I took the drive down to Philly to catch this week's Reebok All-American Camp. While the overall talent in the 2009 class isn't as good as some recent seasons, there were still a lot of talented kids on hand. Many Top 25 prospects from the '09 class where there including Renardo Sidney, Kenny Boynton, and Abdul Gaddy. There's also some top-level younger guys like Brandon Knight ('10) and Mike Shaw ('11).
Below are the first batch of player capsules in what should be three articles from the Camp. The rankings noted are from Rivals.com
Kenny Boynton - 6'3" - 2009 - Undecided - Pompano Beach, FL - #8
The "Human Vacuum", Boynton has never met a shot he didn't like. But despite heaving them up from all angles with men in his face, the shots seem to go in. The camp roster book listed him at 6'3", but that doesn't seem realistic. While certainly deserving of the gaudy rankings, he also has room for improvement. What I'd be worried about down the line is whether or not he'll become a true lead guard, and if not, whether his lack of size and blazing speed will hold him back at the next level (but for Boynton, the "next level" is the NBA).
Jake Cohen - 6'10" - 2009 - Undecided - Berwyn, PA
For a kid getting looks from big-time high-majors like ASU and Michigan, Cohen was a bit disappointing. He showed some flashes of quality, but the game-pace seemed to be a bit too quick for him. Multiple times his hands let him down, and though he's not a weakling by any means, some of the other bigger players were muscling him up on the inside. Still, it's not all bad, as Cohen flashed a surprisingly pure outside shot, and a quality desire to get work done in the paint. From the little I saw, seems more suited for the high-majors as opposed to the BCS leagues.
Timothy Frazier - 6'2" - 2009 - Undecided - Houston, TX
We can call Frazier a combo guard, because though he can get the ball up the court, he's really more of a slasher who wants to run and take you to the rim. He has real blow-by abilities, and easily drove past more highly-rated prospects. Despite his ability to get into the lane, his finishing isn't top notch, especially on the left side where he seemed very weak. Most importantly though, he's got some spunk and a toughness about him that suggests he's a winner. He's associated with the top high-major programs, and that interest seems more than warranted.
Michael Gbinjie - 6'5" - 2011 - Chester, VA
While not a super-prospect at this point like Mike Shaw, Gbinjie was nonetheless one of the camp's best players his year. A pure wing at this point in his development, he has great athleticism, and can finish down low against bigger/stronger players. He carries himself like a big-time athlete, and you could tell he wanted the ball in his hands.
Brandon Knight - 6'3" - 2010 - Undecided - Coral Springs, FL - #8 (2010)
Considered one of the Top 10 players in his class, Knight was solid but not spectacular on Wednesday. A point guard with suprme athleticism, Knight was teamed with Kenny Boynton. Since Boynton is the Human Vacuum, Knight wasn't doing too much offensively. He had a couple monster jams though that give away is NBA-level athleticism. It would have been much more fun if Knight and Boynton were separated, going head to head.
Thomas Knight - 6'9" - 2009 - Undecided - Dixfield, ME
Let me preface this capsule by saying I saw Knight literally play for about 3 minutes. Shortly after his game started, he hurt his eye, and had to sit out the rest of the afternoon and I never watched him again. With that said, for a kid who I had absolutely no expectations for, he was surprisingly effective. While he doesn't pass the "eye" test, the eye often lets you down and he showed nifty feet that enable him to score in the post, and a good enough touch to hit from mid-range. He needs to get stronger and faster. While BCS schools are above him for now, Knight proved to me in a short time that he deserves looks from quality mid & high-major programs.
Juwan Moody - 5'11" - 2011 - Auburn Hills, MI
While his listed height of 5'11" is a bit generous, he's still an intriguing prospect to watch down the line. He's not the fastest guy out there, but he does have a great handle and occasionally made some sweet passes. His three-point shot is more of a heave right now, but they tend to go in. A couple years back, Moody was considered a super Top-10 type player in his class, but the interest cooled down to the point he was considered 250th best on some rankings. But I get the sense he's back on the right track and is a Top 100 player in 2011.
Jeremy Olsen - 6'10" - 2009 - Utah - Lawrenceville, GA
Olsen has a strong, firm body that is almost like a smaller version of Cole Aldrich. For a kid his size, he moves quite well and is well-coordinated. But at times, it was almost like he was trying to do too much with he has thus far, making some ill-advised moves in the post that went nowhere, which led to noticeable frustration. In year one or two at Utah, I wouldn't expect much, but has the potential to be a major contributor down the line.
Chris Perez - 6'4" - 2009 - Undecided - New Port, FL
This scoring guard impressed me with good effort and feel for the game. He's got decent size, and a knack for getting the ball in the hoop in a variety of ways, including some nice jump-stop pull-ups in the lane. At the high-major level, he seems like more of a role player, but could probably do some serious damage scoring the ball in the mid-majors.
Nick Russell - 6'4" - 2009 - Undecided - Duncanville, TX - #92
For a kid with his size, Russell is very fast with the ball. He excels in the open court, where he can lead the break or finish on the wing. I'm not sold on his ability to be a real true lead point guard at the highest level though. While he's getting looks from top-tier programs, he seems like the type of guy who would do best at a lower-level BCS program.
Mike Shaw - 6'8" - 2011 - Undecided - Chicago, IL
This is the first I've seen of the highly propsect out of Illinois, and let me just say I'm a believer. Internet reports say that Illinois has made him an offer, but Illini fans shouldn't get too excited. In time, every program out there, from Duke to Kansas and Florida will probably be doing the same. Despite the monster size for his age, Shaw is basically a small forward who has a surprisingly good handle & hands. Most guys his size and age run awkwardly or sluggishly, but Shaw moves like a legit athlete, and his jump shot looks much better than I expected. Big (really big) time prospect.
Clarence Trent - 6'8" - 2009 - Undecided - North Little Rock, AR - #140
Trent's body and game are well-suited for the all-star camp setting. Despite the height, he runs like a pure wing player, and on a good day, can shoot like a two. Some internet articles question whether he's a tweener stuck between the 3 & 4, but I see him as an explosive and athletic wing with exceptional size. While not a finished package, he easily has the potential to be deserving of a substantially higher ranking nationally.
Derrick Williams - 6'7" - 2010 - Undecided - Staten Island, NY
A very impressive power forward, who despite appearing to be a bit chunky, is well-built and surprisingly agile. He runs the floor quicker than you'd expect, and also has a deft touch on his inside shots. My compatriot Jeff Borzello tells me he has serious interest from Seton Hall and other Big East schools, and that interest definitely seems warranted.