NBA Pre-Draft Camp Wednesday Recap

By David Scott - May 31, 2007

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA (aka ORLANDO, which is easier to type and thus what we will be using from here on out) - With one-third of the scheduled games of the 2007 NBA Pre-Draft Camp now complete, we're able to offer some recollections from our first day in the Happiest Place on Earth (non-Gainesville division, we suppose).

Every comparison you've ever heard about the Pre-Draft camp being a meat market is dead-on. Even more accurate is any statement that suggests there are waaaaaay too many middle-aged men with waaaaaaay too much time on their hands to be able to sit around and speculate on such things as whether Jared Dudley can help an NBA team (YES, we say) or if Daequan Cook will be back at Ohio State come September (NO, we say, after speaking with Cook post-game).

There are team executives, team hangers-on and any variety of hucksters and shysters sullying the Wide World of Sports Complex during this week of activity. Contrast the dirty dealings that are surely being perpertrated in lobbies and concourses with the supposed pristine image of Disney and you get a decidedly ugly picture of the world of professional sports. Look what you hath wrought, Walt Disney. Just look. And you too, David Stern.

There's no turning back of course, but we do sort of like the way NBA scouting guru, Marty Blake wistfully longed for the days of yore in his 2007 NBA Draft Media Guide introductory piece:

"I do miss the old days when eight teams would meet at a midtown hotel in New York City and dance through 15 rounds or less, often drafting players we had not seen and asking some of us who were better prepared, to toss them a name or two. . ." wrote Blake, now in his 59th year of porfessional basketball. "For an affair originally conducted without much fanfare among a group of only eight franchises to one of the most important events on the year-long NBA calendar, the Draft is now being piped worldwide through various mediums. . ."

Even as we contribute to that "piping," we have to wonder if it wasn't a better system in those innocent days of which Blake wrote.

Still, there are some fascinating storylines to follow. . .

* Hang Time has "adopted" Providence's Herbert Hill as our "Guy To Follow" from now until Draft Night and Hill is continuing to show why he has been steadily climbing on various mock drafts. Hill scored eight points in his team's loss in the day's second game and his coach, Golden State assistant Stephen Silas pulled H2 aside after the contest to discuss defending the pick and roll, something Hill had trouble doing (as his five fouls would indicate).

"We were talking, after the game, about pick and roll defense which he said he hasn't had much experience with in college," said Silas, the son of NBA great Paul Silas. "A lot of it is technique and a lot of it is repitition, over and over and he hasn't had that so I was just trying to teach him little pointers. But he's so long and he's very receptive to the coaching. I had never seen him before. He's a great kid and he wants to learn, kind of quiet but always paying attention."

"I thought I rebounded the ball pretty well for the whole game (six boards)," said Hill afterward. "I've got to hit my free throws (2 of 6). I'm just trying to play how I normally play, just crash the boards hard and do the little things and if I get my opportunities to score, take advantage of them. At this level teams don't really call the big guys' number that often, so you've got to rebound, block shots and play D and be a presence out there."

Hill said is looking forward to having Friar coach Tim Welsh in the building on Thursday and he also said that Tim Grover, who Hill has been working with in Chicago for the past several weeks, will also "probably have some tips for me after tonight's game.

"It means a lot to have Coach Welsh here and hopefully I can put on a good show for him (on Thursday). But right now, there's not much your coach can do for you," Hill said. "It's every kid's dream to be here at this point and stage in life and I'm just blessed to have this opportunity and just trying to make the best of it."

Hill and Team 1 play again at 11 a.m. on Thursday when they face Team 4 with upward movers Jared Dudley and Reyshawn Terry.

* Through the day's first two games, no player had logged fewer than seventeen minutes and 38 seconds of play (Aaron Gray in Game 1). But in the third game of the day, Team 4's feisty coach, Mark Aguirre, managed to give no fewer than five players less than 17:32 of playing time. The most affected player was UMass's Rashaun Freeman who logged a low of 14:46 for Aguirre who visibly upset with the 6-9, 225-pound forward after one botched play in the second half.

* Marist coach Matt Brady shared lunch with his graduated guard, Jared Jordan on Wednesday afternoon (Jordan had salad, Brady dined on a hamburger at the Gaylord Palms and then Brady took in Jordan's six point, five assist performance in the evening session's first game. "Jared doesn't need me anymore, but I'm here as a show of support," said Brady, one of the Northeast's most promising coaches. "It's huge for our program to have him here and it would be huge if he were to make it. He's meant so much for Marist. I'm sure he will play well and he feels like he's on a good team for him to show what he can do. For me, it's almost like a big brother watching his little brother."

"It's really nice to have him here," said Jordan. "We had a good lunch (on Wednesday) and I appreciate him being here."

Jordan too knows what it could mean for the Red Fox program if he were to make it in the NBA. "If you hear Marist basketball, everyone says 'Rik Smits.' It'd be great if they could say 'Jared Jordan' and I know I'm representing Marist every time I'm out there."

* Spotted in the Milk House, in no particular order: Nevada coach Mark Fox (whose two players Marcelus Kemp and Ramon Sessions are both on Team 6 and combined for 21 points as well as a day-high seven assists from Sessions); Kevin McHale; Danny Ainge; Bobcats scout and former Celtics Rick Weitzman; Mike Dunleavy; Marty Blake; Larry Brown, Stu Jackson; Danny Manning; NY Daily News writer Dick "Hoops" Weiss; ESPN's Andy Katz, Doug Gottlieb and Steve Lavin.

* Maybe the best guard match-up of the day came between Florida's Taurean Green and Arizona's Mustafa Shakur. We'll call it a draw with Green netting 11 points and Shakur scoring 12.

* Stephane Lasme's six blocked shots were more than all but one other team had as a total on the day. Lasme is going to be an intriguing prospect for more than a few teams. His ex-Minuteman teammate Freeman may not be so intriguing as he could be looking at a long career of overseas ball.

* Team 4 combined for a day-high of 13 steals, including three apiece from Australia's Brad Newley and Creighton's Anthony Tolliver.

* Non-Draft stories dominated the day as the Kobe Bryant saga had everyone all abuzz and the possibility of Florida's Billy Donovan going to the Orlando Magic also made the rounds through the Milk House.

* The ACC had a nice day with BC's Jared Dudley, Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell and North Carolina's Reyshwan Terry all having good days at Camp.

* We'll be back with you mid-morning on Thursday from the Milk House after we put the milk in our cereal.

Posted by David Scott at 12:03 AM on May 31, 2007

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