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ABCD Camp ends well
TEANECK, N.J. -- The 2003 Adidas ABCD camp concluded on Friday, and it went out with a bang.
Featuring 200 of the top high school basketball players in the country, the ABCD basketball camp began Monday with private classes for the players, with regular games played Tuesday through Friday, and ended Friday night with Underclassmen and Seniors All-Star games. The seniors are players in the class of 2004. They have just finished their junior year of high school and begin their senior year after the summer.
Each ABCD basketball camp All-Star game was a team in Black vs. a team in Gold.
The Gold All-Stars easily won the Underclassmen game, 117-95. While these kids are loaded with talent, this exhibition game showed that many of them are still learning that a simple pass which hits the intended target is better than a fancy pass that bounces off a hot dog vender, and a successful layup is more valuable than a missed dunk. Still, it's an All-Star game, and resisting the urge to show off is often difficult.
Tasmin Mitchell of Louisiana won the MVP award for the Underclassmen Gold team. Brandon Rush of Missouri won MVP for the Black team.
The Seniors ABCD camp All-Star game, the showcase event of the week, was played on a much higher level by much better players than the Underclassmen game. It was loaded with action and a pleasure to watch. The game lasted 50 minutes and resulted in a 165-153 Black win over Gold.
Among other things, the ABCD camp Seniors game provided:
- Plenty of smart passes, great ball-handling, solid shooting, and awesome athletics. While the flashy stuff is fun to watch and write about, for an exhibition, this was definitely some quality basketball.
- Dribbling exhibitions. Several times during the game, a few players showed their skills by low-dribbling up the court, putting the ball in between their legs with each step, and pulling up from 3-point range, hitting nothing but net each time.
- An incredible showing of athletic ability and top-notch dunking from Josh Smith. He has NBA-level explosiveness and vertical lap. He's a highlight reel.
- A great overall performance from Shaun Livingston, a 6-7 point guard with tremendous quickness, a lightning first step, and a knack for penetrating, jumping, reversing the ball in mid-air about 12 times and delivering a perfect no-look pass, leaving teammates in perfect position to score.
- Glen Davis, a 6-8 320-pound player nicknamed "Big Baby," dancing as he pretended to be a point guard for a few plays. While his showboating didn't usually result in positive results, it was amusing. His quicker-than-expected spinning post moves were effective enough to make up for the playful showboat blunders.
Livingston, who hails from Illinois, won MVP for the Gold team, finishing with six points, 13 assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Josh Smith, from Georgia, who stands 6-foot-9 and has committed to Indiana University, won MVP for the Black team, scoring 17 points.
As Adidas basketball kingpin Sonny Vaccaro and I agreed after the game, basketball doesn't get much better or more entertaining than this. He may be biased, but it's true, and he's right.
As for the week as a whole, other players who turned heads and opened eyes include Dwight Howard of Georgia, Sebastian Telfair of New York, and Robert Swift of California. Telfair, a Brooklyn native and the cousin of Stephon Marbury, is hailed as a king in any arena even remotely close to the New York area. His point guard skills are excellent. Dwight Howard, at 6-foot-10 with pogo sticks for legs, reminds me of a young Shawn Kemp. I consider him the most NBA-ready player in the camp. Howard currently sits atop the InsideHoops.com boys class of 2004 high school player rankings. Swift, a center who stands 7-foot-1, has touch, moves well, and understands how to play basketball.