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June 14, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Friday's first session at the NBPA Top 100 Camp was just as action filled as both of Thursday's sessions. Arizona-bound Parker Jackson-Cartwright had it clicking in the back gym, while others such as Dwayne Morgan and Abdul-Malik Abu had their moments in the early session.
Jackson-Cartwright and Robinson not enough
Their camp team, the Grizzlies, couldn't knock off the Hawks during a first-session game on Friday morning, but point guard Jackson-Cartwright, aka PJC, had a strong effort running the show. At the same time, Elbert Robinson had a big morning in the paint.
Given that he is only about 5-foot-8 and maybe weighs 150 pounds, it's a given that PJC is usually going to give up size to his opponents. But the Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola product always plays with tremendous heart and demonstrates a feel for the game.
However, the four-star point guard has been battling one injury or another for a while and hasn't always seemed like his usual self. Friday, he looked like the player he has shown to be in the past. PJC found gaps in the defense, consistently made the right pass and showed a surprising ability to score at the rim and among the trees. Moving forward, it's obvious that he will need to add a lot of strength, but there's not much question that his basketball IQ, heart and desire to win are Pac-12 ready.
The biggest guy on the floor for most of the game, Robinson controlled the paint. He's a legitimate 6-foot-10 (if not a little bigger), and he has great hands and soft touch around the rim. Robinson isn't a quick leaper, but he's got length and strength and a great understanding of how to use his body to seal off and hold position in the post. Myles Turner has been the hot big man prospect in Texas, but Robinson is no slouch and he projects as one of the top pivots in the class of 2014.
Robinson finished the morning session with 17 points and eight rebounds, and he has been one of the most consistently productive bigs in camp.
Balanced effort leads to Hawks win
As mentioned above, Jackson-Cartwright and Robinson's strong play wasn't enough to lead their team to victory against the Hawks. PJC and Robinson were good, but the Hawks featured a very balanced effort as Theo Pinson, Keita Bates-Diop, Isaac Copeland and Idrissa Diallo contributed and had good moments.
A five-star wing who is headed to North Carolina, Pinson is built to play transition basketball. The 6-foot-6 rising senior gets out and finishes on the break and is a disruptive defender who gets into passing lanes, and he chips in on the glass and as a passer. Also a five-star, Bates-Diop is more of a finesse wing. The Ohio State pledge is a slippery athlete who likes to operate along the baseline, where he can shoot jumpers or sneak onto the glass from the weak side for easy tip-ins.
Ticketed for Georgetown, Copeland is a thin and lanky combo forward who looks to be pushing 6-foot-9. A native of North Carolina, he's a high-end four-star prospect who is a good midrange jump shooter and causes matchup problems because of his ability to beat big men to the rim off the dribble. A 6-foot-10 big man who isn't ranked, Diallo has been making a push for the next 2014 Rivals150. He can run the floor, he is a high-end athlete, and he has a willingness to compete on the glass.
Oubre on the move
Shortly after the morning session, word got out that top 30 rising senior Kelly Oubre would leave his Houston home to spend his senior season at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep.
A 6-foot-6 scorer who can bomb away from deep or use his size and ability to absorb contact, Oubre is a versatile wing and projects as a guy capable of making an impact on the high-major level.
He's being chased by many schools, but when asked which program was doing the best job of making him feel like a priority, he mentioned the reigning national champion, Louisville.
"Coach Pitino and his assistants have been coming at me hard and really telling me about their school," Oubre told Rivals.com. "They are on me the hardest right now."
Oubre's plan is to cut his list to five by the end of the summer and schedule visits. In addition to the Cardinals, Oubre says Kansas has made a big impression and that the Jayhawks are likely to get a visit. Other places under consideration include Connecticut, Georgetown, UCLA, Florida, Texas, Washington and Florida State.
More notes from Friday's first session
Abu had a good session. The four-star power forward isn't the tallest guy at 6-foot-7, but he is strong and has long arms that he uses to his advantage. Mostly, Abu is tough and he doesn't go down without a fight, even when he's giving up height. He said the newest offers he's gotten are from Florida, Tennessee, N.C. State and Kansas. In addition to those, he's been sitting on offers from Providence, UConn, Boston College, Wisconsin, Iowa State and Kansas State, among many more. Abu says he is wide open and unsure of when he'll make a decision.
Class of 2015 five-star Skal Labissiere has done a good job of making the most of NBPA Camp. In addition to showing what he can do as a skinny but skilled big man, Labissiere has taken advantage of learning from pros. In particular, he spent a while working on pick-and-roll basketball with longtime NBA point guard Andre Miller. Labissiere says Memphis, Kentucky, Auburn, Kansas, Tennessee and Georgetown have been active in his recruitment.
One of the more intriguing guys at camp is 2014 big man Paschal Chukwu. A 7-footer who can run the floor, Chukwu is thin but doesn't lack in the effort department. He contests shots, he isn't without touch on the offensive end, and he plays with effort. He needs time to develop, but he will end up a big help for some high-major program.