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July 10, 2012

LeBron Skills Academy: More evals

MORE LEBRON: Wiggins states case

LAS VEGAS- Throughout our two days of coverage from the LeBron James Skills Academy, Rivals.com was able to touch on many of the top players in attendance. Now, we want to look back and offer up some evaluations of other players we weren't able to mention during Sunday and Monday's coverage who had good performances.

Anthony Barber: "Cat" wasn't as consistently dominant at LeBron as he was during the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June, but he was still pretty darned good. His speed is electric, and he makes it even tougher to deal with because he changes gears and has tremendous body control. When he's shooting with confidence - particularly 12- to 17-foot pull-ups -- there just aren't any high school guards who can stay in front of him.

Jabari Bird: After taking some time in May and June to rest, the 6-foot-5 wing was playing at a high level. There aren't many better pull-up jump shooters in the class of 2013 from between 12 and 17 feet, and he looked to use his athleticism to attack the rim. He's down to five, but California is the favorite with Washington having the best chance to edge out the Bears.

Devin Booker: Booker isn't going to blow away anyone with athleticism of flashy ballhandling. Instead he moves tremendously well without the ball, reads screens, gets shots off quickly and has an absolutely feathery touch to well beyond the three-point line. Because defenders have to respect his shooting, he can be pretty crafty off the dribble and understands how to get where he needs to be in just a dribble or two.

Billy Garrett: It was a very nice outing in Las Vegas for the DePaul commit. He played on and off the ball and used his size to hold off defenders and make plays off of the dribble.

JaJuan Johnson: The more he plays, the more one can't help but wonder if Johnson will ultimately pass up a few more highly rated prospects (though not by much anymore) from his hometown of Memphis. He's got an easy confidence about him on offense and the 6-foot-4 wing is a dynamite perimeter defender.

Jordan Mathews: The 6-foot-3 shooting guard was recently moved into the top 100 of the class of 2013 rankings and he proved he deserved it. A tough kid who is wired to score, he sometimes forces the issue. But, if he makes a mistake on either end of the floor you can count on him to make up for it almost immediately on the other end.

Kennedy Meeks: At this point, we've probably been a little tough on Meeks in terms of where he sits in the rankings. Yes, at 6-foot-9 or so and nearly 300 pounds he spends too much time floating on the perimeter. But, it's impossible to deny his good rebounding, excellent touch and outstanding interior passing. Meeks showed a lot of young Sean May to his game in Vegas.

Stanford Robinson: Indiana is getting a guy who brings it with intensity at all times. Another off-the-dribble playmaker, Robinson is at his best slashing to the cup and when he dribbles he does so with his head up and with purpose to make something happen. He also defends well and is a great glue guy for a team.

Chris Walker: The 6-foot-9 Floridian didn't make a lot of the jumpers and he was visibly frustrated at times. But, he had the motor running high, kept competing and used his athleticism to make plays other big guys just can't. If and when he reaches the highest level, there will be guys dedicated to improving his footwork because his potential is so vast.

Kameron Williams: Just like Mathews, Williams recently moved into the national top 100 and he's there to stay. He's slightly undersized for a two-guard, but he's got a lightning-quick release, is adept at getting himself open with or without the ball and is always in attack mode.

Nigel Williams-Goss: Once again, this kid is a winner. He will play multiple roles for a team and the most important one is that of leader and a guy who will do anything that his coach needs from him. A combo guard, he's just out there to contribute to the cause on each side of the ball.

Duane Wilson: The point guard from Milwaukee continued what has been an outstanding spring and summer. The Marquette commitment is a strong kid with tremendous burst and explosiveness off the dribble. He can make shots from range, has supreme confidence and is a playmaker.

Christian Wood: He's cut out of the mold of Nicholas Batum in that he's a long and fluid guy who moves very well. Like Batum, Wood also prefers to roam the perimeter launching three-pointers and he does it very well. At times, Wood turned it up and got active on the glass and when he adds that with his shooting he becomes problematic for defenders.

Dominic Woodson: When the 6-foot-9 post player is engaged in the game and focused on competing, he's one of the top interior scorers in the class of 2013. He's not a high flyer, but his size and strength allow him to truck guys out of his way and be a very effective rebounder.

James Young: Compared with some of his other stops during the grassroots season, it wasn't vintage Young. However, the 6-foot-6 wing got things headed in the right direction on Monday when some shots started to fall. Offense comes easy to him and at times he can settle for jumpers or lose a little concentration and blow easy finishes.



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