Top talent on display at Super Soph Camp; Day one recap
by Brian McLawhorn- 6/01/2012
COLLEGE PARK, GA -- The Super Soph Camp continued building its strong reputation as one of the elite early summer events Friday evening when some of the nation's top class of 2015 prospects made gigantic steps towards national prominence in only the first day of action.
One talented rising sophomore to grab the attention of onlookers was Glen Daniel (W.Va.) Liberty High School center Levi Cook. Despite coming from a small town with only around 200 residents, Cook has a big personality to go along with his rather large frame.
The 6-10, 312-pound big guy put on a show to open game action with his camp team, Kentucky, by dominating each of his opposing post players. Cook, who resembles current NBA power forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis in both frame and agility, showed the kind of effort that coaches dream about from their post players.
Despite weighing over 300-pounds, Cook ran the floor as well as anyone on the court in the first game of the night, and oftentimes outran the offense, providing himself the chance to breakup plays with his surprisingly quick hands.
Cook was relentless on the glass, pulling down rebounds on both ends of the floor at will. His drive to get to the ball allowed him to out-muscle and coral more boards than he was generally in position to grab.
Offensively, Cook put on display his soft hands, quick feet and even a nice shooting touch from the perimeter. Overall, there was a ton of upside for the young talent.
In fact, Cook made himself very noticeable on a team that featured Texas-native Mickey Mitchell, who is considered by many to be the top player in the class. As of now, Cook has drawn interest from UCLA and West Virginia, but the Super Soph Camp will likely serve as the platform in which he explodes onto the national scene.
Without a doubt, Cook is already playing himself into the conversation and there are still two days left of the camp.
TEXAS REPRESENTED WELL AT SUPER SOPH CAMP
Players from the class of 2015 are still working to put their names into the national spotlight, and a group from Texas made an early splash in accomplishing that goal Friday evening.
One of the most notable performances of the night came from shooting guard King McClure from Dallas (Texas) Triple A Academy. The 6-3, 205-pound Top 25 prospect plays with a toughness rarely seen in such young talents.
Offensively, McClure was in attack mode all game long to open the camp. He looks to finish strong and slashes to the hoop with a purpose. His physical approach afforded him plenty of opportunities to get to the free throw line, and left many defenders waving him right on through the middle of the lane.
His biggest opposition on the night, Jaylen Brown of Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler High, never backed down, however. Brown's willingness to go head-to-head with McClure made for one of the most exciting battles of opening day.
In the second half of the contest, Brown knocked down a step-back jumper behind the 3-point line with McClure's hand in his face. McClure responded and took the ball right at Brown on the ensuing possession, drawing a foul and subsequently knocking down both free throw attempts.
The back-and-forth nature of their play was all in fun and just another example of players using the Super Soph Camp stage as a springboard into the national conversation.
"Everybody here knows how to play basketball," McClure said of the Super Soph Camp and what makes it fun and beneficial. "It's a camp - you've got the top players in the country. Everybody out here has a good [basketball] IQ - they know the game. They challenge you and come at you. It makes you better."
McClure was not the only Texas native to earn praise Friday.
Plano (Texas) Frisco Liberty center Tyler Davis, who has not yet received any correspondence from colleges, will likely see that change in the very near future.
The 6-9, 305-pounder truly took the camp's theme to heart and made the move to play his way into the conversation right out of the gates. Davis used his body to his advantage on both ends of the floor, driving his defender off the block to own the offensive glass and boxing out like a veteran on the opposite end of the floor.
His rebounding prowess was on display from start to finish, and like fellow big Levi Cook, Davis created opportunities for himself around the rim on the offensive end.
Davis made note of the opportunity the Super Soph Camp provides him, as not many chances to face off against quality bigs are present near his hometown.
"There's not a lot of competition in high school," Davis said. "It's great to play against guys that are top rated sophomores - guys that can challenge you and help make you better."
While Davis was working his way into the notebooks of scouts and analysts, Mickey Mitchell of Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy was showing why many programs across the nation are already well aware of what he brings to the hardwood.
Mitchell, a 6-6, 200-pound wing forward, has as versatile of a game as you'll find in the sophomore class and opposing campers quickly discovered how difficult it is to keep him from getting to the basket.
Despite not being the quickest guy on the floor, Mitchell uses his high basketball IQ to slash down the lane, use the rim for protection and/or find open teammates driving to the hoop. His unpredictable nature with the basketball created plenty of opportunities for his teammates to put their skills on display as well. He is truly the type of player that makes guys around him better.
He did not always finish his plays, but his effort level to keep opportunities to score alive was also an aspect of his game that made him standout early in the camp.
And finally, Houston (Texas) Cypress Woods High School post player Samir Sehic was also catching the attention of media types as well as other campers.
The 6-8, 245-pound blue-collar prospect's M.O. is to simply outwork his opponents and he did exactly that Friday at Woodward Academy.
"I try to out work guys, try to out hustle them and try to bully them down there," Sehic said. "That's my goal."
Sehic's approach to the game gave him plenty of opportunities to cleanup on the backboards and make it tough for opponents to get easy looks on the offensive end of the floor.
The rising sophomore did not seem too pleased with his overall performance, however, but wanted it to be known that he would be studying what he did in the first game and making corrections for Saturday's session.
GEORGIA NATIVES ALSO MAKING NOISE ON DAY ONE
Jaylen Brown from nearby Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler High held his own against King McClure, as he had an answer for nearly everything the Texas standout threw at him.
As already mentioned, it was one of the most fun head-to-head matchups of the evening. While his step-back jumper against McClure was one of the bigger highlights of the opening session of games, Brown was showing why his name is making its way into the conversation as one of the nation's best.
Brown, a 6-4, 175-pound wing guard, is long, smooth and active on both ends of the floor.
One of the primary messages at the Super Soph Camp is the importance of defense and effort. This young man takes both of these to heart. Thanks to his length, he made it difficult for opposing guards to score when attacking the basket.
He altered more shots and turned away more opponents than most on the night and set a standard for how defense should be played throughout the weekend.
Brown was not the only Wheeler High product to have strong performance Friday evening.
Daniel Giddens is yet another post player to leave a mark on the first day of action. The 6-foot-10, 215-pound big plays with tremendous effort and creates plenty of problems on the defense end of the floor.
He had the opportunity to matchup against one of the camp's most heralded post players, Skal Labissiere, an ultra-skilled center from Cordova (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian School via Haiti.
Giddens did a good job making his presence felt against the Top 10 rated Labissiere.
WINGS SHOWED UP, TOO
Though the Super Soph Camp is loaded with high quality post players, the collection of talent at the wing position is certainly not lacking.
One of the best examples of that is Danjel Purifoy, a 6-6, 195-pounder from Centerville (Ala.) Bib County High School.
Purifoy, who played alongside King McClure, was outstanding when attacking the basket. He is a smooth wing with the ability to finish around the basket. But what makes his game special is his vision and understanding of how to distribute the basketball in traffic and transition.
His interior passing created several dunk opportunities for McClure, showing a versatility that will certainly help him maximize the exposure afforded to him in Atlanta over the weekend.
Purifoy is currently claiming interest from North Carolina, and will likely draw more attention after the event.
Samir Sehic currently holds no offers, but is drawing interest from Notre Dame, Oregon and South Carolina.
King McClure mentioned interest from Texas, Kansas and Baylor, but also claimed offers from a host of schools, however, he declined to share school names saying "I have quite a few offers, but right now I'm not really focusing on schools right now since I'm a rising sophomore. I have some Big 12 schools, some SEC and one or two ACC schools."
Skal Labissiere holds offers from Memphis and Auburn, while also drawing interest from Georgetown, Tennessee, DePaul and Kentucky.
Mickey Mitchell has an offer from Florida, and is drawing interest from Kentucky, NC State and Duke.
Daniel Giddens has picked up interest from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, but does not hold any offers at this point.
Jaylen Brown is receiving contact from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Texas.
Will Jackson of Athens (Ga.) Christian School is receiving interest from Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas and Florida.