The fans attending the
Reebok ABCD Camp in
NJ. last week had to wait
until Saturday night in order to get their monies worth when 6’9 forward
Derrick Caracter from St. Patrick’s High (N.J.) squared off against 7’0
center Greg Oden from Lawrence North High (Ind.).
It was a match up of arguably the top two players of 2006. Even the
hype of Oden being possibly the best of the best couldn’t keep Character
from bringing it to the big man and slightly tarnishing the Superman
cape that has been put on Odem since his performance at last year’s
Nike camp vaulted him as the top prospect and according to some
recruiters the No. 1 pick in the 2006
But Oden sees things
differently regarding his possible emergence from high school straight
to the NBA. “A lot of high school players didn’t go to college and
develop their skills,” says Odem. “I
have no offensive game, and if I go to college I can develop that.
Without an offensive game, you’re really nothing in the NBA.”
With the combination of
his outside game raining 3-pointers from beyond the arc and inside play,
Character seemingly scored at will against the bigger Oden. Character’s
patented spin move from the baseline frustrated Oden, who at times
looked awkward trying to defend against him. “I just wanted to play my
hardest and do my best,” said Character. “I didn’t have anything to
prove. I knew he was tall and tough. I just wanted to go out there and
make him work.”
Even with his lackluster
performance Oden still managed to swat away almost anything that came
his way on the defensive end and even energized the crowd with his
thunderous dunks and ball handling skills on offense.
Oden still cemented
his fate as the top prospect of 2006 averaging 11.5 points, 6 rebounds
and 2 blocks per game and shooting lights out with an impressive 70%
form the field throughout the week. Oden was rewarded for his
impressive performance by being selected to the all-star game for
underclassmen but was forced to sit out with an ankle injury from
earlier in the day.
Both Caracter and
Oden were named MVP’s of the camp, but most importantly left
N.J. as the top two
prospects in the Class of 2006.