood out during the camp.
Keon Johnson | 6'5 SG 180 | The Webb School (TN) | C/O 2020 | Tennessee Committ
Keon was nothing short of spectacular throughout the entire weekend. He aggressively attacked the paint, knocked down a few jumpers. He finished athletically at the rim, filled the lanes in transition, and guarded his butt off.
Greg Brown III | 6'8 SF/PF 185 | Vandergrift HS (TX) | C/O 2020
Greg was like a human pogo-stick the entire camp, he wanted to dunk every ball he got his hands on. He dunked it in Pick n Roll action, transition opportunities and, offensive rebounds. His ability to gather offensive rebounds & get off his feet before being contested was a sight to see. His ability & willingness to defend was amazing. He blocked shots, switched out on the perimeter and, contested jumpers.
Jabari Smith, Jr. | 6'8 SF 190 | Sandy Creek HS (GA) | C/O 2021
Jabari has a smooth & Fluid game. He is always under control while keeping his defenders off balance. He shot the ball well from the 3 point line, used his long frame to attack and, finish at the rim with ease. The more I see him, the more his confidence grows. I believe he has a real shot to be the top player in the class of 2021 when it is all said and done.
Zion Cruz | 6'3 SG 170 | Hudson Catholic HS (NJ) | C/O 2022
Zion is an elite athlete and, that was on display throughout the weekend. One sequence, in particular, comes to mind he guarded the ball got switched onto a big in Pick n Roll action, the ball ended in the corner for a straight-line drive, Zion shed the big and, block the shot at the rim. He then filled the left lane on the fastbreak, caught the ball beyond the 3 point line, took one dribble and slammed it home.
Overall, my experience at USA Basketball was just what I needed to start the upcoming basketball schedule. I was able to get eyes & information on several prospects I had not seen before and, feel better prepared for the 2019-2020 season as a whole.
Until next time...