The Lab Experience (2016)

This two day workout was directed by John Lucas and held during Final Four Weekend in Houston. The games was great to see and I had the opportunity to see a lot of kids in a limited amount of time. It does not take too long to identify who can, as well as who cannot play. There are many different views of how to approach camps as a player. Obviously so much emphasis is placed on scoring the basketball, most believe scoring is all that matters, but that is NOT all that evaluators are looking to see.

How well you score the basketball definitely matters, but myself, I like to first identify who really wants to compete. Who is the best competitor on the court? Do you play as hard on the defensive end, as you play on the offensive end? Once locating the best competitors, for me, then the process of breaking down a skill set to key in on the things that separate players. Starting with who know how to play, the right way. Many confuse getting buckets and quality buckets. Truth be told, even though scoring will always be at a premium, the emphasis needs to be placed on how many buckets translate to high level basketball. Knowing how to play include basketball basics like, who is willing and able to feed the post? Which for some reason many fail to do.

In my opinion the best player during the two day camp was DJ Harvey (Dematha HS/2017) Young man can score the basketball, in a plethora of ways. Mr. Harvey showcased his ball skills, his athleticism, and his willingness to compete. Charles Bassey (St. Anthony/2019) continues to show more and more versatility; there is not too much Bassey cannot do. In passing I asked who is your favorite player? and without any hesitation he replied Anthony Davis, thats scary. Another marquee name many wantedto see, Jaedon LeDee (Kinkaid/2018), who in drills was primarily matched up with the best player in the camp (Harvey), and LeDee definitely held his own both offensively and defensively. LeDee always rebounds, always scores, but this weekend I think he gave better effort defensively showing a desire to guard and keep guys in front. Royce Hamm (Aldine Davis/2017) was in the building, still making shots, Hamm has turned himself into a very decent shot maker. This weekend, Hamm looks to be trying to further expand his game, numerous possessions for the team in which he played Royce would snatch a rebound and lead the break. Sometimes looking like a legit wing, other times looking like a Power Forward trying to make the transition, but no doubt about it he wants to learn to initiate and make plays creating scoring opportunities for himself and others with the ball in his hands.

Other stand out performers included:

Jarred Vanderbilt (V-Prep/2017), Was trying to destroy any and everything in front of him on Saturday. He was doing what he normally does, which is use his length and athleticism to get to te basket, but there is a new dimension to his game nowadays. Jarred is developing a consistent jump shot, and that could make him practically, impossible to guard on the amateur level.

Darius McNeal (Westfield/2017) many jumped in front to give their best efforts of guarding him, very few had much success. Darius has all the tools, size for position, SPEED, athleticism, handle, vision. Darius created several moments finding teammates moving off passes completed, to athletic finishes, making that rim pop. This young man has a different swag to him, super confident.

Quentin Grimes (College Park/2018), young man made things look relatively easy. When he wanted a rebound, he jumped up snatched the ball with two hands and led the break. When he wanted a bucket, beating his man was not an issue, and neither was finishing at the rim. Sometimes there were crafty finishes, sometimes he was bullying defenders, and other times he was just taking flight and tomahawking dunks with either hand. No doubt about is this Quentin Grimes kid is trying to go to the moon. Very nice showing.

Jase Febres (Westfield/2017), did what Jade Febres does (shine). When the ball left his hands it was a usually followed by a made shot.

John Walker (Marshall/2017), kid is really good! A 6'9 Small Forward who can really handle the ball. John really really shoot the ball, and really really really PASSed the rock with precision. He is slim and light, but knows how to use his length to his advantage. It is only a matter of time.

Doc Nelson (Episcopal/2017) one thing is for certain he understand the camp atmosphere. Some players choose to wait around for it to come to them. During this two day even Young Doc got right to it. Aggressive offensively and took care of business while opposite Darius McNeil. These two ignited a friendly rivalry back in August at the Rucker on Wood, open gym series.

Jacobi Gordon (Fallbrook/2018), is really taking his game to another level. Made shots in rhythm, beat his man off the bounce. He was creating scoring opportunities and finished many above the rim. In the KEY head to head match-ups, there were times when Jacobi definitely looked to be the best player on the floor.

Sage Tolbert (Travis/2017), played very solid. I think he is still figuring out how exactly to best use all of his abilities. And since he has the ability to do so many different things on the court Sage may often attempt to do too much. But one thing looks to be certain, he will have a big summer.

Sahvir Wheeler (Hou Christian/2019), won his games, won his match ups, and did a nice job facilitating the ball for his team. Its always interesting to me how other players respond when some players dominate the ball, but it is also very telling when observing how willingly they give the ball to certain people. Sahvir definitely has a presence on court and when teammates are looking for you when time to deliver an outlet, wanting you to initiate because they trust what is to come in return, that is the ultimate compliment. This kid is definitely fun to play with.

Greg Williams Jr. (Lafayette Christian Academy/2018) Although he doesn't attend school in Texas, this is definitely a name to remember!!!

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Written By: Alex Pugh (RCS Sports)

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