Who shined at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy

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Nike recently invited 20 of the top college and 30 of the best prep wing players in the nation to a secret location in Washington, D.C., for the annual Kevin Durant Skills Academy. Some of the best basketball minds in the business —including former NBA coach John Lucas and Chicago Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinckney — were on hand to help train the invited players during the three-day camp that included match-up drills and scrimmages with Durant himself.

No one was allowed to tape actual games, but BlacktopXchange was invited inside to check out the competition. Here’s a brief breakdown on the top college performers from the camp:

 

Cleanthony Early, Wichita State, Senior

320xThe 6-foot-7 wing who led the Shockers to its surprising Final Four berth in the 2013 NCAA Tournament showed why he is one of the nation’s most dynamic players. His athleticism in person is much more impressive than how it appears on TV, but he also showed a feathery touch from deep and in the mid-range that caught the attention of the NBA scouts. He handled the ball with confidence in the open floor, ran the court with passion and fluidity and battled with consistency in the paint. He displays skills that can easily translate to the small forward position in the NBA. (Cleanthony Early highlights)

 

Sam Thompson, Ohio State, Junior

sam-thompson-ohio-statejpg-0eecc704d7317159Despite his slim build, the lanky 6-foot-7 Ohio State Buckeye plays stronger than he looks. His explosive bounce off the floor and hang-time is ridiculous, while his acumen and anticipation on the defensive end is special. With Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas getting most of the attention last year, Thompson was a sold contributor for the Buckeyes. Expect him to be one of the most exciting and solid performers in the Big Ten next year. (Sam Thompson highlights)

 

 

Gary Harris, Michigan State, Junior

AP173373683360The 6-foot-5 guard, last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year despite playing through a nagging shoulder injury, showed great shooting touch and body control while slashing to the basket. He also looked very strong in finishing through contact. An excellent defender, he seems to enjoy making the man he is guarding miserable. Harris has a rare combination of strength, length, elite athleticism and an advanced I.Q. for the game. This kid is smooth, elegant and tenacious at the same time, and a big reason why many say Michigan State will contend for a 2014 national championship. (Gary Harris highlights)

 

La’Quinton Ross, Ohio State, Sophomore

RossDriveRoss’s wingspan is of comic-book proportions. He is not the caliber of athlete of Cleanthony Early, Sam Thompson or Garry Harris, nor is his game as well rounded. But what he has more of is a skill that the NBA covets: He’s an accurate shooter. What he lacks in explosiveness, he more than makes up for in smoothness. His jump shot, both off the dribble and the catch and shoot, is beautiful to behold. For a guy that can stretch defenses and get buckets in bunches, he was also very unselfish. (La’Quinton Ross highlights)

 

Geron Johnson, Memphis, Senior

1124_MASP_umbkb_minn14_t607This was my first opportunity to see Johnson, a 6-foot-3 guard, up close. He’s tough, tenacious, strong and super athletic in the Russell Westbrook mold. He’s lightning quick and can power his way into the lane easily. Once he elevates, he is not interested in laying the ball up, he’s trying to rip the rim off. He looked like a bulldog guarding the ball from baseline to baseline and showed an ability to rebound and pass as well. Be sure to check out a few Memphis games this year if you haven’t seen him already. (Geron Johnson highlights)

 

Jabari Parker, Duke, Freshman

jabari-parker-announces-college-1_1_r480x480_originalParker was the only incoming freshman among the college guys, but despite being months away from donning the Duke blue and white for the first time, he was, far and away, one of the most impressive players. He has a great feel for the game and can play the 2, 3 and 4 while also operating as a point-forward. He was confident squaring off against Durant while connecting on long jumpers, and scoring in the lane. He is deceptively quick and agile with fantastic body control. Jabari also looked very slick with his dribble to either get his shot off, or create space to drive and probe. He’s a thinker on the court, and demonstrates patience, craftiness and intelligence. And he’s a scoring threat from anywhere. If he stays at Duke for more than a year, it’s only because he wants to, considering had he been eligible to come out in this year’s NBA draft, he would have easily been the #1 overall pick. (Jabari Parker highlights)

 

Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, Sophomore

Iowa-Michigan-Basketball-1-7

His daddy was known as “The Big Dog” back at Purdue in ’94, but Glenn III is nobody’s puppy. He is athletically superior to his dad, a former top overall NBA draft pick. He showed a good mid-range touch with some excellent hops, along with a very silky and butter-soft jumper from NBA range. The ferocious quality of his dunks, while exploding off of both one and two feet, showed his elite level of athleticism. Glenn moved well without the ball while working to get open and his court-vision was advanced. (Glenn Robinson III highlights)

 

 

Here is the full list of the players who participated in this year’s K.D. Skills Academy

Travis Baeder – Oakland University
Markel Brown – Oklahoma State
DeAndre Daniels – UCONN
Damyean Dotson – Oregon
Cleanthony Early – Wichita State
Tyler Harris – Providence
Gary Harris – Michigan
Marshall Henderson – Ole Miss
Geron Johnson – Memphis
KJ McDaniels – Clemson
Jordan McRae – Tennessee
Jabari Parker – Duke
Alex Poythress – Kentucky
Glenn Robinson III – Michigan
LaQuinton Ross – Ohio State
Winston Shepard – San Diego State
Isaiah Sykes – Central Florida
Sam Thompson – Ohio State
TJ Warren – NC State

ali says:

marshall shot the ball incredibly well, but he struggled with the athleticism that the other guys had. he looked over-matched on defense, didn’t show very good passing skills and had problems converting in the paint. but he shot the mess outta the ball from deep, one of the best shooters there, no question.

boo boo the fool says:

what did you think about marshall henderson? did he play well at the camp?