It is late Saturday night, pushing Sunday morning in fact, and Day 2 of the 2009 NY2LA Sports Generation Next All-Star Camp is a wrap. An action packed day with two sets of games in three age groups, in addition to individual and group work for each age division kept the event moving for twelve full hours on Saturday. With the majority of the campers bunked up within the dorms in downtown Milwaukee on the campus of Marquette University, the short walk over to the Al McGuire Center proved just long enough to wake the camp up on a brisk Saturday morning.
In the first set of games for the classes of 2015 and 2016, there were a number of young prospects who came to play early. Rising sixth grader Sebastian Baugh of Pella, Iowa is a near six footer with a soft touch around the rim. The class of 2016 stud is a south paw with plenty of growing to do, and used his quickness and body around the cup to throw defensives off balance. In station work, Baugh showed the desire to learn and willingness to make the mistakes that will prove vital for his growth as a player down the road. It is certainly fair to tag Baugh as one of the top young pups in the Midwest. Joining him is Te’Jon Lucas, the hometown point guard provided a glimpse of what guard play in the Brew City has to offer in the coming years and we did not walk away disappointed. A member of the class of 2016, Lucas is undersized at a mere five feet, but had the quickness to blow by defenders, and the savvy to make the appropriate kick out pass from the lane. And while we noted Vijay Blackmon on day one, he once again earned his ink on day 2 at the Generation Next All-Star Camp. Only a rising sixth grader, Blackmon is dominating the 6th/7th grade division and is even standing out playing against some of the best rising eighth graders the Midwest has to offer. Add Blackmon to the short list nationally right now for 2016. It would be tough to find 10 better sixth grade players on the map right now than him.
In the same division, 2015 prospects continued to show that one year can mean all the difference in terms of development both skill-wise and physical size. Dominating the action against 2016 prospects and peers was Indianapolis native Kenneth Walton, who earned a call-up to the older division after his play in the morning games and skill session. A six-foot stud that is playing the role of point-forward Walton has made the greatest impact offensively at the camp with his balance of scoring and passing. Surprises so far include West Palm Beach, Florida guard Kamil Williams, who nearly went for 30 in the early morning games and hit a game-winner in the second session. Sunday action has yet to tip but the 5-foot-9 rising seventh grade wing gets the vote for best natural scorer so far. And Grand Rapids, Michigan native Alex Dykema has shown the versatility necessary to be dominant in two age groups. Projecting as a 6-foot-5 or so wing with a jumper from deep and a nose for the ball, as a rising seventh grader he’s nearing six feet and is a dominant rebounder when attacking the boards.
In the rising eighth grade division, standout class of 2014 performers on Saturday included Jonathan Carson, James Blackmon, Ricky Landers, and Eric Austin amongst others. A 6-foot-3 forward with a massive frame and size 16 sneakers, Jonathan Carson is the meaning of a prospect. He’s battling through a groin injury, and even without as much bounce as he is accustomed to, Carson has managed to be the event’s top rebounder and demonstrated the ability to take the ball off the glass and finish coast-to-coast. Blackmon, not to be outdone by his younger brother, has shined in the skill sessions, wearing it out from mid-range and beyond in the shooting drills, and really being aggressive defensively. Both he and Carson are worthy of any regional and national lists for the class of 2014 at this point. Also earning a nod based on his play through the first two days is Clive, Iowa-native Eric Austin. He’s hustles as he has a motor that doesn’t stop, and he also has the toughness that allowed him to mix it up with the much larger Carson in an early morning match-up.
For the rising freshman group, Indiana native R.J. Curington arrived late Saturday morning and missed the first set of games. The 6-foot-3 guard responded by filling it up in the skill session and playing with more desire and effort than we’ve seen from a 2013 prospect all weekend. Meanwhile, fellow backcourt peer Keith Langston continues to emerge as one of the top national sleepers of the spring in the 2013 class. A 6-foot-4 wing from Chicago, Langston is playing above the rim and knocking down the deep ball with regularity. If he tightens his defensive efforts on the final day, look for Langston to make a push for MVP of the Generation Next All-Star Camp. And speaking of noteworthy performances, wings Jabari Parker and Richard Freeman have excelled in their own right. Already a household name in his class, Parker simply makes it look easy and is by far the most advanced player in the rising freshman group. Freeman, on the other hand, is just beginning to figure it out but has all the physical tools to be an elite level recruit nationally in the class four years from now. As for bigs, 2013 RayVonn Posey showed excellent instincts, a soft touch, and nice agility for a 6'7" 300 plus frame. The big fella attacked the glass and was a major force on both ends during game play.
Obviously, there is much more to come from Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the final day of NY2LA Sports’ Generation Next All-Star Camp will conclude Sunday. Major sleepers as well as other top performers will be highlighted as the weekend comes to a close. With another round of skill sessions and games set for Sunday, stay tuned for more from NY2LASPORTS.COM!